Martyr

Matthew 5:43-44
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”

Acts 7:59-8:1
“While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’  Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’  When he had said this, he fell asleep.  And Saul was there, giving approval to his death.”

1 Timothy 1:16-17
“But for that very reason I [Paul] was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.  Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.  Amen.”

Eternal God, you love without end and Christ patiently intercedes even for your enemies.

martyr

Countless times we have persecuted you, appointing ourselves as master and judge.  We hurl stones of rejection when we are confronted by the truth of the only King.

Forgive us, and by your Spirit help us forgive those who oppose us.  As in death Stephen prayed for the oppresser who would become an apostle, take our small martyrdoms and advance your kingdom.

For the sake of Christ, the best of men, we come as the worst of sinners and receive the prayer of forgiveness from his dying lips.

Listen to ‘Jesus I My Cross Have Taken‘ by Dave Hunt

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Chains

Psalm 107:13-14
“They cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.  He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains.”

Daniel 4:33b-34a
“[Nebuchadnezzar] was driven away from people and ate grass like cattle.  His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.  At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored.  Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.”

Mark 5:2-7a, 8, 15
When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him.  This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain.  For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet…Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.  When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him.  He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?’…For Jesus had said to him, ‘Come out of this man, you evil sprit!’…When [the people] came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.”

Most High God, you are present even in the dark places of mind and spirit.

Only when you break our chains do we become unbroken.  You tear apart the iron links of agony to integrate and make us whole.

chainRelease us from the heavy thoughts that bind us to isolation.  As we kneel before you, free us with the weight of your love and glory.

This we ask in the name of Christ, who was bound in body so that we might have freedom for our souls.

Listen to ‘And Can It Be That I Should Gain‘ by Wendell Kimbrough & Friends, featuring Rachel Wilhelm

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At the Table

2 Samuel 9:1, 3b, 7
“David asked, ‘Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?’…Ziba answered the king, ‘There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in both feet.’…‘Don’t be afraid,’ David said to [Mephibosheth], ‘for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.’”

Mark 7:26-29
“The woman…begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. ‘First let the children eat all they want,’ he told her, ‘for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.’  ‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’  Then he told her, ‘For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.’”

Psalm 23:3b, 5
“He guides me in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake…You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”

God of grace, you enter into relationships extravagant in mercy.

Though we are troubled and lame, you call us to feast at your table where you serve us healing and dignity. In your generosity you welcome us, not for our own merits, but for the sake of another who represented us and spoke for us.

at the tableBring us to the place where we eat with you each day, enjoying the rich bounty you provide. Remind us to seek your favour for those who have not yet entered the banqueting hall.

This we ask in the name of Jesus, who for our sake was crippled upon a cross that we might stand as family members of the King.

Listen to ‘Come All Ye Pining’ by Red Mountain Music

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Lamp

Genesis 1:1-3
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.  And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

Psalm 119:105
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Revelation 21:23-24
“The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.”

Creator of all things bright, you spoke the first dawn into life.

lampWhen your word shines upon the shadowy path we see the way.  With illuminating echoes your light commands the darkness to disperse.

Place our blind and searching hands upon the living lamp.  In holding Christ high may we walk in a circle of his truth and glory.

By his name we pray; who at his death was mourned by the sun and who will one day welcome us into his radiant city.

Listen to ‘To Thee We Run’ by Young Oceans

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Cradles

Exodus 2:2b-4
“When she saw that [Moses] was a fine child, she hid him for three months.  But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch.  Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.  His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.”

Luke 2:6-7
“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

Galatians 5:1
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Though the universe is at your command, Lord, you chose ignobility in which to reveal yourself.

To deliver your people you fashioned strange cradles—stalks among creatures—and a young girl to watch over the child who would be called an emancipator.

cradlesAs you led the Israelite people out of slavery at the hand of Moses, you lead us out of the slavery that addicts us to ourselves and our need for power.  Teach us to follow the Saviour who was hidden in humility, displaced from both heavenly and earthly homes.

For the sake of Jesus Christ, who was held captive in an infant’s body to grant us freedom, please hear us when we pray.

Listen to ‘Who Is This?’ featuring Sandra McCracken

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River

Ezekiel 37:6b-8a, 12
“Then he led me back to the bank of the river.  When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river.  He said to me, ‘…Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river.  Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail.  Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them.  Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.’”

Psalm 46:4-5
“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.  God is within her, she will not fall, God will help her at break of day.”

Revelation 22:1-2
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city.  On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.  And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”

Father of life, from your sanctuary springs deep and holy water.

riverYour Spirit courses through the city like a crystal clear street, and fruit-bearing trees take root.  The leaves supplied by this pure source bring healing to the wounded.

Flood into our hearts, O Lord, with the glad current of your peace.  May we kneel together on the bank, drinking life from your endless stream.

We petition in the name of Christ, the river from whom all blessings flow.

Listen to ‘Streams of Living Water Flow’ by Red Mountain Music

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Seeing

Job 42:5
“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”

Luke 2:27-31
“Moved by the Spirit…Simeon took [Jesus] in his arms and praised God, saying: ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.  For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people…’”

1 John 1:1
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.”

God of all mystery, you remove the veil to reveal hidden chambers of truth.

seeingWe have been taught of your existence, but our hearts do not hear and we are thick in our thoughts.  Only an illuminating moment from your Spirit gives our finite eyes infinite vision.

Transform our dim understanding into radiant knowledge as we see the beauty of your face.  May the love in your eyes outshine all that has dulled our senses and may we be filled with praise.

We pray as we gaze fully upon Jesus, who was blinded to his Father on the cross and so revealed salvation to us.

Listen to ‘Be Thou My Vision’ by Phillip Sandifer

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