Ravens

1 Kings 17:2-6
“Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah:  ‘Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan.  You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.’  So he did what the Lord had told him…The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.”

Luke 12:24
“Consider the ravens:  They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.  And how much more valuable you are than birds!”

Psalm 81:10
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt.  Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”

Creator and Sustainer of all valuable things, you tend us with great care.

ravenYou answer the harsh cries of your hungry flock, and with wings of provision you swoop to fill our mouths with life-giving morsels.

Supply us with the faith to trust your constant concern for us.  Give us the desire to soar with your Spirit, seeking to alight where we find others in need.

We bring our prayer before you in the loving name of Christ Jesus, who provides broken bread to feed our daily hunger and to remind us of our spiritual wholeness.

Listen to ‘My Maker and My King’ by Jacob Tilton

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Road

Luke 24:13-17
“Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.  They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.  As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them, but they were kept from recognizing him.  He asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’”

Acts 8:26-28, 30
“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’  So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian…sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah…Then Philip ran up to the chariot…‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Philip asked.”

Proverbs 4:11-12
“I will guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.  When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.”

Gentle Guide, you are the destination we long to find.

roadYou chart our route and pause to match our hesitant pace.  The mysteries of your way you reveal on the road we walk by faith, not by sight.

Come close and enter into divine dialogue with us, causing us to question our own understanding and open ourselves up to your direction.  Keep us travelling with you as our caring companion.

In the name of Jesus Christ we ask for your favour, who journeyed the highways of this world to show us the path to eternal life.

Listen to ‘Poor Wayfaring Stranger’ by Redemption Hill Music

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Boast

Ezra 8:21-23
“There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions.  I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, ‘The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.’  So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.”

Jeremiah 9:23b-24
“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.”

Galatians 6:14
“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

All power, wisdom and matchless majesty is yours, O God.

boastWhat can we claim that is not a benefit from your hand?  Yet surpassing all is the wonder of how you stoop low to allow us to gaze upon you.

Fill us with awe and delight that our Lover has laid down his life for us.  May we boast only in your accomplished work to prove to all people the faithfulness of your name.

For Christ’s sake, who preserved the integrity of your word by becoming the protection from our great Enemy, we come boldly before your throne.

Listen to ‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross’ by Ordinary Time

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Breath

Genesis 2:7
“…the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

Ezekiel 37:1, 9-10
“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones…Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath; prophesy son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:  Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’’  So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.”

John 20:20b-22
“The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.  Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you!  As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’  And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”

Sacred Spirit of God, you move in currents as mysterious as the wind.

You have blessed us with the intimacy of your breath, stirring life into our dry souls.  We feel a holy warmth in your approach.

breathRecreate us, O Creator.  Resurrect us with the essence of your Spirit so that we become a vast army prepared for the work of your kingdom.

We ask this in Christ’s name, whose divine breath was paused and bones dried in death to fill us with life everlasting.

Listen to ‘Breathe on Me, Breath of God‘ by Lisa Bloecher

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Recognized

Daniel 5:1, 5-6, 10-12
“King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them…Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall…His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way…The queen, hearing the voices of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet hall.  ‘O king, live forever!’ she said.  ‘Don’t be alarmed!  Don’t look so pale!  There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him…Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.’”

Matthew 27:19
“While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: ‘Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.’”

1 John 4:5-6
“They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.  We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us.  This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.”

Holy Spirit, with persistence and gentleness you impart all truth.

recognizeYou mystify the proud but speak through lesser voices.  Even in the courts of the worldly you declare yourself, and inspire receptive hearts to testify to your wisdom.

Remove our vain thoughts so that we recognize your voice.  Humble us by using unexpected advisors to offer sound judgement when we are perplexed.

For the sake of Jesus Christ we ask this, the unrecognized revealer who came from God to write the truth on our hearts.

Listen to ‘A Voice is Sounding’ by Sojourn

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Tents

2 Samuel 7:4-6
“That night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying, ‘Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says:  Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in?  I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day.  I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling.’”

Luke 9:57-58
“As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’  Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’”

2 Corinthians 5:1
“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”

Eternal One, you are the immortal God who deigned to become familiar with humanity.

tentFor a time you allow us to stretch our canopy in a place that is not meant to be our true home, and you join us in our wanderings.

Help us to remember that while our fading bodies are no more than a skin of shelter pitched in a hostile country, our souls dwell in the home you have built for us.

Thank you that we can have imperishable hope because Christ tented within a perishable body, and was staked to a bare hillside in order to welcome us over heaven’s threshold.

Listen to ‘This Is Not My Place of Resting’ by Jeremy Casella

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Wrapped

Luke 2:12
“’This will be a sign to you:  You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’”

Luke 23:52-53
“Going to Pilate, [Joseph of Arimathea] asked for Jesus’ body.  Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock…”

Psalm 104:1-2a
“Praise the Lord, O my soul.  O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.  He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent…”

Incarnate Deity, you wear holiness and splendour like robes adorning royal shoulders.

wrappedFor a time you clothed yourself in the fabric of humanity, encasing your divinity first in the blankets of a baby and then in a burial shroud.

As you wore our earthly garments, call us to put on heavenly dress.  Take from us the garb of our selfish pride and exchange it for raiment washed clean in your righteousness.

This we ask in Jesus’ name, who wrapped himself in death’s linen only to rise triumphant, dressed in glorious light.

Listen to ‘Mary’s Song’ by Ordinary Time

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Born

Isaiah 9:6a
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…”

John 3:3
“Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see kingdom of God without being born again.’”

1 John 5:11-12
“And this is the testimony:  God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

Lord of life, by the touch of your Spirit you animate all that moves and breathes.

bornYour Son, though he dwelt in the glory of a spiritual realm, was assigned to earth to be born an ordinary physical birth.  By grace, through him, we who are physical can enter into the extraordinary fullness of a spiritual life.

Bestow a new innocence upon us, so that in bodies confined by mortality our souls thrive in the arms of the Eternal.  May we cling to the hope we, conceived in divine love, can be born once again, our hearts beating strong with the gift of new life.

Thank you for the privilege of asking in Jesus’ name, who experienced a rustic birth and a tragic death so that we who are dead might live.

Listen to ‘Unto Us’ by Folk Angel

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Heavenly Hosts

Job 38:1, 6b-7
“Then the Lord answered Job…’Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations?  Tell me if you understand…Who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?’”

Luke 2:13-14
“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.’”

1 Peter 1:10-13
“Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing…Even angels long to look into these things.”

Lord of all lords, to be in your presence is to worship you.

Heavenly hostThe angels watched, rejoicing, as you designed and created the beautiful earthly home you have given us.  Again, they witnessed the opening moments of your redemptive masterpiece and thousands upon thousands could not contain their joy.

Open our ears to hear the chorus of praise ringing in the darkness of our unremarkable lives.  Flood our senses with the wonder of the Creator presented to the created as one of their own.

Humbled that your favour rests so fully upon us, we ask this in the name of the Child born to complete our salvation, Jesus Christ.  All glory be to him!

Listen to ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear’ by Justin Schaap

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Enemy

Exodus 1:12b, 22a
“…so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites…Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: ‘Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile…’”

Matthew 2:16
“When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.”

1 Peter 5:7-9
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you…Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith…”

Mighty God, your kingdom has domain over all the powers and princes of this world.

lionIn oppression you rescue us.  Though we are persecuted by the faithless and troubled from within, you raised up a deliverer who lifts the burden from our sin-weary souls.

In our sorrow and anxiety, remind us that we are people belonging to a different realm and you are bringing us home. Let us not be defeated by the short-lived power of the evil one.

We bring this request to you believing that the name of Christ has authority, for he took all our cares upon himself and claimed victory over the enemy’s furious threats.

Listen to ‘Canticle of the Turning’ by Emmaus Way

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