Monday Prayers

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Father God,

Empower us to love one another

For love comes from You

You are love in every form

When we love we are truly born of You

When we love

We are conformed and transformed

Into Your image

We honour You for how You showed Your love to us

For sending Your one and only Son

To this wicked and desperate Earth

That we might live through Him

This is love

Not that we loved You

But that You loved us

And made a way out of sin

Into wholeness and righteousness

Help us to love each other until we see Christ

Until His love is made complete in us

Let Your perfect love drive out fear

Make us perfect in the knowledge of Your love

We can love

Because You first loved us

We long to know and rely

On the love You have for us

Amen.

1 John 4 v 7-19

 

 

2014 -Simplicity of Heart

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‘One moment your life is a stone in you, and the next, a star.’– Rainer Maria Rilke

As I look back on the year 2013 I see a year filled with opportunity, uncertainty, pain, hard lessons, confusion, misunderstanding, feeling misunderstood and towards the end- being totally blindsided by love.

In the economy of God, a wounded heart coupled with pain and confusion can be swiftly transformed into a heart learning to embrace and enjoy love again. God is simply good to us. He never has an ‘off’ day, never misunderstands our hearts but knows the deep motivations and desires that drive us.

Simplicity is something I plan to focus on this year. I refuse to complicate following Jesus anymore. It is either true that if we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord then we are saved… or it isn’t. It is either true that the work of God is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ… or it isn’t. God’s written word and the assurance of His Spirit remind me continually that this is indeed true.

If this is truth, then I want to live according to the simplicity of this Gospel. To not create complexities where there are none, to avoid putting up unnecessary barriers and hoops to jump through for those who would seek to know the living God.

‘But alas for you, you scribes and Pharisees, play actors that you are! You lock the doors of the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces; you will not go in yourselves neither will you allow those at the door to go inside…’– (Matthew 23 v 13)

I believe God loves simplicity, after all, He chooses to reveal His greatest mysteries to the simple over the ones who consider themselves wise (Matthew 11 v 25-26).

My goal this year is to keep my life simple, without unfounded restriction or limitation, without falsehood or show. I desire to love God and others with a simplicity that puts others at ease, makes them feel valued and seen. Cooking meals, showing hospitality, remembering birthdays, remembering to send cards…

Making that phone call to see how friends are, preferring to listen rather than rushing to speak my mind. Honouring God through creativity, building relationships, spending time with the one I love just because…

As God’s eyes roam to and fro about the Earth I don’t want to be found judging others by my own religious standards, or declaring my own criteria for those who are pleasing to God and those who are not. God forbid.

To take a lesson from light; we don’t need to fight the darkness we just shine the light and darkness flees.

I want to be found simply enjoying Jesus; admiring and imitating Him and not anyone else.

I want to be found using the gifts He has given me; doing what I can to spread the fragrance of life which leads to life and extending His kingdom.

I want to be found reading His word and believing it.

Living simply is not a matter of disengaging our brains. It is not a matter of limiting our knowledge or settling into mediocrity. It is a conscious focusing of our minds on what really matters in the grand scheme of life, on what really matters to God.

Living simply for me means not bowing to the expectations of others, resisting the need to please people and checking out my heart with God on a regular basis. We can check our hearts with God without fear as He understands us completely and created us just how He wanted us- He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.

You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken
Great are You, Lord

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only

All the earth will shout Your praise
Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing
Great are You, Lord

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qUOHjnDIFs

Monday Prayers

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Father God,

We thank You for giving us eternal life

For the ability to know You

The only true God

And Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

May Your Son Jesus be glorified across the Earth

Father protect us

By the power of Your name

Make us, Your followers, one

As You are one

Protect us from the evil one

Sanctify us by Your truth

Your word is truth.

You in us, us in You

Bring us into complete unity

Into manifest love

So that the world will know

We belong to You

We long to see Your glory.

In the name of Jesus (Messiah), Amen.

-John 17 

Monday Prayers

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Father God,

You know the end from the beginning

Nothing takes You by surprise

You exist in the eternal realm

And are not held by the hands of time

We ask You to keep us centred on truth

Keep us from cowering in fear when we hear of wars

And rumours of wars

When nation rises against nation

Kingdom against kingdom

In the face of famines and earthquakes

In various places

The beginning of birth pains on the Earth

May we remain steadfast, immovable

Abounding in Your work Lord

When persecution arises

May we not turn away from our faith

Or hate each other

Or betray one another

When the love of many grows cold

Because of the increase of wickedness

In the world

We ask this above all else…

Ignite our hearts to love, love, love

And in this love

 Stand firm to the end

In the name of Jesus (Messiah), Amen.

Matthew 24 v 4- 12 

We Are Being Followed

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‘Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life…’- Psalm 23 v 6

I am making a conscious effort to declare the whole of Psalm 23 over my life on a regular basis in this season. By declare I mean to read it, read it out loud and then declare it vocally into the spiritual atmosphere with faith and certainty. Declaring Gods word feels wonderful, as if my spirit is somehow being fed something wholesome and good. Speaking His word out loud also helps to override those negative and distracting thoughts which are contrary to Him.

Words can change atmospheres. Words can shape lives.

I have been astonished at the amount of ‘life ground’ Psalm 23 covers. It speaks about lacking nothing, about replenishing our souls, about the leadership and guidance of our heavenly Father, about how to respond to the darkness and confidence in God’s intentions towards us. So much goodness wrapped into one familiar Psalm.

One particular day this portion of the Psalm seemed to jump out at me;

‘Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life…’

Other bible translations may say ‘Surely or only goodness, mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life…’

Or ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…’

What struck me the most was the word follow. The understanding hit me that I was leading the way for goodness and love, I was being followed. Where I go they go, were I stay they stay. I have never really taken the time to reflect on this fully. This was amazing truth; this was revolutionary thinking about the course of my life.

Instead of the proverbial black cloud following me, I had written proof that two silver lined clouds were following me wherever I went- Goodness and Mercy!

All. The. Days. Of. Our Lives.  This is something to celebrate, to appreciate, to meditate on. May we not miss this gem of truth in such a familiar passage of scripture. May we grasp hold of this and run with it- literally run with it into dark places, trusting the word of God that as we run into dark places- goodness, love and mercy are not far behind.

The Psalmist wrote ‘Surely’… surely our God will do this, and surely as we have come to know Him we are expecting this kind of faithfulness to follow us?

Images of the pied piper are running through my mind right now as I type. I see believers from all walks of life skipping along into dark places, praising God as He has anointed our head with oil and our cup overflows, oblivious to any danger as He is with us and His rod and staff are comforting us. Goodness and love are following behind, leaving a trail of light and destruction of darkness in their wake. The angels are rejoicing and the great cloud of witnesses are cheering us on.

I can see it… can you? 

Practising Compassion

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“..for there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.”
― Milan Kundera

Practising the presence of God is a necessity, a vital component of feeling connected to Him and the essence of real relationship. To be aware that He is present in and through all things is to be comforted- mindful of His beautiful ways, His pure thoughts and His good will for our lives.

‘For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things …’- Romans 11 v 36

So, to practise His presence is a kind of first step, a foundation to a secure walk with Him. But, to practise His compassion is another realm entirely. Practising the presence of God meets our basic inner need for connection, whereas practising compassion meets God’s need of us- our hands, feet and voice going out to and reaching others. Of course, God has no needs in one sense, but in the other sense He has chosen to use us as His vessels of compassion on the earth.

I heard a preacher share about a moment he had in a café, he described the pain he saw etched all over the face of the waitress serving him. His companions at the table appeared not to notice and bantered with the waitress politely while settling the bill, but the preacher couldn’t escape the look of pain on the girls face. He said he felt compelled to do something, he was moved with compassion and had to acknowledge the pain he saw. He did not know what to say or how to say it, so he simply stated to the lady what he saw then asked her if she would like any prayer about anything.

The waitress broke down in tears. She shared her pain, the preacher and his companions stopped first to listen and then to pray.

Compassion had made a way for God to break through and touch someone’s life.

I love that, I really love that. I believe God loves it too. The moral of the story is that we must respond to the unspoken pain we see in the faces of those we come across from day to day- on the  bus, in the supermarket, in the queue at the post office. Opportunities to practise compassion are all around us. God shows us these things for a reason; discernment is the friend of compassion. We may be the only person that notices the sadness or pain behind the weak smile or glazed eyes of a person. We may have to step out of our comfort zone, not knowing what to say or how to say it. But like the compassionate preacher, we can acknowledge the pain we see in another and offer to pray, or offer a free coffee and a listening ear.

‘When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.’ – Matthew 9 v 36

What did Jesus see when He looked at the crowds? What was written on their faces? Whatever it was, Jesus was moved with compassion. He saw they were harassed and helpless and He did something about it. He was ultimately moved to commit the greatest act of love the world has ever seen.

May we practise His compassion, and do likewise.

Monday Prayers

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Father God,

There is none like You.

You who are perfect in personality and character.

We pray that Your true nature would be known.

In the realms of media and literature.

May Your true nature be the word on the streets.

In every city and nation of this world.

Help us who follow after You.

Who claim Your name as Christians.

To rightly represent You.

Without distorting Your attributes.

 Or attempting to reform Your character in our own image.

May it be common knowledge.

That You are compassionate and gracious.

Slow to anger and abounding in love.

May it be broadcast to the four corners.

That You will not always accuse or harbour Your anger forever.

Let it be shed abroad.

That You do not treat us as our sins deserve.

Or repay us according to our iniquities.

Let the truth be known.

As far as the heavens are above the earth.

So great is Your love for those who fear You.

As far as the east is from the west.

So far have You removed our transgressions from us.

Through Jesus our Lord.

In the name of Jesus (Messiah), Amen.

-Psalm 103 v 8-12