Faith, hope, love, God, Lent, Prayer

How I love you!

Father, my Creator, 
How I love you!
Help me as I worship you 
Today. 

Mary, my Protector, 
How I love you! 
Help me to thank God, 
Rejoice, and pray. 

Jesus, my Redeemer, 
How I love you!
Help me to serve in thought, 
And word, and deed. 

Spirit, my Companion,
How I love you!
Quicken my soul, Lord, 
Whispering, “Godspeed!”

 

References

Worship the Lord in the splendour of his holiness (Psalm 29:2; NLT).

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

Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else (Mark 9:35; NLT).

Quicken me in thy way (Romans 119:37; DBY).

Look forward to the day of God and speed its coming (2 Peter 3:12; NIV).

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May I live in your presence

May I live in your presence, Lord,
By praying night and day;
Then I will trust in God, like you,
Rejoicing in his way. 

May I live in your presence, Lord, 
By walking at your side;
Then I will speak the truth, like you,  
And constantly confide. 

May I live in your presence, Lord, 
By sitting at your feet;
Then I’ll increase in wisdom, Lord,
For all your words are sweet. 

May I live in your presence, Lord,
By kneeling at your cross;
Then I will grow in love, like you,
For all else, Lord, is dross. 

 

References 

They will pray day and night, continually (Isaiah 62:6; NLT).

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him (Matthew 9:9; NLT).

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

Mary sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught (Luke 10:39; NLT).

How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey (Psalm 119:24; NLT).

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-3; NRSV).

He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross (Malachi 3:3; NLT).

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When we do all the talking

Father God,

When we 
Do all the talking 
During prayer,

It’s easy 
To confuse our will 
With yours.

Only when we listen, Lord,
In silence 
For your voice

Can we hear
The gentle words
Our speech obscures.

 

References 

When you pray, don’t babble on (Matthew 6:7; NLT).

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

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

If only you would listen to his voice today! (Psalm 95:7; NLT).

After the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12; NLT).

Then you will learn to know God’s will for you Romans 12:2; NLT). 

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Letting go and speaking out

If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also (Matthew 5:39; NLT).

If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them, and if they repent, forgive them (Luke 17:3; NIV).

 

I have always been puzzled by these two apparently contradictory teachings of Jesus. The first suggests we should silently respond to being hurt with acceptance and forgiveness. It includes no suggestion that further action is needed in order to restore the relationship.  

The second saying, on the other hand, indicates that we should respond to being hurt by approaching the person concerned, speaking out about how we have been affected, and expecting an apology in order to be reconciled.

For many years, I have wondered how to distinguish between the concerns I can let go, as in the first quotation, and those I need to address with the person concerned, as in the second. Today’s blog summarises what I have learned.

When I have an issue with someone, but believe it’s mainly about me, not them, I begin by dealing with it internally, through prayer. For example, if someone has hurt me, I say nothing, and work to forgive them. Then I try to let the matter go.

However, if the issue continues to nag at my mind, stirring up negative emotions, this tells me I need to address it directly with the person concerned. 

Constant awareness of my feelings enables me to decide how, and when, to address each issue, rather than allowing matters to fester at the back of my mind. Starting the resolution process by contacting the other person and explaining the issue straightforwardly, is, in itself, a great relief. Once such action becomes necessary, there is no substitute for speaking the truth in love, using whatever means of communication seems most appropriate. 

Whatever the final outcome, being able to raise difficult matters directly is a very significant part of our life-long process of inner healing and emotional maturation. So, when letting go doesn’t work, the way forward is to speak the truth in love. This is how I work to restore my peace of mind, and build a genuine connection with those who hurt me. 

 

References 

Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing (Luke 23:34; NLT).

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

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Grace before food, drink, or medication

I pray for those, Lord God,  
Who have sufficient.

I pray for those, Lord God, 
Whose means are small.

I pray for those, Lord God,
With very little;

And I pray for those 
With nothing, Lord, at all. 

 

References

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. Do this to remember me” (Luke 22:19; NLT). 

He took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them […] And he said to them, “This is my blood” (Mark 14:23-4; NLT).

 

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Never stop praying

If you never stop praying,
With nothing concealed,
And confess all your failings
Your mind will be healed.

If you thank God unceasingly,
Love without end,
And worship him gladly
Your heartache will mend.     

If you’re always rejoicing,
Forgiving each wrong,
And asking God’s mercy
Your soul will grow strong. 

So, live in his presence, 
Commune day and night,    
Then you will eternally
Walk in his light.

 

References 

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; NLT).

The godly will live in your presence (Psalm 140:13; NLT).

She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshipping God with fasting and prayer (Luke 2:36-7; NLT).

Blessed are those […] who walk in the light of your presence, Lord (Psalm 89:15; NIV).

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Keep on praying

When I lose my way to you completely,
May I keep on praying, Lord, 
With faith. 

When I lose my faith in you completely,
May I keep on praying, Lord, 
With hope.

When I lose my sense of hope completely,
May I keep on praying, Lord, 
With trust.

And when I lose my trust in you completely,
May I keep on praying, Lord, 
With love.

 

References

They have lost their way (Jeremiah 50:6; NLT).

Keep on praying (Romans 12:12; NIV).

Have faith in God (Mark 11:22; NLT).

I will put my hope in God (Psalm 42:5; NLT).

If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord (Isaiah 50:10; NLT).

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).

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