Snakes and ladders

Introduction

Photo: Barbara Alane

Freely you have received, freely give (Matthew 10:8; NIV).

This little book was first published in 2013, and reflects some of the ups and downs of my spiritual life. Having recently updated it, I’m now delighted to make it available here on my website.

Please feel free to use, copy, print out, or distribute, any of these prayers. If you include my name and a link to my website, other people will be able to find it more easily.

Ruth Kirk
December 2019

Abbreviations

NIV New International Version
NKJV New King James Version
NLT New Living Translation
NRSV New Revised Standard Version

Acknowledgements

My grateful thanks to Dr. Jules Gomes, for suggesting the inclusion of Bible quotes, and for his encouragement; to my husband, John Woodman, for his endless patience and help; to my amazing WordPress teacher, Ber Wayde, for her exceptional skill, kindness and professionalism; and to Sarah Kinch and Elizabeth Ardern-Corris, who supported me throughout this project.


Index

1. Snakes and ladders

2. The pearl

3. Silence

4. Discipleship

5. Help!

6. Stumbling in the dark

7. Conversation with God

8. Death

9. Treasure in heaven

10. I love you

11. Awestruck

12. Darkness and light

13. Seeking God.

14. Serving God

15. Stripped

16. Undeserved love

17. Two tasks

18. Beyond compare

!9. Four short prayers

20. Naked

21. The greatness of God

22. Beyond our understanding

23. Practicing the presence of God

24. Getting things wrong

25. Judging others

26. Ready

27. Personal paradoxes

28. What is love?

29. God who sees me

30. Loss and learning

31. Nothing without God

32. God of gods

33. Wrestling

34. Suffering

35. In prayer

36. Healing

37. When someone hurts me

38. Life

39. Protected by darkness

40. The armour of God


1. Snakes and ladders

Photo: Hans

Lord,
Our spiritual journey
Is like snakes and ladders!

When the path is level
We make progress one step at a time,
Feeling comfortable and safe.

When we reach a ladder,
A flash of revelation propels us
Up into dazzling light.

When we land on a snake,
A bad experience destroys our faith.
We falter, lose our footing,
And pitch headlong
Into the dark.

Yet, whatever happens,
All will be well,
For you are with us:
On level ground,
In dazzling light,
And even in deepest darkness.

Through each experience
You teach us what we need to learn:
About you,
And others,
And about ourselves.

Lord,
Thank you that we are always
In your hands,
No matter how we feel,
Or what we experience
Along the way.

Reference

I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38; NLT).


2. The pearl

Photo: Oliver-eyth

Lord,
Why do you give me insights day after day,
Helping me to shape them into prayers?
Is it for my benefit alone?

Others pursue their busy lives,
But my vocation lies in weariness,
Loss of freedom,
And undesired rest.

Chronic ill-health exacts a heavy price,
But offers a hidden pearl:
The time to pray.

Compelled to pay the price,
I accept it as best I can,
But gladly choose the pearl.

Thank you, Lord,
For this unexpected blessing
Of the life you have assigned to me.

Help me to be contented with my lot,
To grasp the insights you give me,
And to express them clearly
In my prayers.

Perhaps, one day,
Others will find them useful, too.

Reference

The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it (Matthew 13:45-6; NRSV).


3. Silence

Photo: Pasja1000

After praying for others,
Then myself,
I worship quietly.

Slowly, words dwindle,
Thoughts die away,
My breathing slows,
And in a silence beyond words,
Far beyond thought,
I enter your presence,
My Lord and my God.

Here, I absorb your light
And love,
Receive your forgiveness
And healing,
Drink in your strength
And peace.
Here, you show me
All I need to learn.

Father,
My soul is united with yours.
May this moment never end,
For you are all that matters.

My heart belongs to you.
My life is in your hands.
Do with me as you will.

Reference

Be silent before the Sovereign Lord (Zephaniah 1:7; NIV).


4. Discipleship

Photo: Alexas Fotos

Lord,
In all my time as a Christian,
It never crossed my mind
That discipleship is for all of us –
Even me,
Not just for twelve men you chose
Two thousand years ago.

I saw myself as a follower, yes,
On tiptoe at the back of the crowd,
Trying to catch a glimpse of you,
But not as a disciple.

I’m overjoyed to be included,
But sorry and sad
It’s taken me so long to understand.

At last, I’m ready, Lord,
Longing to follow you afresh,
Ready to learn from your example,
Study your teaching,
And put it into practice every day.

Please help me
To grow as a Christian,
Becoming just a little more like you,
So that I, too,
Might serve in our Father’s kingdom.

Jesus,
You are my Lord and my God.
Today I have become
your disciple.

Reference

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


5. Help!

Photo: Tsukiko-Kiyomidzu

Lord,
Forgive and help me!

I’ve squandered my whole life
In ignorance, foolishness and sin.

I looked for you in all the wrong places,
And knew nothing of discipleship.

Now, I hunger for you, Lord:
Please give me the bread of life.

I thirst for you, Lord:
Please give me your living water.

Let me sit at your feet to learn, like Mary,
So I can serve you willingly, like Martha.

Help me to apply your teaching
To all my thoughts, words and deeds.

Help me, I beg you, Lord,
Or I am lost.

Help me to start my life afresh,
Like a little child.

References

The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said (Matthew 15:25; NIV).

The younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living (Luke 15:13; NIV).


6. Stumbling in the dark

Photo: KELLEPICS

Father,
As I try to follow your dear Son,
I stumble in the darkness
Of my ignorance.

Please help me to study
His teaching and example,
So I can see his light more clearly,
And follow in his footsteps.

References

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12; NIV).

Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21; NIV).


7. Conversation with God

Photo: Efes

Prayer is a conversation with God,
But if we never stop talking,
How can we listen for his voice?

Prayer is time spent with God,
But if we never stop thinking,
How can we focus on his presence?

Lord,
Help us to set aside
Our endless thoughts and words,
Just for a while.

Help us to open ourselves to you
In mind, and heart,
And soul.

Help us to wait on you quietly,
Seeking your presence,
And listening for your voice.

References

Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10; NIV).

Be silent before the Sovereign Lord (Zephaniah 1:7; NIV).

Love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him (Deuteronomy 30:20; NIV).


8. Death

Photo: Bild-im-Kasten

Father,

You wait to welcome us home
At the end of our exile.

At the moment of death
You take us in your arms.

We have nothing to fear,
For our lives will be fulfilled

In blissful reunion with you,
And this is Heaven.

References

Into your hands I commit my spirit (Psalm 31:5; NIV).

The spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).

While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him (Luke 15:20; NIV).


9. Treasure in heaven

Photo: Public Domain Pictures

Jesus,
Son of the living God,
We belong to you,
And we worship you.

Your life is the foundation of our faith.
Your teaching lights our way.

Your example is our hidden treasure;
Your words, our precious silver coins.

Your cross is our salvation;
Your rising from the dead, our crown.

Your love is our pearl beyond price,
For you are our hearts’ desire.

Jesus,
Son of the living God,
We belong to you,
And worship you.

References

Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys (Luke 12:33; NIV).

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21; NIV).


10. I love you

Photo:ktphotography

Father, I love you.
I love you so much.

I wish I could shout my praise,
And sing to you at the top of my voice.

I wish I could play wild music,
And beat a drum until it burst.

I wish I could run, and dance,
And turn somersaults of joy.

I wish I could embrace you,
And kiss your feet.

I wish I could hold your hand,
And weep with you for the world.

But I can’t do any of these things, Lord.
I can only worship you

In the stillness and silence
Of my heart.

References

Sing to him a new song; play skilfully and shout for joy (Psalm 33:3; NIV).

David was dancing before the Lord with all his might (2 Samuel 6:14; NIV).


11. Awestruck

Photo: Pacific24

Lord,
You overwhelm me
With your power.

I’m afraid,
Silenced,
Awestruck.

I want to run away,
But cannot move,
And there’s nowhere to hide.

I am nothing.
You are all.
Lord, save me!

Yet, despite my fear,
I love you very much,
And know that you love me.

Therefore,
I dare to worship you,
My God.

References

It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31; NIV).

“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” (Jeremiah 23:24; NIV).

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10; NIV).


12. Darkness and light

Photo: Abel Escobar

Father,
Thank you for being present 
In darkness,
Just as you are in light;

In suffering,
Just as you are in joy;

And in death,
Just as you are in life.

Thank you that beyond death
There is nothing to fear,
For you will welcome me home
At last.

Then I will see your face,
And be forgiven,
Healed,
And reunited with you
For evermore.

References

Darkness is as light to you (Psalm 139:12; NIV).

It is you who light my lamp; the Lord, my God, lights up my darkness (Psalm 18:28; NRSV).


13. Seeking God

Photo: Hans

Father,
I seek your face.
I want to be close to you
All day and all night.

So when I can’t sense your presence,
Or feel your warmth,
Or see your light,
And when you show me nothing
In my prayers,
I am bereft.

I need you, Lord.
My heart cries out to you.
I’m empty without you.
My spirit has no home but you.

Yet I know you never leave me,
Even when I cannot sense your presence,
For you never forsake me:
You love all that you have made.

Lord,
Just knowing you love me is enough.
It satisfies my longing,
And fills my soul with peace.

Reference

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple (Psalm 27:4; NIV).


14. Serving God

Photo: Skeeze

Father,
I can do nothing without you,
So please help me to serve you today.

Give me an opportunity, Lord.
Help me to recognise it,
And to respond immediately.

Show me how to act,
And what to say,
So I can do my best,
For your sake.

Father,
I can do nothing without you,
So please help me to serve you today.

References

Who is my neighbour? (Luke 10:29; NIV).

Serve one another humbly in love (Galatians 5:13; NIV).


15. Stripped

Photo: WikiImages

Father,
As we go through life,
All that we think we have
Is slowly stripped away,
Until there is nothing left
But your love for us,
And our love for you.

As the years pass by,
We lose our youth,
Looks,
And health.

In time, our energy,
Confidence, mobility
And independence
Start to fail.

Dignity, memory
And senses fade,
Until one final breath
Sweeps life itself away.

Then we are released at last,
To be at one with you,
In perfect liberty and joy
For all eternity.

Reference

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised (Job 1:21; NIV).


16. Undeserved love

Photo: Couleur

My dear Father,
Your love for me
Is all that makes me
Acceptable to you.

There is nothing I can do
To deserve,
Or earn,
Your love.

Thank you for loving me
Just as I am.
I love you in return,
With all my heart.

References

He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities (Psalm 103:10; NIV).

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8; NIV).


17. Two tasks

Photo: MikesPhotos

Father,
You have given me two tasks.

The first is to be like your Son,
By offering his love
To all those 
I have contact with today.

The second is to see him in others,
By relating to everyone
I have contact with today
As if they were Christ himself.

Lord,
Thank you for these two tasks.
Please help me to fulfil them
As best I can.

I ask this in his precious name,
Amen.

References

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

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realising it! (Hebrews 13:2; NLT).


18. Beyond compare

Photo: paulbr75

Living God,
Our heavenly Father,
None can compare with you.

You are love
And light –
A God of peace.

You are jealous, awesome,
A consuming fire;
A God who avenges.

You are near, forgiving,
Merciful and patient,
Just, faithful and upright.

You are to be feared,
Great, mighty,
And strong.

You are worthy of praise.
You perform miracles.
You comfort and heal.

You are gracious,
Full of compassion,
And slow to anger.

You are impartial, eternal,
And righteous,
Truthful, powerful, unchanging.

You bear our burdens,
And rescue us from death,
For you are our Saviour.

You are Spirit:
Good, holy,
And perfect.

Living God,
Our heavenly Father,
None can compare with you.

Reference

None can compare with you (Psalm 40:5; NIV).


19. Four short prayers

Photo: jplenio

1. Lord,
I am your blade of grass,
Your drop of water,
Your grain of sand,
Your speck of dust.
I am your willing servant:
Do with me as you will.

2. Father,
I am frail and feeble,
Weak and tired,
Sick and fragile,
Flawed and sinful,
Yet I long to serve you:
Please help me.

3. Lord,
Please overlook
My sins,
My ignorance,
And insignificance.
Please overlook
Everything about me,
Except that you made me,
And I belong to you.

4. Father,
Thank you for showing me
That whilst steady progress is good,
And revelations can be life-changing,
Times of darkness are essential
For our spiritual growth.


20. Naked

Photo: falco

Father,
As always,
I am naked
And ashamed
Before you.

There is nothing
I can hide from you.

Please transform me.

Forgive my sins;
Heal me in body and mind,
In heart and soul,

Till I become
More like your Son.

I ask this
In his precious name,
Amen.

References

The Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Genesis 3:9-10; NIV).

You, God, know my folly; my guilt is not hidden from you (Psalm 69:5; NIV).

The tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13; NIV).


21. The greatness of God

Photo: lumina_obscura

My Father,
How great you are!

My mind is too limited
To gauge your strength;

My heart, too narrow
To grasp your love;

And my frame, too weak
To stand before you.

Yet my soul rejoices,
For I belong to you.

I’m part of you,
And nothing can divide me
From your love.

My Lord and my God,
I worship your holy name.

References

How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you (2 Samuel 7:22; NIV).

Holy is his name (Luke 1:49; NIV).


22. Beyond our understanding

Photo: Manuchi

Living God,
Our heavenly Father,
You are far beyond our understanding.

There is no God but you.
You are not human,
Nor are you served by human hands.

You are not mortal,
So you will never die.

You are not the God of the dead,
But of the living,
For to you all are alive.

You’re not unjust.
You never lie,
Or change your mind.
You are not slow to keep your promises.

In you there is no darkness
Or wickedness at all,
For you are not a God of disorder,
But of peace.

You never forget the needy,
Or leave us,
Or forsake us,
For you are not far from any one of us.

Living God,
Our heavenly Father,
You are far beyond our understanding.

Reference

How great is God – beyond our understanding! (Job 36:26; NIV).


23. Practicing the presence of God

Photo: F1Digitals

My dear Father,
Please help me
To practice your presence
All day and all night.

Help me to seek you,
Love you,
Worship you,
Thank you,
Praise you,
And serve you,
All day and all night.

That’s all I ask!

In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

References

I keep the Lord always before me (Psalm 16:8; NRSV).

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night (Psalm 63:6; NIV).

Evening and morning and at noon I will pray (Psalm 55:17; NKJV).

When I awake, I am still with you (Psalm 139:18; NIV).


24. Getting things wrong

Photo: aitoff

Father,
I’m sorry I often get things wrong.

Sometimes I walk by
When I should have lent a hand,
Or intrude
When I should have held back.

Sometimes I speak clumsily
When I should have stayed silent,
Or say nothing
When I should have offered comfort.

Sometimes I get angry
When I should have been patient,
Or fail to confront a problem
When I should have spoken out.

Lord,
It’s hard to get everything right.
Please help me
As I do my best to learn.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

References

We all make many mistakes (James 3:2; NLT).

Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard (Romans 3:23; NLT).


25. Judging others

Photo: geralt

Father,
You know my thoughts
Before I know them myself.

You know exactly
How foolish,
Judgemental,
Critical,
Prejudiced,
And arrogant
I can be.

Help me to notice
Each unkind thought,
So I can take it captive,
Whisper, “Sorry, Lord”,
And dismiss it straight away.

Then, help me
To replace it
With a prayer
For those concerned.

References

You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgement seat (Romans 14:10; NIV).

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

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2; NIV).


26. Ready

Photo: geralt

Father,
Thank you for loving me.

Thank you for my faith,
For I am nothing without you.

You give to me, and you take away.
Blessed is your holy name.

Whatever your will for me,
I accept it.

While you want me to live,
I will live for you.

When you want me to die,
I will die for you.

At death,
I will reunite with you at last.

Thank you, Lord, for loving me,
In life, in death, and for eternity.

References

In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind (Job 12:10; NIV).

If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord (Romans 14:8; NIV).

I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands (Psalm 31:14-15; NIV).

The spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).


27. Personal paradoxes

Photo: Myriams-Fotos

Lord,
You know how hard I try to serve you,
Yet how often I mess things up.

You know how low my self-esteem is,
Yet how grandiose my thoughts can be.

You know how lacking in confidence I am,
Yet how hard I try to be brave.

You know how little I achieve,
Yet how I long to impress.

You know how much I want to love people,
Yet how judgemental I can feel.

You know how patient I’d like to be,
Yet how irritable I get when I’m tired.

You know how honest I try to be,
Yet how deeply I can delude myself.

Father,
You know me completely,
Yet still you love me.

Thank you for loving even me.

Through Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Reference

All those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all those who humble themselves will be exalted (Luke 18:14; NIV).


28. What is love?

Photo: belajatiraihanfahrizi

My dear Father,
Thank you that love is
A carefully considered strategy,
An attitude of mind,
An act of will,
A settled intention of the heart,
A readiness to serve,
A practical action,
A delight in giving –
And not an emotion.

References

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8; NIV).

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-8; NIV).

Love is patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:4; NLT).


29. God who sees me

Photo: Pexels

Father,
You know all about me.

As I limp towards your kingdom, full of shame,
You watch over me every step of the way.

You see me just as I am,
Yet still you love me.

You see my wretched history
Of anxiety and depression;

My pitiful fear of angry people;
My spiritual poverty and barrenness;

My blindness,
And my ignorance;

My vulnerability, my weakness,
And my sins.

Lord, you see me,
And know all about me.

Thank you for loving me
And watching over me
Every step of the way,
As I limp towards your kingdom.

References

You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked (Revelation 3:17; NIV).

You, God, know my folly; my guilt is not hidden from you (Psalm 69:5; NIV).

You are the God who sees me (Genesis 16:13; NIV).


30. Loss and learning

Photo: 5598375

Lord,
Thank you for all you have given to me,
And for all you have taken away.

Thank you for all you have left to me,
And for all I have learned.

May I use everything you have left to me,
And everything I have learned,
To help others
And to serve your kingdom.

References

Give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20; NLT).

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised (Job 1:21; NIV).

Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? (Job 2:10; NIV).


31. Nothing without God

Photo: raheel9630

Lord,
You are more important
Than our food, drink, or clothes;

More important
Than our jobs, houses, or cars,
And how much money we have;

Much more important
Than how clever, powerful, or beautiful
We think we are;

Even more important
Than our partners, children,
Families and friends –

For you are all that matters, Lord,
And without you
We are nothing at all.

References

Their god is their stomach (Philippians 3:19; NIV).

The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10; NIV).

Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions (Luke 12:15; NRSV).

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7; NIV).


32. God of gods

Photo: Skitterphoto

God of gods,
You are beyond my understanding,
But you are not far away.

Encouraged by your love,
I dare to call your name,
And seek your face.

Help me to withdraw from the world
For a time,
To be silent and still
In body and mind,
In heart and soul,
So I can reach out to you.

Take my hand
As I close my eyes
To enter the darkness
All around you.

Comfort me
When I’m overwhelmed there
By my fears,
And by your love.

Then, despite my utter insignificance,
Help me to listen for your voice,
Grasp what you want me to learn,
And worship you with every atom of my being,
God of gods.

References

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always (1 Chronicles 16:11; NIV).

Clouds and thick darkness surround him (Psalm 97:2; NIV).


33. Wrestling

Photo: above top secret.com

Lord,
When you reveal yourself
Through paradox,
We struggle to understand.

You are light,
Yet you shroud yourself in darkness.

You are invisible,
Yet you are a raging fire.

You are not human,
Yet you make us in your image.

Your Son taught us
Not to practice righteousness in public,
Yet he also said
We should let our light shine before others,
So they can see our good deeds.

He blessed those who make peace,
Telling us not to resist violence
And to turn the other cheek,
Yet he came to bring
Not peace, but deep division.

He said to his disciples:
Whoever is not against you is for you;
Yet also said:
Whoever is not with me is against me.

He praised the meek and merciful,
Teaching us to forgive our enemies,
Yet he drove the money-changers
And dove-sellers from the temple
With a whip of his own making,
Overturning their tables,
And scattering their possessions in the dirt.

The coming of your Holy Spirit
Is gentler than the touch of a dove’s wing,
Yet her impact is more powerful than an earthquake
Or a lightening strike,
Turning lives upside down.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
You are Three,
Yet you are One,
And this is the deepest mystery of all.

Lord,
We wrestle with these contradictions
In the darkness of our lives,
Sensing you only dimly,
Indistinctly,
And in part;

But beyond death
We will see you face to face –

Then, we will fully know
And understand you,
Just as you fully know
And understand us, now.

References

Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak (Genesis 32:24; NIV).

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12; NRSV).


34. Suffering

Photo: djedj

Father,
Without you
Suffering is meaningless,
And has no purpose.

We face it with stoicism,
Self-pity, denial,
Anger, bitterness, or bravery,
According to our nature.

But with you,
Suffering builds patience,
Character, and hope.

It helps us to offer
Love and understanding
To those who suffer alongside us.

It teaches us to care for them,
Listen to them,
Support them,
And pray for them –

For this is the meaning
And purpose
To be found
In suffering.

References

Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope (Romans 5:3-4; NRSV).

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28; NIV).


35. In prayer

Photo: FlorenceD-pix

In prayer,
I pour out my concerns to God:

Troubled friends, the sick, the world,
My hunger for healing –
Everything spills out.
He understands.

After a time,
The flood slows down,
Until there is nothing else to ask for,
Nothing left to say.

Next comes a stillness
That grows
Into a single point
Of silent worship.

Then there is nothing
But the radiance
Of God’s presence,
And I can only whisper:

My Father,
Oh, my Father,
My dear Father,
How great you are!

Reference

When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words (Matthew 6:7; NIV).


36. Healing

Photo: Edwin Andrade

Father,
I’m so tired of being ill.

If I could touch your robe,
I would be healed,
But your Son is the only one who sees you,
So what hope is there for me?

Perhaps an angel could take my hand,
Guide me through the darkness surrounding you,
Cover my eyes, to save them from your blinding light,
Shield me from destruction by your raging fire,
And lead me safely to your awesome presence.

Then, I could fall on my knees before you,
Touch the hem of your garment,
And be healed.

But I dare not ask this, Lord,
Let alone presume to approach you;

And how could I plead for myself alone,
When millions suffer so much more?

Instead,
I beg you to cover the whole earth
With your mantle,
So it touches every one of us,
Healing us all in body and mind, Lord God,
In heart and soul.

References

She thought, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed” (Matthew 9:21; NLT).

Spread your protection over them (Psalm 5:11; NIV).


37. When someone hurts me

Photo: geralt

Father,
When a fellow Christian hurts me,
I get anxious and depressed.
If I can’t forget it and move on,
What should I do?

Ah! Jesus said:
If another member of the church sins against you,
Go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone.

But I can’t do that!
It’s too difficult, too risky.
Even thinking about it fills me with dread!

Lord,
Give me the confidence
To talk privately to those who hurt me,
Speaking to them with honesty and love.

Help me to repair
Each damaged relationship
Without allotting blame,
Or leaving my distress to harden
Into resentment, anger, bitterness,
Dislike, or fear.

Help me to forgive all those who hurt me,
And to remember that no one is truly perfect,
Except you.

Reference

If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone (Matthew 18:15; NRSV).


38. Life

Photo: Inspiredimages

Life means enjoying good things,
Sometimes even taking them for granted,
Then having to let go
Of what we did not want to lose.

It means struggling
To accept our losses,
And slowly learning to be contented
With our lot.

Lord,
May we help each other
To face life’s deprivations
Without letting go of you,
Just as you never let go of us.

References

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised (Job 1:21; NIV).

The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul (Deuteronomy 13:3; NIV).


39. Protected by darkness

Photo: geralt

Father,
Thank you
That the clouds
And thick darkness
Surrounding you,
Protect us,
Your frail children,
From being blinded
By the brilliance
Of your light,
And consumed
By your raging fire.

How merciful you are!

References

God is light; in him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5; NIV).

He made darkness his covering around him (Psalm 18:11; NRSV).

He alone can never die, and he lives in light so brilliant that no human eye has ever seen him (1 Timothy 6:16; NLT).

The Lord your God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; NIV).


40. The armour of God

Photo: Free-Photos

Father,
It’s time to put on your armour again.
May it strengthen me to face
Whatever today will bring.

May your belt of truth
Give me courage
To speak with honesty
And love.

May your breastplate of righteousness
Protect the love for you
That burns 
In my fragile heart.

May your sandals of readiness
Guide me to those
Who long to hear
The gospel of peace.

May your shield of faith
Repel all physical,
Emotional,
And spiritual attacks.

May your helmet of salvation
Defend me from doubt, anxiety, panic,
Self-pity, depression,
And despair.

May the sword of your Spirit
Warn me of danger,
And fight for me
Day and night.

Lord,
Help me to stay alert,
Always aware of your presence,
Listening for your voice,
Following the example of your Son,
Seeing you in everyone I meet,
And praying continually in the Spirit.

Thank you for helping me
To put on your armour.
I’m ready now
To face whatever today will bring.

† I ask all this in your glorious name,
In the name of your beloved Son,
And in the name of your Holy Spirit,

Amen.

References

Put on the full armour of God (Ephesians 6:13; NIV).

Pray in the Spirit at all times (Ephesians 6:18; NRSV).

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