Come close

Image: Ruth Kirk

Come close to God,
and God will come close to you
(James 4:8; NLT).

1. Lord,
May I come close to you
In prayer,
Trusting in your presence
And your care.

2. Lord,
May I live close to you
Each day,
Trusting in your gospel
And your way.

3. Lord,
May I draw close to you
In death,
Trusting in your love
Till my last breath.

4. Lord,
May I rest close to you
In grace,
Then I’ll know your kiss,
And see your face.


References

1. When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private (Matthew 6:6; NLT).

Trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge (Psalm 62:8; NLT).

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

Believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15; NKJV).

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children, and walk in the way of love (Ephesians 5:2; NIV).

3. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me (Psalm 23:4; KJV).

Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last (Luke 23:46; NLT).

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

Those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die (Isaiah 57:2; NLT).

While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him (Luke 15:20; NIV).

Now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12; NRSV)

Today

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May all the nations praise you (Psalm 67:3; NLT).

1. Lord,
Today, may many hear your voice,
Starting their journey
Back to your embrace.

2. Lord,
Today, may many turn to you,
Asking forgiveness;
Welcoming your grace.

3. Lord,
Today, may many follow you,
Serving their neighbours;
Learning to do good.

4. Lord,
Today, may many join with you,
Knowing your presence;
Living in your love.


References

1. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts (Hebrews 4:7; NIV).

He returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him (Luke 15:20; NLT).

2. Repent of your sins and turn to God (Matthew 3:2; NLT).

Perhaps even yet they will turn from their evil ways and ask the Lord’s forgiveness before it is too late (Jeremiah 36:7; NLT).

God saved you by his grace when you believed (Ephesians 2:8; NLT).

3. 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).

Even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others (Mark 10:45; NLT).

Learn to do good (Isaiah 1:17; NLT).

4. When we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death (Romans 6:3; NLT).

His name is the Lord – rejoice in his presence (Psalm 68:4; NLT).

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

Presence

Image: geralt, Pixabay

1. Lord,
May we always
Believe in your presence,
Seek you in others,
And live as we should.

2. Lord,
May we always
Rejoice in your presence,
See you in others,
And try to do good.

3. Lord,
May we always
Remain in your presence,
Serve you in others,
And rest in your love.


References

1. This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent (John 6:29; NLT).

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said (Matthew 4:19; NIV).

Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did (1 John 2:6; NLT).

2. His name is the Lord – rejoice in his presence! (Psalm 68:4; NLT).

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

Turn away from evil and do good (Psalm 34:14; NLT).

3. Remain in me, and I will remain in you (John 15:4; NLT).

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

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

I seek you

Image: Tomas B, Pixabay

If you seek him, you will find him
(1 Chronicles 28:9; NLT).

1. Living God,
I seek you in my mind,
So I may know your presence
Every day.

2. Son of Man,
I seek you in my heart,
So we can walk together, talk,
And pray.

3. Counsellor,
I seek you in my soul,
For I can’t live without your strength
And love.

4. Lord,
May we be one for evermore,
In mind, and heart, and soul;
In flesh, and blood.


References

1. You are the temple of the living God (2 Corinthians 6:16; NLT).

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

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

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me (Psalm 23:4; NLT).

3. The Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things (John 14:26; CSB).

You have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you (1 John 2:27; NLT).

He will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit (Ephesians 3:16; NLT).

He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love (Romans 5:5; NLT).

4. I pray […] that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity (John 17:20-23; NIV).

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

You are the children of the living God (Hosea 1:10; NLT).

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5; NKJV).

I will give them one heart (Jeremiah 32:39; NLT).

We all share the same Spirit 1 Corinthians 12:13; NLT).

There is one body (Ephesians 4:4; NLT).

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

Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you (John 6:53; NLT).

My way of life


Rejoice always, pray continually,
give thanks in all circumstances;

for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; NIV).

1. May prayer, Lord, be my way of life,
And constant thanks my aim,

2. Rejoicing in your presence,
As I praise your holy name.

3. May faith, Lord, be my way of life,
And steadfast hope my goal,

4. Loving you with all my heart,
And strength, and mind, and soul.


References

1. Pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done (Philippians 4:6; NLT).

2. His name is the Lord – rejoice in his presence! (Psalm 68:4; NLT).

3. These three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13; NIV).

4. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength (Mark 12:29; NLT).

Choice

Choose today whom you will serve
(Joshua 24:15; NLT).

1. Live with God, our Lord, today,
And listen for his voice;
See his presence everywhere:
Make faith your conscious choice.

2. Live through God, our Lord, today,
And celebrate his reign;
See his hand in everything:
Make hope your constant aim.

3. Live in God, our Lord, today,
And serve with all your soul;
See his face in everyone:
Make love your ceaseless goal.


References

1. He will live with them and they will be his people. God himself will be with them (Revelation 21:3; NLT).

Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you (2 Corinthians 13:11; NLT).

There is […] one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all (Ephesians 4:5-6; NLT).

2. God has sent his only begotten Son into the world, we might live through him (1 John 4:9; NKJV).

Celebrate his rule with trembling Psalm 2:11; NIV).

The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord (Job 1:21; NIV).

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

Serve him with all your heart and soul (Deuteronomy 10:12; NLT).

Seek his face always (1 Chronicles 16:11; NIV).

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

Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13; NLT).

Every tree

Yesterday, I saw this little apple tree flowering at the edge of a stony beach,
where it seemed to blaze with the presence and love of God.

1. Every tree is blazing
With the presence
Of our God.

2. Every bud is bursting
With his beauty
And his peace.

3. Every wave is breaking
With his splendour
And his might.

4. Every star is burning
With his truth, and love,
And light.


References

1. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up (Exodus 3:2; NLT).

God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; NIV). 

Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it! (Genesis 28:16; NLT).

2. There is […] one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all (Ephesians 4:5-6; NLT).

The Lord is peace (Judges 6:24; NLT).

3. The Lord will display his glory, the splendour of our God (Isaiah 35:2; NLT).

By his power the sea grew calm (Job 26:12; NLT).

4. God shines in glorious radiance (Psalm 50:2; NLT).

The Spirit is truth (1 John 5:6; NKJV).

God is love (1 John 4:16; NIV).

God is light (1 John 1:5; NIV).


Living in the presence of God

Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it! (Genesis 28:16; NLT).

God’s presence
Jesus was so accustomed to living in the full awareness of God’s presence that when he lost this awareness on the cross, he felt utterly alone for the first time in his life.

Whether we know it or not, we too are always in God’s presence. There is nowhere else to be, because God lives over, in, and through all things, including ourselves. However, we are always free to choose whether we want to recognise and relate to him, or not.

Remembering God
If we want to be conscious of living in God’s presence, we need to develop the habit of remembering him, communicating with him, and remaining in him, rather than forgetting him for long stretches of time.

This can be done in the following ways:

1. By recognising his presence in everyone, without exception.

2. By acknowledging him in all that exists, including everything we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell.

3. By being aware of his presence within us.

4. By being honest with him about everything we feel, think, say, and do.

5. By listening for, and responding to, his still, small voice.

6. By remaining mindful of his presence whilst we are busy.

7. By spending time with him in silent communion.

Self-awareness
Being able to practice all these things depends on developing our self-awareness. This is because without self-awareness we can, for example, eat without tasting, pass people in the street without noticing them, disregard the beauty of the world, neglect the suffering of others, or ignore the quiet voice of our conscience. We cannot grow closer to God by living like this.

Furthermore, without self-awareness, we cannot identify our emotions and thoughts in order to share them honestly with God. This means we cannot immediately ask for his forgiveness and help whenever we need them.

Conclusion
Learning to live in constant awareness of God’s presence is an ongoing process, but no matter how forgetful we are, we can always ask him to help us start afresh each day. In this way, with mindful practice, we will gradually become more like Jesus, whose short life was spent in full awareness of his Father’s presence, no matter what was happening around him, until those final, despairing moments before his death.


References

God’s presence
You are in me, Father, and I am in you (John 17:21; NLT).
Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit (Luke 10:21; NLT).
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? (Psalm 22:1; NLT).
The Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion (Isaiah 30:18; NLT).

Remembering God
Remember the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 8:18; NLT).
Remain in me, and I will remain in you (John 15:4; NLT).
1,2,3. There is […] one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all (Ephesians 4:5-6; NLT).
4. You desire honesty from the womb (Psalm 51:6; NLT).
Pour out your heart to him (Psalm 62:8; NLT).
5. Obey his commands, listen to his voice (Deuteronomy 13:4; NLT).
6. Pray constantly (1 Thessalonians 5:17; NIV).
7. Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10; NIV).
Be silent before the Sovereign Lord (Zephaniah 1:7; NIV).

Self-awareness
The hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them (Matthew 13:15; NKJV).
Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts (Hebrews 4:7; NIV).

Conclusion
He helps me (Psalm 28:7; NLT).
When I wake up, you are still with me! (Psalm 139:18; NLT)
We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image (2 Colossians 3:18; NIV).

Thank you, Lord


1. Thank you, Lord, for your creation
Of the heavens and the earth.

2. Thank you for your incarnation,
For your advent, and your birth.

3. Thank you, Lord, for your atonement,
Purchased with your final breath.

4. Thank you for your resurrection,
So we, too, can rise from death.

5. Thank you, Lord, for your ascension;
Your salvation makes us whole.

6. Thank you for your Holy Spirit,
Sent to fill each heart and soul.

7. Thank you, Lord, for your communion
With us every night and day.

8. Thank you for your constant presence,
As we walk your narrow way.


References

1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1; NLT).

2. The Word became human and made his home among us (John 1:14; NLT).

3. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood (Romans 3:25; NIV).

4. Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25; NLT).

5. The same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself (Ephesians 4:10; NLT).

6. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you (Romans 8:11; NLT).

7. Be sure of this: I am with you always (Matthew 28:20; NLT).

8. Christ lives within you (Romans 8:10; NLT).

Unhurried and unworried

To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life –
this is indeed a gift from God
(Ecclesiastes 5:19; NLT).

1. I can do a lot
If I’m unhurried.

2. I can walk, Lord,
If I take my time.

3. I can still write prayers –
If I work slowly,

4. Searching out each rhythm,
Word, and rhyme.

5. I can do a lot
If I’m unworried,

6. Accepting how I am, Lord,
All day long;

7. Living in your presence,
And rejoicing –

8. For though I’m weak, and tired,
You are strong.


References

1. I walk slowly all my years (Isaiah 38:15; ESV).

3. Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes […] Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? (Luke 12:22-26; NIV).

5. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord (Job 1:21; NLT).

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

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

I said to myself, “This is my sickness, and I must endure it” (Jeremiah 10:19; NIV).

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

His name is the Lord – rejoice in his presence! (Psalm 68:4; NLT).

8. He knows how weak we are (Psalm 103:14; NLT).

I am weary and worn out, O God (Proverbs 30:1; NLT).

Recognise that the Lord is glorious and strong (1 Chronicles 16:28; NLT).