Sacrifice

1 Kings 18:22, 24, 38
“Then Elijah said to them, ‘I am the only one of the Lord’s prophet’s left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets…Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord.  The god who answers by fire—he is God.’…Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.”

Acts 2:2-4
“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…”

Romans 12:1
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”

Before you, the only true God, we kneel with the courage of a quiet request.

answer3By humbly presenting our hearts, souls and minds as a sacrifice we trust you will answer in power.  Your promised fire descends even when our offering is saturated and stony.

Use us as living demonstrations of your sovereignty.  May we be jealous for your honour and long for heaven’s rushing wind.

Because of the greatest living sacrifice, Jesus Christ, we lay our prayers before you, knowing we are made holy and pleasing through him.

Listen to ‘Oh Thou That Hear’st When Sinners Cry’ by Community Presbyterian Church

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Shoulders

Deuteronomy 33:12b
“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.”

Luke 15:4-6
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them.  Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?  And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.  Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’”

Isaiah 63:9
“In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them.  In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.”

Great Shepherd, you save completely and honour undeservedly.

Running familyYou shield your beloved close to your heart, held firm on the right and the left.  We rest surrounded by your strength,  joy-filled in our rescue.

Seek us when we have forgotten the broad safety of your shoulders and no longer feel the Spirit’s rise and fall.  Keep us centred upon you in the privileged place of a child.

We pray in the name of Christ, who carried the weight of the cross so that he might exchange it for our prodigal souls.

Listen to ‘Leaning on the Everlasting Arms’ by Folk Angel

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Silver

Zechariah 11:13
“And the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’—the handsome price at which they valued me!  So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the Lord.”

Matthew 27:3-4
“When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty coins to the chief priests and the elders.  ‘I have sinned,’ he said, ‘for I have betrayed innocent blood.’”

Titus 1:15-16a
“To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.  In fact, both their minds and their consciences are corrupted.  They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.”

Righteous God, your storehouses are vast and filled with grace.

silverWe have marred our minds with greed and for a pittance—a shiny moment of self-satisfaction—we have traded our souls.  To soothe our pride we barter with your name until we have reduced you to a commodity that benefits us.

Restore our purity, Lord.  Reverse the betrayals we have indulged in and let the currency of our daily transactions be solely love for you and love for others.

We are humbled that we are given permission to ask this because Jesus, at the cost of his priceless blood, purchased back the once worthless souls we sold.

Listen to ‘Judas Song (Psalm 41:9-10)‘ by Green Carpet Players

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Planted

Ezekiel 36:8-10a, 11b
“But you, O mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home.  I am concerned for you and will look upon you with favor; you will be plowed and sown, and I will multiply the number of people upon you…I will settle people on you as in the past and will make you prosper more than before.  Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

Psalm 65:9-13
“You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly.  The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it.  You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops.  You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.  The grasslands of the desert overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness.  The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.”

Matthew 13:23
“But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hear the word and understands it.  This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Lord of the harvest, you show your love for the land by tending it gently.

All that is chaff and stubble you turn into nourishment for spent soil.  With softening rain you bring to life ground gone stale and dry.

plantedPlough our hard hearts in preparation to receive the seed you plant.  With compassion till our fallow places into rich, rejoicing furrows.

We pray in the gracious name of Jesus, who by his season sown in death promises a great year of abundance.

Listen to ‘Mountains of Mercy’ by Grace Worship

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Tears

Isaiah 25:8 (NCV)
“…he will destroy death forever.  The Lord God will wipe away every tear from every face.  He will take away the shame of his people from the earth.  The Lord has spoken.”

Luke 7:12-13
“As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.  And a large crowd from the town was with her.  When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’”

Revelation 21:3-4
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.  They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’”

God of great compassion, you love us with an eternal love.

You do not look lightly on the sorrows of your children, but you place your hand upon our streaming, salty faces and know our deep pain.

tearsDraw us close to your vulnerable heart so that our weeping releases your great comfort.  Reassure us once again that you long for the day when you will dry our tears forever.

Thank-you for the gift of a Comforter to be with us, and for the one who took every heartache upon himself so that we will one day exchange tears for everlasting laughter.

Listen to ‘All My Tears’ by Sojourn

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Sleep

Genesis 2:20b-22
“But for Adam no suitable helper was found.  So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.  Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.”

Acts 12:6-7
“The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.  Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell.  He struck Peter on the side and woke him up.  ‘Quick, get up!’ he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.”

Ephesians 5:14b
“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Saviour of all, you are the God of quiet miracles.

As we rest, you restore.  Our participation in your new creation is to surrender our restless efforts and await your touch.

sleep

Grant us the faith to lie down in peace when all remains unresolved.  Awaken us in your time and call us to a new obedience.

We ask this in the name of Christ, who from the sleep of death brought salvation, and drew life from his wounded side.

Listen to ‘All Praise to Thee My God This Night’ by Wendall Kimbrough & Friends

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Appointed

Exodus 18:17-21
“Moses’ father-in-law replied, ‘…The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.  Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you.  You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him…But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials…’”

Acts 6:2-4
“So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.  Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.  We will turn this responsibility over to them…’”

Ephesians 2:10
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Lord and Leader, you are the designer of each act of justice and mercy.

appointedYour will is to draw us into full participation in your kingdom.  To this end you have chosen us as your divine delegates—displaying your workmanship by administering good works.

In joy may we respond to your calling, so that the gifts we have been given may be fully used to serve the needy children of God.  Appoint us to acts of creative compassion.

May our prayer be heard for the sake of your Son, chosen before the world began to accomplish the greatest work of all—the restoration of a pure relationship with you.

Listen to ‘Take My Life and Let It Be’ by Phillip Sandifer

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