27.11.22: Better than life

Context: Today’s prayer arrived early yesterday morning when I woke at around 4am with a migraine. After taking my medications, I sat propped up in bed, alternately dozing and writing. These verses slowly emerged over the course of the day, finishing late in the evening:

What is sweeter than honey? (Judges 14:18; NLT). 

What’s sweeter than honey,
And choicer than wine?
Higher than knowledge,
And vaster than time?

What’s brighter than sunlight,
And greater than wealth?
Warmer than friendship,
And finer than health?

What’s stronger than sharing,
And deeper than love?
Kinder than giving,
And richer than blood?

What’s wiser than serving,
And dearer than breath?
Simpler than worship,
And closer than death?

What’s better than living,
And makes us all one?
It’s Christ, our salvation,
God’s dearly-loved Son.

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12; NLT).

This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy (2 Peter 1 17; NLT).


References

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him (Philippians 3:7; NLT).

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).

Your unfailing love is better than life itself (Psalm 63:3; NLT).

God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16; NLT).

24.11.22: In my dreams

Context: In dreams, I very rarely say or do anything overtly Christian, which seems both surprising and sad.

Yesterday morning I woke from a complicated, stressful dream, longing to pray. However, even before I could begin, this blog started to arrive. I tried hard to ignore it, which was impossible. It quickly became so loud and insistent that I had to give in, and write it down, like this:

I want to be a Christian
In my dreams,
To turn to you, and pray, Lord,
In my dreams;
To ask for your forgiveness
In my dreams,
Love others, Lord, and serve you –
In my dreams. 

I want to be a Christian
In my dreams,
So I can praise and thank you
In my dreams;
To revel in your presence
In my dreams,
And welcome all that happens –
In my dreams.

I want to be a Christian
In my dreams,
Then I will see your face, Lord,
In my dreams.
I’ll worship without ceasing
In my dreams,
And live in heaven on earth, Lord –
In my dreams.


Rosary news:

Well, since my most recent failure I’ve thought hard about rosary-making, watched some more YouTube videos, talked with my friend in the UK, and had a Zoom consultation with a lovely consecrated Sister who knows her rosaries. Then I threw the (metaphorical) rule-book into the (metaphorical) bin, and put together my own way of doing it, with the following result:

It seems very strong, and I’m tempted to ask my husband to test its joints, but don’t yet feel quite tough enough to deal with the disappointment if it immediately comes apart like the last one. Maybe I’ll ask him tomorrow….

NB: In the end, I plucked up my courage, he tested it, and it’s still in one piece so far!

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.”

25.10.22: Hidden

Context: You might smile to read that I prepared this blog yesterday in hospital whilst having multiple specialised tests.

You died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3; NLT).

May I always live, Lord God,
Hidden with Christ, in you.

May I always pray, Lord God,
Hidden with Christ, in you.

May I always serve, Lord God,
Hidden with Christ, in you.

May I always stay, Lord God,
Hidden with Christ, in you.

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever (Psalm 16:11; NLT).


References

Hide me in the shadow of your wings (Psalm 17:8; NLT).

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me (Luke 13:34; NLT).

16.10.22: It’s okay to stumble

Context: Yesterday I arranged my next hospital trip to London for further tests. As my health deteriorates, I’m slowly learning to be a bit easier on myself, especially in terms of writing and posting here.

I now understand why God has generously given me much more inspiration over the years than I needed at the time. This means I have a good store of pieces to bring up to date, and to share with you.

It has been clear to me for a long time that there would come a point where I wouldn’t be well enough to write new material every day. So having reached that point, this is the time to start dipping into all I have been given, and have prepared, in advance.

Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand (Psalm 37:24; NLT). 

It’s okay to stumble,
And even to fall:
I’ll reach out and cling to Him –
Jesus is all.

It’s good to be nothing
But ashes and dust:
I’ll love Christ and follow Him –
Serve him, and trust.

It’s fine to feel empty,
Defeated, and small:
For Jesus is with me –
And he is my all.

Christ is all, and is in all (Colossians 3:11; NIV). 

15.10.22: Together

Context: The inspiration for this poem came to me during a long train journey a few weeks ago. There were many distractions all around me, but writing it kept me happily absorbed for miles.

When I wake up, you are still with me! (Psalm 139:18; NLT).

I pray beside you when I wake,
And kneel beside you to adore.
I serve beside you when I can,
And sit beside you when I weep.

You stay beside me all day long,
And share my suffering and pain.
You comfort me when I’m afraid,
And help me when the way is steep.

So, we face it all together:
Joy and sorrow, grief and fear.
Then, when every day is done,
You watch beside me while I sleep.

The Lord watches over the simple (Psalm 116:6; NASB20).


References

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).

Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20; NLT). 

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

12.10.22: Live in love


Context:
This prayer-poem came to me a day or two ago. It’s so simple that I’m a bit hesitant about posting it, yet it is heartfelt:

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

May I always live in love
With you, for you, every day,

And may you always live in me,
Guiding me along your way.

May I always live in you
With you, for you, every day,

And may you always live in me,
Helping me to serve, and pray.

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


References

Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life (Psalm 143:8; NIV). 

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake (Psalm 23:3; NIV). 

Serve the LORD with gladness! (Psalm 100:2; RSV).

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

25.9.22: Facing the unknown

Context: This morning I was dreaming about opening a large parcel that had unexpectedly arrived for me at a neighbour’s house. When I removed the outer box, another box was revealed. It was wrapped in brown paper, so it was impossible to guess what it might contain.

Before I could find out, I woke up and began to pray, though I was still very drowsy. Whilst slowly surfacing, I suddenly remembered that today I will be travelling to London for specialised medical tests tomorrow. This realisation woke me up more fully. With a touch of apprehension, I began to wonder what the next few days might hold, and reveal. Then I received a very simple prayer to ground me during my trip, and began to write:

Their eyes were opened and they recognized him (Luke 24:31; NIV). 

Lord,
Refill me with your love,
So I grow more and more like you;
Then I’ll see you in others,
Serving you in all I do.

Lord,
Restore me with your love,
So I grow more like you each day;
Then I’ll see you in others,
Serving you in all I say. 

Lord,
Renew me with your love,
So I grow kinder, as you taught;
Then I’ll see you in others,
Serving you in every thought.

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


References

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

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

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged (Matthew 7:1-2; NLT).

8.9.22: Starting afresh

Today is my 70th birthday, and it marks a fresh start here on my blog, as outlined yesterday (https://wp.me/p45bCr-cbb). From today, until a review in one month’s time, I will be sharing much more directly what God gives me, without trying to shape it into poetry or articles. Instead, my blogs will take the form of an honest daily, spiritual diary.

Hopefully, this change will enable me to continue communicating with you, whilst reducing my workload appropriately as my health deteriorates. Introducing this change is exciting, and makes me feel much more optimistic about the future, no matter what it may hold. So, here is the first entry in my new spiritual diary.

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” (Genesis 28:16; NLT).

Lord, please help me to remember that I live in your presence. I want to be conscious of your nearness, day and night.

As I get older, you’re slowly revealing the contents of my unconscious mind. Please help me to learn from all you show me. Thank you for everything you bring out of my inner darkness. By the time I die, I want to have discovered, faced and accepted as many as possible of the treasures hidden there, however challenging this process may be.

Help me to shine as a beacon of your love wherever I am and in all circumstances, confident that everything is just as you wish it to be. May I learn from all I experience.

Lord, my life here is an exile and a pilgrimage. Whatever happens, please help me to keep on heading back home to you, whilst doing what I can to serve those I encounter along the way. Thank you for taking care of everything else.

I ask all this in your dear Son’s name. Amen.

I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches from secret places so that you may know that I am the Lord (Isaiah 45:3; CSB).

He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness (Daniel 2:22; NLT).

New life

Context: All I can say about today’s poem is that it arrived on its own. I know I wrote it on Saturday 27.8.22. because it’s there in my word-processor, and every piece is dated sequentially. However, I have no memory of writing it. All I can do is to accept it with gratitude. Fortunately, it needed very little work to reach its final form.

Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; NLT). 

You lead us to sorrow,
Repentance and tears,

To faith and forgiveness,
The end of our fears;

To healing, and growing,
To hope, and delight,

To giving, and service –
To love, and new life.

You have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God (1 Peter 1:23; NLT).


References 

Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone (Romans 5:18; NLT). 

Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17; NLT). 

In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us (Colossians 3:11; NLT).

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; NKJV). 

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