This short prayer came to me when I woke up, a day or two ago:
O Lord, you are my lamp. The Lord lightsupmydarkness (2 Samuel 22:29; NLT).
Lord, I am your temple (1).
You live in my inner darkness, and know all the secrets of my heart (2).
Please reveal to me everything hidden in darkest depths of my unconscious mind (3).
Please help me to work on all the damage, as it surfaces bit by bit, so I can be healed (4).
But, Lord, is it possible that amongst all my inner wounds and scars, some good things lie hidden there as well? (5).
Iwillgiveyoutreasures hidden in the darkness – secret riches. Iwill do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name (Isaiah 45:3; NLT).
1. We are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (2 Corinthians 6:16; NLT).
2. Clouds and thick darkness surround him (Psalm 97:2; NIV).
He shrouded himself in darkness (2 Samuel 22:12; NLT).
Moses approached the thick darkness where God was (Exodus 20:21; NLT).
He knows the secrets of every heart (Psalm 44:21; NLT).
3. It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you (Mark 7:20-23; NLT).
He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness (Daniel 2:22; NLT).
4. He has torn us to pieces but he willheal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds (Hosea 6:1; NIV).
5. Every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old (Matthew 13:52; NIV).
Context: Earlier this week I unexpectedly got in touch with some deeply-buried aspects of my shadow-self, which was absolutely shattering (see https://wp.me/p45bCr-bWz). Lots of tears, prayers and much painful honesty followed. In the end, of course, it proved to be a very healing experience.
What is the shadow-self?
Robert Johnson describes the shadow-self as the “…dumping-ground for all those characteristics of our personality that we disown.”
He goes on to remark that “These disowned parts are extremely valuable and cannot be disregarded.” This is because “To honor and accept one’s own shadow is a profound spiritual discipline. It is whole-making and thus holy, and the most important experience of a lifetime” (see pp ix-x, “Owning your own shadow – understanding the dark side of the psyche”, Robert A. Johnson; HarperCollins 1993).
The same author later comments that “To own one’s own shadow is to reach a holy place– an inner centre – not attainable in any other way. To fail this is to fail one’s own sainthood and to miss the purpose of life” (Ibid, p17).
The Bible shows that Jesus, too, had a shadow-self. Some of his most significant experiences brought him face-to-face with his inner temptations, anger, anguish, fear, doubt and despair. Thus, as we strive to become more like him, we, too, need to face, own, accept and integrate our shadow selves, just as he did.
Following the dramatic emergence of parts of my own buried shadow-self, this prayer surfaced whilst I was saying grace before breakfast:
Trust in God always, my people;
pour out your hearts before God our refuge. (Psalm 62:8; TIB).
1. I face my shadow-self with God, Like Jesus, in the wilderness,
2. And show my shadow-self to God,
Like Jesus, in the Temple.
3. I share my shadow-self with God,
Like Jesus, in Gethsemane,
4. And give my shadow-self to God,
Like Jesus, on the cross.
Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice,
“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means
“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
(Mark 15:34; NLT). Jesus called out with a loud voice,
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
When he had said this, he breathed his last.
(Luke 23:46; NLT).
1. Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread” (Matthew 4:1-3; NLT).
Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone’ ” (Matthew 4:5-6; NLT).
Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me” (Matthew 4:8-9; NLT).
2. Jesus went to Jerusalem. In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” (John 2:13-16; NLT).
3. He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Matthew 26:37-39; NLT).
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 –
I live in you, and you in me:
Creator, for eternity,
The One who comes to set me free –
For I am yours, and you are mine:
You, my temple; I, your shrine;
Together, far beyond all time –
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).
“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.”
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).
1. I pray that all will eat your bread,
And drink your living wine,
Then faith will grow in every human heart –
2. I pray that all will seek your face,
And know you are God’s sign,
Then hope will reign supreme in every heart –
3. I pray that all will praise you, And become your holy shrine,
Then peace will dwell in every single heart –
4. I pray that all will trust you, Lord,
And realise you’re divine,
Then love will overflow from every heart – Including mine.
1. He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you” (Luke 22:19; NLT).
He took a cup of wine […] He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood” (Matthew 26:27-8; NLT).
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness (Colossians 2:7; NLT).
2. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land (2 Chronicles 7:14; NLT).
What happens to the Son of Man will be a sign to these people that he was sent by God (Luke 11:30; NLT).
No wonder my heart is glad, and my tongue shouts his praises! My body rests in hope (Acts 2:26; NLT).
3. Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens (Psalm 68:19; NIV).
You are the temple of the living God (Luke 17:21; NKJV).
I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid (John 14:27; NIV).
4. Trust in God, and trust also in me (John 14:1; NLT).
If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God (1 John 4:15; NIV).
I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding (Philippians 1:9; NLT).
1. I remember the stories –
The shepherds, the star;
The stable, the manger,
The kings, from afar.
2. I remember the temple,
The questions, the joy;
My parents; their wrath –
I was only a boy.
3. I remember the wedding
At Cana, the wine
Transformed from fresh water –
My first ever sign.
4. I remember my baptism,
The preaching, the healing;
The scribes and the priests.
5. I remember the mountain,
The voice, and the light –
God clothed me in white.
6. I remember the colt,
The procession, the crowd;
The palms and the cloaks –
People shouting so loud!
7. I remember the supper,
The bread, and the wine;
The friendship, the sharing
With those who were mine.
8. I remember the garden,
The darkness, the fear;
The kiss of betrayal
When Judas drew near.
9. I remember the scourging –
I knew all was lost;
The robe, and the thorns,
And the weight of the cross.
10. Now all that is left
Is the blood, and the pain;
The thirst, and the dying,
As I call your name.
1. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them (Luke 2:6-7; NIV).
2. Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious leaders, listening to them and asking questions (Luke 2:46; NLT).
3. This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory (John 2:11; NLT).
4. One day when the crowds were being baptised, Jesus himself was baptised. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy (Luke 3:22; NLT).
The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.” But the leaders were indignant (Matthew 21:15; NLT).
5. Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them (Mark 9:2-3; NIV).
6. The next day, the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!” (John 12:12-13; NIV).
7. He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:19-20; NIV).
8. He went on a little further and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Matthew 26:39; NLT).
He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood (Luke 22:44; NLT).
9. Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him. “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face (John 19:1-3; NLT).
Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the Place of the Skull…
10. …There they nailed him to the cross (John 19:17; NLT).
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? (Mark 15:34; NLT).
There is […] one God and Father,
who is over all and in all and living through all (Ephesians 4:5-6; NLT).
1. May I love each child, Lord God,
Because they are your cradle.
2. May I love each neighbour, Lord,
Because they are your home.
3. May I love each stranger, Lord,
Because they are your temple.
4. May I love each enemy,
Because they are your throne.
5. May I love you, Father God,
Because you make and keep me.
6. May I love you, Jesus Christ,
Because you cleanse my sin.
7. May I love you, Holy Ghost,
Because you never leave me;
8. And may I even love my self –
Because you dwell within.
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love
(Galatians 5:6; NIV).
1. Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me (Matthew 18:5; NLT).
Jesus, […] though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:5-7; ESV).
2. Love your neighbour (Luke 10:27; NLT).
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).
3. Love the stranger (Deuteronomy 10:19; NKJV).
Show love to foreigners (Deuteronomy 10:19; NLT).
You are the temple of the living God (2 Corinthians 6:16; NLT).
4. Love your enemies! (Matthew 5:44; NLT).
He loves all his people (Deuteronomy 33:3; NLT).
5. 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).
Your hands shaped me and made me (Job 10:8; NIV).
The Lord keeps me alive! (Psalm 54:4; NLT).
6. Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you (John 21:17; NLT).
I will cleanse them of their sins (Jeremiah 33:8; NLT).
7. He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love (Romans 5:5; NLT).
I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, [Comforter, Encourager, Counsellor] who will never leave you (John 14:16; NLT).
8. Love your neighbour as yourself (Luke 10:27; NLT).
All who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16; NLT).
1. Father, Creator,
We love you so deeply.
May all things remind us of you:
All we see, all we hear,
All we taste, smell, and touch;
All you make, Lord,
And all that you do.
2. Jesus, Redeemer,
We love you so deeply.
May we grow more like you each day:
In every emotion,
And in all our thinking;
In all that we do, Lord,
3. Spirit, Consoler,
We love you so deeply.
May we be your temple, your friend:
With thanks and rejoicing,
World without end.
1. Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy (Matthew 6:9; NLT).
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth (Isaiah 40:28; NLT).
I love you, Lord (Psalm 18:1; NLT).
There is […] one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all (Ephesians 4:4,6; NLT).
2. I am the Lord, your Redeemer (Isaiah 41:14; 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).
To acquire wisdom is to love oneself (Proverbs 19:8; NLT).
We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5; NIV).
Do everything with love (1 Corinthians 16:14; NLT).
We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).
3. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, [Comforter, Encourager, Counsellor] who will never leave you (John 14:16; NLT).
As a mother consoles a child, so I will console you (Isaiah 66:13; NET).
Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19; NLT).
Now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God (Romans 5:11; NLT).
The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words (Romans 8:26; RSV).
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; NIV).
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion (Ephesians 6:18; NLT).
Pray in the power of the Holy Spirit (Jude 1:20; NLT).
All glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen (Ephesians 3:20-21; NLT).