I want to finish well

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash
 
O Lord, I want to finish well.
As the years march on, it is painful to realize I no longer possess
    the physical skills or energy I used to have.  
But even more frightening are the persistent temptations 
    that threaten to wear me down.  
The enemy knows my weaknesses, 
    and day after day, month after month, year after year, 
    he knows which temptations are most likely to attract me.  
I am afraid that, in a moment of weakness, I will sin boldly 
    and then have to live with the tragic consequences.  
Please keep me away from circumstances 
    where the temptation will be too strong for me to overcome.  
I don’t want to let an evening of fun ruin a lifetime of faithfulness.  
 
Lord, may I finish strong in my walk of faith.
When I am old and gray and depart this earth, 
    I will meet you face-to-face.
I pray that you will be able to say,
    ” Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
 
Ron A. Beers 
 
_______________________
 
 
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, 
will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

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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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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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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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the royal way of humility

image / Wilrooij, CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
My dear Lord and Savior, I come to you burdened and oppressed by many worries and slavish work, by an unbearable yoke, which I have imposed on myself because of my lack of humility.
 
It is a burden which I have deserved, but it is also the heavy yoke of a sinful world, of collective pride and arrogance.  We are tied together in this lamentable condition.  I groan and sigh, realizing my plight in this double slavery of mine and the world.  What a relief if I listen to your invitation, “Come to me all whose load is heavy”! Yes, now I dare to come.
 
The more I meditate on the crushing burdens you have carried in your humility, accepting even the most atrocious humiliation from proud and arrogant human beings, the more I am filled with grateful wonder.  In your divine glory and your human humility you are totally Other, so different from the close-minded and high-handedness of man.  You are the wholly Other, the only true God, so unlike man-made gods.  You have come into the valley of tears where misery is constantly multiplied by humankind’s ridiculous pride.  You come with the astonishing remedy, the humility of the Son of God, of the Redeemer, who has freely made himself “one-of-us” in all things except sin: the totally holy and humble One.
 
You come to us whose vanity and pride are odious.  You come on the royal road of humility, showing us that this is the way to you and to the heart of the Father, the way to the hearts of our fellow men and the way of salvation.
 
Humble heart of our Divine Master, I entrust myself to your school.  I want to learn from you, day by day, the royal way of humility.  It is your own love that teaches us.  
 
Lord, transform our hearts, make them mirror images of your own heart.  Make them fountains of healing for many.  Lord, make us humble.
 
Bernard Häring 1912 – 1998, German Catholic moral theologian
 
____________________
 
 
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 
 rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!
 

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Forgive them all, O Lord

image / pxfuel
 
Forgive them all, O Lord:
our sins of omission and our sins of commission;
the sins of our youth and the sins of our riper years;
the sins of our souls and the sins of our bodies;
our secret and our more open sins;
our sins of ignorance and surprise,
and our more deliberate and presumptuous sins;
the sins we have done to please ourselves
and the sins we have done to please others;
the sins we know and remember,
and the sins we have forgotten;
the sins we have striven to hide from others
and the sins by which we have made others offend;
forgive them, O Lord, forgive them all for his sake,
who died for our sins and rose for our justification,
and now stands at thy right hand to make intercession for us,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
John Wesley, 1703-1791, English churchman and founder of Methodism
 
__________________________
 
 
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.
But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father
—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,
and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
 

blessings of home

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash
 
O God, bless those who have no homes.
Bless those who have to live away from home
  in lodgings and boarding-houses and hotels.
Bless those who have been left alone,
  and who are solitary now.
Bless those who are searching or waiting for a house.
Specially bless young couples who have to live in furnished rooms,
  or with relatives, and who have never had the chance
  to be alone together and to have a home of their own.
Bless those who keep house for other people,
  and who have no house of their own.
Bless old people who are coming to the end in some institution
  which is very comfortable but which is still not home.
Help us who have the blessing of a good home
  to keep an open heart and an open door
  to those less fortunate than ourselves.
This we ask for your love’s sake. Amen.

from the Audenshaw prayers, UK
 
___________________________
 
 
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, 
as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

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