Believing Prayer

One necessary presence

Heavenly Father, we miss many people in our lives who have either passed away or who have moved physically or emotionally. For some of them we grieve. Their loss pains us deeply. We feel empty because of their absence. Their presence brought us joy, security, fulfillment, and satisfaction. Their love and friendship meant so much to us.

We understand that as important as these people were to us, none of them was a necessary presence. Only your presence in our lives is an absolute necessity, for we were made for your love and fellowship.

We know you understand our feelings about our loved ones. We know that their presence in our lives was a gift from you. You made us a part of a family, a circle of friends, a community. We are thankful that you give us love through others and surround us with people who care.

Above all, we thank you for your presence with us. Help us not to neglect our relationship with you. May we cherish it above all others. And may we be willing to give up any other to preserve it.

Because we know that we have in our lives only one necessary presence—yours.

Praying with the hands

George Raindrop in his book No Common Task tells how a nurse once taught a man to pray and in doing so changed his whole life, until a dull, disgruntled and dispirited creature became a man of joy. Much of the nurse’s work was done with her hands, and she used her hands as a scheme of prayer. Each finger stood for someone. Her thumb was nearest to her, and it reminded her to pray for those who were closest to her. The second finger was used for pointing and it stood for all her teachers in school and in the hospital. The third finger was the tallest and it stood for the V.I.P.s, the leaders in every sphere of life. The fourth finger was the weakest, as every pianist knows, and it stood for those who were in trouble and in pain. The little finger was the smallest and the least important and to the nurse it stood for herself.

Wm. Barclay

The Years of Toil and Tears

Wind, rain, and sun upon the earth
Wear away its surface, leach the soil,
But in return they bring a blessing of life.
The years of toil and tears, the constant trials
Break down the body, bow the heavy shoulders,
But strengthen a spirit whose daily might is God.
O Lord, in you may we discover the power of love.

Prying Sours

Walls make for good neighbors, and it’s true:
To know what and where is theirs and ours,
As lines are useful in the traffic lane,
To separate the space for trucks and cars.
Let me respect, O Lord, the private domain
Of others’ lives—keep me from prying which sours
A friendship—let Christ’s perfection be my view.

Trash and Treasure Both

Trash and treasure both
Shall perish, and we as well—
Save us, Lord, by grace!

Daily Heft

Faithful, consistent, unfailing—this,
O Lord, is what you are and what
I want to be—never amiss
In duty, doing what I ought,
Loving, kind, committed—waste
Not, want not, nothing in the wind,
Feet firmly planted, no foolish haste,
Nor laggard, but with a focused mind
I’d serve, with never a selfish thought,
I’d daily heft my cross—with gladness,
Redemptive pain, approval sought
From you and only you—I’ll banish
Desire for shallow human praise—
Your truth my company’s colors to raise.

Expectant prayer

On the Mt Juliet website, Wayne Miller writes about prayer, based on Psalm 5:

I read about a Christian lady, in her deep trouble had prayed to God for help. Her requests were answered. She then wondered aloud, “Why am I always so surprised when the Lord answers my prayers!”

David made it a daily practice to lay his requests before the Lord. In fact, our text indicates, every morning he approached God with his prayer list. David seemed to possess full, total, and complete confidence the Lord would answer his prayers.

Do we, like David, pray regularly—or only in emergencies?

Read the rest of the article here.

Tomorrow a Mystery

O Lord, tomorrow is a mystery,
And even the next hour reveals no secrets,
So let us in this moment, in the present,
Serve our Lord and Master and fear your Name.

We trust in your control of our years and days,
Believe you guide the world to its proper end,
We know in Christ that all things come together,
In all man’s doings you will be glorified.

Our joy is this: our treasures await us in heaven,
The Lord is at the door and soon will come,
Your power is hope, your promise never fails,
And perfect love will hold us till the last.

Let passion die

The violence of sin, O Lord, grows and masks its evil. Satan’s servants appear as angels of light, hiding death in their robes, concealing the face of eternal suffering. Caricatures of life and pleasure, they steal the young and rob the old of joy.

Unmask them, Lord, for who they are! Rip away their disguises! Let sin be seen for what it is, raw rebellion against your good and perfect will, self-destruction that cannot be undone!

Let us recoil from the Adversary’s enticements. Give us eyes to see behind the temptation, beyond the moment of pleasure. Save us from the pain and heartache of transgression.

Let passion for this world die, and cause to live in us an eternal zeal for good.

Another Unsoiled Day

Why let me waken from my nightly sleep?
O Lord, why give me another unsoiled day,
Like bread fresh from the oven, ready for butter,
If not to serve and love and glorify your Name?

What we think is nothing

We think, O Lord, to find joy in small and simple things, only to discover afterwards that they were the great things. For simplicity is never small, clarity never minimal. Thank you for the great light which we have in Christ. He shows us the kind word, the moment of solidarity, the act of generosity, that offer a lifeline to the perishing. What we think is nothing might be to someone all there is. Make us aware, heavenly Father, of your power in us.

To You, Glory

To you, O Lord, belongs the glory,
Without our egos in the way;
What wonderful news is Jesus’ story,
How pure his light’s unconquerable ray!

To you, O God, belongs the power,
Who raised the Son from among the dead;
Salvation’s plan in that dark hour,
Upon the Cross when Jesus bled.

To you, O Father, we ascribe
All glory, honor, love and praise;
To you may every people and tribe
Their happy, grateful voices raise.

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