Judges 6:3-4, 6, 11-13a
“Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country.  They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel…Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help…The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak…where…Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites.  When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.’  ‘But sir,’ Gideon replied.  ‘If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?  Where are all his wonders…?’”

Psalm 126:5-6
“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.  He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.”

John 12:24
“‘I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.’”

Sower of Life, you have not stopped singing songs of creation over the soil of this earth.

wheatOnly in you can we bury our questions and disappointments and have them sprout and flourish into a harvest of hope.

Thresh our anxious hearts and remove the chaff of fear.  Remind us that unpromising kernels sown in your strength ripen into stalks heavy with grain.

In the name of Christ we offer our prayers, the perfect seed fallen into death to produce sheaves of glorious life.

Listen to ‘Barnfloor and Winepress’ by Wen Reagan

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Bitter Water

Exodus 15:22-26
“Then Moses led Israel…into the Desert of Shur.  For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water.  When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter…So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, ‘What are we to drink?’  Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood.  He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.  There the Lord made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them.  He said, ‘If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God…I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.’”

John 5:2-9
“Now there is in Jerusalem …a pool…Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame and the paralyzed.  One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years…[Jesus] asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’  ‘Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred.  While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’  Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up!  Pick up your mat and walk.’  At once the man was cured…”

Psalm 71:20
“Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.”

Gentle Healer, you are the source of health and wholeness.

bitter waterYou test us with the good things of earth that ultimately prove unsatisfying, but you do not abandon us in our disappointment.  While the bitterness still lingers you approach us and pledge your faithfulness.

In our longing for sweet water, do not let our souls turn sour.  Redirect our gaze from soothing pools to the true cure for our brokenness.

Through Christ we ask; the living water that heals us from the disease of sin and quenches our eternal thirst.

Listen to ‘Psalm 116‘ by Redemption Hill Music

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Without Ceasing

Daniel 6:10-12a
“Now when Daniel heard that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem.  Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.  Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.  So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree:  ‘Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or man except to you, O king, would be thrown into the lions’ den?’”

Luke 18:1-5, 7a
“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.  He said, ‘In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men.  And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’  For some time he refused.  But finally he said to himself, ‘…I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming’…And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?

Ephesians 6:18a
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”

What daring love you inspire, O God, when you command us to call upon your mercy and compassion.

without ceasingBy prayer that persists despite all obstacles, you establish deep relational roots in our hearts.  We are bound ever more tightly to you through our cries, pleas and praises.

Keep this vital venue from being severed by doubt or discouragement.  Do not let silence destroy our source of strength.

With the blessing of the Spirit, through the channel of Christ, we voice our requests to you.

Listen to ‘Before the Throne‘ by Sojourn

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2 Kings 4:20, 25, 27a, 28, 30b, 34b
“After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died…So she set out and came to the man of God…When she reached [Elisha] at the mountain, she took hold of his feet…‘Did I ask you for a son, my lord?’ she said.  ‘Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?…As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.’  So he got up and followed her…As he stretched himself out upon him, the boy’s body grew warm.”

John 11:6, 32, 43b-44a
“Yet when [Jesus] heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days…When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’…Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’  The dead man came out…”

Habbakuk 2:3
“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.  Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”

Almighty God, to you belongs the knowledge of what has been, what is now and what is yet to come.

Reason eludes us for the losses in our world.  Yet while we cling to your feet, you welcome our bewildered questions.

resurrectionAmidst deep distress, allow us to experience deep trust.  May your presence reassure us as we wait for the moment of restoration you are longing to reveal.

In the powerful name of Jesus we ask this, whose obedience to you in death gives us great hope for resurrection.

Listen to ‘In the Sweet By and By’ by the Gentle Wolves

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Exodus 25:8, 31-33
“Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.  Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you…Make a lampstand of pure gold and hammer it out, base and shaft; its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms shall be of one piece with it.  Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand—three on one side and three on the other.  Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms are to be on one branch…”

Isaiah 27:6
“In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit.”

Hebrews 9:24
“For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.”

Great Designer, you have commissioned all beauty as a faint and earthly impression of your glory.

322You adorn your dwelling place with lamps and blossoms—light and life.  Your petals promise hope of a harvest.

With you as our centre, may our souls burst with the bloom of springtime.  Cause each tiny bud we bear to flower for the growth of your kingdom.

Remembering Christ, the true Branch, we ask this, who blossomed only to die, that we might taste the fruit of heaven.

Listen to ‘Praise to the Lord, the Almighty’ by Redemption Hill Music

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Psalm 103:2-4
“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion…”

Isaiah 28:5
“In that day the Lord Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people.”

Mark 15:17-18
“They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him.  And they began to call out to him, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’”

Eternal King, you reign in majesty, mercy and love.

crownYou graciously give us a sign that we are your royal children by placing a crown of compassion upon our unworthy heads.  You encircle us with your presence like a cluster of costly gems.

At this our spiritual coronation, bestow on us the courage to represent your kingdom in this scornful world.  May we grant others the garlands of grace that you have given us.

We ask this in the precious name of Christ, the unrecognized King who took a crown of shame from those he came to bring into glory.

Listen to ‘Over the Grave’ by the weak & the few

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Job 9:16-17, 33-34
“Even if I summoned him and he responded, I do not believe he would give me a hearing.  He would crush me with a storm and multiply my wounds for no reason…If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more.”

Luke 11:11-13
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

Romans 8:26
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

With generosity, Father God, you open your hand and bestow only what is for our ultimate good.

We confess that we cannot see beyond our confusing circumstances.  We strain for the immediate with the self-absorption of a child and fail to trust in the wisdom of your provision.

intercessorBless us with your Spirit, who deeply understands our troubled souls and does not bend to our short-sighted demands.  Free us to rest in the knowledge that our pleas are presented with love before your throne.

Thank you that through Christ you welcome our request for the Spirit, and through the Spirit you hear our true longings and answer in grace.

Listen to ‘Hail the Day’ by Sovereign Grace Music

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Rocks to Remember

Joshua 4:20-22, 24
“And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan.  He said to the Israelites, ‘In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’…He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.’”

Matthew 16:17-18
“Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.  And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church…’”

2 Peter 1:1, 3, 12a, 15
“Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,  To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:…His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness…So I will always remind you of these things…And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.”

Faithful God, you take joy in repeating your acts of salvation throughout all generations.

rocks to rememberAs memorial stones reminded the Israelites of your suspension of nature’s laws, so Simon Peter reminds us of your power to transform our human nature.  By marking the miracle with a rock, evidence of your handiwork lives on.

Save us again with the patience you have shown us in the past.  May we remember you as you have remembered us.

For the sake of Jesus Christ we ask this; the Rock submerged under the river of death so that we might cross over to receive this precious faith.

Listen to ‘Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken’ by The Soul Miners

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Exodus 1:15-17, 20a, 21b
“The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, ‘When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him, but if it is a girl, let her live.  The midwives however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live…So God was kind to the midwives…he gave them families of their own.”

John 3:5-7
“Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.  Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.  You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’”

Galatians 4:19-20a
“My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, how I wish I could be with you now…”

By your word, Spirit of the Living God, you bring forth new life.

midwivesYour hands encourage and enable our safe delivery into faith and you smile at our first spiritual breaths.

Brood over us and protect us from harm.  Make a way for fragile souls to be born into your kingdom so that the angels rejoice over the arrival of each wondrous child of God.

By the precious name of Jesus we come before you, who laboured to give us life and calls the Holy Spirit close to usher us into our new birth.

Listen to ‘Still Small Voice’ by Trent

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Mark 14:50-52
“Then everyone deserted him and fled.  A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus.  When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.”

Genesis 3:21
“The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.”

Isaiah 61:10
“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God.  For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

Father God, you are clothed in beauty, majesty and holiness.

strippedWe are guilty of fleeing from your presence in the garden, and in doing so we find ourselves naked and full of shame.  Our terrified escape leaves us vulnerable and exposed.

May we return to you, our Maker, to be adorned in your beauty.  Cover us in dazzling robes, dressed as your royal children and honoured to be found pleasing in your sight.

This we ask in the name of the one who hung stripped for us upon the cross so that we might be clothed in his eternal righteousness, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Listen to ‘Come Ye Sinners’ by Redeemer INdy

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