Luke 1:18-20
“Zechariah asked the angel, ‘How can I be sure of this?  I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.’  The angel answered, ‘I am Gabriel.  I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.  And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.’”

Acts 9:5-8a
“‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked.  ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied.  ‘Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.’  The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone.  Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing.”

Romans 6:5, 8
“If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection…Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”

Lord of life, you designed our eyes to see your light and ears to hear your word.

loss lifeWhen our physical senses keep us spiritually insensitive it is only by your silencing that we receive a voice to speak, and by your blinding we receive new sight.

Take away our small strengths and transform them into gifts sharpened by the Spirit.  Replace our limited insight with your vision for this world.

We speak this request in the name of Christ, stricken with death to gain for us the full restoration of life.

Listen to ‘Thou, Whose Almighty Word’ by Summit Church

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Isaiah 49:15b-16
“…I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

John 20:26b-27
“…Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’  Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it into my side.  Stop doubting and believe.’  Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’”

Psalm 139:1-3
“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.”

Tender Father, you surround us with compassion and never-ending love.

Our names are as familiar to you as the contours of your hand.  You cup us to yourself despite all our weaknesses and wanderings.

palmSecure us in the certainty that we are never forgotten by you.  Center us with the truth that we are known by you, that we might exchange our doubt for joy.  Remind us that you know our brothers and sisters as intimately as you know us, and love them as deeply.

We owe a debt of gratitude to you, Jesus, for receiving the nails in your palms, eternally engraving our names within those scars and leading us into a saving knowledge of you.

Listen to ‘O Lamb of God Who, Bleeding’ by Community Presbyterian Church

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Genesis 24:11b-17
“…it was toward evening, the time when the women go out to draw water.  Then [Abraham’s servant] prayed, ‘O Lord…give me success today…See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water.  May it be that when I say to a girl, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac…’  Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder…The servant hurried to meet her and said, ‘Please give me a little water from your jar.’  ‘Drink, my lord,’ she said…‘I’ll draw water for your camels too…’”

John 4:6b-7
“…Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well…When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’”

Isaiah 12:2b-3
“The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.  With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”

Faithful God, your divine imagination is the source of deep springs of hope.

wellsYou, the true Servant, chose these women at the well to respond to a calling and become mothers of faith.  By parting from the past they inherited your future.

When you find us and request a cup of cold water, may we recognize that our obedience leads us into a challenging new loyalty.  Quench our thirst at the well of faith, so that we can pour ourselves out in soul-refreshing service to others.

This we ask in the name of Jesus, who drew a cup he drank on our behalf, that we might never suffer thirst again.

Listen to ‘The Sweet Well of Bethlehem’ by Red Mountain Music

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Under the Tree

Genesis 3:6
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.  She also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.”

John 1:47-48
“When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, ‘Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.’  ‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked.  Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig tree…’”

Deuteronomy 30:19-20a
“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.  For the Lord is your life…”

Creator God, the fruit of your Spirit is the true taste of life.

under treeYou place us with purpose into the unique complexities of our lives.  As we explore this carefully designed landscape we waver between plucking the fruit of self-fulfillment or yielding to your commands.

In that moment under the tree of choice may we remember that your eye is upon us, loving and longing for us, and may we choose to be free from guile as your true children.

Thank you for your merciful response to our stubborn wanderings.  We are humbled that upon the tree of death you endured the curse to bestow the blessings of the eternal Branch.

Listen to ‘Decide This Doubt for Me’ by Red Mountain Music

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Daniel 10:10-11a, 12b, 19
“A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.  He said, ‘…Do not be afraid, Daniel.  Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them…Do not be afraid, O man highly esteemed…Peace!  Be strong now; be strong.’”

Revelation 5:6, 8
“Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders…Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”

Ephesians 6:18
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

Holy Spirit, you speak in mystery and listen with mercy.

Thank you that our prayers are not merely vapours, but by holding them you bestow substance, weight and purpose.  You cherish the pleas that crystallize around your throne.

incenseTeach us a fragrant language to voice the hope and fear in our hearts.  Fill a golden bowl with the fragments of our yearning, and keep us faithful until it overflows.

We know we are heard because the Lamb poured out his life as a sweet offering to make us saints.

Listen to ‘Throne of Grace’ by Grace and Peace Music

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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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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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