8.1.23: I saw your sun

Yesterday, as I surfaced from sleep, I began to pray. My eyes were still closed, but I was looking across a wide, dark plain towards distant mountains, just as dawn was approaching.

As I watched, the sun began to rise behind the peaks. Soon it was fully visible, shining gloriously in the morning sky. Then today’s prayer came into my mind, though it proved difficult to express:

The glory of the LORD rises to shine on you (Isaiah 60:1; NLT). 

The LORD God is our sun and our shield (Psalm 84:11; NLT).

I saw your sun
Rise in my mind,
As I worshipped
And prayed,

Till, over the mountains,
It shone in my heart,
Where it stayed.

Lord,
Sun of Righteousness,
Reign in my soul
All my days;

Then I will share
In your glory:
At one; unafraid.

The dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NLT). 

For you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture (Malachi 4:2; NLT).


References 

Since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering (Romans 8:17; NLT).

Your sun will never set; your moon will not go down. For the LORD will be your everlasting light. Your days of mourning will come to an end (Isaiah 60:20; NLT).

Now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:14; NLT).

Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his presence. Worship the LORD in all his holy splendor (1 Chronicles 16:29; NLT).

Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory (Romans 5:2; 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).

20.12.22: The best I can

Context: I finished writing this prayer-poem on Sunday evening, after a quiet day spent trying to recover from a migraine, which I think has been caused by dose changes in two of my medicines. Yesterday I gave up, and put them both back to where they were last week, in the hope that this might help.

I love you, LORD (Psalm 18:1; NLT). 

God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14; NLT). 

I love you, Lord, the great I AM,
And long to be the best I can.

I want to serve you as I ought:
Please help me to correct each thought.

I want to bless in all I say:
Please help me with each word today.

I dedicate my life to you:
Please help me, Lord, in all I do.

I worship you, the great I AM –
May I become the best I can.

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 

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5; NIV). 

Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NIV). 

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

Worship the Lord your God and serve him only (Luke 4:8; NIV).

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

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

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him (Colossians 3:10; NLT). 

Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy (Ephesians 4:24; 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).


The Rosary Hospital

Slowly, slowly, the hospital is taking off. I’m now receiving orders, have a promise of more broken rosaries, and have bought suitable packing materials for posting rosaries to their new homes. It’s already clear that there is a demand for rosaries for people with sensory issues. Here is one I’ve made for an elderly lady with dementia. It’s not completely finished, but I don’t hurry to cut the cord before I’m ready!

27.11.22: Better than life

Context: Today’s prayer arrived early yesterday morning when I woke at around 4am with a migraine. After taking my medications, I sat propped up in bed, alternately dozing and writing. These verses slowly emerged over the course of the day, finishing late in the evening:

What is sweeter than honey? (Judges 14:18; NLT). 

What’s sweeter than honey,
And choicer than wine?
Higher than knowledge,
And vaster than time?

What’s brighter than sunlight,
And greater than wealth?
Warmer than friendship,
And finer than health?

What’s stronger than sharing,
And deeper than love?
Kinder than giving,
And richer than blood?

What’s wiser than serving,
And dearer than breath?
Simpler than worship,
And closer than death?

What’s better than living,
And makes us all one?
It’s Christ, our salvation,
God’s dearly-loved Son.

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12; NLT).

This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy (2 Peter 1 17; NLT).


References

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 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 3:7; NLT).

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; NLT).

Your unfailing love is better than life itself (Psalm 63:3; NLT).

God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16; NLT).

25.11.22: Silence

Context: The days tend to blur into one with Covid, but there are signs of improvement. Yesterday, my husband made bread, we gratefully received our second batch of online grocery shopping, and I walked about 5o yards down the road, which was as much as I could manage. There was no traffic, and the light, waves and gulls gave a strange, dream-like quality to being out of doors. Afterwards, I was so tired that I fell asleep repeatedly.

Be silent before the Lord (Zechariah 2:13; NLT).

In the silence of my mind,
I praise you, Lord,
Who sets me free.

In the stillness of my heart,
I worship you
Continually.

In the darkness of my soul,
I seek your face
Unceasingly.

In the dying of my flesh,
I thirst
For your eternity.

I lift my hands to you in prayer. I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain (Psalm 143:6; NLT).

I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? (Psalm 42:2; NLT).


Rosary news:

Following help I was given on Wednesday by a religious Sister, I made my first rosary with a centrepiece, which proved to be a game-changer. It’s holding together so far, with cautious, gentle handling:

24.11.22: In my dreams

Context: In dreams, I very rarely say or do anything overtly Christian, which seems both surprising and sad.

Yesterday morning I woke from a complicated, stressful dream, longing to pray. However, even before I could begin, this blog started to arrive. I tried hard to ignore it, which was impossible. It quickly became so loud and insistent that I had to give in, and write it down, like this:

I want to be a Christian
In my dreams,
To turn to you, and pray, Lord,
In my dreams;
To ask for your forgiveness
In my dreams,
Love others, Lord, and serve you –
In my dreams. 

I want to be a Christian
In my dreams,
So I can praise and thank you
In my dreams;
To revel in your presence
In my dreams,
And welcome all that happens –
In my dreams.

I want to be a Christian
In my dreams,
Then I will see your face, Lord,
In my dreams.
I’ll worship without ceasing
In my dreams,
And live in heaven on earth, Lord –
In my dreams.


Rosary news:

Well, since my most recent failure I’ve thought hard about rosary-making, watched some more YouTube videos, talked with my friend in the UK, and had a Zoom consultation with a lovely consecrated Sister who knows her rosaries. Then I threw the (metaphorical) rule-book into the (metaphorical) bin, and put together my own way of doing it, with the following result:

It seems very strong, and I’m tempted to ask my husband to test its joints, but don’t yet feel quite tough enough to deal with the disappointment if it immediately comes apart like the last one. Maybe I’ll ask him tomorrow….

NB: In the end, I plucked up my courage, he tested it, and it’s still in one piece so far!

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:

20.9.22: The source of prayer

Context: Yesterday, I woke and began to pray, as usual. My list of people to pray for was at hand, but it is long, and I was weary of pushing myself to pray for each one in turn. So instead I just opened myself to being led in prayer.

Almost immediately, I received the first line of today’s blog, and wrote it down, then waited quietly, to see what would happen next. This is what I experienced:

The source of prayer is deep within. It comes from God, who lives in every soul (1).

God is our breath, our spirit, and our Saviour (2).

So I allowed God’s Spirit to guide my prayers (3). 

I prayed very simply for those who came to mind, feeling peaceful and unhurried (4).

To my considerable relief, no further insights arose from the dark depths of my unconscious mind. This meant I wouldn’t have to spend the day trying to express something that was difficult to put into words.

After praying for others until no more names appeared, I worshipped in silence until my prayer reached a comfortable, natural ending (5). 

It was bliss (6).


References 

1. You are the temple of the living God (Luke 17:21; NKJV).

Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us (Colossians 3:11; NLT).

Don’t you realise that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16; NLT).

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

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

3. The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-7; NRSV).

4. I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them (1 Timothy 2:1; NLT). 

5. YHWH is in the Holy Temple: let all the earth be silent in God’s presence (Habakkuk 2:20; TIB). 

6. Thou makest me to know the path of life; in Thy presence is fulness of joy, in Thy right hand bliss for evermore (Psalm 16:11; JPS Tanakh 1917). 

God

Context: As soon as I woke and started to pray today, this is what I saw:

  • Only God is worthy to be worshipped by all people, creatures and things.
  • God makes, maintains and ends them all.
  • God lives over, in and through them all.
  • God can never be destroyed.
  • God is the First and the Last: infinite and eternal.
  • God is Love.

Then, as soon as I began to worship, this little prayer arrived:

God:

1. My Father,
And my Mother;

2. Spirit: Sister;
Jesus: Brother;

3. Maker, Shepherd,
Saviour, Lover:

4. You are all;
I want no other.

God will be all in all (1 Corinthians 15:28; TIB).

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


References 

1. You are our mother and father, YHWH; we are the clay and you are the potter, we are all the work of your hands (Isaiah 64:8; TIB). 

2. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister” (Proverbs 7:4; NIV). 

God has revealed this wisdom to us through the Holy Spirit. She searches out all things, even the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:10; TIB). 

Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother (Mark 3:35; NLT). 

3. You cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things (Ecclesiastes 11:5; NIV). 

The Lord is my shepherd (Psalm 23:1; NLT). 

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

My lover is mine and I am his (Song of Songs 2:16; NLT).

4. 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).

God has put all things under Christ’s feet and made Christ, as the ruler of everything, the head of the church, and the church is Christ’s body; it’s the fullness of the One who fills all of creation (Ephesians 1:22; TIB). 

He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Ephesians 1:22; NKJV). 

This is what the Lord says – Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies: “I am the First and the Last; there is no other God” (Isaiah 44:6; NLT). 

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).

Wrapped

Context: This song of praise began to form whilst I was dancing for joy in the shower. When I got out to wrap myself in a large, homely towel, I was able to note it down. It was a pleasure to work on it during a completely unstructured day of rest following my long journey.

Don’t be afraid. Just have faith (Mark 5:36; NLT). 

1. I’m wrapped in faith, in hope and truth;
In praise and peace that never end.

2. I’m wrapped in joy, in thanks and prayer;
In all you give, and take and lend.

3. I’m wrapped in weakness and in strength;
In everything you make and send.

4. I’m wrapped in sickness, life and death;
In all you wound, and break and mend.

5. I’m wrapped in ecstasy and light;
In shadow, and the love of Christ.

I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings (Psalm 63:7; NLT). 

May you experience the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:19; NLT).


References 

1. Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love  (1 Corinthians 13:13; NLT). 

The Spirit is truth (1 John 5:6; NKJV).

The Lord is peace (Judges 6:24; NLT). 

2. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; NIV).

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21; CSB). 

3. My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9; NLT). 

The Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength (Isaiah 26:4; KJV).

He created the earth and everything in it (Isaiah 42:5; NLT).

Everything you have is from God (1 Corinthians 4:7; NLT).

4. He himself sent this sickness (Isaiah 38:15; NLT). 

The LORD gives both death and life (1 Samuel 2:6; NLT).

He breaks the bow and snaps the spear (Psalm 46:9; NLT). 

He breaks the pride of princes (Psalm 76:12; NLT). 

I am the one who wounds and heals (Deuteronomy 32:39; NLT).

5. I became in ecstasy (Acts 22:17; DBY).

Then she was in ecstasy (2 Chronicles 9:4; BST).

God is light (1 John 1:5; NLT).

In his shadow have I rapture (Song of Songs 2:3; DBY). 

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