interceding for friends

image
 
My good Lord,
    I long to pray to you for my friends,
    but I am held back by my sins.
Since I stand in such need of grace myself,
    how can I dare ask for grace for others?
I anxiously seek intercession on my own behalf.
    yet even so I shall be so bold
    as to intercede for others.
You commend me to pray for my friends,
    and love prompts me to do so.
So I pray to you, good and gracious God,
    for those who love me for your sake
    and whom I love in you.
 
If my prayer does not deserve to be answered,
    please love them for their own sakes,
    for you are the source of all love.
And make them love you with all their hearts
    so that they will speak and do
    only that which pleases you.
My prayer is but a cold affair, Lord,
    because my love burns with such a small flame.
Yet you who are rich in mercy
    will bestow your grace not according to my prayers
    but according to the infinite warmth of your love.
 
Anselm of Canterbury, c. 1033-1109, Benedictine monk and archbishop
 
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Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. 
Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.  
And pray for me, too. 
Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan
    that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.
 

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leaving everything to follow You

Jerusalem Alley by Joshuasy from Pixabay 
 
Agreeing to lose everything for you, O Christ,
in order to take hold of you,
as you have already taken hold of us,
means abandoning ourselves to the living God.
Centring our life on you, Jesus Christ,
means daring to choose:
leaving ourselves behind so as no longer to walk
on two roads at the same time:
saying no to all that keeps us from following you,
and yes to all that brings us closer to you,
and through you, to those whom you entrust to us.
 
Brother Roger, 1915 – 2005, Swiss monastic, founded the Taizé Community
 
________________________
 
 
You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. 
The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. 
But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

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Labor for one another

Photo by Caleb Gregory on Unsplash
 
Grant, Almighty God,
    as You invite us so kindly and graciously to Yourself,
  that we may not be resistant,
    but with every evil affection subdued,
    offer ourselves to Your service.
 
  And since You require nothing else from us
    but to observe what is right toward one another,
O grant that we may be mindful of the brotherhood 
    that Your only begotten Son by His own blood has consecrated,
    and call on You as our father,
    and prove by our whole conduct that we are Your children.
 
And may every one of us so labor for one another that,
    being united in heart and affection,
    we may with one sentiment aspire towards that blessed life,
    where we shall enjoy the inheritance 
    that has been prepared and obtained by the blood of Your son,
    and through Him prepared for us in heaven. Amen.
 
John Calvin, 1509-1564, Swiss Reformer
Lifting Up Our Hearts, freely modified
 
__________________________
 
 
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Just as I had determined to bring disaster on you and showed no pity when your ancestors angered me,” says the Lord Almighty, “so now I have determined to do good again to Jerusalem and Judah. Do not be afraid. These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord.

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prayer for teachers and students

image / flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0
 
Grant, O Lord, to all teachers and students,
    to know what is worth knowing,
    to love what is worth loving,
    to praise what pleases you most,
    and to dislike whatsoever is evil in your sight.
Grant us with judgment to distinguish things that differ,
and above all to search out and do what is well-pleasing to you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
Thomas à Kempis, 1379-1471, German monk
 
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The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
    turning a person from the snares of death.
Good judgment wins favor,
    but the way of the unfaithful leads to their destruction.

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Jesus, medicine for our souls

Healing of the Lepers at Capernaum, James Tissot, public domain
 
Oh Lord Jesus, you are full of mercy,
    and also the almighty in the world.
Every day with you is better than the day before.
I am aware of your presence inside, always,
    even though my condition is life this.
Only you can share in my sufferings.
Oh, I am convinced that whatever sorrow I feel,
    you certainly feel it too.
My fellowship with you is priceless.
What can we do without you, Jesus?
You never leave your people in trouble;
    our debt is so big.
If we look to the Savior who suffered,
    we receive medicine for our souls.
Amen.
 
a leprosy patient, Indonesia
 
__________________
 
 
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross,
    so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness;
    “by his wounds you have been healed.”

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to show the likeness of Jesus

Last dinner / Sieger Koder
 
O Lord God,
You have commanded me to believe in Jesus,
    and that I would flee to no other refuge,
                               wash in no other fountain,
                               build on no other foundation,
                               receive from no other fullness,
                               rest in no other relief.
Hi water and blood were not severed in their flow at the cross,
    may they never be separated in my creed and experiences;
May I be equally convinced of the guilt and pollution of my sin,
    feel my need of a prince and savior,
    implore of him repentance as well as forgiveness,
    love holiness, and be pure in heart,
    have the mind of Jesus, and follow in his steps.
Let me not be at my own disposal,
    but rejoice that I am under the care of one
    who is too wise to err,
                   too kind to injure,
                   too tender to crush.
Help me to guide my affections with discretion,
                   to owe no one anything,
                   to be able to give to the one in need,
                   to feel it my duty and pleasure to be merciful and forgiving,
                   to show to the world the likeness of Jesus.
 
 
___________________________
 
 
I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords
 

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God of the high and holy places

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
 
God of the high and holy places
where I catch a glimpse of your glory,
above the low levels of life,
above the evil and emptiness which drags me down,
beyond the limits of my senses and imagination,
you lift me up.

In the splendour of a sunset,
in the silence of the stars,
in the grandeur of the mountains,
in the vastness of the sea,
you lift me up.

In the majesty of music,
in the mystery of art,
in the freshness of morning,
in the fragrance of a single flower,
you lift me up.

Awe-inspiring God,
when I am lost in wonder
and lost for words,
receive the homage of my silent worship
but do not let me be content to bear your beauty and be still.
Go with me to the places where I live and work.
Lift the veil of reticence behind which I hide.
Give me the courage to speak of the things which move me,
with simple and unselfconscious delight.
Help me to share my glimpses of glory
until others are drawn to your light.

Rev. Jean Mortimer, Minister in the United Reformed Church, UK
 
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The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

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this troubled and divided world

Garden of Eden, Metropolitan Museum of Art , Public Domain
 
Look in compassion, O heavenly Father,
    upon this troubled and divided world.
Though we cannot trace your footsteps 
    or understand your working,
    give us grace to trust you with an undoubting faith;
 and when your own time is come,
    reveal, O Lord, that new heaven and new earth
    wherein dwells righteousness,
    where the Prince of Peace rules,
    your Son our Savior Jesus Christ.
 
Charles Vaughan, 1816 – 1897, English scholar and Anglican churchman
 
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For behold, I create new heavens
    and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered
    or come into mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
    in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,
    and her people to be a gladness.

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I weave a silence . . .

Sunrise behind Lindisfarne Castle / © Ian Capper / cc-by-sa/2.0
I weave a silence on my lips
I weave a silence into my mind
I weave a silence within my heart
I close my ears to distractions
I close my eyes to attractions
I close my heart to temptations

Calm me O Lord as you stilled the storm
Still me O Lord, keep me from harm
Let all the tumult within me cease
Enfold me Lord in your peace.
 
David Adam, 1936-2020, English priest, rector of Lindisfarne
The Book of a Thousand Prayers
 
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For God alone my soul waits in silence;
    from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
 

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to you I commit my trust

image / Duccio di Buoninsegna / Public domain / Wikimedia Commons
 
Loving and tender providence of my God,
    into your hands I commend my spirit;
 to you I abandon my hopes and fears,
    my desires and repugnancies,
    my temporal and eternal prospects.
To you I commit the wants of my perishable body;
 to you I commit the more precious interests
    of my immortal soul
    for whose lot I have nothing to fear
    as long as I do not leave your care.
Though my faults are many, 
    my misery great,
    my spiritual poverty extreme,
        my hope in you surpasses all.
It is superior to my weakness,
    greater than my difficulties
    stronger than death.
Though temptations should assail me,
    I will hope in you;
 though I break my resolutions,
    I will look to you confidently
        for grace to keep them at last.
Though you should ask me to die,
    even then I will trust in you,
    for you are my Father, my God,
    the support of my salvation.
You are my kind, compassionate and indulgent parent,
    and I am your devoted son,
    who casts myself into your arms and begs your blessing.
I put my trust in you,
    and so trusting, shall not be confounded. Amen.
 
St. Claude de la Colombière, 1641-1682, French Jesuit priest and ascetic
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When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
    In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?

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