Fasting

Nehemiah 1:2-6a
“…Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.  They said to me, ‘Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace.  The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.’  When I heard these things, I sat down and wept.  For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.  Then I said:  ‘O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel.’”

Acts 13:2-4
“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’  So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”

Matthew 5:6
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Humbly we come before you, Lord God, knowing you turn your ear to your kneeling servants.

You judge the intentions of our hearts by the control we permit our bodies.  In seeking your counsel we put aside our own attachments and desires.

fastingMay hunger for the work of your hand exceed our craving for the passing pleasure of a meal.  Hear our prayers when we first seat ourselves at the good table you have prepared.

In Christ’s name we pray, who denied himself the rich taste of your presence so that we might know fullness beyond compare.

Listen to ‘Breathe (O Breath of Life)’ by Hope College Worship

Posted in Christianity | Tagged , , , , , ,

Debt

Deuteronomy 15:1-2
“At the end of seven years you must cancel debts.  This is how it is to be done:  Every creditor shall cancel the loan he has made to his fellow Israelite.  He shall not require payment from his fellow Israelite or brother, because the Lord’s time for cancelling debts has been proclaimed.”

Matthew 18:24-30
“As [the king] began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.  Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.  The servant fell to his knees before him.  ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’  The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.  But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii.  He grabbed him and began to choke him.  ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.  His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’  But he refused.  Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.”

Romans 13:8
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he whoever loves has fulfilled the law.”

You, O gracious Lord, as the master of mercy, take delight in generous accounting.

You suffered a loss to gain back our souls.  Because of your pardon we are freed from the penalty applied for our insufficient obedience.

debtForgive us for our poverty of love, as we forgive those who fail to love us.  May we reciprocate in grace all we owe for your mercy.

We ask this in the name of Christ, who cancelled our debt by offering his life as a complete and perfect payment.

Listen to ‘White as Snow’ by Songs of Grace

 

Posted in Christianity | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Outstretched

Psalm 77:1-2
“I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me.  When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted.”

Exodus 17:8, 10-13
“The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim…So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.  As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.  When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it.  Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.  So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.”

2 Corinthians 13:4
“For to be sure, [Christ] was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power.  Likewise we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him to serve you.”

Great Saviour, you welcome us into your presence when we come with empty, pleading hands.

outstretchedYou took our weakness and surrendered your strength.  From a hill you viewed the battle and kept outstretched arms upon a cross.

Show us the way to victory under the beam to which Christ was helplessly bound.  Enable us to draw from his power to lift up those who faithfully defend and serve your children.

Because of his precious name and all for his glory, we lay our requests beneath the wide stretch of his loving arms.

Listen to ‘At the Cross’ by Blake Paul Band

Posted in Christianity | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Cheek

Lamentations 3:30-33
“Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace.  For men are not cast off by the Lord forever.  Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.  For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.”

Luke 6:27-29a
“But I tell you who hear me:  Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.”

Mark 15:16, 19a
“The soldiers let Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers…Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him.”

Saviour God, your power is adorned with a mysterious mercy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn Christ you made the face of God vulnerable to a man’s scornful strike.  Though we spitefully ignore your gentle authority, you turn again and again to us.

By the strength of the one we emulate, give us greater concern for the aggressor than for our wounded pride.  Help us trust that our trials are temporary but your compassion is everlasting.

We ask this in the name of the one who courageously and continually offered his cheek to those he came to save, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Listen to ‘May the Mind of Christ my Saviour’ by Ordinary Time

Posted in Christianity | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Fire and Water

Psalm 66:12b, 19b-20
“…we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance…God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.  Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!”

Mark 9:17, 22-24
“A man in the crowd answered, ‘Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech…It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him.  But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.’  ‘‘If you can’?’ said Jesus.  ‘Everything is possible for him who believes.’  Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’”

Isaiah 43:2-3a
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

Lord of heaven and earth, you have dominion over physical elements and all spiritual forces.

When driven by evil to endure fire and flood, we bring to you our insufficient faith.  The threat subsides only at your command.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABe near us when the waters rise inside, and when outside we feel the angry flames.  Help us trust in your compassionate presence and the power of the prayer you speak over us.

We believe only in the name of Christ, who was thrown into destruction to overcome death, rising to become our all-powerful healer.

Listen to ‘Help My Unbelief’ by Red Mountain Music

Posted in Christianity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Courage

Deuteronomy 31:7-8, 34:9a
“Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them…The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.’…Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him.”

2 Timothy 1:6-7
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

Acts 4:13
“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

Leader and Lord, you advance your kingdom by generously passing down power.

courageYou strengthen our feeble hearts to continue Christ’s good work through the gift of encouragers.  Veterans of faith draw close to timid recruits and touch them with blessing.

In youth, grant us leaders that instill compassionate courage.  In age, assist us to give away our seasoned confidence.

We pray in Christ’s name, who entrusts the work he received from his Father into our unskilled hands, and says, ‘Be strong.’

Listen to ‘We Rest on Thee’ by Richard Jensen

Posted in Christianity | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Washed

Jeremiah 2:22-23a (NLV)
“‘Even when you wash yourself with much strong soap, the mark of your sin is still before Me,’ says the Lord God.  ‘How can you say, ‘I am clean.’?’”

Matthew 27:24
“When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd.  ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said.  ‘It is your responsibility!’”

Titus 3:4-6
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior…”

In you we find infinite purity and holiness, Most High God.

Our hearts are not innocent and we are stained by sin.  Frantic and fearful, we soak in self-justification to deny our guilt.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACleanse us from the marks of moral compromise by pouring out your Spirit upon us.  Restore bright innocence to the hands we surrender to you.

For the sake of Jesus Christ we ask this, who took our place on a blood-bathed cross to wash us whiter than snow.

Listen to ‘Holy, Holy, Holy‘ by Justice, Kyle and Sam

Posted in Christianity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,