light, fire, love, peace, prayer, faith, contemplation, God,

May we grow like your Son

 

Lord,
May we grow like your Son,
So we reflect your light;
Then we will shine, so others glimpse
Your joy, and your delight.

Lord,
May we grow like your Son,
So we reflect your fire;
Then we will burn to spread your word
To all, as you desire.

Lord,
May we grow like your Son,
So we reflect your truth.
Then we will speak as Jesus did,
Though we may be rebuked.

Lord,
May we grow like your Son,
So we reflect your peace;
Then we will serve as Jesus did,
And your realm will increase.

Lord,
May we grow like your Son,
So we reflect your love;
Then we will live for you, till we unite
In heaven above.

 

References

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

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

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

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

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

God is love (1 John 4:16; NLT).

The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).

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Speak to us

 

Speak to us in silence, Lord,
So we may hear your voice.

Speak to us in stillness, Lord,
So we may know your will.

Speak to us in solitude,
So we may share your love.

Speak to us in darkness, Lord,
So we may serve you still.

 

References

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

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

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

Not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42; NIV).

He [Jesus] left in a boat to a remote area to be alone (Matthew 14:13; NLT).

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

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

You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him (Luke 4:8; NLT).

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Balance

 

May I find the balance, Lord,
As I relate to you –
To speak, but also listen,
For we are not one, but two.

May I talk things through with you,
As we share every day;
Then spend a while in silence 
When there’s nothing more to say.

Thus, may we live together,
Dearest Father, Spirit, Son, 
Rejoicing in communion –
For we are not two, but one. 

 

References 

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).

As for me, I would speak directly to the Almighty (Job 13:3; NL).

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

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

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

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

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2 Corinthians 13:14; NKJV).

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

 

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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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Wherever we are

Wherever we are
You’re with us, Lord;
Whatever we do, 
You’re there.
Wherever we go, 
You stay with us, 
For we are one, 
In prayer.

Whenever we speak, 
You hear us, Lord;
Whatever we feel, 
You care.
Whenever we ask,
You talk to us,
For we are one, 
In prayer. 

Whoever we meet, 
You help us, Lord;
Whatever we fear, 
You dare.
Whatever we lose, 
You comfort us, 
For we are one, 
In prayer.

Whatever we think, 
You love us, Lord;
Whatever we face, 
You share. 
Whoever we are, 
We’re one with you,
When we remain 
In prayer. 

 

References 

I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me (Psalm 139:7-10; NLT).

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

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us (1 John 5:14; NIV).

In your strength I can crush an army (2 Samuel 22:30; NLT).

He comforts us in all our troubles (2 Corinthians 1:4; NIV).

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

In all their suffering he also suffered (Isaiah 63:9; NLT).

Remain in me, and I will remain in you (John 15:4; NLT). 

Pray continually (1Thessalonians 5:17; NIV).

 

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Constant prayer

With many thanks to Peter Johnston
for his inspirational words. 

 

May I live in you
Through constant prayer:
Resting, waking, working, Lord,
With you.

May I live in you
Through constant prayer:
Listening, speaking, serving, Lord, 
With you.

May I live in you
Through constant prayer:
Trying, struggling, failing, Lord, 
With you. 

May I live in you
Through constant prayer:
Suffering, fretting, waiting, Lord,
With you.

May I live in you
Through constant prayer:
Forever reuniting, Lord, 
With you. 

 

References

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

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

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

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Everything you make

 

Lord,
You shine
On everything you make,
And everything you make
Reflects your light.           

Lord, 
You kindle
Everything you make,
And everything you make    
Burns with your fire. 

Lord,
You breathe
On everything you make,
And everything you make
Exhales your peace.

Lord,
You speak 
Through everything you make,
And everything you make
Declares your truth. 

Lord,
You care 
For everything you make,
And everything you make
Reveals your love. 

Lord,
You dwell
In everything you make,
And everything you make
Depends on you.

 

References

God is light (1 John 1:5; NLT). 

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

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

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

God is love (1 John 4:16; NLT).

There is one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all (Ephesians 4:5-6; NLT).

They all depend on you (Psalm 104:27; NLT).

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