unite us by your peace

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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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unite me with Yourself

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If only I possessed grace, good Jesus, to be utterly at one with you!
Amidst all the variety of worldly things around me, Lord,
    the only thing I crave is unity with you.
You are all my soul needs.
Unite, dear friend of my heart, this unique little soul of mine
    to your perfect goodness.
You are all mine; when shall I be yours?
Lord Jesus. my beloved, be the magnet of my heart;
    clasp, press, unite me forever to your sacred heart.
You have made me for yourself;
    make me one with you.
Absorb this tiny drop of life 
    into the ocean of goodness from whence it came.
 
Francis of Sales, 1567 – 1622, Counter-Reformation Bishop of Geneva
 
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But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.

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Prayer for Election Time

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Heavenly Father
source of all truth and wisdom, 
who knows and loves the whole creation,
watch over our nation at election time:
that truth may prevail over distortion,
wisdom triumph over recklessness
and the concerns of every person be heard.

Lord Jesus,
who chose the way of the cross in the Garden of Gethsemane,
help us to turn our backs on self interest
and to support policies that sustain the poor, 
the vulnerable and the frightened people of this world.

Holy Spirit,
who brought understanding
among myriad peoples and languages at Pentecost,
give to all your people a passion for peace
and inspire us to work for unity and cooperation throughout the world 
and in our political life together.

Lord, we give thanks for the privileges and responsibilities 
of living in a democratic society.
Give us wisdom to play our part at election time,
that through the exercise of each vote, 
your Kingdom may come closer.

Protect us from the sins of despair and cynicism, 
guard us against the idols of false utopias 
and strengthen us to make politics a noble calling 
that serves the common good of all.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ Our Lord.
Amen.
 
Unboxed Worship, Box Hill Baptist Church, Australia
 
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First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

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peace in perplexities

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Lord of the elements and changing seasons,
    keep me in the shadow of your hand.
When I am tossed to and fro with the winds of adversity 
    and the blasts of sickness and misunderstanding,
        still my racing heart, 
        quiet my troubled mind.
Bring me at last through the storms and tribulations of this mortal life
    into the calm evening of your unchanging love;
    and grant that in the midst of my present perplexities and confusion
I may experience your peace which passes human understanding.
 
Brother Ramon, SSF, 1935-2000, English Franciscan brother
 
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Do not be anxious about anything, 
    but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving 
    let your requests be made known to God. 
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, 
    will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 

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the pursuit of Wisdom

You are wisdom, uncreated and eternal,
    the supreme first cause, above all being,
    sovereign Godhead, sovereign goodness,
    watching unseen the God-inspired wisdom of Christian people.
Raise us, we pray, that we may totally respond
    to the supreme, unknown, ultimate, and splendid height
    of your words, mysterious and inspired.
There all God’s secret matters lie covered and hidden
    under darkness both profound and brilliant, silent and wise.
You make what is ultimate and beyond brightness
    secretly to shine in all that is most dark.
In your way, ever unseen and intangible,
    you fill to the full with most beautiful splendor
    those souls who close their eyes that they may see.
And I, please, with love that goes on beyond mind
    to all that is beyond mind,
    seek to gain such for myself through this prayer.
 
St. Denis prayer, from The Cloud of Unknowing, 14th century
 
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My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, 
    so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, 
    in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 
    in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
 

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working with excellence

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Work is anchored in your character, and part of being made is your image is sharing the industrious and creative aspects of your nature.  You are a God of excellence and commitment, and I long to exhibit those same qualities, especially at work.  Some days my job is great, and other days I feel unmotivated or stressed.  But I know that whatever task I am called upon to do, I have an opportunity to demonstrate a divine standard of excellence and commitment, both to my assignments and to those around me.  
 
Lord, please teach me to work diligently and with enthusiasm at whatever I do, whether I’m on the job or at home with my family.  When I think of my daily tasks as having been assigned by you, I find myself working for your approval, and I am often proud of the work I do.  But more important, God, I want you to be proud of me.  I’m so thankful that I have an opportunity to show creativity and responsibility in each task of my day.  Please help my efforts be an inspiration for others to glorify you in all they do each day.
 
Ron A. Beers 
 
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Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.

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fleeing towards you

I am frightened of living, Lord.
My whole life seems sinful or sterile.
Any fruits I bear are either false or rotten.
Nothing I do seems pleasing to you.
I am a barren tree that deserves
To be chopped down, cut up and burnt.
I bear only the sharp and bitter thorns of sin.
If only those thorns could prick me into repentance.
Inside me my conscience burns.
I dare not show myself, yet I have nowhere to hide.
What will happen to me?
Who will protect me from your wrath?
Where can I find safety?
Lord, you are my judge in whose hands I tremble.
Yet you also are the one who can save me.
Though I fear you, I trust you.
Though I want to flee from you, I flee towards you.
Jesus, Jesus, forget the sin by which I have provoked you,
    And see only the misery which invokes you.
Most kind Lord,
Confirm in me all that belongs to you.
And cast away all that is alien to you.

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