25.12.22: Christmas Day

Context: God often gives me a special prayer well in advance, ready to post on Christmas Day, but this year it didn’t happen. In fact, I had begun to think there would be no Christmas prayer at all this year. To begin with, I felt I should be able to write something appropriate, but I knew I couldn’t do this without inspiration, so eventually I placed the matter in God’s hands, and let it go.

Then, on the 21st of December, I received a long Christmas prayer, which was very difficult to put into words, to condense, and to edit. Eventually it took the form of a spoken exchange. The first section pictures Christ speaking to us, whilst the second pictures us responding to him.

✝️ She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them (Luke 2:7; NLT). 

I was born in the shadow of want,
And lived in the shadow of fear.

I worked in the shadow of hate,
But knew that my Father was near.

I wept in the shadow of grief,
And prayed in the shadow of pain.

I walked in the shadow of death,
Then rose, to save all, and to reign.

The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15; NLT).


✝️ We all have sinned against you (Jeremiah 14:20; NLT). 

Though we dwell in the shadow of sin,
And grieve in the shadow of loss,

We pray, and give thanks, and rejoice,
For we follow your way of the cross.

Though we walk in the shadow of death,
We trust in your staff and your rod.

Lord, you are here, in earth’s darkness,
So we sing in the shadow of God.

Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings (Psalm 63:7; NLT).


Christmas greetings:

My very best wishes to every reader who visits this website. May God bless you. I pray for you all every day.

✝️  With love, and many thanks for your support, from Ruth xxxxxxx

11.12.22: A question

Context: Today’s prayer is linked to “Love”, posted on 9.12.22. Here is a live link, in case you want to look back at it: https://wp.me/p45bCr-d05. It continues to explore my difficulties around feeling lovable, and therefore finding it very hard to believe that the Lord loves me.

You do not break a bruised reed, or quench a wavering flame (Isaiah 42:3; TIB). 

Lord,

You’ve never turned on me,
Or said a hurtful word;

Nor have you rejected me,
Or left my cries unheard;

Nor screamed, Lord, as my mother did,
Nor scared me, nor condemned –

So why can’t I accept your love,
And trust you as my friend?

I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me (John 15:15; NLT).


References 

He will not constantly accuse us (Psalm 103:9; NLT). 

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

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

Your nature is love (Eucharistic Liturgy of the Free Methodist Church).

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

9.12.22: Love

Context: It’s impossible for me to feel loveable, and it’s only very occasionally that I feel loved, except by my closest family. This applies both with other people and with God. It’s such a familiar experience that I mostly accept it pretty well. However, it sometimes makes me sad, particularly when I don’t experience the warmth of God’s love in my prayers and silence. Yesterday morning I was able to put this into words for the first time:

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

I can’t feel as if you love me,
But you do, Lord.

I can’t feel as if you love me,
Yet I trust.

I can’t feel as if you love me,
Still, I try, Lord,

Though I am nothing more
Than ash, and dust.

I am nothing but dust and ashes (Genesis 18:27; NIV).


References

Trust in God, and trust also in me (John 14:1; NLT).

Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe (John 20:29; CSB).


Rosary-making news:

I’m now launched on making rosaries for other people, and have fashioned two, which are holding together so far, so I’m hoping to wrap and post them very soon.

4.12.22: Step forward

Context: After a very tiring day last Friday, I fell deeply asleep in the evening. When I woke at about 10pm, these lines were already forming in my mind, so I wrote them down, and worked on them yesterday:

He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward” (Mark 3:3; NKJV). 

Step forward,
And never look back;
Trust in Jesus:
There’s nothing we lack.

Step forward,
And don’t turn aside;
Trust in Jesus:
Our Shepherd and Guide.

Step forward,
And never give up;
Trust in Jesus,
Who drank from God’s cup.

Step forward,
And never give in;
Trust in Jesus,
Who pardons our sin.

‘I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” (Matthew 9:6; NLT).


References 

Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62; NLT). 

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing (Psalm 23:1; NIV). 

Be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left (Deuteronomy 5:32; NIV). 

My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done (Matthew 26:42; NLT). 

Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up (2 Corinthians 4:1; NLT). 

Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak (Mark 14:38; NLT). 

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). 

4.11.22: Choices

Context: Yesterday morning, whilst I was writing an entirely separate prayer, the inspiration for the verses below came straight to me, without intention or effort of any kind on my part. Quickly jotting them down in rough, I was able to return to them later, and to finish working on them the same day.

Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near” (Matthew 4:17; NLT).

I turn to you, and choose your way:
Lord, help me when my love falls short.

I worship you, and choose my life:
Lord, help me when my joy falls short.

I trust in you, and choose my cross:
Lord, help me when my thanks fall short.

I hide in you, and choose my pain:
Lord, help me when my prayers fall short.

I bow to you, and choose my death:
Lord, help me when my faith falls short. 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (Psalm 23:4; KJV).


References 

The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 24; 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 he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23; NLT). 

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).

You died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3; NLT).

“Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Mark 14:36; NLT).

Yield yourselves to God (Romans 6:13; RSV).

Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” (Luke 23:46; NLT). 

Then he bowed his head and released his spirit (John 19:30; NLT).


Rosary-making update:

This doesn’t look like much, but it represents a big step forward for me: my first successful pairs of sliding knots:

20.10.22: God’s will


Context:
Yesterday I went into town to do a small amount of shopping and have my covid booster. It was diverting at the time, but afterwards I was absolutely exhausted. It can still sometimes come as a shock to realise how limited I am now in terms of what I can do.

After a long sleep in the afternoon, I tried to work on what I had been given when I woke up that morning. However, I was too tired to make any progress with it. So here is a prayer from my storehouse, instead:

“Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Mark 14:36; NLT).

You came to do the Father’s will
Because you trusted in God’s name.

You wanted to forgive my sins,
To heal my guilt, and end my shame.

So, Lord, you lived and died for me,
Because you shared the Father’s aim:

To spread his love and tender care –
Please help me, now, to do the same.

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same” (Luke 10:36-7; NLT).

16.10.22: It’s okay to stumble

Context: Yesterday I arranged my next hospital trip to London for further tests. As my health deteriorates, I’m slowly learning to be a bit easier on myself, especially in terms of writing and posting here.

I now understand why God has generously given me much more inspiration over the years than I needed at the time. This means I have a good store of pieces to bring up to date, and to share with you.

It has been clear to me for a long time that there would come a point where I wouldn’t be well enough to write new material every day. So having reached that point, this is the time to start dipping into all I have been given, and have prepared, in advance.

Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand (Psalm 37:24; NLT). 

It’s okay to stumble,
And even to fall:
I’ll reach out and cling to Him –
Jesus is all.

It’s good to be nothing
But ashes and dust:
I’ll love Christ and follow Him –
Serve him, and trust.

It’s fine to feel empty,
Defeated, and small:
For Jesus is with me –
And he is my all.

Christ is all, and is in all (Colossians 3:11; NIV). 

13.10.22: In God’s hands

Context: I try to pray, both with and without words, but I’m finding it very hard to concentrate. At present, I receive no tangible response – no light, no warmth, no waves of love, and no sense of God’s presence.

This has been happening for about a week, and makes for a very different spiritual life than I have been used to for many years. It’s a whole new territory for me, based much more strongly on faith and trust than on experience.

However, most mornings I still receive some words. For example, here is a sentence I was given yesterday: I’m in your hands, Lord, whether or not I can pray.  This helped me to grasp and express much more clearly what I’m experiencing:

Our lives are in his hands (Psalm 66:9; NLT). 

I’m in your hands, Lord –
Whether or not I can pray,
Or see your light,
Or feel your warmth.

I’m in your hands –
Whether or not I sense your love,
Or experience your presence,
Or hear your voice.

I’m in your hands –
Whether or not you give me
Anything to write,
And no matter much I thirst for you.

Father, into your hands
I commit my spirit each day –
*Let it be unto me
According to thy will.

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46; NIV).

I want your will to be done, not mine (Luke 22:42; NLT).


References

I have put my words in your mouth and hidden you safely in my hand (Isaiah 51:16; NLT). 

As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand (Jeremiah 18:6; NLT). 

In God’s hand is the soul of every living thing; in God’s hand is the breath of all humankind (Job 12:10; TIB).

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1; NIV).

*Here is a link to the blog where I first spontaneously used this phrase, just a few days ago:  https://wp.me/p45bCr-cxR

Healing (with thanks to K.B.)

Context: Yesterday, during a very significant conversation with a friend, I faced and revealed my deepest unhealed childhood wound: my terrible fear of never being forgiven by someone I have accidentally angered or hurt.

This fear is the consequence of long years of experience with my mother, whose uncontrolled fury was truly terrifying. She neither forgave, nor forgot, retaining deep, permanent grudges towards all those she believed had offended her in any way, including me. Sharing the lifelong effect this has had on me with my friend triggered today’s prayer soon afterwards.

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

Lord,

You know my wound,
Unhealed.

You see my bruise,
Although concealed.

You know the childhood fear
I shield,

But now my weakness
Is revealed.

Through trust, my secret
Is unsealed,

Then to your healing hands
I yield.

Though he wounds, he also bandages. He strikes, but his hands also heal.
(Job 5:18; NLT).


References 

“I will give you back your health and heal your wounds,” says the LORD (Jeremiah 30:17; NLT).

We know that God makes everything work together for the good of those who love God and have been called according to God’s purpose (Romans 8:28; TIB).