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). 

My flesh, my blood


Context:
Yesterday I stirred at 6am, and all I wanted was to go back to sleep. My bed was blissfully warm and comfortable, but today’s prayer began to nag insistently in my mind until I forced myself to wake fully and discover what it wanted to say. To my great surprise, it turned out to be this wide-awake, effervescent song of praise:

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

1. My Lord, my God; my flesh, my blood:
You fill my body with your love.

2. My Lord, my God; my bread, my wine:
You make my sinful mind your shrine.

3. My Lord, my God, my strength, my prayer:
You teach my hard, cold heart to care.

4. My Lord, my God, my sword, my shield:
You touch my soul, and I am healed. 

5. My Lord, my God, my everything:
You make my spirit dance and sing!

People in Zion will dance as they sing,
“Everything I am has its source in you.”
(Psalm 87:7; TIB).


References 

1. If you don’t eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Chosen One, you won’t have life in you. Those who do eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Everyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I live in them (John 6:53-6; TIB).

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). 

2. As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body” (Matthew 26:26; NLT).

He took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many (Matthew 26:27-8; NLT).

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

3. The LORD GOD is my strength and my song (Isaiah 12:2; NLT). 

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you (Ezekiel 36:26; NIV). 

4. He is your protecting shield and your triumphant sword! (Psalm 28:7; NLT).

He restores my soul (Psalm 23:3; NKJV). 

5. I pray to you, O LORD. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life (Psalm 142:5; NLT).

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 3:8-9; NLT). 

The LORD is my strength and my song (Exodus 15:2; NLT). 

Let them praise God’s Name with festive dance; let them sing praise (Psalm 149:3; TIB).  

After the Eucharist (for J.K.)

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).

Remain in me, and I will remain in you.
For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine,
and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me
(John 15:4; NLT). 

1. After the Eucharist,
Stay in my hands,
Then, all I touch will be blessed.
Stay on my tongue, Lord,
Remain in my thoughts,
Then I will pass every test.

2. After the Eucharist,
Stay in my heart,
Then, I’ll serve others with care.
Stay in my blood,
And remain in my bones,
Then, I’ll help others, through prayer.

3. After the Eucharist,
Stay in my life,
Till this long exile is done.
Stay in my spirit;
Remain in my soul –
Then, we will always be one.

You …are complete through your union with Christ
(Colossians 2:10; NLT).


References 

1. When we bless the cup at the Lord’s Table, aren’t we sharing in the blood of Christ? And when we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ? (1 Corinthians 10:16; NLT).

We …touched him with our own hands (1 John 1:1; NLT). 

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

Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely (Psalm 139:4; NIV).

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5; NIV).

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

The Lord your God is testing you to see if you truly love him with all your heart and soul (Deuteronomy 13:3; NLT).

2. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:11; NLT). 

Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all (Mark 9:35; NIV).

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

Don’t you know that your bodies are a part of Christ’s body? (1 Corinthians 6:15; CSB).

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

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

Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord (Romans 14:8; NIV).

My heartfelt prayer

Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee.
(Psalm 102:1; KJV).

1. Hear my heartfelt prayer, Lord God:
End our greed and hatred.
Take away our minds of stone,
And make our thinking like your own:
Loving; joyous; full of peace –
Help us, I implore you.

2. Hear my earnest prayer, Lord God:
Turn us from all evil.
Take away our hearts of stone,
And make our passions like your own:
Patient; kindly; generous –
Till everyone adores you. 

3. Hear my urgent prayer, Lord God:
Forgive our sins; have mercy.
Take away our souls of stone,
And give us spirits like your own:
Faithful; gentle; self-controlled –
Then all will bow before you.  

🖤

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-3; NRSV).

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

 


References

1. 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. Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on the Lord (Psalm 14:2-4; NIV).

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

All of you should be of one mind. Sympathise with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it (1 Peter 3:8-9; NLT).

2. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it (Psalm 34:14; NIV).

I will give you a new heart … I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26; NIV).

I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever (Jeremiah 32:39; NLT).

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things (1 Chronicles 29:11; NLT). 

3. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously (Isaiah 55:7; NLT). 

I will …put a new spirit in you (Ezekiel 36:26; NIV).

We have all been baptised into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13. NLT).

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). 

 


 

Love

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

May I treat all I feel with love,
With understanding, Lord, and care.

May I check all my thoughts with love,
Correcting them, through instant prayer.

May I speak every word with love,
Say sorry, when I get this wrong.

May I do everything with love,
And serve you gladly, all day long.

May I rejoice, and praise your name,
Commune with you, Lord, all the time.

May I accept both good and bad,
Until our spirits intertwine.

May I treat everyone with love,
No matter what they say, or do,

And trust our Father constantly –
Then I will be like you.

🖤

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).

 


 

Life

You will soon return from exile (Lamentations 4:22; NLT).

Life is an exile,
Our time here, our quest;
Our classroom, our desert,
Our struggle, our test.

Christ is our Teacher,
Our way, and our guide;
Our friend, our example,
Our help, by our side.

His Spirit, within, is our light,
And our strength;
Our Counsel, our Comfort,
Our truth, our defence.

God is our Maker,
Our life, and our goal;
Our Lord, our Redeemer,
Our spirit; our soul.

🖤

There is a spirit within people, the breath of the Almighty within them.
(Job 32:8; NLT).

The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7; WEB).

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

 


Hold my spirit (for B.B.)

Lord,

1. Hold my spirit in your arms
While I’m still in this body.

2. Hold my spirit in your arms,
For death will come, one day.

3. Hold my spirit in your arms
When I must leave this body.

4. Hold my spirit in your arms
For evermore, I pray.

🖤


References

1. The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you (Deuteronomy 33:27; NLT).

2. No one can live forever; all will die. No one can escape the power of the grave (Psalm 89:48; NLT).

3. Yea, 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).

4. Into your hands I commit my spirit (Psalm 31:5; NIV).

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).

 


 

You are the potter

We are the clay, and you are the potter.
We all are formed by your hand
(Isaiah 64:8; NLT). 

You are the potter,
I, the clay.
You are my life, my truth,
My way;

My flesh, my mind,
My heart, my soul:
You are the One
Who makes me whole.

You are my breath,
My hope, my end:
My Shepherd King;
My steadfast Friend.

You are my crook,
My staff, my rod;
My light, my fire,
My peace: my God.

Yet we are one,
Our love, complete:
I lay my spirit
At your feet.

❤️

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


The air we breathe

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

Lord,

You’re in the air
We breathe,
Our food and water,
All we see;

In our bodies,
Minds, hearts, spirits:
Waiting, Lord,
To set us free;

For you cherish
All your children,
Loving us
Unfailingly.

How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings
(Psalm 36:7; NLT).