deliver those who have fallen into sin

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Deliver, O most merciful God,
  those little ones of thy flock who have fallen into sin.
Remember not their offences,
  but set them free from the snare of the enemy.
Prosper with the help of the Holy Spirit
  the endeavors of all who are seeking to train them for good.
Grant that following after humility
  and being made partakers of thy heavenly wisdom,
  they may be strengthened to the performance of thy will
  and may be restored to the perfect fellowship of thy saints;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Robert Leighton, 1611-1684, Scottish minister and scholar
2000 Years of Prayer

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Hebrews 3:12-13

See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart 
    that turns away from the living God.  
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” 
    so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
 

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Praise to you, saving sacrifice

Twelfth Station / Tango7174 / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
Lord Jesus Christ,
I approach your banquet table
    in fear and trembling,
    for I am a sinner,
    and dare not rely on my own worth
    but only on your goodness and mercy. . . .
Praise to you, saving sacrifice,
    offered on the wood of the cross for me and for all mankind.
Praise to the noble and precious blood,
    flowing from the wounds of my crucified Lord Jesus Christ
    and washing away the sins of the whole world.
Remember, Lord, your creature,
    whom you have redeemed with your blood.
 
John of Fecamp, 1028-1078, Benedictine spiritual writer
 
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And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, 
    he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 
For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son 
    while we were still his enemies, 
    we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.

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repentance and forgiveness

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Almighty God of Mercy,
 
I come before You in humble submission,
    repenting for my sins.
Though I sincerely believe in Your forgiveness,
    I seek to right my wrongs 
    through a form of restitution acceptable to You.
I feel that my repentance is simply not enough.
I pray to be able to pay back my great debt to You in some way.
 
Lord, I know that the debt is too great to repay in action alone,
    and it is only through the blood of Jesus 
    that we are washed clean and made pure as gold.
I know forgiveness flows freely to those who sincerely repent.
Please accept my humble repentance
    as I lay prostrate before Your throne of grace.
Lord, please receive my efforts with my heartfelt prayer of gratitude
    for your everlasting love and kindness shown to us 
    through Your gift to the world,
    Your only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ.
In Christ’s name. Amen.
 
Chestina Mitchell Archibald, Pastor serving in Nashville, TN
 
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In him we have redemption through his blood, 
    the forgiveness of sins, 
    in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

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hope in times of pain

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Dear Jesus,
Whether it comes from betrayal, neglect, abandonment, or from a broken bone or failing health – the result is some kind of emotional or physical pain.  When I look back on my life, I remember the physical tension of my aching body or the chest-tightening ache that came from a broken heart.  My greatest hope in times of pain is that you will bring me healing.  Thank you that I never have to worry you haven’t noticed my pain.  How compassionate you are to comfort me in my hurts.  On the other hand, there are times when I hurt so badly that I forget about you, Jesus.  I become completely focused on how to stop the pain.  But you never abandon me.  When I feel alone in my hurt, it is often because I am concentrating so much on easing the pain of my problems that I have forgotten you have promised to help me in my difficulties.  Thank you that you never leave me.  I find comfort in your promise to be with me and give me hope and purpose in the midst of my aching body and soul.
 
Ron A. Beers 
 
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And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.  We were given this hope when we were saved.

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to finish my course of service

image / Joshbdork at the English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
I know, O Lord, and do with all humility acknowledge myself 
    an object altogether unworthy of your love;
    but sure I am, you are an object altogether worthy of mine.
I am not good enough to serve you,
    but you have a right to the best service I can pay.
Do then impart to me some of that excellence,
    and that shall supply my own want of worth.
Help me to cease from sin according to your will,
    that I may be capable of doing you service according to my duty.
Enable me so to guard and govern myself,
    so to begin and finish my course that,
    when the race of life is run,
    I may sleep in peace and rest in you.
Be with me to the end, that my sleep may be rest indeed,
    my rest perfect security and that security a blessed eternity.
 
St. Augustine of Hippo, 354-430
 
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However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

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increase our hope in your promises

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Merciful Lord, the comforter and teacher of your faithful people,
  increase in your church the desires which you have given,
  and confirm the hearts of those who hope in you
  by enabling them to understand the depth of your promises,
    that all your adopted children
    may even now behold, with eyes of faith,
    and patiently wait for,
    the light which as yet you do not openly manifest;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
St. Ambrose, c.339-397, Bishop of Milan
 
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His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

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united in one holy bond

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O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
      our only Savior, the Prince of Peace:
  give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in
      by our unhappy divisions.
Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us 
      from godly union and concord:
 that, as there is but one Body, and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling,
      one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all,
      so may we henceforth be all of one heart, and of one soul,
      united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity,
  and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
prayer from the Ascension Service of King George I (1714)
 
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I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

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to celebrate Christ’s victory

image / GDJ / Pixabay
 
Thanks be to God, the almighty, 
    the king of the universe, for all his mercies, 
and heartfelt thanks to the Savior and Redeemer of our souls, 
    Jesus Christ, through whom we pray 
that his peace may keep us stable and unshaken
    from troubles outside and troubles within the heart.
Let me obediently sing aloud the new song, 
    because after those terrifying dark sights and stories
    I was now privileged to see and celebrate such things
    that many righteous men and martyrs of God before us
    desired to see on earth and did not see,
        and to hear and did not hear.
But they attained far better things in heaven; whereas I, 
    acknowledging that even my present lot is better than I deserve,
    have been more than amazed at the bountiful grace of its author,
    and am duly filled with wonder,
    worshipping him with my soul’s full strength.
 
Eusebius of Caesarea, c. 260- c.340, Christian historian and bishop
2000 Years of Prayer freely modified
 
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And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

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prayer at the shortest day

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From the rising of the midwinter sun to its setting.
    scatter the darkness with the light of your love, O shining One.
Make me short on mean thoughts,
    long on offering words of comfort.
Make me short on being driven,
    long on paying attention.
Make me short on focusing only on my own,
    long on looking beyond.
Make me short on obsessive lists,
    long on spontaneous acts of kindness.
Make me short on mindless activity,
    long on time to reflect.
Make me short on tradition as habit,
    long on re-discovery and re-owning.
Make me short on rushing and tiring,
    long on walking and wondering.
Make me short on false festive jollity,
    long on stilling and rooted joy.
Make me short on guilt,
    long on being merciful to myself.
Make me short on being overwhelmed,
    long on peaceableness as I set forth this day.
 
Tess Ward, Retreat leader and writing in the UK
 
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But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; 
    then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, 
    full of mercy and good fruit, 
    impartial and sincere. 
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

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unite us by your peace

Photo by Daniel Curran on Unsplash  
O God of peace, unite our hearts by your bond of peace,
    that we may live with one another in gentleness and humility,
    in peace and unity.
O God of patience, give us patience in times of trial
    and steadfastness to endure to the end.
O Spirit of prayer, awaken our hearts,
    that we may lift up holy hands to God
    and cry unto him in all our distresses.
Be our defence and shade in time of need, our help in trial,
    our consolation when all things are against us.
Come, eternal light, salvation and comfort,
    be our light in darkness, salvation in life, comfort in death,
    and lead us in the straight way to everlasting life,
    that we may praise you forever, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
Bernard Albrecht, 1569-1636
 
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I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

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