This plague

The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. (Psalm 14:2-3; NIV).

1. This plague is not a punishment
For every selfish deed;

2. Instead, it is the consequence
Of all our careless greed.

3. This plague is not a penalty
For every foolish choice;

4. Instead, it is our reckoning,
For we’ve ignored God’s voice.


References

1. Why do you continue to invite punishment? Isaiah 1:5; NLT).

From the least to the greatest, their lives are ruled by greed (Jeremiah 6:13; NLT).

2. You did not reflect on your actions or think about their consequences (Isaiah 47:7; NLT).

You careless ones will will suddenly begin to care (Isaiah 32:10; NLT).

3. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins (Ezekiel 22:31; NLT).

They have chosen crooked paths and have forgotten the Lord their God (Jeremiah 3:21; NLT)

4. How strong and courageous will you be in my day of reckoning? (Ezekiel 22:14; NLT).

If only you would listen to his voice today! (Psalm 95:7; NLT).

Suffering and loss

Pray for all people. Ask God to help them;
intercede on their behalf
(1 Timothy 2:1; NLT).

1. Lord,
I pray for all of us
Who suffer:

2. Those yearning for a home,
A job,
A child;

3. Those thirsting for freedom
From fear, abuse,
Or exploitation;

4. Those longing for better health
For others,
Or themselves;

5. And those who ache
For the presence
Of the dead.

6. Please strengthen us
To face each loss;
Console us when we mourn.

7. Help us to find
New hope in you,
And to rebuild our lives

8. By following your much-loved Son,
Who gave up all he had
For us.

Through his dear name,
Amen.

References

1. Pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf (1 Timothy 2:1; NLT).

2. Forget not your servant but give her a son (1 Samuel 1:11; NIV).

3. The oppressed will be set free (Luke 4:18; NLT).

4. He will heal us (Hosea 6:1; NLT).

5. You have taken away my companions and my loved ones. Darkness is my closest friend (Psalm 88:18; NLT).

6. Even when I walk in the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me (Psalm 23:4; NLT).

7. “I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11; NLT).

Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me!” (Matthew 4:19; NLT).

8. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being (Philippians 2:6-7; NLT).

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us (1 John 3:16; NLT).

Empty

1. Father God,
I want to pray,
But my mind is empty.

2. Father God,
I want to pray,
But nothing’s in my heart.

3. Father God,
I want to pray,
But my soul is silent.

4. Holy Sprit,
Sigh for me,
And pray on my behalf.


References

1. We do not know how to pray as we ought (Romans 8:26; NRSV).

2. His heart became numb (Genesis 45:26; ESV).

3. Toward God my soul is silent (Psalm 62:1; YLT).

4. The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words (Romans 8:26; RSV).

Sacrifice

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit (Psalm 51:17; NIV).

1. Lord,
May my prayers,
Though meagre, dry, and bleak,
Rise, like the dust
To which I will return.

2. Lord,
May my thanks,
However poor and weak,
Rise, like the distant stars
Where I will burn.

3. Lord,
May my joy,
So frail, and swiftly crushed,
Rise, like sweet incense
To your paradise.

4. Lord,
May my trials,
Through which I learn to trust,
Rise, like the pleasing smoke
Of sacrifice.

You will be like a pleasing sacrifice to me (Ezekiel 20:41; NLT).


References

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

You were made from dust and to dust you will return (Genesis 3:19; NLT).

2. Give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18; NIV).

It is the Lord who created the stars (Amos 5:8; NLT).

The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat (Psalm 19:6; NLT).

3. Rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16; NIV).

All around the world they offer sweet incense […] in honour of my name (Malachi 1:11: NLT).

4. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows (John 16:33; NLT).

You will offer special gifts as a pleasing aroma to the Lord (Numbers 15:3; NLT).

Habit

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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).

1. Let prayer become my habit, Lord,
Communing with you day and night,
For then I’ll grow more like your Son,
Who came to earth to make us one.

2. Let thanks become my habit, Lord,
Expressed in every circumstance,
For then I’ll grow more like your Christ,
Who came to be our sacrifice.

3. Let joy become my habit, Lord,
Ceaseless, heartfelt, unconfined,
For then I’ll grow more like your King,
Who came to make our spirits sing.

4. Let love become my habit, Lord,
Deep, reflexive, faithful, true,
For then I’ll grow more like your Lamb,
Who cares for all since time began.


References

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

I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one (John 17:22; NLT).

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

2. Give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; NIV).

God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin (Romans 3:25; NLT).

3. Rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16; NIV).

I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing praises to your name (Romans 15:9; NLT).

4. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8; NIV).

John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29; NLT).

Christ cares for the church (Ephesians 5:29; NLT).

We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen (1 John 1:1; NLT).

Dialogue

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The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8; NLT).

1. Please teach me, Lord, what you require,
So I may do as you desire.

2. “Love me, your neighbours, strangers, foes,
And pray for all, till healing flows.

3. Make no show of faith, or prayer,
But serve me gladly, everywhere.

4. Keep your temper, staying calm;
Forgive all those who hurt and harm.

5. Say, ‘Sorry,’ when you grieve someone,
And make peace, always, if you can.

6. Be honest, kind, and quick to care;
Keen to lend, and give, and share.

7. Above all else, these words are key:
Take up your cross, and follow me!”

8. Thank you, dear Lord; I hear your call;
You are my way, my truth, my all.


References

1. What does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul (Deuteronomy 10:12; NLT).

I desire mercy, not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6; NIV).

2. You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength [and] love your neighbour as yourself (Mark 12:30-31; NLT).

You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbour’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! (Matthew 5:43-4; NLT).

3. When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others (Matthew 6:6; NIV).

Serve the Lord with gladness (Psalm 100:2; NKJV).

4. In your anger do not sin (Ephesians 4:26; NIV).

Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent (Psalm 4:4; NLT).

Forgive those who sin against you (Matthew 6:14; NLT).

5. If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift (Matthew 5:23-4; NIV).

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Matthew 5:9; NIV).

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18; NIV).

6. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid (Luke 6:35; NLT).

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:40; NIV).

7. 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).

8. Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6; NLT).

Christ is all that matters (Colossians 3:11; NLT).

Teach me, Lord

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1. Teach me, Lord,
To follow in your footsteps,
So I may grow, through prayer,
Much more like you.

2. Train me, Lord,
To face each test with courage,
For then I will rejoice
In all I do.

3. Help me, Lord,
To carry my cross daily,
Thanking you,
No matter what you send.

4. Guide me, Lord,
Through death’s dark, lonely valley,
So I may rest in you
Beyond life’s end.

Image: Johannes Plenio, Pixabay

References

1. Teach me your ways, O Lord (Psalm 86:11; NLT).

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

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).

2. I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go (Psalm 32:8; RSV).

I will restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts (Isaiah 57:15; NLT).

Rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16; NIV).

3. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy (Psalm 28:7; NLT).

Then he [Jesus] 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).

Give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18; NIV).

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised (Job 1:21; NIV).

4. Your hand will guide me, and your strength support me (Psalm 139:10; NLT).

Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me (Psalm 23:4; NLT, alternative translation).

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

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you (Psalm 116:7; NIV).

Rest in God alone, my soul (Psalm 62:5; CSB).