2.12.22: Forgive me

Context: I chose this prayer from my storehouse whilst waiting for treatment at the hospital. Because of having had Covid, I’ve missed several weekly sessions there,  so it was good to start picking up my old routines again, and to see the familiar reception staff and nurses. Unfortunately, I somehow accidentally pressed the “publish” button, so it has gone out early, as a bonus for today!

Do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour…

Lord,
You know my faithless heart:
Forgive me; make me fair and kind.
You also know my foolish thoughts:
Forgive me; let me share your mind.

Lord,
You know my careless words:
Forgive me; may I speak with love.
You also know my fragile soul:
Forgive me; heal me; make me good.

Lord,
You know my selfish deeds:
Forgive me; may I serve like you.
You also know my wasted years:
Forgive my sins, and make me new.

…Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:30-32; NLT).


References

For the honour of your name, O Lord, forgive my many, many sins (Psalm 25:11; NLT).

Put new life into us, and we will worship you (Psalm 80:18; CEV).


Rosary-making news:

Again, no post for me today, as I wait keenly for all my rosary-making materials to arrive so I can get properly launched. Every day I say, “Thank you, Jesus”, when I see the empty letter-box, and strive to practice patience, which is very hard! It will arrive at the correct time, I’m sure, so I need to accept this situation, just any other.

1.12.22: Commitment

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).

Commit your way to the Lord (Psalm 37:5; NLT). 

I want to give my mind to you
By thinking as I ought,
So I commit my exile here
To checking every thought.

I want to give my heart to you
By loving all each day,
So I commit my exile here
To following your way.

I want to give my soul to you
By walking at your side,
So I commit my exile here
To you, my faithful Guide.

I want to give my strength to you,
Although it’s very slight,
So I commit my exile here
To trusting in your might.

Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength (Isaiah 26:4; KJV). 

6.11.22: Love (#2)

Context: After writing yesterday’s prayer (https://wp.me/p45bCr-cJf), I was looking back through my diary and, to my great surprise, found some lines written long ago, on a blessed day when I experienced a profound sense of God’s enduring love:

He loves us with unfailing love (Psalm 117:2; NLT).

Even though I’m nothing, Lord,
You love me.

There’s nothing I can think,
Or feel, or say,

And nothing I can do
To make you stop, Lord:

You simply love me –
Now, and every day.

God is love (1 John 4:8; NLT).


References 

We love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19; TIB).

Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough (2 Corinthians 8:15; NLT).

28.9.22: Honest prayer

Context: This blog had a rather unusual start in life. It began to arrive just as I was about to leave my hotel room early yesterday morning to walk the short distance to London City Airport. The words I was given were clearly an ending, so I hastily jotted them down, then set off, thinking no more about them.

At the airport, I had a very welcome breakfast, went to my gate and boarded the plane. Just as we were taking off, the beginning of this blog arrived, so I had to repeat it in my mind until the plane levelled out and I could reach for my iPad. By the time we landed, the first draft was largely complete. This is what I received: 

You desire honesty from the womb (Psalm 51:6; NLT).

Introduction

I often find it impossible to say “Amen” to other people’s prayers, to join in with printed responses during services, and to sing congregational hymns. This is because:

  • I don’t agree with what is being asked for, or said.
  • A prayer or hymn doesn’t speak for me, or doesn’t express what is in my heart at the time.
  • The language used is formal, grand or flowery: that’s not how I talk to God.
  • The prayers or hymns are too long for me to take in, or to make my own.
  • The person leading the prayers speaks so quietly that I can’t tell what they are saying.
  • The prayers are said so impersonally, or so quickly, that they seem devoid of meaning.

My aims

Reflecting on these reservations helped me to draw up a list of personal aims:

  • To pray because I want to, rather than because I think I ought to.
  • To pray for those who come to mind, rather than working my way through a list of those I feel I should include.
  • Not saying “Amen” to prayers I don’t agree with, instead quietly sharing with God that I don’t concur.
  • Not joining in with hymns whose words don’t speak for me.
  • Not ignoring, overriding, hiding, or suppressing my hurts, irritations, disappointments, anger, judgements, fears etc. Rather, I aim to be honest about them, facing their truth squarely with God, who knows exactly what is in my mind and heart.
  • Not pretending to feel other than how I actually feel. Rather, I aim pray about how I’m really feeling, and what I’m really thinking.
  • Not saying what I think God wants to hear.
  • Facing up to things I’ve got wrong and asking God to help me put them right.
  • Avoiding grand or flowery language, instead praying simply and honestly, like a child.
  • Not worrying about how short or long my prayers are, as long as they’re honest, genuine and heartfelt.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I aim to follow my golden rule:

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


References 

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me (Psalm 139:1; NLT). 

As for me, Lord, you know my heart. You see me and test my thoughts (Jeremiah 12:3; NLT). 

You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord (Psalm 139:4; NLT).


Today’s reading: Matthew 6:7-13; NLT

When you pray, don’t babble like the Gentiles. They think God will hear them if they use a lot of words. Don’t imitate them. Your God knows what you need before you ask it.

This is how you are to pray: ‘Abba God in heaven, hallowed be your name! May your reign come; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven: give us today the bread of Tomorrow.

And forgive us our debts, as we hereby forgive those who are indebted to us. Don’t put us to the test, but free us from evil.’

NB: I can say “Amen” to this without reservation, apart from disliking some of the punctuation!

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).

18.9.22: The healing process


Context: Yesterday I woke very early, and saw that God lives in my unconscious mind, waiting and longing to heal me.

Healing is a lifelong process. It means slowly becoming conscious of all that is hidden in the darkness of my unconscious mind, so I can change and grow.

I can encourage this process by:

  • Seeking God
  • Waiting on God 
  • Praying constantly 
  • Listening to God
  • Learning from God
  • Practicing God’s presence

Slowly, slowly, God reveals to me all the damage that lives on in my inner darkness, bringing it into the light of consciousness, so it can be healed. This includes the psychological consequences of the trauma, bullying, coercive control and abuse I suffered throughout my childhood, and far beyond.

I can share in this process by:

  • Opening myself to all God uncovers and reveals to me
  • Facing what I am shown
  • Accepting it
  • Cooperating with God’s healing
  • Learning from from what God tells me
  • Working to change how I feel, think, speak and behave

As God helps me to change and grow, I become more whole as a person, and therefore just a tiny bit more like Christ.

There is no deeper or more complete healing than God’s inner healing.

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).


References 

Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes (Ephesians 4:23; NLT). 

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5; NIV).

I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you (Ezekiel 36:26; NLT). 

He renews my strength (Psalm 23:3; NLT). 

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

As we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world (1 John 4:17; NLT). 

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).

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). 

We will be like him (1 John 3:2; NLT). 

A dream: 13.8.22.

Context: A few nights ago I had a vivid, strange and disturbing dream:

I saw a group of very young children who had just been separated from those whose task it was to take care of them. The children weren’t old enough to walk, so they were having to crawl along a rough, narrow, dirty street, moving away from their carers, and towards an unknown destination.

All of them were wailing. It was a heartbreaking sound. In his distress, perhaps blinded by tears, one little boy blundered head-first into a stone wall. He slumped to the ground, and I was shocked to hear him cry out, “They don’t love us any more”, in utter despair, hopelessness and desolation. After that he stopped moving. It was clear that he had given up the will to survive.

My heart went out to him. I jumped up and ran to him, putting my arms round his small body to comfort him. At that moment, I woke up with my arms clasped around my pillow. Instantly, even before I could begin to pray, several realisations struck me hard: 

What I realised

Everything I experienced during my childhood laid the foundations of my mental health during adult life.

This includes how I was treated by those who brought me up, as well as by those I was exposed to at school, in churches, clubs, hospitals and all other settings.

Thus, for good or ill, I have been influenced and affected by all the relationships and events I experienced during my formative years.

Comments

From my dream, and from the realisations which followed immediately afterwards, I understood even more clearly than before that the damage done to me in childhood caused the wounds and scars I have carried into adulthood.

These wounds shaped the person I have become, including all I feel, think, say and do. They affect how I behave, relate to others, cope with suffering, treat the world, understand God, and even whether or not I want to live. They also affected how I brought up my son, and how I reacted to having a miscarriage.

My dream showed me the mechanism by which so much of my psychological distress and mental illness has been caused. Only God can fully heal the inner damage I sustained, and the consequences with which I have had to live.

I am the LORD who heals you (Exodus 15:26; NLT).

He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.
(Psalm 147:3; NLT). 

Love

Context: By the time I had written and posted “A crash course on suffering”(https://wp.me/p45bCr-bTR), I was exhausted, and had yet another migraine. So with a sense of relief, here is today’s much simpler blog, for which I am very grateful:

I love you, Lord (Psalm 18:1; NLT).

Each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me.
(Psalm 42:8; NLT). 

1. I love you,
And you love me.
I look around:
You’re all I see

2. In everyone
And everything –
My Shepherd, Saviour,
Priest and King.

3. You love me,
And I love you.
I look within:
You live there, too!

4. So, may I show
Our love today
In all I think, and do,
And say.

I want you to show love (Hosea 6:6; NLT).


References 

1. God is love (1 John 4:8; NLT).

He loves us with unfailing love (Psalm 117:2; NLT). 

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

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need (Psalm 23:1; NLT). 

I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior (Isaiah 43:3; NLT). 

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

God [is] the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15; NIV). 

3. You are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (2 Corinthians 6:16; NKJV). 

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

4. Those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment – to love one another – is the same message you heard before. Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it (1 John 2:5-8; NLT). 

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). 

Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart (Deuteronomy 15:9; ESV).

Do everything with love (1 Corinthians 16:13-14; NLT).

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

Through judging (#1 of 3)

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you (Luke 6:37; NLT).

You will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged (Matthew 7:2; NLT). 

Through judging others, Lord,
We judge ourselves.

Condemning others,
We condemn ourselves;

For when we criticise
And sneer,

We never stop to think,
Or fear

That, hating them,
We also hate ourselves.

You are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; NLT).

At last they will hate themselves for all their detestable sins (Ezekiel 6:9; NLT). 

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).