Let hope be my hunch, Lord

 Rubem Alves
Lord, I’m so easily weighed down
by my struggles, my burdens
and the harsh realities of daily life…

Sometimes, I think I’ll lose hope in you
    in tomorrow,
    in others,
    and in myself
so I need you to help me trust,
to help me hope
that the peace I imagine,
the peace I pray for,
the peace you promise
is stronger and greater
than any of my problems…
 
Let hope be my hunch, Lord:
    that my future’s not limited
        by my present trials;
    that the troubles of the moment
        won’t have the last word;
    that my burdens are truly
        a prelude to joy…
 
Give me hope
    in the midst of suffering, Lord:
I know that’s the path of your love,
    I know it’s the way to peace…

Help me see, Lord,
how my troubles prepare me today
    for your coming, the advent of peace,
for the gift of your presence,
    the harvest of hope,
        my hunch proved right by your grace…
 
Protect me, Lord, while I’m awake
and watch over me while I asleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace…
Amen.
 
Fr. Austin Fleming, Roman Catholic Priest serving near Boston, MA  
Concord Pastor
 
______________________________
 
 
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.

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humble thankfulness

Photo by Kate Remmer on Unsplash
 
We thank you, Lord God and Father, Creator of heaven and earth, 
    for all your good gifts which we, O Father of lights, 
    have received from you, and receive daily from your generous hand 
    you who have clothed our bodies with the needed covering
    and satisfied them with the natural bread
    through Jesus Christ, your dearly beloved Son, our Lord, 
We humbly pray, dear beloved Father, that you would look upon us, your children,
     persecuted for the sake of your holy Gospel,
     and earnestly desiring in our weakness to live devoutly in this world.
Be pleased to keep us in your Word, in fatherly fashion,
     in order that to the end of our days we may remain constant in your Gospel,
     revealed by you to the plain and simple
     and hidden to the wise ones in this world.
 
Menno Simons, 1496-1561, Dutch Anabaptist leader & founder of the Mennonites
2000 Years of Prayer freely modified
 
__________________________
 
 
Every good and perfect gift is from above, 
    coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
    who does not change like shifting shadows. 
He chose to give us birth through the word of truth,
    that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
 

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Thank You for the trials

Photo by Dorothy Lin on Unsplash
 
Lord, I do not see many people who are happy.
I see more people who are vexed by troubles 
    and overcome with anguish at their difficulties. . . .
Sometimes, I too am derailed by trials. . . .
I am tempted to see trials as only negative 
    because I like to think that I’m in control. . . .
I am tempted to see trials as negative 
    because I tend to think that this life matters most. . . .
Remind me that there is a limit to my perspective and wisdom. . . .
I do not see all there is to see.
Remind me that Jesus suffered and He was completely innocent. . . .
If He suffered, I too may experience suffering.
Remind me that this world is temporary. . . .
I will not be satisfied in this life.
So I thank You today for the trials You have allowed in my life. . . .
I thank You for being my fortress and strength. . . .
    and for giving me perseverance. . . .
Thank You for what these trials are doing in me –
    developing maturity and completeness.
Amen.
 
Kurt Bjorklund, 1968- , American Minister and author of
Prayers for Today A Yearlong Journey of Devotional Prayer

_________________
 
 
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds,
   because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance

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Eye of God, look not away

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash
 
All-Seeing One,
above me, around me, within me,
Be my seeing as I read these sacred words.
Look down upon me
Look out from within me
Look all around me
See through my eyes
Hear through my ears
Feel through my heart
Touch me where I need to be touched;
    and when my heart is touched,
    give me the grace to lay down this Holy Book
    and ask significant questions:
Why has my heart been touched?
How am I to be changed through this touch?
All-Seeing One,
I need to change
I need to look a little more like You
May these sacred words change and transform me.
Then I can meet You face to face
    without dying
    because I’ve finally died enough.
To die is to be healed a little more each death,
    until that final death
    when I’ll be healed forever.
It will be a healing that will last.
Your Words are healing
    although they bring about my death.
 
Macrina Wiederkehr, 1939-2020, Benedictine sister and spiritual director
 
_____________________________
 
 
For the word of God is alive and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword,
    it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow;
    it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.
Everything is uncovered and laid bare
    before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
 

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Send your Word, O Lord

Church of the Light / Bergmann, CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
Send your Word, O Lord, like the rain,
Falling down upon the earth.
Send your Word.
We seek your endless grace,
With souls that hunger and thirst,
Sorrow and agonize.
We would all be lost in the dark
Without your guiding light.
 
Send your Word, O Lord, like the wind,
Blowing down upon the earth.
Send your Word.
We seek your wondrous power,
Pureness that rejects all sins,
Though they persist and cling.
Bring us to complete victory;
Set us free indeed.
 
Send your Word, O Lord, like the dew,
Coming gently upon the hills.
Send your Word.
We seek your endless love.
For life that suffers in strife
With adversaries and hurts,
Send your healing power of love;
We long for your new world.
 
Yasushige Imakoha, translated by Nobuaki Hanaoka, Japan
 
__________________________
 
 
As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
    will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
    and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
    for an everlasting sign,
    that will endure forever.”

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Reconcile me that I may be made whole

image / picryl
 
O God, Giver of Life, Bearer of Pain, Maker of Love,
You are able to accept in me 
    what I cannot even acknowledge.
You are able to name in me 
    what I cannot bear to speak of.
You are able to hold in Your memory 
    what I have tried to forget.
You are able to hold out to me 
    the glory that I cannot conceive of.
Reconcile me through Your cross to all that I have rejected in myself,
    that I may find no part of Your creation to be alien or strange to me,
    and that I may be made whole,
through Jesus Christ my lover and my friend.
 
From Southwell Litany
 
__________________________
 
 
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
   and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,
    provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

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take our lives and transform them

image / CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

 

O Lord, take all our sorrows 
    and use them to show us the nature of your joy.
Take all our sins and, forgiving them,
    use them to show us the ways of true pleasantness 
                                and the path to true peace.
Take all our broken purposes and disappointed hopes 
    and use them to make your perfect rainbow arch.
Take all our clouds of sadness and calamity
    and from them make your sunset glories.
Take our night
    and make it bright with stars.
Take our ill-health and pain 
    until they accomplish in your purpose
    as much as health could achieve.
Take us as we are with impulses, strivings, longings
    so often frustrated and thwarted,
    and even with what is broken and imperfect,
  make your dreams come true,
through him who made of human life a sacrament, 
    of thorns a crown, of a cross a throne,
    even through Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
Leslie D. Weatherhead, 1893-1976, London Minister
 
__________________________
 
 
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time
    are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

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I want to stop running

image / pxfuel
 
Eternal God, you are a song amid silence,
    a voice out of quietness,
    a light out of darkness,
    a Presence in the emptiness,
    a coming out of the void.
You are all of these things and more.
You are mystery that encompasses meaning,
    meaning that penetrates mystery.
You are God,
    I am man.
I strut and brag.
I put down my fellows
    and bluster out assortments of my achievements.
And then something happens:
    I wonder who I am,
        and if I matter.
Night falls,
    I am alone in the dark and afraid.
Someone dies,
    I feel so powerless.
A child is born,
    I feel touched by the miracle of new life.
At such moments I pause . . .
    to listen for a song amid the silence,
    a voice out of stillness,
    to look for a light out of darkness.
I want to feel a Presence in the emptiness.
I find myself reaching for a hand. 
 
Oftentimes, the feeling passes quickly,
    and I am on the run again:
        success to achieve,
        money to make.
O Lord, you have to catch me on the run
    most of the time.
I am too busy to stop,
    too important to pause for contemplation.
I hold up too big a section of the sky
    to sit down and meditate.
But even on the run,
    an occasional flicker of doubt assails me,
And I suspect I may not be as important 
        to the world
     as I think I am.
Jesus said each of us is important to you.
It is as if every hair of our heads were numbered.
How can that be?
But in the hope that is is so,
I would stop running,
        stop shouting,
    and be myself.
 
Let me be still now.
Let me be calm.
Let me rest upon the faith that you are, God,
    and I need not be afraid. Amen.
 
Kenneth G. Phifer, Presbyterian minister and author
 
__________________________________
 
 
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
    how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
    he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”

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my merciful Redeemer

image / falco / pixabay
 
O Lord, I am you clay. You are my potter and skilled master.  Because you pronounce me a sinner, I accept your word.  I sincerely acknowledge and confess the godless condition which shows itself in my flesh and my entire nature.  I do so that you may be glorified and I humiliated.  As with all others, I am sin and death; you are life and righteousness.  Together with all people I am the worst evil; you are and remain the highest good.  I acknowledge and confess all this.  I am led to this confession not by my reason, which would rather cover up and disguise this godless condition, but through your law and promises, I want your honor to stay and increase.  
 
Lord, I am your sin; you are my righteousness.  Therefore I am glad and have victory without fear.  For my sin cannot outweigh or overpower your righteousness.  Neither will your righteousness permit me to be or remain a sinner.  Your Spirit, O Lord, must make and keep me alive.  Blessed are you, O faithful God, my merciful Redeemer.  In you alone do I trust.  Amen.
 
Martin Luther, 1483 – 1546, German Reformer
 
______________________________
 
 
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
 

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