Faith, hope, love, God, Prayer

I long for you

 

I long for you,
And find you
In the Bible.

I long for you,
And find you, Lord,
In prayer.

I long for you,
And find you
In Communion.

I long for you,
And find you
Everywhere.

 

References

I long for you, O God (Psalm 42:1; NLT).

Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself (Luke 24:27; NLT).

What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him? (Deuteronomy 4:7; NIV).

He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:19-20; NIV).

There is one Lord […] who is over all and in all and living through all (Ephesians 4:5-6; NLT).

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May I wake

 

Lord,
May I wake with a prayer on my lips,
And rise with a prayer in my mind,
For you are the giver of faith, hope, and love,
My Father, eternally kind.

Lord,
May I live with a prayer on my lips,
And work with a prayer in my heart,
For you are my fortress, my strength, and my rock,
And so we are never apart.

Lord,
May I serve with a prayer on my lips,
And rest with a prayer in my soul,
For you are the giver of infinite life,
And your sacrifice, Lord, makes me whole.

 

References

How kind the Lord is! (Psalm 116:4; NLT)

Three things will last forever — faith, hope and love — and the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13; NLT).

The Lord is my rock, my fortress (2 Samuel 22:2; NLT).

The Lord is my strength (Exodus 15:2; NLT).

The Lord is always with me (Psalm 16:8; NLT).

The free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23; NLT).

Upon him was the punishment that made us whole (Isaiah 53:5; NRSV).

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With constant praise

 

Lord,
With constant praise and thanks, 
May I rejoice in you today.

Lord,
With steady faith and hope,
May I delight in you today. 

Lord, 
With ceaseless awe and trust, 
May I exult in you today.

Lord,
With steadfast love and prayer, 
May I serve you, throughout today. 

 

References

Praise him, you who serve the Lord (Psalm 135;1; NLT). 

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

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

Take delight in the Lord (Psalm 37:4; NLT).

Trust in God (John 14:1; NLT).

Exult in his holy name (Psalm 105:3; NLT).

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind (Luke 10:27; NLT).

Fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly (Joshua 24:14; NLT).

 

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Prayer: five steps toward God

 

Introduction

God gives us prayer so that we can communicate with him, and he with us. There are five main ways of praying:

Speaking: Using words to talk to God. 

Listening: Being silent, so we can hear God’s voice.

Conversing: Having an ongoing, two-way dialogue with God.

Communing: Letting words go, dwelling in God’s presence.

Uniting: Experiencing oneness with God.

Each of these ways of praying has its part to play in helping us draw closer to God. They form a series of steps towards him, through which our relationship gradually becomes more intimate. Let’s consider them briefly, one at a time.

 

1. Speaking 

We begin with the most basic kind of prayer: speaking. Here we use words, either aloud, or in our heads, to talk to God. In this way, we can, for example, praise or thank him, ask for his help or forgiveness, pray for others, and forgive those who hurt us. Spoken prayers may be very brief, whilst we are busy, or longer, during times set aside for the purpose. Spoken prayers can also be shared with other people, for example, at home, with friends, online, or during church services.

With practice, we can develop the habit of speaking to God fairly constantly whilst going about our daily lives. This helps us to become aware of, and to share with him, the stream of unbidden thoughts, temptations, emotions and fantasies which continually rise into consciousness from our shadow selves. Only by recognising these aspects of ourselves can we incorporate them into our spoken prayers, and share them honestly with God, as he desires.

However, although there is a lot to be learned about ourselves through spoken prayer, we will not discover much about God if we do all the talking. So, in order to progress towards a deeper relationship with him, we must add the second step, by beginning to listen. 

 

2. Listening 

Learning to listen to God means setting aside time to be alone with him, in silence and stillness. During these periods we practice fixing our minds, hearts and souls on him as steadily as possible. Keeping our own words to a minimum, we wait to discover what he wants to say to us. This process is often known as contemplation.

As we listen for God’s voice, our internal stream of thoughts, feelings and fantasies inevitably continues. I have already written about how we can handle these aspects of ourselves, some of which can be very challenging. If you would like to read the relevant posting, please click on this link: https://wp.me/p45bCr-3F9

 

3. Conversing

Over time, the twin processes of talking and listening to God evolve into an ongoing, two-way conversation, and this forms our third step towards him. Day and night we are, to a greater or lesser extent, aware of his presence, and our dialogue continues, no matter what else is happening around us. 

 

4. Communing 

As our relationship with God deepens though this constant conversation, we reach the next step in prayer: communing. This is the point at which words become inadequate, and unnecessary. Letting them go, we pass beyond them to spend time with God in silent togetherness. To begin with, this is most likely to happen during contemplation, but as we progress, it can occur at any time, as long as we remain aware of God’s presence.

 

5. Uniting

Beyond the stage of togetherness, there is one more step we can take during our time on earth. Here we unite with God, experiencing an indescribable oneness with him, though of course, we are always one with God, whether we are aware of it or not. In life, we generally have to return to the demands of everyday life after each such experience. After death, however, this state is changeless, timeless, and eternal.

 

Conclusion

Although they can be separately described, these five ways of praying work best in combination. As each new step is combined with those that came before, our intimacy with God becomes broader, deeper, more honest, and more continuous. This, I believe, is what Saint Paul was referring to when he encouraged us to “Pray constantly.”

 

References 

Pray about everything. Tell God what you need (Philippians 4:6; NLT).

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

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

Listen to his voice (Deuteronomy 13:4; NLT). 

When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private (Matthew 6:6; NLT).

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

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him (Psalm 37:7; NIV).

After the fire [came] a still small voice (1 Kings 19:12; NKJV).

God talks with man (Deuteronomy 5:24; DBY).

You are close beside me (Psalm 23:4; NLT).

Whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17; NIV).

Pray constantly (1 Thessalonians 5:17; RSV).

 

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Inner peace

Lord,

We long so much 
For inner peace, 
But how is this great treasure 
To be won?

It’s learned through growing
More and more like Jesus;
It’s gained by always following
Your Son.

For inner peace is found 
Through saying sorry
When we hurt other people –
As we will,

And always, Lord, forgiving 
Those who hurt us,
Even when this seems
A bitter pill.

Peace also grows through
Being kind to others,
Always glad to walk 
The extra mile;

And also, Lord, through loving 
Those who hate us, 
And praying for them daily,
With a smile.

In sum, we will find inner peace 
Through love, Lord,
By serving you in others
Every day;

Rejoicing in your presence
Deep within us,
And always making time to praise,
And pray. 

 

References 

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand (Philippians 4:7; NLT).

I will give you treasures hidden in darkness – secret riches (Isaiah 45:3; NLT).

The Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him (2 Corinthians 3:18; NLT).

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said (Matthew 4:19; NIV).

If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift (Matthew 5:23-4; NIV). 

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us (Luke 11:4; NLT).

A servant of the Lord […] must be kind to everyone (2 Timothy 2:24; NLT). 

If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles (Matthew 5:41; NIV).

Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! (Matthew 5:44; NLT).

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

You are the temple of the living God (2 Corinthians 6:16; NLT).

Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances (1Th 5:16-18; NIV).

 

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Love and prayer

 

Lord,
With constant praise and thanks,
May I rejoice in you today.

Lord,
With steady faith and hope,
May I delight in you today.

Lord,
With ceaseless awe and trust,
May I exult in you today.

Thus,
With steadfast love and prayer,
May I serve you, throughout today.

 

References

Praise him, you who serve the Lord (Psalm 135;1; NLT). 

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

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

Take delight in the Lord (Psalm 37:4; NLT).

Trust in God (John 14:1; NLT).

Exult in his holy name (Psalm 105:3; NLT).

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind (Luke 10:27; NLT).

Fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly (Joshua 24:14; NLT).

 

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Interruptions

When someone “interrupts”
Our prayer

It doesn’t have to end, Lord,
Then and there, 

For our response,
Through what we say and do, 

Continues, Father God, 
Our prayer to you.

 

References

Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. Later Simon and the others went out to find him. When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you” (Mark 1:35-7; NLT). 
Never stop praying (1 Thessalonians 5:17; NIV).
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