Esther 2:5-7, 8b, 15, 17
“Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai…who had been carried into exile…Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up…This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features, and Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died…Esther also was taken to the king’s palace…When the turn came for Esther (the girl Mordecai had adopted…) to go to the king…[she] won the favor of everyone who saw her…Now the king was attracted to Esther…So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen…”

Ephesians 1:4b-6
“In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”

Romans 8:15b
“…the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.  And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’”

Good Father, you demonstrate your love to the homeless and the helpless.

adoptedYou have included us as precious members of your household.  Because of your concern we are orphans made royalty.

Help us comprehend the honour and privilege we enjoy as your adopted children.  May we grasp the goodness you have entitled us to as heirs of your salvation.

This we ask in the name of Jesus our brother, through whom we have been rescued and placed in a palace.

Listen to ‘Jesus is Yours’ by Ordinary Time

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Genesis 43:29-30, 45:1a, 4-5
“As [Joseph] looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son, he asked, ‘Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?’  And he said, ‘God be gracious to you, my son.’  Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep.  He went into his private room and wept there…Then Joseph could no longer contain himself…Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come close to me.’  When they had done so, he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!  And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.’”

Hebrews 2:10-11
“In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.  Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family.  So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.”

Mark 3:34
“Then [Jesus] looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers!  Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.’”

Father in heaven, you have designed a family made perfect by acceptance.

Through the suffering of the firstborn our imperfections are redeemed.  With fierce loyalty our eldest brother defends us from the threat of sin.

brotherKeep us close to your fraternal shoulder.  Thank you for the bond of the name we share.

Through our brother Christ, made a blood-relative by dying to protect us, we offer our prayers.

Listen to ‘Blest be the Tie that Binds’ featuring Jill Andrews

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Song of Songs 1:12
“While the king was at his table, my perfume spread its fragrance.”

John 12:2a, 3
“Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor…Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus feet and wiped his feet with her hair.  And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”

Ezekiel 20:41-42a
“I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will show myself holy among you in the sight of the nations.  Then you will know that I am the Lord…”

Holy King, you are worthy to receive our priceless offering of praise.

perfumeYou are the fragrance of love and life.  We anoint you with the costly scent of our devotion.

May your throne room be filled with an aroma pleasing to you as we pour out our lives at your feet.  Accept our prayers as words perfumed with gratitude and humility.

Through Christ we ask this, who gave himself up as a fragrant offering for us and our salvation.

Listen to ‘Christ Our Fragrant Offering’ by Chad Bohi


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Crossed Over

Exodus 15:19-21
“When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and horsemen went into the sea, the Lord brought the waters of the sea back over them, but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground.  Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her with tambourines and dancing.  Miriam sang to them, ‘Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted.  The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.’”

John 5:24
“‘I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.’”

Revelation 19:1-2a
“After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting, ‘Hallelujah!  Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgements.’”

Great and mighty Lord, by your power you have conquered death and you welcome us into your land of life.

Thank you that you have made a way for our feet to walk in safety through threatening waters.  We rejoice in the magnitude of your saving strength.

crossed overGive us voices to sing the good news to the multitudes.  May Christ, by whom we have crossed over, hear our ringing Hallelujahs.

It is in his name that we pray, who hurled death into a distant sea that we might dance in everlasting life.

Listen to ‘Revelation Song’ by Kari Jobe

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Genesis 32:24-26, 29b-31
“So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.  When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.  Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.  But Jacob replied, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’…Then he blessed him there.  So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, ‘It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.’  The sun rose above him…and he was limping because of his hip.”

Matthew 15:30
“Great crowds came to [Jesus], bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.”

Job 5:17-18
“Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.  For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.”

Righteous Healer, your vision of wholeness spans infinite heights and depths.

limpingYou touch our pride, dislocating our self-sufficiency.  With compassion you strengthen our crippled souls to climb to glorious heights.

Bless us with a limp even as you heal us where we are lame.  In all circumstances may we come under your hand and look into your face.

For the sake of Christ we ask this; who in the darkness wrestled on our behalf, to take our wounds that we might be made whole.

Listen to ‘Broken for Love’s Sake’ by J. Andrews and Jennie Lee Riddle

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Genesis 1:27, 31a
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them…God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

Isaiah 52:14b
“…his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness…”

1 Corinthians 15:49
“And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.”

Holy Father, your face is the ultimate pattern for perfection; your Spirit all that is truly good.

imageWe have disfigured your likeness and distanced ourselves from your family.  Christ accepted our marred image and made us beautiful children once again.

Look upon Christ in us and see his perfect features.  May others recognize traces of your loveliness and long to be re-created as ‘very good’.

Because of this wondrous transformation we come before you in Jesus’ name, reconciled and restored.

Listen to ‘O Sacred Head’ by Darby Hughes

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Fig Tree

Hosea 9:10, 12b
“When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert; when I saw your ancestors, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.  But when they came to Baal Peor, they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol and became as vile as the thing they loved…Woe to them when I turn away from them!”

Mark 11:12-14a
“The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry.  Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit.  When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs.  Then he said to the tree, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’”

Romans 7:4
“So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.”

Father God, you remember us as the delight of your heart.

fig treeThough you have created us to blossom and produce early good fruit, we have grieved you with barren pursuits.  When you look for us, we do not welcome you, nor are we impatient to produce sweetness to satisfy you.

Forgive us for not filling the mouths of the hungry.  Restore growth and life to our withered faith.

We ask this for the sake of Christ, who was cursed on a tree in our place and who now calls us to bear fruit in his name.

Listen to ‘Thou Lovely Source of True Delight’ featuring M.P. Jones

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Genesis 16:7-9, 13
“The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert…And he said, ‘Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?’  ‘I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,’ she answered.  Then the angel of the Lord told her, ‘Go back to your mistress and submit to her.’…[Hagar] gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’”

Philemon 12, 15-16a, 17-18
“I am sending [Onesimus]—who is my very heart—back to you…Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good—no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother…So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.  If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.”

John 8:32b, 34-36
“‘Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’”

Gracious Master, the distress of the lost draws your eye and rouses your compassion.

VietnamYou seek us when we are trying to escape a difficult obedience.  Though our running leads us to a dry land, you search for us to set us free.

May the truth revealed when we see you face to face give us freedom from our stubborn wanderings, so that we return joyfully to serve a new Master.  Lead us back to our true family, home and future.

We ask this in the name of Christ, who saw our deep need and became a outcast slave to release us from sin.

Listen to ‘O Wondrous Love’ by Steve and Vikki Cook

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Deuteronomy 33:13b-16
“May the Lord bless his land with the precious dew from heaven above and with the deep waters that lie below; with the best the sun brings forth and the finest the moon can yield; with the choicest of gifts of the ancient mountains and fruitfulness of the everlasting hills; with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness and the favor of him who dwelt in the burning bush.”

Zechariah 8:12
“The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew.  I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of these people.”

John 6:38
“‘For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.’”

Loving Father, each new day brings blessings of refreshment from your generous hand.

With faithful provision you cover the earth with a blanket of perfect diamond drops.  As their most precious inheritance, your people drink in the joy of your heaven-sent Son.

dewIn gratitude for the dew that has watered our thirsty souls, may we dawn upon dry lands with cooling compassion.

In the name of Christ, heaven’s gift of the morning after a long night of darkness, we bring to you our prayers.

Listen to ‘Jesus, Lead Us With Thy Power’ by Sandra McCracken

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Psalm 139:7, 11-12, 24-25
“Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?…If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you…Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

John 20:19
“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’”

Philippians 4:6-7
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

All-knowing God, you are familiar with every corner of space and every crevice of our hearts.

peaceYou invade our lives with your gentle presence.  In our anxious flight we cannot escape the relentless love of the risen Christ.

Come into our midst and be our powerful protector.  Enter the doors we have locked in fear and guard our thoughts with your peace.

We ask this in the name of the eternal Prince of Peace who could not be kept chained in darkness, our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.

Listen to ‘It Is Well’ by Dave Hunt

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