Prayers and promises

All of God’s promises have their yes in him. That is why we say Amen through him to the glory of God. ~2 Cor 1:20

“When Luther wrote, ‘Faith is the yes of the heart, a confidence on which one stakes one’s life,’ he was saying faith is a response of the whole self to God. It is not just our words: the creeds we confess, the prayers we pray, the way we argue our faith, or what we say in teaching our children. It is not just our works and deeds: our faithful attendance at church, our participation on committees, or our acts of love toward others.

This yes is an inner assent of the will. It is a willingness to receive the grace and the guidance of God. It can be so deep and far-reaching as to cause a real conversion of life, a real repentance, a turning around to go in a completely new direction. It always involves, says Luther, the daily death of the person we have been in order to fulfill our reason for being alive: to accomplish God’s will in our time and place.” ~From Fatih, the Yes of the Heart by Grace Adolphsen Brame

Lord Jesus Christ, You have promised never to forsake or leave me. Accept my life and ministry as a living sacrifice to You and grant me strength to keep my promises to You. In the name of Christ. Amen.

In You I trust

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. Psalm 25:1-3

“You are the object of all good, the apex of life, the depth of wisdom. Your servants’ greatest consolation is to hope in you above all things. I turn my eyes to you. In you, my God, Father of mercies, I place my trust. Bless my soul and make it holy with your heavenly blessing; let it become your holy dwelling, the place of your eternal glory. Let nothing be found in your temple that may offend the eyes of your majesty. According to the greatness of your goodness and your many mercies, look down on me and hear the prayer of your poor servant, exiled far off in the land of the shadow of death. Protect and keep the soul of your servant, traveling amid the many dangers of life. By your grace, direct him along the path of peace until he is back home in the land of everlasting brightness. Amen.” ~From The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis

Finding time

While Jesus and his disciples were traveling, Jesus entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him as a guest. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his message. By contrast, Martha was preoccupied with getting everything ready for their meal. So Martha came to him and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to prepare the table all by myself? Tell her to help me.”

The Lord answered, ” Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. One thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part. It won’t be taken away from her.” ~Luke 10:38-42

“When the Master invited the Governor to practice meditation and the Governor said he was too busy, this is the reply he got: ‘You put me in mind of a man walking blindfolded into the jungle- and being too busy to take the blindfold off.’

When the Governor pleaded lack of time, the Master said, ‘It is a mistake to think that meditation cannot be practiced for lack of time. The real reason is agitation of the mind.’ ~From Taking Flight by Anthony de Mello

Heavenly Father, Help me to not be overly busy this day. Help me to make time for You for I know when I make time for You, so much more of my day falls into place. Amen.

In this moment

“Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are? Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? Notice how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. But I say to you that even Solomon in all of his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, won’t God do much more for you, you people of weak faith? Therefore, don’t worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ Gentiles long for all these things. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~Matt. 6:25-34 (CEB)

“As we grow older, we tend to become  control freaks. We need to control everybody and everything, moment by moment, to be happy. If the now has never been full or sufficient, we will always be grasping, even addictive or obsessive. If you’re pushing yourself and others around, you have not yet found the secret of happiness. It’s okay as it is. This moment is as perfect as it can be. The saints called it the ‘sacrament of the present moment.'”~From Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr

Heavenly Father, Help me to live in this moment. Help me not to be in a rush for tomorrow to come or blinded by my past regrets. Help me to see the beauty and joy that You have sent my way for this day. Amen.

When I call You to me

The LORD proclaims, the LORD who made the earth, who formed and established it, whose name is the LORD: Call to me and I will answer and reveal to you wondrous secrets that you haven’t known. ~Jer. 33:2-3 (CEB)

“How shall I call upon my God, my God and my Lord, when by the very act of calling upon him I would be calling him into myself? Is there any place within me into which my God might come? How should the God who made heaven and earth come into me? Is there any room in me for you, Lord, my God? Even heaven and earth, which you have made and in which you have made me – can even they contain you? Since nothing exists would exist without you, does it follow that whatever exists does in some way contain you? But if this is so, how can I, who am one of these existing things, ask you to come into me, when I would not exist at all unless you were already in me? Not yet am I in hell, after all, but even if I were, you would be there too; for if I descend to the underworld, you are there. No my God, I would not exist, I would not be at all, were you not in me. Or should I say, rather, that I should not exist if I were not in you, from whom are all things, through whom are all things, in whom are all things? Yes, Lord, that is the truth, that is indeed the truth. To what place can I invite you, then, since I am in you? Or where could you come from, in order to come into me? To what place outside heaven and earth could I travel, so that my God could come to me there, the God who said, I fill heaven and earth?” ~From The Confessions by Saint Augustine

Almighty God, you who are the source of my life and strength. In Your presence alone I find help, hope and life to sustain me this day. Help me in turn to be a healing reminder of Your love to all whose lives I touch this day. Amen.

Quiet my thoughts

I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the LORD; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. ~Jer. 29:11 (CEB)

“Dear Jesus, during this day help me quiet all the thoughts that fill my head- where I must go, whom I must see, and what I must do. In their place, give me a sense of your order, your peace, and your time.

Help me to understand that you are in control, and I can trust you with my day. Help me to realize that nothing on my to-do list is important if it is not what you want me to do.

I give all my tasks to you and trust you to bring order to them. In these moments, dear Jesus, come to me, be with me, and free me from the tyranny of ‘to do.’” Amen. ~From Quiet Spaces by Patricia F. Wilson

To gain my soul

Why would people gain the whole world but lose their lives? What will people give in exchange for their lives? ~Matt 16:26 (CEB)

“What I most desire for you is a certain calmness which recollection, detachment, and love of God alone can give. St. Augustine says that whatever we love outside God, so much the less do we love [God]. It is as a brook whence part of the waters is turned aside. Such a diversion takes away from that which is God’s and thence arise harassment and trouble. God would have all, and [God’s] jealousy cannot endure a divided heart. The slightest affection apart from [God] becomes a hindrance, and causes estrangement. The soul can only look to find peace in love without reserve. ~ From The Royal Way of the Cross: Letters and Spiritual Counsels of Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fenelon

Heavenly Father, I am nothing without You. My heart races, I feel lost and alone without You. Help me to not have a divided heart so that I may find the peace and love I need for this day. Amen.

Spiritual Discipline

Train yourself for a holy life! While physical training has some value, training in holy living is useful for everything. It has promise for this life now and the life to come. ~1 Tim 4:7b-8 (CEB)

“By participating in Christian disciplines, we live out our desire and intention to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. As we do so, we are encouraged, instructed, healed, challenged, loved, renewed, and beckoned to God and godly living.

While it is true that God is in every when and where and that many other things besides disciplines contribute to our deepening relationship with God, we discover that it makes a meaningful difference in everyday life when we set aside time, space, and ourselves to be more fully present with and attentive and responsive to God. Disciplines are like faithful companions on the way. The benefit we seek and desire most is deepening companionship with God. We come away from other pursuits to listen for the still, small voice that is our beloved Savior, the Holy One, our Creator, God.” ~From Holy Invitations by Jeanette A. Bakke

Lord, how magnificent are Your ways. The more time I spend with You the more I desire to know You deeper. Guide this time with You, O Lord, so the relationship will grow even stronger. Help me to continue to hear Your still small voice as I journey through this day. Amen.

Solitude

Early in the morning, well before sunrise, Jesus rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone in prayer. ~Mark 1:35 (CEB)

“Solitude is obviously intended to be far more than just being physically alone. It is the way we form a habit of retreat, creating a space and a time when God can speak to us. Perhaps you are fortunate enough to have some place in your house that could become a place of retreat. Some people have a favorite walk that becomes a ‘prayer walk.’ Every large city, despite the noise and crowds, has places of great solitude and peace. Often city center churches are examples of this. What is certain is that if we create a place where we can regularly turn to God, [God] will meet us there. There, as Amma Syncletica said, ‘it is possible to be a solitary in one’s mind while living in a crowd.’ Time spent with God in solitude will always bring a harvest. The problems we have outside the solitude will seem different when we return to them refreshed and strengthened. The surer sense of our relationship with Christ that solitude brings spills over into everything else we do. When Moses came down from his solitude on Mount Sinai, his face shone (Exod. 34:29-35). For you, too, solitude can be a place of transfiguration, a meeting place with the living God.” ~From The Interior Mountain by Simon Peter Iredale

Come away with me O Lord, to a quiet place where I may hear your voice as it whispers to me. May the solitude I seek in this moment give me the strength needed for this day. May my face shine from being in Your Presence. Help me remember throughout the rest of this day to stop and listen for Your voice so that I may know more clearly the way to go. Amen.

Focus

 

Have you not known? Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,

the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He does not faint or grow weary;

his understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint,

and strengthens the powerless.

Even youths will faint and be weary,

and the young will fall exhausted;

but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,

they shall mount up with wings like eagles,

they shall run and not be weary,

they shall walk and not faint. ~Isaiah 40:28-31 (NIV)

How can we stay in solitude when we feel that deep urge to be distracted by people and events?   The simplest way is to focus our minds and hearts on a word or picture that reminds us of God.  By repeating quietly:  “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want,” or by gazing lovingly at an icon of Jesus, we can bring our restless minds to some rest and experience a gentle divine presence.

This doesn’t happen overnight.  It asks a faithful practice.  But when we spend a few moments every day just being with God, our endless distractions will gradually disappear. ~From Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Heavenly Father, help me this day to focus on Your will for my life. Guide me and direct me in the way I should go so that I may not tire or grow weary. Amen.

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