20.1.23: Teach us to pray

Yesterday morning I began praying with my prayer circlet for the first time. Suddenly, on the seventh bead, today’s blog started to arrive:

Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1; NLT). 

Lord,

Teach us to pray,
As you taught your disciples.

Help us to pray,
And make our hearts your own.

Pray, Lord, on our behalf,
Without cessation,

Making our fragile souls
Your earthly home.

Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them” (John 14:23; NLT).


References 

The Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weakness. We do not know what prayer to offer or how to offer it as we should, but the Spirit Himself [knows our need and at the right time] intercedes on our behalf with sighs and groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26; AMP). 

I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19; NKJV). 

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion (Ephesians 6:18; NLT).

Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17; NKJV).


The Rosary Hospital

Now, with plenty of slack in my prayer circlet, and a cross after every ninth bead, I can hold each bead with space on both sides whilst praying. This makes it very easy to know where I’ve got to: I count the beads I’ve already prayed with, and remember which number bead I’ve reached. Then I continue from that place later on.

This new approach does away with the need for a marker. I’m also keeping silence on the cross-beads for as long as it takes for the next prayer to arise in my mind. This silent waiting gives a very unhurried,  unpressured and spacious feel to praying with my circlet. It doesn’t even matter if I don’t get to the “end”, as I can simply start afresh next day.

Of course, the whole point of the circle of prayer is that it has no end, so what I’d like to discover next is a way to join the cord which doesn’t “interrupt” the circlet of beads. If anyone has any ideas about how to do this, please could you let me know?

Stop press: Yesterday evening I found a couple of different connectors at my favourite on-line rosary parts shop. Having sent for them, I’m now waiting as patiently as possibly for their arrival!

22.12.22: Jesus

Context: I wrote this prayer very late at night a few days ago, after a really bad day health-wise. I was exhausted, and it was time to settle down, but the words were so insistent that I had to rough them out as best I could, then work on them next day. This prayer falls naturally into two related halves:

1. He refreshes my soul (Psalm 23:4; NIV). 

Jesus refreshes me,
Jesus instructs;
Jesus delivers me,
Jesus delights.

Jesus releases me,
Jesus protects;
Jesus advises me,
Jesus unites.

Whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17; NIV).


2. Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom (Luke 23:42; CSB).

Jesus, remember me,
Jesus, forgive;
Jesus, encourage me,
Jesus, defend.

Jesus, unshackle me,
Jesus, console;
Jesus, replenish me –
Jesus, my Friend.

You are my friends if you do what I command (John 15:14; NIV). 


Rosary Hospital news

The hospital had a good day yesterday: one Fiat rosary completed, one parcel prepared for posting, three orders received and a new work-station, which I hope to photograph for you tomorrow, God willing.

Update next morning: I made yesterday’s rosary for myself. When I came to use it in the evening, I discovered that I’ve missed out one bead, so I plan to re-make it today. I’m definitely a perfectionist, but I also really do feel that all my rosaries should be as good as I can make them!

A Fiat Rosary, completed today.

15.11.22: Even me?

Context: This prayer was written a few days ago, but being unable to write at present (because I’m ill with Covid), has given me an unexpected opportunity to use it here today.

NB: My husband started to feel ill yesterday, and has now also tested positive for covid, so we are in isolation.

God already loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God (John 16:27; TIB).

Lord,

Do you love even me?
And do you hear my every plea?
And do you really set me free?
You do.

You’re the way, the door, the key.
You teach, forgive and guide. You see
My sins, yet still you guarantee
It’s true.

Yahweh, Son and Spirit: Three
In One, God for eternity –
May all believe, and bow the knee
To you.

“As surely as I live,” says the Lord, “every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God” (Romans 14:11; NIV).


References:

Christ has truly set us free (Galatians 5:1; NLT).

He hears us (1 John 5:14; NLT).

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6; NLT).

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:7; NKJV).

You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life (Deuteronomy 30:20; NLT).

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11; NLT).


Reading: Isaiah 45:22-24; NIV

Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth;

For I am God, and there is no other.

By myself I have sworn,

My mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked:

Before me every knee will bow;

By me every tongue will swear.

They will say of me, “In the LORD alone are deliverance and strength.”

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!


1.10.22: Humility

Context: This blog came to me in a split second, when I was washing my face after getting up late. It was a few days after my hospital trip to London, and I was feeling drained, lonely and rather sorry for myself. God spoke to me so personally that I was nearly knocked off my feet:

The whole law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ (Galatians 5:14; NLT).

  • Keep on offering your love to others, but don’t expect their love in return.
  • Keep on listening to others, but don’t expect them to listen to you in return.
  • Keep on taking an interest in other people’s news, but don’t expect them to show any interest in yours.
  • Keep on showing your sympathy to those who suffer, but don’t expect their sympathy in return.
  • Never try to elicit a caring response from those you think might ‘owe’ you some love in return. It won’t work, and the effort will only increase your sadness and loneliness.
  • When you’re too drained to support others, stop trying. Wait until you have some energy to spare. Say nothing; do nothing; rest.
  • Just keep on practicing Mother Theresa’s teaching on humility: “Accept being slighted, forgotten and disregarded” (reference below).

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love (Ephesians 4:2; NLT).


Reference

Here is a link to my blog about Mother Theresa’s teaching on humility: https://wp.me/P45bCr-7Ew

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).

12.9.22: When I’m rushing

Following my blog about being introduced to my ‘Pause’ button a few days ago (see https://wp.me/p45bCr-ccE), I discovered yesterday that I also have available a ‘Slow’ button, a ‘Stop’ button and a ‘Rest’ button. This is very exciting, because I’ve never consciously recognised, or been able to access, any of these inner control buttons before. Here is what sprang from this healing realisation:

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart…

When I’m rushing,
I press Slow, Lord,

When I want to,
I press Pause;

When I need to,
I press Stop, Lord,

Then I Rest,
Within your hands.

…and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28-9; NLT).


References

Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. On the seventh day God had finished all the work of creation, and so, on that seventh day, God rested. God blessed the seventh day and called it sacred, because on it God rested from all the work of creation (Genesis 21-3; TIB).

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile” (Mark 6:31; NLT).

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).

I long to see your face (for M.I.)

Context: This prayer came to me in the shower yesterday morning, so I had to keep repeating the first couple of lines and rehearsing the progression of ideas, until I could get out and make notes on my iPad at top speed. Later in the day I was able to work on it at leisure, so here it is:

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

As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? (Psalm 42:1-2; NLT).

I long to see your face, Lord,
When I meet you, in the end,
My Teacher, Priest and Shepherd,
My Redeemer and my Friend.

Yet, may I wait with patience
For the day you make me whole,
When you draw near, to bear away
My life, and breath and soul,

Because I want to serve you
Till my time on earth has passed,
When, all my trials and sorrows done,
I’ll see your face, at last. 

I will see you face to face and be satisfied (Psalm 17:15; NLT).

When my mind is closed

They have closed their minds and hardened their hearts
(Ephesians 4:18; NLT).

Yahweh,
When my mind is closed,
Remind me how, when Jesus rose,
He came to Mary, and to those
Who trusted.

Yahweh,
When my heart is hard,
Please show me how my way is barred
By prejudice; your face, marred
By my judgements.

Yahweh,
When I start to preach,
May I remember what you teach:
Love everyone, and help me reach
Your standard.

This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ (Ephesians 4:13; NLT).


References 

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you (1 Thessalonians 3:12; NIV). 

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but 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).

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 (Ezekiel 36:26; NIV).