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.

4.1.23: When I leave

This is the last of the four prayers I was given on New Year’s Eve. It brought me a sense of relief and comfort to grasp fully that every kind of physical, mental and emotional suffering comes to an end when we die.

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

Lord,

When I leave my body here,
I’ll also leave my pain,

And when I leave my mind for good,
I’ll leave my burdens, too.

When I leave my heart on earth,
I’ll leave my grief, as well,

But I won’t leave my soul behind, 
For it is one with you.

The person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him (1 Corinthians 6:17; NLT).

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever (Revelation 21:4; NLT). 

15.12.22: That’s easy

Context: I wrote this poem quite a while ago, after experiencing a series of shattering realisations during prayer. Yesterday I rediscovered it amongst my drafts, and decided to post it today:

I love you, Lord (Psalm 18:1; NLT).

The Father himself loves you dearly (John 16:27; NLT). 

I love you, Lord – that’s easy!
But: You love me, too – that’s hard!

Why do you love me, Yahweh?
Why do you guide and guard? 

You know my every weakness,
And my sins are all too real,

So why do you help and comfort me?
Why do you cleanse and heal? 

Ah! It’s because you’re perfect, Lord,
Pouring out love and peace,

And sending your Son to make us all one:
Your mercy will never cease.  

His mercy endures forever (1 Chronicles 16:34; NKJV).

29.11.22: I see

Context: I’ve tested negative for covid three times now, so despite my continuing fatigue, I decided to face yesterday’s scheduled pain treatment at the hospital. As I entered the building I began to pray for everyone there and for those around me in the busy foyer. Then I suddenly saw the oneness of all humanity, even though we temporarily inhabit separate, fragile bodies during our time on earth.

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; NLT). 

With joy, I see at last
That all are one

One mind, one heart, one soul,
Though billions strong.

We lodge in separate bodies, Lord,
It’s true,

Yet all remain forever
One in you.

You are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; NLT).

Your immortal spirit is in every one of them (Wisdom of Solomon 12:1; GNTA).

13.11.22: Jesus

Context: The evening before writing this prayer, I realised I was developing a respiratory infection. Next morning, after a rather strange and feverish night, this little blog came to me before I had even started to pray. It was surprisingly hard to put into words. NB: The infection turned out to be covid

When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him (Matthew 6:7-8; NIV). 

May my prayers be simple:
“Thank you, Jesus.”

“I love you, Jesus”:
May this be my praise.

May my words be plain:
“Forgive me, Jesus.”

May your Spirit
Set my heart ablaze.

May my prayer be:
“Jesus, I forgive them.”

May I do your will,
And serve your name.

May my conduct show
I follow you, Lord:

One with you in joy,
And grief, and pain.

The person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him (1 Corinthians 6:17; NLT).


Reading: Luke 11:2-4; NLT

Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:
Father, may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
Give us each day the food we need,
And forgive us our sins,
As we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.”

30.10.22: Pray for others

Context: I like to pray on behalf of those who cannot pray, and those who do not pray. There is a clear precedent for this in the Old Testament, when God says: “My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf” (Job 42:8; NLT).

Furthermore, Jesus himself intercedes on behalf of us: “Because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf” (Hebrews 7:24-5; NLT).

So, praying on behalf of others is the theme of today’s blog, which arrived a few days ago, just before my hospital trip to London:

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them (1 Timothy 2:1; NLT). 

Lord God,
Thank you for making us all.
We belong to you,
And we are part of you.

Please forgive our sins,
Restore our minds,
Repair our hearts,
And heal our souls.

Help us to love you,
And one another,
So we can share your oneness,
And your joy.

I ask this
In your dear Son’s name.

Amen.

Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy (Philippians 2:16-17; NLT).

Reading: John 17:21-3; NLT

I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one – as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.

18.10.22: Transformation

Context: I’ve been struggling badly since a new drug was added to my cocktail a week or so ago. Amongst other side-effects, it made me unable to concentrate, or to pray, and therefore, unable to write. Worst of all, it made me feel that life was no longer worth living.

However, yesterday, with medical help, I reduced the quantity of this drug by 50%, and today, to my great joy, I found I could both pray, receive inspiration and write again.

Tomorrow I hope to post what I was given this morning, but for now, here is an astonishingly appropriate piece I chose and prepared last night, with no idea that my state of mind might be about to change.

This prayer arrived very early one morning some weeks ago, when I woke at dawn and couldn’t go back to sleep. The photo is the view from my bedroom window that day:

My God turns my darkness into light (Psalm 18:28; NIV). 

You turn my darkness into light,
My sickness, into health;
My weakness into strength, Lord,
And my poverty, to wealth.

You turn my mourning into joy,
My sighing, into prayer;
My loneliness, to oneness, Lord,
My selfishness, to care.

You turn my water into wine,
My sinfulness, to good;
My anger, into peace, Lord,
And my bitterness to love.

You turn my losses into gains,
My dross, to precious ore;
My death, Lord, to eternal life
With you, for evermore.

In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28; NIV).


References

I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life (John 5:24; NLT). 

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever! (Psalm 30:11-12; NLT). 

29.9.22: Love

Context: After my hospital trip to London I’m absolutely drained, so I’m particularly thankful for this short blog, which came to me a few days ago, whilst I was recovering from a migraine:

The Lord our God, the Lord is one (Mark 12:29; NIV).

One God, one Lord,
One Holy Ghost;

One faith, one hope,
One cup, one host;

One flesh, one mind,
One heart, one soul;

One origin,
One life, one goal.

Let love be your highest goal! (1 Corinthians 14:1; NLT). 

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


References 

There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called into one hope when you were called. There is one Savior, one faith, one baptism, one God and Creator of all, who is over all, who works through all and is within all (Ephesians 4:4-6; TIB). 

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread (1 Corinthians 10:16-17; KJV).

YHWH fashioned an earth creature out of the clay of the earth, and blew into its nostrils the breath of life. And the earth creature became a living being (Genesis 2:7; TIB). 

God, the LORD, created the heavens and stretched them out. He created the earth and everything in it. He gives breath to everyone, life to everyone who walks the earth (Isaiah 42:5; NLT).

I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one – as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me (John 17:21-3; NLT).

21.9.22: God’s presence

Context: I woke, began to pray, and saw afresh that God is constantly present in us all.

I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth! (Psalm 116:9; NLT).

Practicing awareness

Once we recognise this, we can begin to practice remaining consciously aware of God’s presence, until our awareness becomes continuous. This is easy to say, but extremely difficult to put into practice. In fact, it can seem like an impossible task, for we have many distractions each day. Attempting it quickly reveals how easy it is to forget about God’s presence altogether for hours at a time.

Tangible reminders
However, tangible, meaningful reminders of God’s presence can be a useful aid. Those chosen will be different for everyone, depending on our faith and circumstances. Personally, I like to wear an olive-wood cross day and night, always available for me to kiss and hold. There are also a few pictures, icons and wall-crosses strategically placed around my home. Plus, as soon as I open my iPad, my favourite icon is there on the screen, as well.

Living in God’s presence
Slowly, usually through many years of practice, we can learn not just to remember God’s presence all the time, but to live in it. This means communing with God, whilst expressing God’s love as best we can, in all we think, say and do.

Becoming more Christ-like
Through constant contact with God, we become increasingly aware of our oneness with the Divine. This helps us to become more Christ-like, and even, astonishingly, a little more like God.

Constant oneness
In fact, of course, our oneness with God is unchanging, whether or not we are aware of it. This applies before birth, during our time on earth, and after death. So, if we want to live in the joy of God’s presence, all we have to do is to consciously practice remaining aware of, and communicating with, God, who lives within us.

13.9.22: Call me

Context: At the end of an eventful day, I was thanking God for all I had experienced, when suddenly this little prayer began to rise in my mind. Each line led to the next, until it was finished almost before I knew it. I’m so grateful to God for offering me a fresh start every day, bringing new opportunities for prayer, praise, thanks, rejoicing, comfort, repentance, forgiveness and service.

I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name (Isaiah 45:3; NLT). 

Call me to your path each day, Lord,
Draw me to your side.

Take me in your arms each day,
Forgive my foolish pride.

Bind me to your heart each day, Lord, 
Keep me close to you.

Merge my soul with yours each day, 
Then help me start anew.

His mercies begin afresh each morning (Lamentations 3:23; NLT).


References 

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:15-18; NIV).

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).