20.9.22: The source of prayer

Context: Yesterday, I woke and began to pray, as usual. My list of people to pray for was at hand, but it is long, and I was weary of pushing myself to pray for each one in turn. So instead I just opened myself to being led in prayer.

Almost immediately, I received the first line of today’s blog, and wrote it down, then waited quietly, to see what would happen next. This is what I experienced:

The source of prayer is deep within. It comes from God, who lives in every soul (1).

God is our breath, our spirit, and our Saviour (2).

So I allowed God’s Spirit to guide my prayers (3). 

I prayed very simply for those who came to mind, feeling peaceful and unhurried (4).

To my considerable relief, no further insights arose from the dark depths of my unconscious mind. This meant I wouldn’t have to spend the day trying to express something that was difficult to put into words.

After praying for others until no more names appeared, I worshipped in silence until my prayer reached a comfortable, natural ending (5). 

It was bliss (6).


References 

1. You are the temple of the living God (Luke 17:21; NKJV).

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

Don’t you realise that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16; NLT).

2. The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life (Job 33:4; NLT). 

I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior (Isaiah 43:3; NLT). 

3. The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-7; NRSV).

4. 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). 

5. YHWH is in the Holy Temple: let all the earth be silent in God’s presence (Habakkuk 2:20; TIB). 

6. Thou makest me to know the path of life; in Thy presence is fulness of joy, in Thy right hand bliss for evermore (Psalm 16:11; JPS Tanakh 1917). 

Sister and Brother (#3 of 3)

Context: This is the last in a series of three blogs which arrived in rapid succession on the same morning. Whilst I was praying, I saw that everyone is my sister, my brother and my mother, and that every child is my child. God is within us all, so we all belong to one family, and we are all one. Jesus, of course, understood this long ago:

There was a crowd sitting around Jesus, and someone said, “Your mother and your brothers are outside asking for you.” Jesus replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he looked at those around him and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:32-5; NLT). 

You’re my Sister and Brother,
My Child and my Kin;

My Teacher, my Shepherd,
My Saviour, my King;

My Mother and Father,
My Staff and my Rod,

For, living in all,
You’re my Lord and my God.

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

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


References

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 25:40; NIV).

He gives the childless woman a household, making her the joyful mother of children (Psalm 113:9; CSB).

Love

Context: By the time I had written and posted “A crash course on suffering”(https://wp.me/p45bCr-bTR), I was exhausted, and had yet another migraine. So with a sense of relief, here is today’s much simpler blog, for which I am very grateful:

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

Each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me.
(Psalm 42:8; NLT). 

1. I love you,
And you love me.
I look around:
You’re all I see

2. In everyone
And everything –
My Shepherd, Saviour,
Priest and King.

3. You love me,
And I love you.
I look within:
You live there, too!

4. So, may I show
Our love today
In all I think, and do,
And say.

I want you to show love (Hosea 6:6; NLT).


References 

1. God is love (1 John 4:8; NLT).

He loves us with unfailing love (Psalm 117:2; NLT). 

2. There is one Lord …who is over all and in all and living through all (Ephesians 4:5; NLT).  

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need (Psalm 23:1; NLT). 

I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior (Isaiah 43:3; NLT). 

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

God [is] the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15; NIV). 

3. You are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (2 Corinthians 6:16; NKJV). 

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

4. Those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment – to love one another – is the same message you heard before. Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it (1 John 2:5-8; NLT). 

Love your neighbour as yourself (Leviticus 19:18; NLT).

Love the stranger (Deuteronomy 10:19; NKJV).

Show love to foreigners (Deuteronomy 10:19; NLT).

Love your enemies (Matthew 5:44; NLT). 

Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart (Deuteronomy 15:9; ESV).

Do everything with love (1 Corinthians 16:13-14; NLT).

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

God

Context: As soon as I woke and started to pray today, this is what I saw:

  • Only God is worthy to be worshipped by all people, creatures and things.
  • God makes, maintains and ends them all.
  • God lives over, in and through them all.
  • God can never be destroyed.
  • God is the First and the Last: infinite and eternal.
  • God is Love.

Then, as soon as I began to worship, this little prayer arrived:

God:

1. My Father,
And my Mother;

2. Spirit: Sister;
Jesus: Brother;

3. Maker, Shepherd,
Saviour, Lover:

4. You are all;
I want no other.

God will be all in all (1 Corinthians 15:28; TIB).

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
(Psalm 23:1; NLT).


References 

1. You are our mother and father, YHWH; we are the clay and you are the potter, we are all the work of your hands (Isaiah 64:8; TIB). 

2. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister” (Proverbs 7:4; NIV). 

God has revealed this wisdom to us through the Holy Spirit. She searches out all things, even the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:10; TIB). 

Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother (Mark 3:35; NLT). 

3. You cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things (Ecclesiastes 11:5; NIV). 

The Lord is my shepherd (Psalm 23:1; NLT). 

I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior (Isaiah 43:3; NLT). 

My lover is mine and I am his (Song of Songs 2:16; NLT).

4. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him (Philippians 3:8-9; NLT).

God has put all things under Christ’s feet and made Christ, as the ruler of everything, the head of the church, and the church is Christ’s body; it’s the fullness of the One who fills all of creation (Ephesians 1:22; TIB). 

He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Ephesians 1:22; NKJV). 

This is what the Lord says – Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies: “I am the First and the Last; there is no other God” (Isaiah 44:6; NLT). 

Wherever I go

Context: After yesterday’s very concentrated writing effort, today I’m posting a much shorter blog I prepared a little while ago. At present, my energy for writing is in very short supply. However, since I started this website in 2013, I have always had some unpublished pieces set aside, ready to use during the periods when I can’t write. Here is one I’m glad to have the opportunity to share with you:

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

Wherever I go, we go there together.
However I feel, we share it, as one.
Whenever I fail, we mourn it together,
For you never leave me,
My Saviour, God’s Son.

Whatever I lose, we face it together.
Wherever I am, you’re close by my side.
Whatever I bear, we bear it together,
For you never leave me,
Good Shepherd, my Guide.

Whatever you ask, we face it together.
Whatever you take, *I give with a smile.
Whenever I fear, I turn to you swiftly,
For you never leave me
Throughout every trial.

*Give whatever he takes, with a big smile.
(Mother Theresa).

Even when I walk through 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).

Transfixed

Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10; NLT). 

Transfixed by God in stillness,
Here I wait, for you are always near,
To share each prayer, and sigh and tear
Together.

Transfixed by God in silence,
Now I worship wordlessly, and bow,
For you are with me, I and Thou,
My Saviour.

 Transfixed by God in solitude,
I celebrate your perfect love,
Renewed, forgiven through your blood
Forever.

Transfixed by God in darkness,
Lord, your Spirit hovers here, adored;
Though made of dust, I am restored
To wholeness.

Transfixed by God in perfect bliss,
I cleave to you; we interweave:
United, may I never leave
Your presence.

Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
(Hebrews 10:22; NLT).  

Because of Christ and our faith in him,
we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
(Ephesians 3:12; NLT). 

Breathing

Context: This prayer happened as soon as I woke and began to pray this morning. I was silently repeating God’s personal name, YAHWEH, breathing in on the first syllable, and out on the second. YAH is feminine, whilst WEH is masculine, so I love how both are combined in this truly astonishing name (see reference below). The prayer begins with an in-breath.


 God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh – ‘the LORD.'”
(Exodus 6:2; NLT). 

You are the God who gives breath to all creatures.
(Numbers 16:22; NLT).

YAH: breathe in, and WEH: breathe out:
With every breath, beyond all doubt,
I breathe you in, and breathe you out –
My Maker.

I live in you, and you in me:
Creator, for eternity,
The One who comes to set me free –
My Saviour.

For I am yours, and you are mine:
You, my temple; I, your shrine;
Together, far beyond all time –
United.

We live in love, unseen, yet true:
The God who comes to make me new,
Who breathes and sighs within, for you
Are YAHWEH.

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.
(Song of Songs 6:3; NIV). 

We know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.
Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
(1 John 4:16; NIV). 

Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true.
(John 3:33; NLT).


Reference

“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.”

These words are quoted from an article by David Wheeler-Reed, who is Visiting Assistant Professor at Albertus Magnus College, Connecticut. His article is well worth reading, and is available free of charge online at The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/what-the-early-church-thought-about-gods-gender-100077#. I am very grateful for being able to include his words here today.

Lord, my Father

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

1. Lord, my Father,
And my Mother,

2. Christ, my Saviour,
And my Brother;

3. Spirit: Sister,
Teacher, Lover –

4. You are God:
There is no other.

I am God, and there is no other.
(Isaiah 46:9; NKJV).


References 

1. The Almighty …blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and the womb (Genesis 49:25; NIV).

2. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Saviour (Titus 3:6; NLT). 

Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother (Mark 3:35; NLT). 

3. 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 8:26-7; TIB). 

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2; NLT). 

Say to wisdom, “You are my sister” (Proverbs 7:4; NIV).

You have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true (1 John 2:27; NLT). 

My beloved is mine and I am his (Song of Songs 2:16; NIV).

Worship (#2 of 2)


Moses pleaded with the Lord,
“O Lord, I’m not very good with words”
(Exodus 4:10; NLT). 

1. How I wish I had the words
To praise the Father I adore,
But I can only whisper:
Lord,
You love me evermore. 

2. How I wish I had the words
To thank the Saviour I revere,
But I can only murmur:
Lord,
You listen; you are here. 

3. How I wish I had the words
To worship God, my heart’s desire,
But I can only stammer:
Lord,
You set my heart on fire.

Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us?
(Luke 24:32; NLT).


References 

1. Lift up holy hands in prayer, and praise the Lord (Psalm 134:2; NLT).

He loves us with unfailing love (Psalm 117:2; NLT).

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

The Lord listens (Psalm 69:33; CSB). 

God is with us (2 Chronicles 13:12; NIV). 

You make me glad by being near to me (Psalm 16:11; CEV). 

3. Bow down and worship the Lord (Ezekiel 46:3; NLT).

The Lord your God is a raging fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; GWT).  

Worship (#1 of 2)

Moses pleaded with the Lord,
“O Lord, I’m not very good with words”
(Exodus 4:10; NLT). 

1. How I wish I had the words
To praise the Father I adore,
But I can only whisper:
Lord,
I love you evermore.

2. How I wish I had the words
To thank the Saviour I revere,
But I can only murmur:
Lord,
I’m glad that you are here.

3. How I wish I had the words
To worship God, my heart’s desire,
But I can only stammer:
Lord,
I fear your raging fire. 

The Lord your God is a raging fire
(Deuteronomy 4:24; GWT).


References 

1. Lift up holy hands in prayer, and praise the Lord (Psalm 134:2; NLT).

 I love you, Lord (Psalm 18:1; NLT). 

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

 I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me (Psalm 16:6; NLT).

You make me glad by being near to me (Psalm 16:11; CEV). 

3. Bow down and worship the Lord (Ezekiel 46:3; NLT).

I tremble in fear of you (Psalm 119:120; NLT).