Defend me from all temptation

Temptation on the Mount / Duccio / Wikimedia Commons
 
Defend me from all temptation, 
    that I may ever accept the right and refuse the wrong.
Defend me from myself, 
    that in your care my weakness may not bring me to shame.
May my lower nature never seize the upper hand.
Defend me from all that would seduce me,
    that in your power 
        no tempting voice may cause me to listen,
        no tempting sight fascinate my eyes.
Defend me from discouragement in difficulty and from despair in failure,
    from pride in success and from forgetting you in the day of prosperity.
Help me to remember that there is no time when you will fail me 
    and no moment when I do not need you.
Grant me this desire: 
    that guided by your light and defended by your grace,
        I may come in safety and bring honor to my journey’s end
        by the defending work of Jesus Christ my Lord.
 
Norman Shawchuck, 1935–2012, American United Methodist pastor
 
______________________________
 
 
And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, 
    “God is tempting me.”
 God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. 
Temptation comes from our own desires, 
    which entice us and drag us away. 
These desires give birth to sinful actions. 
And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
 

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Your prescient eyes saw me

photo by Jason Hogan   on Unsplash
 
There was a time when I did not exist,
    and you have created me;
I did not implore you for a wish,
    and you have fulfilled it;
I had not come into the light,
    and you have seen me;
I had not yet appeared,
    and you have taken pity on me;
I had not called for you,
    and you have taken care of me;
I did not raise my hand,
    and you have looked at me;
I had not prayed to you,
    and you were merciful to me;
I had not uttered a sound,
    and you have heard me;
I had not groaned,
    and you have lent an ear;
 
With prescient eyes you saw
    the crimes of my guilty self,
    and yet, you have formed me.
And now, I who have been created by you,
    and saved by you,
    and have been tended with such care,
Let me not completely perish by the blow of sin –
    that is but the slanderer’s invention;
Let not the fog of my stubbornness
    triumph over the light of your forgiveness;
Nor the hardness of my heart
    over your forbearing goodness;
Nor my mortal carnal being
    over your most perfect fullness;
Nor my material weakness
    over your unconquerable grandeur.
 
Gregory of Narek, c.950 – c.1003, Armenian mystic and theologian
 
_________________________
 
 
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
    who has blessed us in the heavenly realms 
    with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world 
    to be holy and blameless in his sight. 
In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, 
    in accordance with his pleasure and will
    to the praise of his glorious grace, 
    which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
 

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How we need your compassion!

Jesus and the woman taken in adultery / public domain

God, why do I call impossible what You call possible?
Why do I call unforgivable what You call forgiven?
Why do I compromise with what You call sin?
How I need to know Your heart,
    and reach out in Your love and wisdom to others.
It’s easy to love the people who are standing hard and fast,
    pressing on to meet that higher calling.
But the ones who might be struggling, 
    we tend to judge too harshly
    and refuse to try to catch them when they’re falling.
We put people into boxes and we draw our hard conclusions
     when they do things we know they should not do.
We sometimes write them off as hopeless 
    and we throw them to the dogs.
Our compassion and forgiveness sometimes seem in short supply.
We can love them and forgive them when their sin does not exceed our own,
    for we too have been down bumpy roads before.
But when they commit offences outside the boundaries we have set,
    we judge them in a word and we turn them out,
    and we close the door.
 
Chuck Girard, Celtic author
 
___________________________
 
 
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, 
    for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, 
    because you who pass judgment do the same things. 
Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 
So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, 
    do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, 
    not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
 

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give us hope to share

image
 
Do not give us rest, Lord
while people are hungry
and we are rich.
As long as justice is a dream
press us on
and do not give us rest.
 
Do not give us peace, Lord,
while people live in fear
and we are safe.
As long as hatred stifles love
stir us up
and no not give us peace.
 
Do not give us comfort, Lord,
while people are desperate
and we are well.
As long as lives are lived in pain
disturb us
and do not give us comfort.
 
But give us hope to share, O Christ,
hope that disturbs and stirs and shakes,
the hope of Job,
the hope of the lame,
a hope of new life
beyond the pain.
Until all find comfort
and peace
and rest,
Christ, give us hope to share.
 
Francis Brienen, United Reformed Church, UK
 
_______________________
 
 
 
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. 
Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 
Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 
Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 
Rejoice in our confident hope. 
Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 
When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. 
Always be eager to practice hospitality.
 

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prayer for scrubbing floors

Cleaning Lady, Tomicmilos90, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
 
Thank you for the privilege of scrubbing this floor.
Thank you for the health and the strength to do it.
That my back is straight and my hands are whole.
I can push a mop. 
I can feel the hard surface under my knees when I kneel.
I can grasp the brush and let my energy flow down into it
    as I erase this dirt and make this floor clean.
Lord, thank you for everything that has to do with scrubbing this floor.
Bless the soap and the bucket and the brush and the hands that do it.
Bless the feet that are running in right now to track it.
Those feet are the reason I do it.
That are the living reasons for my kneeling here
    – half to do a job, half in prayer.
A floor is a foundation. A family is a foundation.
You are our foundation.
Bless us all, and our newly scrubbed floor.
 
Marjorie Holmes, 1910–2002, American columnist and author
 
___________________________
 
 
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named
 

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Holy Spirit, make us whole

image
O Holy Spirit, who delves into all things,
    even the deep things of God and the deep things of man,
    we ask you to penetrate the springs of personality 
        of all who are sick in mind, 
        to bring them cleansing, healing, and unity.
Sanctify all memory, dispel all fear, 
    bring them to love you with all their mind and will,
    that they may be made whole 
    and glorify you forever.
Give special skills and tender hearts to all who care for them,
    and show them how best to assist in your work of healing and wholeness.
    through Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
George Appleton (1902-1993) & Timothy Dudley-Smith (1926-) Anglican Bishops
 
______________________________
 
 
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. 
Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.
Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”

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building a people of power

mosaic / music4life / pixabay
 
God the Holy Spirit
Like a Mother, you have brought forth
And in your infinite power
You are building a people of power.
You have continued to sustain us in our daily struggles.
In the midst of much exploitation and injustice,
    cause us not to be silent.
Like you did to the timid and fearful disciples
    give us the boldness to proclaim your righteousness and justice.
 
May you cause us to unite in making your truth known and experienced.
May your fire from heaven
    consume our greed and self-centeredness
    so that all we have may be held in common.
Spirit of truth and power, we are not afraid
    of being misunderstood
    as being out of our mind
As this was done by your early disciples.
 
complied by Claudio Carvalhaes, professor of worship in New York City
 
_____________________
 
 
On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place.  
Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, 
    and it filled the house where they were sitting.  
Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared 
    and settled on each of them.
 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit 
    and began speaking in other languages, 
    as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

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ever looking for Christ’s return

image, Donatas Dabravolskas, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
 
O SON OF GOD AND SON OF MAN,
You were incarnate, suffered, rose, and ascended for my sake;
Your departure was not a token separation
     but a pledge of return.
Your Word, promises, and sacraments proclaim your death
    until you come again.
That day is no horror for me,
    for your death has redeemed me,
        your Spirit fills me,
        your love animates me,
        your Word governs me.
I have trusted you and you have not betrayed my trust;
     I have waited for you, and have not waited in vain.
You will come to raise my body from the dust,
    and re-unite it to my soul,
    by a wonderful work of infinite power and love,
    greater than that which bounds the ocean’s waters,
        ebbs and flows of the tides,
        keeps the stars in their courses,
        and gives life to all creatures.
This corruptible shall put on incorruption,
    this mortal, immortality,
    this natural body, a spiritual body,
    this dishonored body, a glorious body,
    this weak body, a body of power.
I triumph now in your promises,
    as I shall when they are performed,
    for the head cannot live if the members are dead;
Beyond the grave is resurrection, judgment, acquittal, dominion.
Every event and circumstance of my life will be dealt with – 
    the sins of my youth, my secret sins,
    the sins of abusing you, of disobeying your Word,
    the sins of neglecting minister’s admonitions,
    the sins of violating my conscience – 
        all will be judged;
And after judgment, peace and rest, life and service,
    employment and enjoyment, for your elect.
O God, keep me in this faith, and ever looking for Christ’s return.
 
 
_______________________________
 
 
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 
    so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, 
    will appear a second time, not to deal with sin 
    but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

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to ascend with Jesus

L’Ascension / Gustave Doré 
 
Lord, why should I doubt any more,
    when you have given me such assured pledges of your love?
First, you are my Creator, I am your creature,
   you are my Master, I your servant.
But hence arises not my comfort: you are my Father, I am your child.
   “You shall be my sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty.
Christ is my brother:
    “I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God,
     but, lest this should not be enough,
     your maker is your husband.”
Nay, more, I am a member of his body, he my head.
Such privileges – had not the Word of truth made them known,
   who or where is the man that dared 
   in his heart have presumed to have thought it!
So wonderful are these thoughts 
    that my spirit fails in me that their consideration, 
    and I am confounded to think that God,
    who has done so much for me,
    should have so little from me.
But this is my comfort, that when I come to heaven,
    I shall understand perfectly what he has done for me,
    and that I shall be able to praise him as I ought.
Lord, having this hope, let me purify myself as you are pure,
    and let me be no more afraid of death,
    but even desire to be dissolved and be with you,
    which is best of all.
 
Anne Bradstreet, c. 1612-1672, New England poet and Puritan
 
_________________________
 
 
For now we see in a mirror dimly,    
    but then face to face. 
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, 
    even as I have been fully known.

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let me reflect your love

image / James Tissot / Wikimedia Commons
 
Thank you, dear Lord, for your love and care for me
    evidenced in so many ways.
Thank you for pardoning the sins I have committed this day;
    thank you for the opportunities to show love well used this day;
    thank you also for sins avoided on account  of your guidance and restraint.
Let it be my single ambition, my God, to honor you 
    in every thought, word, and deed;
    and make me bold to invite all people around me to honor and love you as well.
Your love toward me is so patient, so tender, 
    even when I provoke you with my disobedience.
Give me such an appreciation of your love for me
    that I show the same patient and tender love to my neighbor,
    especially when he or she opposed me.
Sit us within me a zeal to do all in my power,
    whether in prayer or deed, 
    to promote the safety and happiness of my neighbor;
    make me active to comfort and relieve all those whom you entrust to my care
    by bringing me into contact with them.
Lord, help me to be peaceful rather than argumentative;
    help me to be quick to forget an injury and be reconciled to my neighbor,
    mindful of how many times you have forgiven my provocations.
After your own example, make me glad to give good in return for evil,
    and thus share in the triumph of your love.
In all my dealings with my fellow human beings,
    let me reflect your love, your generous spirit,
    your desire to do good both to the just and the unjust.
You have so valued each person that you sent your Son for each and every one.
Implant, therefore, such a compassion in my heart for people.
    that I will eagerly seek out how I may win them to your love.
 
David A. de Silva, Methodist professor
 
_____________________
 
 
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.

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