Beauty

Isaiah 61:1a, 2b-3a
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me…to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…”

Mark 1:40-41
“A man with leprosy came to [Jesus] and begged him on his knees, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’  Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.  ‘I am willing,’ he said.  ‘Be clean!’”

Song of Songs 2:1
“(Beloved)  I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.”

Lover of the unloved, your compassionate eye sees unlikely beauty in us.

Though in the sight of the world our disfigurements bring us rejection, you come close to us and touch us, and call us exquisite.

beauty

Take our shame and bestow a loveliness upon us that speaks only of your transforming hand.  Look upon our despised faces and name us beloved, so that we become radiant with the strength of your love.

Through Jesus we ask this, who understands the marred and rejected, and out the ashes of his death we claim our adorning crowns.

Listen to ‘My Heart is Restless‘ by Wen Reagan

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Undeserved

1 Samuel 30:21-24
“Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow him and who were left behind…As David and his men approached, he greeted them.  But all the evil men and troublemakers among David’s followers said, ‘Because they did not go out with us, we will not share with them the plunder we recovered…’  David replied, ‘No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the Lord has given us.  He has protected us and handed over to us the forces that came against us…The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle.  All will share alike.’”

Matthew 20:9-11, 12-15
“The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius.  So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more.  But each one of them also received a denarius.  When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner…But he answered one of them, ‘Friend…are you envious because I am generous?’”

Ephesians 2:8-9
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

Gracious Master, our greatest treasure is your generosity.

undeservedAs king you take more delight in extravagance than in recalling your dues, and we are blessed to be a part of your kingdom.  You open your storehouses and pour mercy upon us regardless of our efforts to deserve it.

Teach us your ways of grace, so that without bitterness we offer unmerited gifts to those who travel alongside us.

For Jesus’ sake we ask this, who rewards the undeserving with the honour of a salvation earned not by our work, but by his.

Listen to ‘O Love That Will Not Let Me Go’ by Dave Hunt

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Ambassadors

Isaiah 6:8-9a
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?’  And I said, ‘Here am I.  Send me!’  He said, ‘Go and tell…’”

2 Corinthians 5:19b-20a
“And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”

Acts 1:7-8
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Word of God, you are the compelling voice of love that captures the hearts of your people.

Your Son became your divine delegate and spoke to us on your behalf.  Willingly summoned and sent, he appealed to us while we were still enemies of your kingdom.

ambassadorsCall us to accept the honour of representing you to a world wary of your message.  May we be ambassadors articulating your peace.

We ask this in the name of Christ, who with his very life negotiated our reconciliation to you.

Listen to ‘None Other Lamb, None Other Name’ by Redeemer INdy

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Servant

Genesis 39:1-2
“Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt.  Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.  The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.”

John 13:3-5
“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”

Philippians 2:5-7
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

Righteous Master, you are the Omnipotent One, deserving of all our devotion.

Through submission we participate in the plan you have designed, just as your Son served his twelve brothers and empowered them to build a church.

May we be like Joseph, who in precognitive imitation learned humility and saw his clan establish the twelve tribes of Israel.  Change our hearts so that we do not grasp for privilege.  Make us willing and capable servants in the households and communities you have placed us in.

We ask this in the name of the true Servant, Jesus Christ, who was obedient to your purposes so that we might be leaders enslaved by your transforming love.

Listen to ‘Just a Closer Walk with Thee’ by the Lower Lights

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Mighty to Save

Zephaniah 3:16b-17
“Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp.  The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

Matthew 14:29b-31a
“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.”

Psalm 20:6
“Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand.”

Lord God, you are salvation’s visionary, and your hand outstretched in love is our only hope.

We are powerless against the waters of despair and the winds of fear.  Our hands are helpless to effect our own rescue.

mighty to saveGive us breath to cry out for your firm grasp upon our sinking spirits, and may we gladly obey your command not to be afraid.  In your mercy, take delight in reaching for us.

Our plea is in the name of Christ, who allowed the waters of death to close over him so that we might be saved from the storm of sin.

Listen to ‘Eternal Father Strong to Save’ by St. Andrews Hymns

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Breakfast

1 Kings 19:3a, 4a, 5a-6
“Elijah was afraid and ran for his life…‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said…Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.  All at once an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.’  He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water.”

John 21:3, 9, 12a
“‘I’m going out to fish,’ Simon Peter told them…but that night they caught nothing…When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread…Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’”

Isaiah 55:1a, 2b
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!…Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.”

O Lord who restores us, you provide for our battered bodies and our troubled souls.

breakfastWhen we are afraid and desert your cause, you interrupt our flight with an invitation.  Instead of rebuke you offer us sustenance.

Nourish us with daily bread and the blessing of your company at the meal, that we might be strengthened to feed others.  May our portion, prepared while we are still far off, be received with joy.

We trust that you will hear our prayer for the sake of Jesus, whose broken body has become the bread for our hungry souls.

Listen to ‘I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say’ by St. Andrews Hymns

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Rain

Deuteronomy 11:10-11
“The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden.  But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven.”

Luke 12:29-32a
“And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.  For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.  Do not be afraid, little flock…”

Psalm 68:9-10
“You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance.  Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, O God, you provided for the poor.”

Great Provider, you hold out heaven for us to drink.

We are not required to toil diligently to earn a torrential reward.  Your generousity exceeds our efforts, and you rain refreshment upon us in faithfulness to your word.

rainWhen we are parched with worry, may we turn to skies heavy with your sustaining showers.  Help us open our clutching hands to receive your beautiful, bountiful, cascading blessings.

We offer these prayers to you in the name of our life-source, Jesus Christ, who fell from heaven so that we might enter the land of your great goodness.

Listen to ‘Satisfied’ by City Hymns

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