I had barely begun to pray last Sunday morning when these couplets came to me. They took several hours of concentrated work to put into words.
This happens more and more frequently. The first stage of writing takes so long that by the time it’s finished, I have missed out on the experience of wordless prayer. In fact, there is a constant, seemingly irresolvable tension between my longing to pray, and the drive to express in words what I am given, so it can be shared here.
All I can do is to echo the prophet’s words: “My work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose. Yet I leave it all in the LORD’s hand; I will trust God for my reward” (Isaiah 49:4; NLT).
So now, here is today’s blog:
Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34; NLT).
I follow you, my only Lord:
My guide, my way, and my reward.
I honour you, my Shepherd King:
My strength; the truth to which I cling.
I thirst for you, my living God:
My breath, my life, my staff, my rod.
I trust in you, my light, my love:
My daily bread from heaven above.
I worship you, my Father’s voice:
My resurrection, and my choice.
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying” (John 11:25; NLT).
Choose today whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15; NLT).
This prayer came to me yesterday morning as I kissed the cross on my bedroom shrine, then blessed myself with holy water. All I could do was to start writing it down immediately.
To my utter astonishment, the second line of the second verse had already been given to me the day before, though at the time it seemed unconnected with anything else. As always, I had noted it down, but with no idea how it might be used. It was only as I finished roughing out the first verse that I realised the purpose of this precious phrase.
1. Good morning, Mother, Father: Yahweh –
God of gods, and Lord of lords;
My thanks for all you send each day –
The “good” and “bad” that life affords.
2. Good morning, Teacher, Saviour: Jesus –
Son of God, and Son of Man; You are the sacrifice for sins –
The consummation of God’s plan.
3. Good morning,Ruach: Holy Spirit – Breath of God, the King of kings;
All life, and truth, and peace are here –
Beneath the shadow of your wings.
Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
(Psalm 63:7; NLT).
Notes and references
Verse 1 * Will I, who causes others to give birth, not also give birth myself, says the Lord? Will I, who bestows generation upon others, be barren myself, says the Lord your God? (Isaiah 66:9; CPDV).
* “As truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our Mother” (Julian of Norwich).
* “The personal name of God, Yahweh, which is revealed to Moses in Exodus 3, is a remarkable combination of both female and male grammatical endings. The first part of God’s name in Hebrew, “Yah,” is feminine, and the last part, “weh,” is masculine” (David Wheeler-Reed, “What the early church thought about God’s gender”; the conversation.com).
* Should we accept only good things from the hand of God, and never anything bad? (Job 2:10; NLT).
Verse 2 * The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven (Hebrews 1:3; NIV).
* The angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35; KJV).
* Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20; NLT).
* He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins – and not only our sins but the sins of all the world (1 John 2:2; NLT).
* Once at the consummation of the ages He has been revealed to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Hebrews 9:26; NASB20).
* This is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:6; NLT).
Verse 3 * “In Hebrew the word for Spirit (רוח) (ruach) is feminine“(Gender of the Holy Spirit, Wikipedia).
* God, who knows everything in our hearts, knows perfectly well what the Spirit is saying, because her intercessions for God’s holy people are made according to the mind of God (Romans 8:27; TIB).
* The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life (Job 33:4; KJV).
* The mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:6; NIV).
* The Spirit is truth (1 John 5:6; NKJV).
In sharp contrast to yesterday’s prayer for peace (see: https://wp.me/p45bCr-eu7), today’s is an outpouring of love and praise for God, and for all creation:
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow.
(1 Thessalonians 3:12; NIV).
My heart is full of love
For land, sea, sky,
And heaven above;
2. For life on earth
And all it brings;
For day and night;
Each star that sings:
3. May every voice
Be raised to you
In joyful praise, O King of kings.
On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:16; NIV).
Verse 1: The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! (Isaiah 55:12; NLT).
The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep, and the valleys are carpeted with grain. They all shout and sing for joy! Psalm 65:13; NLT).
Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the earth and all living things join in. Let the rivers clap their hands in glee! Let the hills sing out their songs of joy before the LORD (Psalm 98:7-9; NLT).
Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done this wondrous thing. Shout for joy, O depths of the earth! Break into song, O mountains and forests and every tree! (Isaiah 44:23; NLT).
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world (Psalm 19:1-4; NIV).
Verse 2: Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? (Job 2:10; NIV).
Everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen (Romans 11:36; NLT).
In the singing together of stars of the morning…all sons of God shout for joy (Job 38:7; YLT).
Verse 3: “As surely as I live,” says the LORD, “every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God” (Romans 14:11; NLT).
Shout to God with joyful praise! (Psalm 47:1; NLT).
Seeing this prayer in my mind and heart brought a gentle end to a wonderful time of light, silence and peace last Sunday. Writing and referencing it was a labour of love.
The Lord is peace (Judges 6:24; NLT).
1. You are peace, and you are love,
On earth, below, in heaven above.
You are fire, and bread, and wine,
Our narrow way, our living vine.
2. You are pity, Shepherd King,
You shield us all beneath your wing.
You are Spirit, truth and light,
The resurrection, and the life.
3. You are Christ, our staff and rod,
So kind, so good, our Lord and God.
Teacher, you forgive and bless,
For you are strength, and tenderness.
4. Yahweh, Holy Ghost, and Son,
The One in Three, the Three in One,
Our faith, our hope, our soul, our call: You are God, our All in all.
God will be all in all (1 Corinthians 15:28; TIB).
Verse 1 God is love (1 John 4:8; NLT).
The Lord your God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; NIV).
I am the living bread that came down from from heaven (John 6:51; NLT).
Jesus told him, “I am the way” (John 14:6; NLT).
I am the vine (John 15:5; NLT).
Verse 2 Yahweh is …pity (Psalm 103:8; NJB).
I am the good shepherd (John 10:11; NLT).
You are my King and my God! (Psalm 44:4; NLT).
I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings (Psalm 57:1; NLT).
The LORD God is our sun and our shield (Psalm 84:11; NLT). |
God is Spirit (John 4:24; NLT).
The Spirit is truth (1 John 5:6; NKJV).
God is light (1 John 1:5; NLT).
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25; NLT).
Verse 3 Jesus is the Christ (1 John 5:1; NLT).
Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me (Psalm 23:4; NLT).
How kind the LORD is! How good he is! (Psalm 116:5; NLT).
“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed (John 20:28; NLT).
You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am (John 13:13; NLT).
He forgives all my sins (Psalm 103:3; NLT).
How he blesses them! (Psalm 107:38; NLT).
The Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength (Isaiah 26:4; KJV).
Yahweh is tenderness (Psalm 103:8; NJB).
Verse 4 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19; KJV).
The LORD our God, the LORD is one (Deuteronomy 6:4; NIV).
Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13:13; NLT).
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).
We keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call (2 Thessalonians 1:11; NLT).
You are our God! (Hosea 2:23; NLT).