31.1.23: When I ask

When praying with my circlet, I’m learning to wait in silence on each new bead. Once I can see what it holds, I pray with it until the prayer is complete. Then I let it go, and move on to the next, as described in today’s prayer:

The Spirit also helps us in our weakness; for we do not know what prayers to offer nor in what way to offer them (Romans 8:26; WNT). 

Jesus,

When I ask your help,
A prayer awaits me in each bead:
All I have to do is listen
For your Holy Spirit’s lead.

Some hold silence, inspiration,
Intercession, thanks, or praise;
Some are full of light and warmth,
Of our shared love’s united gaze.

So I say the words you offer,
See all I am meant to see:
What a joy it is to know
That every day you care for me.

May I speak the words you give,
And learn what I am meant to learn,
Living, walking in your Spirit
Here, on earth, till I return.

The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).


References 

I will put my Spirit in you and you will live (Ezekiel 37:14; NIV). 

I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness – secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name (Isaiah 45:3; NLT). 

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion (Ephesians 6:18; NLT). 

Listen to God’s voice (Deuteronomy 26:17; TIB). 

The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving (Psalm 28:7; NLT).

He cares for those who trust in him (Nahum 1:7; NIV). 

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? (1 Corinthians 6:19; NLT). 

God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us (1 John 4:13; NLT). 

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:25; KJV).

29.1.23: Seeing Christ

Today’s blog builds on one of my very favourite prayers. I say it every morning, having come across it many years ago in “Pocket Prayers for Pilgrims”. This little book was compiled by John Pritchard (Church House Publishing; 2011; page 33). Here it is:

Lord God,
Whoever you bring into our path today,
May we see Christ in them,
And may they see Christ in us,
For your love’s sake.
Amen.

Over the years, without even realising it, I’ve made this prayer more personal. Then, when I was saying it with my circlet yesterday (on bead 1/4), I suddenly saw how it could be extended:

Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us (Colossians 3:11; NLT).

Lord God,
Whoever you bring into my path,
My mind,
And my prayers today,
May I see Christ in them,
And may they see Christ in me,
For Thy love’s sake,
Amen.

All of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:18; NLT). 

Having written this down I began to pray again (still on 1/4), but a question immediately flashed into my mind:

Do you really think it makes any difference to God whether we are Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Methodist, Evangelical, Lutheran, or any other denomination? 

The answer, of course, is No – it makes no difference at all, because what God wants is for us to be Christian in the fullest and truest sense of the word. So what does being a Christian actually mean?

Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23; NLT).

It means giving up our selfish ways,
Taking up our cross each day,
And following Jesus.

It means growing more like him
In all we think, say,
And do.

It means seeing, loving,
And serving him
In everyone,

Including those we disagree with,
Or disapprove of,
And those who hate or hurt us.

Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! (Matthew 5:44; NLT).

By the time I’d written this down, I hardly dared to continue praying, for fear of what might follow. However, I needn’t have worried, because I was able to let bead 1/4 go, and to move on, though of course I never know what will come next. In fact, bead 1/5 turned out to be full of heartfelt thanks and praise, for which I was very grateful.


References

Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 19:19; NLT). 

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5; NIV).

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:49; NIV). 


The Rosary Hospital 

Today I was able to begin trying out the new rosary-making method I stumbled upon yesterday. This means starting in the middle of the main circlet.

Apart from giving one decade 13 beads, and having to take back a couple of barrel knots to put this right, it worked out well. At the moment, I don’t really understand why it works, but that’s not important. What counts is that it enables me to make two identical knots at the places where the main circle joins the centrepiece, as shown in the photo below. Hopefully, I’ll be able to finish making this rosary tomorrow.

28.1.23: Jesus

When I reached the first bead of the second decade on my prayer-circlet yesterday morning, I suddenly saw the word Jesus, in bold lettering. It was shining just above a dark shape I was looking towards. I don’t know what the dark shape was, because my eyes were closed and my inner space was very dimly lit.

Christ’s name was spelled out in golden light, and curved like a rainbow. The letters partially encircled the dark object, though they did not touch it. The effect was rather like a halo. Unfortunately I can’t represent their curved shape in my picture above.

Instantly, I thought how fantastic it would be to see Jesus’ name like this wherever I look, always reminding me of his constant presence in everyone and everything.

Then today’s prayer burst out so fast that I could barely keep pace with the words as I hurried to note them down:

God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name (Philippians 2:9; NIV). 

Everywhere I look today:
May I see your name shine out,
Lord Jesus.

Everyone I meet today:
May I see your face in theirs,
Lord Jesus.

Every thought I have today:
May it be like one of yours,
Lord Jesus.

Every word I speak today:
May it be as if your own,
Lord Jesus.

Everything I do today:
May I do it all for you,
Lord Jesus.

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’ (Matthew 25:49; NIV).


References 

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it (John 1:5; NLT).

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life” (John 8:12; NLT).

I will see you face to face and be satisfied (Psalm 17:15; NLT).

We have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; NLT).

Speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:17; NLT). 

Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31; NLT). 

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people (James 2:12; NLT).


Reading: Philippians 2:5-11; NIV.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


The Rosary Hospital

A very welcome influx of fresh materials today included a strong magnetic clasp, so I was able to enjoy experimenting with a shorter prayer circlet that opens and closes, to be worn around the neck. I had to make it twice, as the first time I used larger beads than usual, which made the cross hang too low on my chest. NB: I particularly like the cross on these circlets to rest as close as possible to my heart.

Whilst trying out different approaches to this task, I stumbled on the possibility of making rosaries in a completely new way. I was too tired to take this idea any further at the time, but hope to try creating a rosary with the new approach tomorrow.

Meanwhile, here is the second prayer-circlet I made yesterday, which I am already wearing. It’s very easy to put on and take off, as it doesn’t need to be pulled over the head:

18.1.23: Help me to pray

Today’s little couplets began to arrive yesterday morning, when I kissed my icon of Jesus. To my surprise, everything I receive is still about prayer, so I’m just going with the flow.

Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray (Luke 9:28; NLT). 

Help me to pray with you, Jesus,
All day and all night.

Help me to pray in your Spirit,
And walk in your light.

Help me to pray to our Father,
In heaven above.

Help me to join you in Oneness,
And live in your love.

Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them (1 John 4:16; NIV).


References 

They will pray day and night, continually (Isaiah 62:6; NLT). 

Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests (Ephesians 6:18; NIV).

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life” (John 8:12; NLT). 

Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy (Matthew 6:9; NLT). 

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us” (Genesis 1:26; NLT). 

The LORD our God, the LORD is one (Deuteronomy 6:4;NIV). 

Whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17; NIV).


The Rosary Hospital 

Yesterday I made a simple, experimental prayer circlet to wear around my neck, and to hold. It’s loose enough to be able to move from one bead to the next using only one hand. After trying it out, I plan to re-make it with a moveable cross at intervals, as I think that will be helpful when I’m praying.

15.1.23: Prayer #3

Ah! To my great relief, yesterday I discovered that using my rosary to pray has greatly eased the long-standing problem I mentioned a few days ago. This is the need to break off my personal prayers whenever a new prayer I need to write down starts to arrive. Each time this happens, I experience an inner conflict. I recognise the new prayer’s significance immediately, and know I need to start writing, but I don’t want to break off from whatever I am seeing, saying, or experiencing in order to do so.

However, yesterday morning brought a change. Using the new approach to prayer described the day before (https://wp.me/p45bCr-deF), I discovered that I could use my left hand to keep hold of the bead I was praying on, whilst typing on my iPad with my right. It’s hard to describe what a huge step forward this is for me, but the bottom line is that it worked.

Pausing to write in this way didn’t interrupt my prayers at all, because the writing simply became part of them. As soon as I’d written down what I’d been given, I was able to go straight back to the bead I’d reached, and to continue my prayers without experiencing any loss of continuity. Praying and writing became one.

This might not sound very important to anyone else, but it’s an answer to prayer for me, and a great relief. Even as I type these words, I’m still holding the bead I had reached when I had to start writing this blog. Thank you, Jesus, that my circle of prayer can remain unbroken.

My rosary prayers can continue on and off throughout the say. When I need to use both hands for a task, I can mark the bead I’ve reached with a plastic-coated tie (see photo below), but I’m hoping that a better marker will come to me before too long. Any suggestions would be very gratefully received.

Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17; NIV).

10.1.23: Heaven

As soon as I started to pray last Monday, fresh prayers began to arrive. It was all I could do to keep up with them, and at one point, to my horror, I thought I had accidentally erased a whole piece. Fortunately, I managed to find it in the end. Here is one of the prayers I received that day:

Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord (Romans 14:8; NLT). 

Heaven
Is being one with God –
From genesis
Before our birth,
Through trials and sorrows
Here on earth;
In loss and gain,
In joy and pain –
Forever one
In love.

Heaven
Is being one with God –
Let’s offer thanks,
Rejoice and pray,
And follow Jesus
Every day.
Let’s seek his face,
And share his grace –
Forever one
In God.

Heaven
Is being one with God –
Let’s praise his name
With every breath,
And walk with him
In life and death.
Then, safe ashore,
We will adore –
Forever one
With God.

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16; NLT).

6.1.23: A circlet of prayer

Today’s blog came to me when I was praying yesterday morning. It links back to the day before, so if you want to refresh your memory, here is a link: https://wp.me/p45bCr-d9R.

Whilst writing the poem below, I saw in my mind’s eye a very simple circlet of beads to go with it. So, later in the day, I made a prototype, pictured above. Afterwards I realised it needs to have groups of eight beads, rather than 16.

It will have one bead per line, and will be said silently, in time with my breathing. A larger bead will mark the end of the last line. I will kiss each marker-bead as I come to it, before beginning the prayer again on the next eight beads. There will be enough beads in the circlet to say the prayer several times, making it a source of comfort and strength. Using it requires only one hand, so it can easily be said whilst lying down, sitting, standing, or walking.

Anyway, after this long introduction, here is today’s prayer. Of course, a circlet of beads is not necessary for praying this little meditation. You might like to try breathing in as you silently and slowly say the first line of each couplet, then out as you say the second. 

I love you, LORD; you are my strength (Psalm 18:1; NLT). 

Jesus, I love you.
Jesus, forgive me.

Jesus, I thank you,
My staff, and my rod.

Jesus, please help me.
Jesus, I praise you.

Jesus, you love me,
My Lord and my God.

“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed (John 20:28; NLT).


References 

In Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body (Colossians 2:9; NLT).

Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:11; NLT).

God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself (2 Corinthians 5:19; NLT).

God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ (Colossians 1:19; NLT).


The Rosary Hospital

Do you remember me saying that I’d been able to give up supergluing the final knots on my rosaries? Yesterday, to my horror, my own (unglued) rosary came apart. Now I’m imagining all the unglued rosaries I’ve sent out coming apart. There’s nothing I can do about this other than to start using glue again, and making sure people know that if they have a problem, I’ll be very happy to re-cord (and glue), their rosary.

2.1.23: For all He gives

Context: Today’s prayer is the second of four linked poems which arrived together on New Year’s Eve. If you didn’t see the first, here is a link to it: https://wp.me/p45bCr-d8z.

This little sequence of prayers is based on a very special prayer said daily by the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham. I’ve just received permission to post it here, and plan to do so on the 5th of January.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18; NIV). 

For all He gives each day
Say, “Thank you, Jesus”.

For all He takes away,
Say just the same.

No matter what goes wrong,
Say, “Thank you, Jesus” –

Accept His will,
And bless His holy name.

I want your will to be done, not mine (Luke 22:42; NLT).

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away. Blessed be the name of the LORD (Job 1:21; CSB).


The Rosary Hospital

Two days ago, my husband helped me to tidy my bedroom. After a lot of discussion, he rearranged some of the furniture in order to create a suitable place for making hot drinks. I also tidied my shrine, unconsciously encircling the holding cross with my Fiat rosary.

Next day I looked at my shrine with fresh eyes. The words: “the circle of prayer” came into my mind, and I recognised straight away that this phrase felt significant, though I didn’t know what it might mean. About an hour later, I realised it referred to the rosary, for what is a rosary if not a circle of prayer? So I’m now wondering where this realisation might lead…

1.1.23: I breathe you in

Context: On New Year’s Eve I woke very early, with a migraine. Fortunately, the day before, I had arranged everything I needed to start making hot drinks in my bedroom. So I sat up in bed to pray, a mug  of tea to hand, holding my cross, and repeating Jesus’ name in time with my breathing.

Out of this came a stream of four short, linked prayers. Despite their brevity, they were extremely difficult to put into words. I plan to post them over the next few days, God willing.

The whole group springs from a special prayer said daily by the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham – a prayer which has made a real difference to my quality of life. If anyone is interested, I could ask permission to post it here.

The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7; KJV). 

I breathe you in,
And breathe you out, Lord Jesus.

No matter what you send,
I will say, “Yes”.

You live in me,
And I in you, Lord Jesus –

With you, I can endure
Each new distress.

With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall (2 Samuel 22:30; NIV). 

In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind (2 Corinthians 6:4; NLT).


References 

In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind (Job 12:10; NIV).

Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad? (Job 2:10; NLT).

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18; NIV). 

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16; NLT). 

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away. Blessed be the name of the LORD (Job 1:21; CSB).

28.12.22: Come, Jesus

Context: This prayer arrived on Christmas Day, and took two more days to write. Maybe I’m slowing down in my old age…

He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20; NLT). 

Come, Jesus, come –
Be born again in me,
And I in you.

I’ll do my best
To share your cross,
Your love for others, too.

The way is long,
The path is hard –
My efforts seem in vain,

But, Lord, despite
My fruitlessness, I long
To serve your name.

For you’re my Saviour
And my King,
My genesis and goal,

So come, Lord, come –
I offer you my heart, mind, strength
And soul.

You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength (Mark 12:30; NLT).


References

I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3; NLT).

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16; NLT).

The gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it (Matthew 7:14; NLT).


The Rosary Hospital

To my great pleasure, the rosaries posted before Christmas are gradually reaching their destinations, despite the postal strikes and challenging weather conditions.

Meanwhile, I remade my Fiat rosary with the inadequate knot. It came out much better the third time, so I have no regrets about starting again – it’s all good practice.

One exciting development (from a purely personal point of view), is that over the last few days I’ve become more confident about the strength of my joining knots, so I’ve stopped reinforcing them with superglue. It’s taken quite a while to reach this stage, but I’m pleased to be getting there. Purists don’t use glue when making rosaries – perhaps mine could be held together with faith!

If you would like more rosary news, or if you have any broken rosaries to donate, you are very welcome to contact me at “The Rosary Hospital”, on Facebook.

Lastly, here is the Fiat rosary I made today: