Mercies



Holy Mountain




















Lord, bring me today to your holy mountain,
to Mount Zion,
to the city of the living God,
the heavenly Jerusalem,
to God himself,
to Jesus,
the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people,
and to the sprinkled blood, which graciously forgives.

(based on Isaiah 66:20, Hebrews 12:22-24; painting: Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, by David Roberts in 1842, Library of Congress)

A Writer's Senryu

Here I am alone
But not alone; you are here.
Speak in the silence.

Invitation

Lord God Adonai,
I'm sorry that I have so often
approached your Word
and combed your Word
and misused your Word
as a repository of rules and formulas
for me--and others, especially others--to obey,
rather than as a means of relationship,
a love note,
a sometimes whispered,
sometimes shouted,
always gracious
invitation to enter into communion with you.
Amen.

For Their Peace


(my prayer today for my kids and my grandkids, from the "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids" app for iPhone and iPad).

A Prayer for My Daughter on Her Birthday

Today is my favorite daughter's birthday, Lord,
and I still can't fathom,
can't even process,
that she is all she is.

How kindly and fully--
generously, in fact--
you have answered my prayers for her
and her mother's prayers for her.
You have made her faithful like Ruth and regal like Esther,  
fierce like Deborah and brilliant like Abigail,
industrious like Lydia and a leader like Junia.

I give you so much praise and thanks
for my only daughter,
my firstborn, my Blossom;
for the child you gave me,
the woman she is,
the love we share,
the pride and joy I feel in her,
the blessings you've given her,
and the blessings you've given me through her.

Please bless her abundantly today
and in all the days to come.
Keep her safe and well.
Keep her marriage strong and beautiful.
Prosper her and her husband,
answer their prayers,
supply their needs,
fulfill their dreams.

Let her children continue to grow in happiness, health, and holiness.
Let Calleigh's and Ryder's healing appear, soon, please.
Reward Aubrey's love and faithfulness and diligence as a mom
with beauty and grace, charm and wisdom,
health and wholeness, integrity and strength in her children
as you have done for me in mine.

Show her every kindness,
grant her your favor,
use her,
bless her,
hold her,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Unnecessary Things

O God, teach me how to dispense with unnecessary things.

(a prayer of Toyohiko Kagawa)

For Their Self-Esteem

My prayer today for my kids and my grandkids, from the "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids" app for iPhone and iPad:

For Your Perspective

Oh, Lord, I try,
I really do,
but I am tired of working so hard to see things
from someone else's perspective.
Give me your perspective,
and let all others
take a flying leap.
Amen.

(photo via everystockphoto.com)

A Prayer of Girolamo Savonarola

I beg you, Lord, because of your own goodness:
Give light to my eyes; wound my heart with your love.
Steady my stride along your paths
So that my steps do not stray.
Free the captive, gather the scattered,
Sew up the torn, lift up the fallen.
Give me a heart that ponders you;
Give me a mind that dwells on you.
Give me an intellect that understands you.
Give me a reasoning that easily clings to you.
Give me a soul that loves you.
Give me a will that never parts from you.
Be near to my heart, near to my words.
Be near to my work, near to help.
Be near to me, for I am faint with love.
Be near to me, because without you I die.
Be near to me, because I am uplifted by the thought of you.
Your fragrance refreshes me;
Your memory heals me;
Your pleasant light renews my life;
Your gentle voice gives me delight.
Then will I be satisfied when your glory appears.

(from the October 8 reading in the newly released devotional, Godspeed: Voices of the Reformation, by David Teems)

Saturday Psalm #30

I praise you, Lord, for you rescue me.
You refuse to let my enemies get the best of me.
Lord God, I cry out to you for help,
and you heal me, body and soul.
You deliver me from the grave, O Lord.
You keep me from falling into the pit.

I sing to you, Lord, with all your saints!
I praise your holy name.
Your anger lasts an instant,
but your favor lasts a lifetime!
I suffer dark nights like anyone,
but then you bring a new dawn, time after time.

When things are going great,
I feel like nothing can stand in my way.
Your favor, O Lord, makes me feel secure.
But when you turn your face away from me, I am a mess.

I cry out to you, Lord.
I beg you for mercy, all over again.
I know you never tire,
but it’s hard to believe you’re not fed up with me.
If you gave up on me now, though,
I could never praise and glorify you any better than I do today!
So hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me.
Help me, O Lord.

You turn my worst moments into occasions for dancing.
You replace my prison garments with party garb,
so I will sing your praises as loud and long as I am able.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

(photo via everystockphoto.com)

For Grace to Hear and Keep Your Word

Lord, give your people grace to hear and keep your word that, after the example of your servant William Tyndale, we may not only profess your gospel but also be ready to suffer and die for it, to the honour of your name.

(from The Book of Common Prayer, Collect for October 6, quoted in the newly released devotional, Godspeed: Voices of the Reformation, by David Teems. Tyndale was martyred on October 6)

Which Nothing Finite Can Satisfy

For the power Thou hast given me to lay hold of things unseen:
For the strong sense I have that this is not my home:
For my restless heart which nothing finite can satisfy:
I give Thee thanks, O God.

For the invasion of my soul by Thy Holy Spirit:
For all human love and goodness that speak to me of Thee:
For the fullness of Thy glory outpoured in Jesus Christ:
I give Thee thanks, O God.

(a prayer of John Baillie, from the book A Diary of Private Prayer)

Saturday Psalm #29

Lord, I praise you,
from what little strength I have,
for your glory and strength.

I give you glory, Lord, which is your due,
because of your great name.
I worship you for the beauty of your holiness.

You speak, Lord, in the rains:
your glory thunders in the skies
and pours out in torrents.
Your voice is powerful;
your voice is majestic.
Your voice splinters the mightiest trees;
a word from your mouth reduces them to kindling.
Your rumblings make the landscape dance;
your power rattles the mountains.
Your voice flames across the sky in the lightning.
Your voice shakes the forests,
and makes the deserts tremble.
Your voice uproots mighty oaks,
and denudes the forests,
and in your presence every knee bows
and every tongue cries out your glory.
You rule over the natural forces of this earth.
You reign as king over drought and flood,
tornado and hurricane,
volcanos and tides,
fire and ice.

Mighty Lord, Adonai,
please give some of that strength to your people
and bless your people with peace,
like the calm that follows the storm.

(photo via everystockphoto.com)

Fully Persuaded

Grant, Almighty God, that as you often justly hide your face from us, so that on every side we see nothing but evidences of your dreadful judgment--O, grant that we, with minds raised above the scene of this world, may at the same time cherish the hope which you constantly set before us, so that we may feel fully persuaded that we are loved by you, however severely you may chastise us; and may this consolation so support and sustain our souls, that patiently enduring whatever chastisements you may lay upon us, we may ever hold fast the reconciliation which you have promised to us in Christ your Son. Amen.

(a prayer of John Calvin, in his Commentary on Hosea, translated into English in 1846 and updated by me into modern English)

Fill Me With Pure, Celestial Fire

God of almighty love,
By whose sufficient grace
I lift my heart to things above,
And humbly seek your face.

Through Jesus Christ the Just,
My best desires receive;
And let me in your goodness trust,
And to your glory live.

Whate'er I say or do,
Your glory be my aim;
My offerings all be offered through
The ever-blessed name!

Jesus, my single eye
Be fixed on you alone:
Your name be praised on earth, on high;
Your will by me be done!

Spirit of faith, inspire
My consecrated heart;
Fill me with pure, celestial fire,
With all you have and are.

(a hymn by Charles Wesley, slightly revised and updated; NASA photo via everystockphoto.com)

That They May Cling to You


(my prayer today for my kids and my grandkids, from the "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids" app for iPhone and iPad).

The Glory in the Grey


Almighty God...
Sun behind all suns...
Soul behind all souls...
show to us in everything we touch
and in everyone we meet
the continued assurance of thy presence round us,
lest ever we should think thee absent.
In all created things thou art there.
In every friend we have
the sunshine of thy presence is shown forth.
In every enemy that seems to cross our path,
thou art there within the cloud to challenge us to love.
Show to us the glory in the grey.
Awake for us thy presence in the very storm
till all our joys are seen as thee
and all our trivial tasks emerge as priestly sacraments
in the universal temple of thy love.

(George MacLeod, The Whole Earth Shall Cry Glory, pp. 13-14)

Ukuthula (Peace)



Translation:

Ukuthula - Peace
Kulumhlaba we zono - In this (broken) world of trouble
Igazi like Jesu lin yenyez' - The blood of Jesus flowed (so that you could have:)

Ukuthula - Peace
Usindiso - Redemption
Ukubonga - Praise
Ukutholwa - Faith
Ukunqoba - Victory
Induduzo - Comfort

Saturday Psalm #28


I call out to you,
O Lord, my rock;
please don’t be silent.
If you stop speaking to me,
I would feel
like dropping dead.

Hear my words,
and my non-words,
when my soul cries out to you.
See my lifted hands
reaching out to you.

Save me from being enticed
by the way of the wicked;
I’m bad enough all by myself.
Make me unlike those who speak peace to their neighbors,
while all the while plotting “war” in their hearts.
Give such people what they deserve,
and turn their wickedness back on them.
Pay them their fair wages,
letting them reap the crop they have sown.
May those who ignore or defame your great works
be knocked down a peg
instead of climbing the ladder of success.

I bless you, Lord,
because you hear me when I call out to you.
You are my strength and my shield;
I trust you, and you help me;
my heart swells with joy in your presence,
and I sing your praises with my whole heart.

Lord, you are my strength;
you alone give me the victory I crave.
Save your people,
and bless those who belong to you:
Feed them and carry them for ever, amen.

Groanings

Father, we pray for those who have lost property or loved ones in the recent groanings of a broken creation. Please heal bodies and hearts and provide relief. Let your people show love and compassion to their neighbors and show the truth, goodness, and beauty of Jesus. Amen 
(from the Daily Prayer blog; photo via everystockphoto.com)

On the First Day of Autumn

When I must go, dear God, please let it be
A golden autumn day; when red leaves fall,
When purple grapes in shining clusters hang
And bittersweet glows bright against the wall,

When o'er the barren fields and russet meads
Their last farewells the crickets cry.
Let me make my silent journey
When the homing birds fly south across the sky.

When I must go, dear God, please let me go
As silently as autumn rain,
As still as lacy shadows 'neath the willow trees,
As calm as is the moon above the hill.

So let me go--and may there be no grief
When life is done and I must say goodbye.
I'll take my leave with flowers and falling leaf
And lie in peaceful sleep beneath the sky.

(unattributed)

On Rosh Hashanah

Let us now relate the power of this day's holiness, for it is awesome and frightening. On it Your Kingship will be exalted; Your throne will be firmed with kindness and You will sit upon it in truth. It is true that You alone are the One Who judges, proves, knows, and bears witness; Who writes and seats, (counts and calculates); Who remembers all that was forgotten. You will open the Book of Chronicles - it will read itself, and everyone's signature is in it. The great shofar will be sounded and a still, thin sound will be heard. Angels will hasten, a trembling and terror will seize them - and they will say, 'Behold, it is the Day of Judgment, to muster the heavenly host for judgment!'- for they cannot be vindicated in Your eyes in judgment.

All mankind will pass before You like members of the flock. Like a shepherd pasturing his flock, making sheep pass under his staff, so shall You cause to pass, count, calculate, and consider the soul of all the living; and You shall apportion the fixed needs of all Your creatures and inscribe their verdict.

On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst, who by storm, who by plague, who by strangulation, and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquillity and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted.

But repentance, prayer, and charity avert the severity of the decree.

(photo via everystockphoto.com)

An Exact Faith

Give me grace, O Lord,
to be in all things strong, prudent and just
with a wise restraint at need.
Grant me an exact faith,
unshakeable trust in thee,
and perfect charity.
Fill me
with the spirit of intelligence and wisdom.
Let me
be always thoughtful for others
and courageous,
with loyalty and reverence.
O Light, perfect and eternal, enlighten me.

(a prayer of Alcuin of York; photo via everystockphoto.com)

Give Me Yourself

God, give me yourself--nothing less
than your salvation,
your holiness,
your mercy,
your kindness,
your magnanimity,
your love,
your goodness,
your purity,
your integrity,
your grace,
your glory will do for me.

I confess, Lord, that I sin,
and in so doing
I say that you are not enough for me,
that you can't be trusted,
that I must have something other than you...
but that's a lie,
and I beg your forgiveness for how often I tell it,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo via everystockphoto.com)

Saturday Psalm #27

Lord, you are my light and my salvation;
why should I fear anyone?
Lord, you are the strength of my life;
of whom should I be afraid?

When wicked people try to mess me up,
when people who hate me try to trip me up,
they will trip themselves.
Even if an army takes positions against me,
why should I worry?
If someone declares “war” against me,
I still have you, Lord.

I ask one thing of you, Lord,
one thing most of all,
one thing I crave,
one thing I will seek:
to dwell in your presence all the days of my life,
to gaze on your beauty,
and to experience you in your holy place.

For I know when trouble comes,
you will hide me in your eyrie;
you will place me out of reach of my enemies
on a high crag.
You will place me where I can look down on those who would hurt me,
and they will look like tiny ants to me,
making me wonder how they could ever have bothered me at all.
Therefore I offer sacrifices of joy to you at every opportunity;
I will sing your praises,
I will whisper your praises,
I will shout your praises,
I will dance your praises.

Hear me, Lord, when I cry out to you.
Have mercy on me, and answer me.
When you say, “Seek ye my face,”
prompt a willing response: “I will seek you wholeheartedly, Lord.”
Please don’t obscure your face;
please don’t be angry with me;
though you know I deserve your wrath,
you have always been my helper regardless of how little I deserve your help.
Stay with me, Lord;
stay beside me, O God of my salvation.
You who are more faithful than father or mother,
hold me close.

Teach me how to become more and more like you, Lord,
and blaze a straight path ahead of me,
so I will not give my enemies reason to rejoice.
Frustrate those who hate me,
who accuse me wrongly,
who blame me for their problems.
If it weren’t for you, Lord, I would have lost hope long ago.
Help me just to wait on you,
to be brave and courageous,
and wait for you to accomplish your good will.

Mad Lover

O eternal, infinite God! O mad lover! And you have need of your creature? It seems so to me, for you act as if you could not live without [me], in spite of the fact that you are Life itself, and everything has life from you and nothing can have life without you. Why then are you so mad? Because you have fallen in love with what you have made?...You clothed yourself in our humanity, and nearer than that you could not have come (a prayer of Catherine of Siena).

Comfort

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who weep this day, and comfort those who grieve, 
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer of St. Ambrose, Slightly Revised

Once more
the sun is beaming bright,
Once more
to you I pray,
That your eternal light
may guide
And cheer
my soul today. Amen.

Love and Faithfulness


My prayer today for my kids and my grandkids, from the "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids" app for iPhone and iPad.

Saturday Psalm #26

Judge me kindly, Lord.
By your grace, let me walk in integrity.
By your grace, let me trust in you without wavering.

Examine me, Lord, and diagnose everything that’s wrong with me.
Shine your light into my heart and mind.
I know your kindness tempers your correction,
and my desire to walk in your truth trumps my desire to avoid painful correction.

Save me from hanging around liars.
Keep me far from the company of cheaters.
Turn me away from the paths of those who do evil,
and free me from any desire to make wicked people like me.

I will wash my hands, Lord;
I will bow in repentance at your altar.
I will sing your thanks in a loud voice,
and boldly report to others what you have done.

I love your house, Lord.
I love your church.
I love being there when your people assemble.
I love giving you glory in the company of the saints.

Make me wise,
so that I may not be in the wrong place,
in the wrong company,
at the wrong time.

Lead me in paths of righteousness.
Rescue me, pity me, and lift me,
setting my feet on solid ground, higher ground,
the Rock that is higher than I.

I praise you, Lord, among the company of the committed.

(photo via everystockphoto.com)

For a Genuine Life

Father, you know how easy it is for me to substitute an exterior religious performance for an interior spiritual concern. How hollow and empty it must look to you! Help me to shape my words and acts today in the way you shaped yours toward me in Jesus, in whose name I pray, amen.

(From Eugene Peterson's Praying with the Psalms, April 14 reading; photo via everystockphoto.com).

Never Confounded

In you, O loving God, have I hoped:
let me never be confounded.
I know too well
that I am weak and changeable.
I know the power of temptation
against the strongest virtue.

I have seen stars fall
and foundations of my world crack;
these things do not alarm me.
While I hope in you,
I am sheltered from all misfortune,
and I am sure
that my trust shall endure,
for I rely upon you
to sustain this unfailing hope.

Finally, I know that my confidence cannot exceed your generosity,
and that I shall never receive less than I have hoped for from you.
Therefore I hope that you will sustain me against my evil inclinations,
that you will protect me against the deceitful attacks of the evil one,
and that you will cause my weakness to triumph over every hostile force.

I hope that you will never cease to love me and that I shall love you unceasingly. Amen.

(a prayer of Claude de la Colombière)

Gracious Hand

As it was on Nehemiah, please let "the gracious hand of God [be] on me" (‭‭Nehemiah‬ ‭2:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬).

Saturday Psalm #25

O Lord, I lift up my soul to you.
O my God, I trust in you:
let me not be ashamed,
or defeated by my enemies.
In fact, let none who trusts you be ashamed,
but rather let schemers and swindlers be ashamed.

Show me your ways, O Lord, and teach me to walk in your footsteps.
Light my way with your truth,
and teach me: for you are the God of my salvation.
Help me to wait on you throughout the day.
Persevere in your tender mercies and lovingkindnesses toward me, Lord.
They’ve lasted this long; let them endure through my days.
As you have forgotten the sins of my youth,
so wipe clean my latest transgressions.
Look on me through eyes of mercy,
and smile on me today, O Lord.

You are utterly good and upright, Lord.
You are the ultimate Teacher and Guide,
showing even the worst sinners like me the way they should go.
You lead the meek along right paths,
and make the most humble your disciples.
You blaze paths of mercy and truth
for all those who keep your covenant and obey your commands.

For the sake of your name and your reputation, Lord,
make me a man who walks in forgiveness, despite my many sins;
make me a student who listens reverently to you and follows your teachings;
make me an heir who dwells at ease,
whose children enjoy a rich legacy from you;
make me your friend and confidante, Lord,
show me (like Peter) things only you can impart.
I look to you for everything, Lord,
for you alone keep me safe from the snares that surround me.
Look to me, Lord, and have mercy upon me,
for apart from you I am desolate and afflicted.

When my heart swells with sorrows, please lift me out of my distress.
Look tenderly on me, heal my pain, and forgive all my sins.
And meanwhile, don’t forget my enemies,
for they are many, and I can’t stand against them unless you stand for me.

Divine Watcher, watch over my soul;
Dread Warrior, fight for me;
God my Defender, vindicate me, for I rely on you.

Let your integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I have none of my own;
I wait on you.

As with me, so with all your people:
Redeem them all, O God, out of all their troubles.

(photo by The Ancient Brit via everystockphoto.com)

For Eyes Incapable of Anything But Wonder

Lord, thank you for oysters and porpoises,
praise you for birdsong and sheet lightning,
see you reflected in pools of creekwater and the eyes of stray cats.
Let me talk to yard dogs as if they are my friends and fellow travelers
along the sun-tortured highways intoxicated with the love of God.
Let me see the whole world with eyes incapable of anything but wonder,
and a tongue fluent only in praise, amen.

(based on a passage from Pat Conroy's The Prince of Tides, pp. 277-278).

Zarephath Again

Lord God Adonai,
my defender and provider,
I pray again
as I have prayed before:
let it be to me and mine
as it was to the widow
of Zarephath.

You know our need of the moment;
you know our need in the future.
You know what is yet to come in,
and what is yet to go out.
You know the state of our jars,
the condition of our pantry.

I lean on you still,
I depend on you
to make much of little
and enough of not enough,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(based on 1 Kings 17:14)

For Robin's Mom

Lord, shower your mercy and grace on Sue Wright over these coming days in rehab and as she begins dialysis. Ease her pain and grant her comfort, peace, and joy. Bless her with attentive and able care, and give wisdom, insight, and discernment to everyone who makes decisions with her and for her. Give strength and stamina to her husband and children, in their concern and care for her. Accomplish your good, perfect, and pleasing will in, for, and through her. Give her rest, laughter, healing, and even a few Reds' victories to enjoy in the coming days, in Jesus' name, amen.

Saturday Psalm #24

The earth is yours, Lord, and everything in it;
the whole world, and all its people,
belong to you.
For you started it all,
building it up from the ocean depths,
and parting land and sea.

I long to ascend into your hill, Lord.
I ache to stand in your holy place.

Cleanse my hands, and purify my heart;
rid my heart of its idols,
and purge my tongue of its lies.
Pour out your blessing on me, Lord,
and fill me again with your righteousness,
God of my salvation.

Turn my heart again to seek you wholeheartedly,
to seek your face, O God of Jacob.

I open the gates to you, Lord;
I swing open the doors like the gates of Jerusalem,
that the King of glory may enter in.

You are my King; you are my glory.
You are Adonai, strong and mighty,
Adonai, my Dread Warrior.

I open the gates to you, Lord;
I swing open the doors like the gates of Jerusalem,
that the King of glory may enter in.

You are my King; you are my glory,
the Lord of hosts, the King of glory, amen.

For Their Work Ethic

(from the iPhone/iPad app, "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids," available in the iTunes app store, here)