14.11.22: My Maker

Context: A few days ago, just before I began to be ill with Covid, I woke around 5am, and was surprised by the arrival of this prayer, which gradually unfolded over the space of about an hour:

Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our maker (Psalm 95:6; NLT).

You are my Maker,
My spirit,
My soul;
You are my source,
And my way,
And my goal.

You are my Pattern,
My body,
My blood;
You are my mind,
And my heart,
And my love.

You are my Master,
My strength,
And my breath;
You are my grief,
And my pain,
And my death.

You are my Shepherd,
My staff,
And my rod;
You are my life,
And my Lord,
And my God.

“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed

1.11.22: Heal all living souls

Context: Today’s and tomorrow’s prayers form a linked pair:

Now he will heal us (Hosea 6:1; NLT). 

Lord,

Heal all living souls,
I pray,

And guide us
To your narrow way.

Teach and strengthen us
Each day,

Until all seek your face,
And say: I love you.

My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek (Psalm 27; 8; NIV). 

I love you, LORDyou are my strength (Psalm 18:1;NLT).


The rosary-making project

Most of the materials I need to make rosaries arrived yesterday, to my delight. The main piece of kit I don’t have yet is the special rosary tool, which is coming all the way from America.

In the evening I enjoyed making a practice chaplet representing one decade, as seen above. I really need to sit by an expert to learn this craft, especially as my brain can’t distinguish between left and right for making the knots.

However, I managed to add some beads to a little cross on a cord, which I bought from a lovely lady in the UK. My addition is very simple indeed, but I’m still very pleased with the result!


27.10.22: Dreams

Context: At present, I’m having a lot of challenging and alarming dreams. Yesterday morning, as I surfaced from a particularly long, disturbing one, I started to pray, and immediately received today’s poem. Later in the day I printed it out, and put a copy beside my pillow. The plan is to say it every night just before settling down to sleep, straight after the beautiful Song of Simeon (see below).

Update: I did this last night, and had no horrible dreams at all, for which I thank God!

God speaks in dreams, those visions of the night when deep sleep covers the land and all are slumbering in their beds. At these times God speaks in our ears and terrifies us with admonitions, to turn us away from wickedness and to keep us humble (Job 33:15-17; TIB). 

Lord,

Stay with me in my dreams,
To help and comfort me, I pray,

Then, be with me when I wake,
To guide and strengthen me each day.

May I hearten others, too,
With help and comfort, when I can, 

And walk the extra mile with them,
And share their load, like you, God’s Lamb. 

If one of the occupation troops forces you to carry his pack one mile, carry it two miles (Matthew 5:41; GNT).


References 

As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36; NLT).

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2; NLT).


Reading: the Song of Simeon

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel (Luke 2:29-32; KJV).

7.10.22: Here I am

Context: Yesterday I woke up very late. Whilst I lay still, praying without words and longing to see into my soul again, this prayer arrived:

Here I am. Did you call me? (1 Samuel 3:5; NLT). 

Here I am, Lord. Did you call me?
Speak: I long to hear your voice.

You are all in all to me, Lord,
Speak, for I have made my choice –

You’re my faith, my hope, my Saviour,
You’re my God, my great High Priest;

You’re my bread, my living water,
You’re my wine, my inner peace;

You’re my fire, my strength, my spirit,
You’re the light within my soul;

You’re my way, my truth, my life,
And you’re the One who makes me whole.

Jesus, though I’m weak and sinful,
You will come to set me free –

Speak; your servant, Lord, is listening,
And you’re everything to me.

Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening (1 Samuel 3:9; NIV).

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).


 Reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-10; NIV.

The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.

One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the LORD, where the ark of God was.

Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”

Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.

A third time the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy.

So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

17.9.22: God already knows

A few days ago I found it very hard to pray when I woke up, which is unusual for me. However, to my surprise, some insight still arrived. This what I saw:

Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs (Matthew 6:32; NLT). 

Whenever I turn to you and ask for your help, Lord, I find that you already know what I need, and you’re already offering it. You’re pouring out love all the time, waiting patiently, and longing for me to accept your assistance:

  • When I ask you to forgive me, you’re already offering forgiveness
  • When I ask you to heal me, you’re already offering healing
  • When ask you to strengthen me, you’re already offering strength
  • When I ask you to help me pray, you’re already helping me to pray
  • When I ask you to hear my prayers, you’re already listening to them
  • When I ask you to comfort me, you’re already offering me your comfort

All I need to do is to accept with gratitude what you are already offering.

Lord, you anticipate my every need. May I continually turn to you with total confidence, knowing you will help me in all circumstances. Thank you for being so great, so good and so kind.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours (Mark 11:24; NLT). 

The Lord God helps me (Isaiah 50:7; RSV).


References 

The Lord who made you and helps you says: Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, O dear Israel, my chosen one. For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields (Isaiah 44:3; NLT). 


The Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion (Isaiah 30:18; NLT).

Your Father knows exactly what you need before you ask him (Matthew 6:8; NLT).

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done (Philippians 4:6; NLT).

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him (1 John 5:14-15; NIV).

You live in my darkness

Context: Greetings to everyone who follows, or visits, this website. Some of you will be aware that my health, energy and mobility are steadily deteriorating. This makes producing a fully-referenced poem or article every day more tiring than I can manage nowadays. I’ve been struggling badly for the last few months, as this task has gradually become more and more of a challenge.

Tomorrow is my 70th birthday, so from that day onwards, for a trial period of a month, I’m going to share what God shows me each day much more directly, just as I experience it and note it down at the time. This might take the form of a short prayer, or a set of reflections. I don’t know yet exactly what will happen, but I trust God to help me.

This new approach should greatly reduce my daily work-load, but will still enable me to share with you what I’m given. After a month, I’ll review how I’m coping, and let you know how it has felt.

You might smile to know that a few days ago, in desperation, I had decided to keep on writing as before, but only to post on alternate days. However, this didn’t feel right, and I knew it wasn’t exactly what God wanted. Then today, about an hour ago, I was given the new approach described above, which means I can still post every day. It’s a great relief to have received this guidance, and to have a way forward that feels right. My only desire is to do God’s will.

Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
(Exodus 20:21; NLT).

Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship,
for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
(Psalm 89:15; NLT). 

1. You live in my darkness;
I walk in your light.

2. You cannot be seen,
But I dwell in your sight.

3. You bear all my burdens;
I lean on your might.

4. In love and rejoicing,
Complete: we unite. 

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


References 

1. When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12; NIV). 

2. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us (1 John 4:12; NLT). 

We shall live in his sight (Hosea 6:2; KJV). 

3. Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens (Psalm 68:19; NIV). 

In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years (Isaiah 63:9; NLT). 

I love you, LORD; you are my strength (Psalm 18:1; NLT).

4. I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love (Psalm 31:7; NLT). 

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).

What is the Kingdom of God like?

Context: After posting yesterday’s prayer (https://wp.me/p45bCr-c36), I saw that the image of the wolf lying down with the lamb is a wonderful way of representing the revolutionary quality of relationships in the Kingdom of God (Isaiah 11:6-9; NIV).

This radically new way of living is characterised by treating everyone with love, regardless of how they behave towards us. We all have the potential to live like this, because God’s Kingdom is present within everyone (Luke 17:20-21; NKJV). Jesus lived as a citizen of God’s Kingdom on earth, and we, too, as individuals, can work towards the same goal.

However, for the Kingdom of God to hold sway throughout the whole world, we must all overcome the temptation to judge, reject, hurt, hate and destroy others. This applies to every person, family, group, denomination, caste, sect, class, tribe, religion and nation.

Both individually and collectively, the human qualities we need to overcome include:

  • Behaving selfishly and callously towards others
  • Refusing to share what we have
  • Controlling, dominating, bullying and abusing those less powerful than ourselves
  • Taking what belongs to other people
  • Judging and rejecting others for being different from ourselves in any way
  • Rejecting those with different spiritual beliefs and practices from ourselves
  • Looking down on, or hating, those whose skin-colour, sexuality, or way of life, is different from our own
  • Pursuing cruel, destructive conflicts and wars
  • Overexploiting and destroying the earth, our only shared home

Using richly symbolic, visionary language, Isaiah vividly illustrates what it will be like when everyone lives in the Kingdom of God:

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:6-9; NIV).

Following this train of reflection, today’s poem quickly came to me, though it was very difficult to put into words:

Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it? It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches.” He also asked, “What else is the Kingdom of God like? It is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough” (Luke 13:18-21; NLT). 

What is the Kingdom of God like?
The strong take good care of the weak,
Men treat all women as equals,
And wait for their sisters to speak.

What is the Kingdom of God like?
The rich share their wealth with the poor.
The healthy assist the disabled,
And all give up hatred and war.

What is the Kingdom of God like?
It’s heaven on earth and above,
For colour and creed make no difference
When all live in God, who is Love.

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


References 

When He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21; NKJV). 

The LORD will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore (Isaiah 2:4; NLT).

I heard a loud voice calling from the throne,“Look! God’s Tabernacle is among humankind! God will live with them; they will be God’s people, and God will be fully present among them. The Most High will wipe away every tear from their eyes. And death, mourning, crying and pain will be no more, for the old order has fallen.” The One who sat on the throne said, “Look! I’m making everything new!” and added, “Write this, for what I am saying is trustworthy and true.” And that One continued, “It is finished. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To those who are thirsty I will give drink freely from the spring of the water of life. This is the rightful inheritance of the overcomers. I will be their God and they will be my daughters and sons (Revelation 21:3-7; TIB).

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).  

You forgive and forget

Context: Today I’m writing an article I was given this morning to work on. I’m very tired, and have had a small eye surgery, so it’s not finished yet. Accordingly, I have brought out of my “storeroom” a blog I got ready a little while ago (see Matthew 13:52, for the allusion).


You must love the Lord your God with all your heart,
all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.
(Luke 10:27; NLT).

I will forgive their sins and forget the evil things
they have done (Jeremiah 31:34; CEV).  

I love you, Lord, with all my mind,
And honour you within,
Because you pardon me each day,
Forgetting all my sin.

I love you, Lord, with all my heart,
And glory in your name,
Because you pardon me each day,
Forgetting all my shame.

I love you, Lord, with all my soul,
And follow you, my Guide,
Because you pardon me each day,
Forgetting all my pride. 

I love you, Lord, with all my strength,
And put my trust in you –
Please help me, Lord, to show my love
In everything I do. 

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

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

In darkness

Context: When I woke up yesterday, I said the Lord’s Prayer, closed my eyes again, and continued to pray, using very few words. This went on in darkness for some minutes, until I was suddenly flooded with bright, golden light. Then today’s prayer started to flow. It was a wrench to open my eyes and start writing, but I knew it was essential, for the words would otherwise disappear as quickly as they arrived. 

My expectation is that only when I’m dying will I see this wonderful light and not need to break off to write. From that moment onwards there will be no more need for words: I will simply be absorbed into God’s brilliant, beautiful, infinite light, peace and love.


Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.
(Micah 7:8; NLT).

Yahweh,
When I sit in darkness,
You re-fill me with your light,
And, when I am weak and weary,
You restore me with your might.

Jesus,
When I’m stressed and anxious,
You refresh me with your peace,
And, when I am judged and censured,
Your protection does not cease.

Spirit,
When I’m sad and lonely,
You surround me with your love,
And, when I must leave this world,
You’ll bear my soul to heaven above.

Threefold God,
My source, my goal,
My Father, Mother, kith and kin,
You are here, and live forever –
All around me, and within.

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

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