Theme: Part of creation


A walk in nature with friends  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

“Be always looking to God with thankfulness and worship for having placed you in such a beautiful corner of the universe as the planet Earth.”

(Jesse Brand)

 
This prayer sheet is inspired by the June 2018 theme of the month: Nature.

In these prayers we look to God to help us to be better stewards of this good and beautiful corner of his creation.

For personal use or to share.

Continue reading “Theme: Part of creation”

Nature bringing joy


O rhubarb red!  O joy!

 

For this post I’ve plundered a post from brainpickings.org entitled “Nature and the Serious Business of Joy” featuring quotes by British naturalist and environmental writer Michael McCarthy.

“There can be occasions when we suddenly and involuntarily find ourselves loving the natural world with a startling intensity, in a burst of emotion which we may not fully understand, and the only word that seems to me to be appropriate for this feeling is joy.”

 

“The natural world is not separate from us, it is part of us. It is as much a part of us as our capacity for language; we are bonded to it still, however hard it may be to perceive the union in the tumult of modern urban life. Yet the union can be found, the union of ourselves and nature, in the joy which nature can spark and fire in us.”

 

I commend the whole article to you for more quotes and reflections.
 
Also check out Krista Tippett’s On Being conversation with Michael McCarthy.
 


A prayer

I thank you, O God, for the pleasures you have given me through my senses; for the glory of thunder, for the mystery of music, the singing of birds and the laughter of children. I thank you for the delights of colour, the awe of the sunset, the wild roses in the hedgerows, the smile of friendship. I thank you for the sweetness of flowers and the scent of hay. Truly, O Lord, the earth is full of your riches!

by Edward King (1829-1910) (adapted)

from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #211
 


Digging deeper

 

Ask the animals


Pigeon talk in Malta  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

But ask the animals what they think —
     let them teach you;
     let the birds tell you what’s going on.
Put your ear to the earth —
     learn the basics.
Listen —
     the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories.
Isn’t it clear that they all know and agree
     that God is sovereign,
     that he holds all things in his hand —
Every living soul, yes,
     every breathing creature?

 

Job 12:7-10 (The Message)

 


Extras

 

A new nature


(Photo: Irene Bom)
 

Walking through the Trompenburg Gardens and Arboretum in Rotterdam I came upon this cracked stone table, with moss growing in the grooves, marking the damage and in some way repairing it.

It reminds me of kintsugi, the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery, with beautiful seams of gold filling the cracks, visibly incorporating the repair into the new piece instead of disguising it.

Here is a prayer of confession by Cheryl Lawrie that invites us to bring the cracks in our lives and in our world to God for his radical restoration.

This is the first post in the new series, “Nature”.
 

Prayer of Confession

(inspired by Mark 1:21-28)

God,
we thank you for this extraordinary world
and its reminders of resilience, grace, hope and life:
for when grass shoots break through concrete
when the sun emerges after storms
for when people offer laughter in deep sadness
In these moments we see glimpses of who you are –
and we are grateful.

Yet if we reduce you to being like the cycle of nature
or the best of humankind,
we diminish your power to make the impossible real:
to break apart the impenetrable evils of oppression,
to cast out the very real fears that paralyse us
to banish the insidious demons of judgement and worthlessness.

Forgive us God when we do not trust you to deal with the unspeakable awfulness in our lives and world. In the silence we name the parts of our lives and our world that we believe are too broken to ever be made whole.

Cast out our demons, Lord,
Make us new again

Forgive us when contribute to the brokenness of the world and the lives of people around us. In the silence we name the things we have done that separate us from you and from others.

Cast out our demons, Lord,
Make us new again

Forgive us when we trust darkness more than we trust your light. In the silence we name the things we think we need to keep hidden.

Cast out our demons, Lord,
Make us new again

Scripture says that those who are in Christ are a new creation;
everything old has passed away;
see, the new has come!

Hear then Christ’s word of grace to us:
‘Your sins are forgiven.’

Thanks be to God.

 
~ written by Cheryl Lawrie and posted on [hold this space].


see also
Theme: God makes all things new (Prayer sheet)
3 Prayers for endings and beginnings
 

Full of air

 

I’ve had Gunilla Norris’s book, Becoming Bread, on my bookshelf for years. Paging through it – the first time in years – I found this meditation inspired by the rising process where the yeast “breathes out” carbon dioxide that is trapped in the dough, expanding and so transforming it.

 

“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and hid in a large tub of flour until it made all the dough rise.” (Matt 13:33b, NCV)

Rising

Here in the bowl
is warmth and time to rest.
The dough is set apart and covered.

Here in the bowl
the rising starts
and creeps up the sides

reaching into time,
into space … into possibility.
Dreams are like this,

full of air,
going ahead of us,
want to take us

beyond the rim
of our horizon,
wanting to lift us out

of where we are.
Dreams are like this … unfolding
a moment at a time,

expanding us, breathing us,
demanding something new,
wanting to take shape.

This is also dangerous
for there are dark dreams, terrible
dreams. And the ones where

love asks the impossible from us.
Can this be the restlessness
of God? Are we being dreamed?

 
from Becoming Bread by Gunilla Norris, p. 45-46
 

The Gift revisited

The Gift

 
This blog usually features the prayerful writings of others. One major exception is the series, “The Gift”: 12 meditations with readings and original prayer poems on the Holy Spirit that I published between Ascension Day and Pentecost last year.

As a gift to you for Pentecost 2018, I’ve repackaged the 2017 series as a 16-page booklet in PDF format, ready for printing. To get your copy, click here.

For the original blog posts, click here.

Also, check out the Index to see what else this blog has on offer (past posts/series) and maybe consider signing up (if you haven’t yet done so) to receive future posts in your email inbox.
 

Life that gives life


Tulliallen Castle, spring 2018  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 
“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.’” (John 20:21-22)

Prayer

Holy Spirit, the life that gives life,
You are the cause of all movement;
You are the breath of all creatures;
You are the salve that purifies our souls;
You are the ointment that heals our wounds;
You are the fire that warms our hearts;
You are the light that guides our feet.
Let all the world praise you.

 
by Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
from 2000 Years of Prayer compiled by Michael Counsell, p. 122
 


See also: Testing ground
 

Pray: ‘Thy kingdom come’


 

Have you heard? A worldwide prayer initiative called “Thy kingdom come” starts today, running from Ascension Thursday to Pentecost.

Originally a Church of England initiative, it has now been embraced by many other denominations. For more information, see the official website.

It’s not too late. Officially or unofficially, we can all join this global wave of prayer right where we are. God is listening.

 
Other useful links

 


An offering prayer

(inspired by Matthew 6: 10)

In this world: kingdom living.
In our mouths: kingdom praises.
In our hearts: kingdom goals.
In our hands: kingdom gifts.
Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!
Amen.

written by Carol Penner, and posted on Leading in Worship.
 

Pause for breath …


Floating ‘islands in the stream’, Rotterdam  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

With Pentecost around the corner, I’ve selected “breath” as our theme of the month for May. To launch this series of posts, here is a prayer by Amy Loving that engages our breath to help us better connect with the gift and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Breath Prayer

(inspired by Romans 8:22-27)

The Apostle Paul tells us that the Spirit of God prays for us “with sighs too deep for words”. Through the Life-Giving Breath of God, we are given all that we need. Let us breathe deeply – inhaling the good gifts that God provides, and exhaling all of the things that we need to release.

Let us breathe in strength.
(Pause for breath…)
And, let us exhale our exhaustion.
(Pause for breath…)

Let us breathe in freedom.
(Pause for breath…)
And, let us exhale all that holds us back.
(Pause for breath…)

Let us breathe in a new sense of direction.
(Pause for breath…)
And, let us exhale the paths we no longer want to use.
(Pause for breath…)

Let us breathe in hope.
(Pause for breath…)
And, let us exhale self-doubt.
(Pause for breath…)

Let us breathe in unconditional love.
(Pause for breath…)
And, let us exhale distrust and hate.
(Pause for breath…)

Holy Spirit, let us feel the mighty rush of your presence in this place. Blow away our fears and worries, and help us to breathe in your gifts of new life. Amen.

by Amy Loving, and posted on The Worship Closet website


From the blog
3 Prayers to the Sacred Trinity
 

In a new light


Foto Museum, Rotterdam  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 

Prayer

“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)

As the light from that first Easter sunrise streams from its distant horizon into our own life and time, we feel its touch, its warmth, its glow; and we draw from its energy, and we begin to see the world around us in a new light. In the light of your love.

So help us to walk in this light, in your light … May our actions be in step with our beliefs. May we walk the talk. May we keep no dark secrets, nor hide anything away – especially not the light you now place within our hearts.

Help us, too, to reach out in the light of love to others: to those who still walk in darkness; to those who live in the shadows of poverty and injustice; and to those who need help to see the Way.

Light up our life, Lord,
that we may shine like stars,
in brilliance,
in wonder,
but most of all, in love.
Amen

 
by Brian Draper
posted on the Monthly Prayers page of the Christian Aid website.