When You open Your hand

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Loving God,
You are our Creator and Sustainer.
When You open Your hand,
You satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.
And so we look to You whenever we are in need,
trusting in Your love and Your abundant goodness.

As You once fed the hungry crowds with five loaves and two small fish,
we ask that You would again fill those who are empty this day.
Pour out Your Spirit on all who hunger and thirst.

We pray for those who are physically hungry—whose stomachs are empty.
We think especially of the people in Somalia and Eastern Africa
who are facing critical food shortages;
    who are suffering the effects of malnutrition and starvation;
        and watching helplessly as loved ones die.

Lord, in Your mercy, open Your hand.
Pour out Your Spirit, so that they may be filled.


We pray for those who are empty emotionally—
who are lonely and long for companionship and love,
        who are caught in the grip of depression,
            or overwhelmed with grief.

Lord, in Your mercy, open Your hand.
Pour out Your Spirit, so that they may be filled.


We pray for those who are spiritually empty—
who are troubled, but don’t know where to turn;
    who long for purpose and meaning, but don’t know where to look;
        who need You, but do not yet know You.

Lord, in Your mercy, open Your hand.
Pour out Your Spirit, so that they may be filled.


God, we praise You for Your abundant gifts in our lives.
Pour out Your Spirit on us as well.
Fill us with Your compassion and love,
so that we would willingly share some of our abundance
with those who have need.

Lord, in Your mercy, open Your hand.
Pour out Your Spirit, so that we may be filled.


We pray in the name of Jesus Christ,
who came so that all of humanity might come to know
the abundant life that comes from You.

Amen.

Christine Longhurst, Worship Professor, Canadian Mennonite University 

re-worship.blogspot.com

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Psalm 145:14-19

The Lord upholds all who fall
    and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand
    and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and faithful in all he does.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
    he hears their cry and saves them. Continue reading

Prayer for Psalm 77

remember mercy by ₡ґǘșϯγ Ɗᶏ Ⱪᶅṏⱳդ via Flickr
 
 
Lord! Have you locked your mercies in a cage?
Did you wrap your compassion with forgetfulness?
Has your rejection of your people become like a volcanic mountain?
Has your mercy become as small as a speck of sand?
Is there not one single umbrella of mercy 
    that provides shelter at the noon of your rage?
 
Just a moment of your rejection is like an eternity of pain.
The streets of hell become my path in your anger.
Will you reject your people forever?
Has the date of your mercy expired?
 
I am a Canaanite woman who has a daughter possessed by demons (Mk 7:26).
I seek your mercy.
I am blind Bartimaeus begging for your compassion (Mk 10:47).
You showed mercy to your servant Lot (Gen 19:16)
    and to Epaphroditus when you healed him (Phil 2:27).
We too are your people!
Nurse us with your compassion and embrace us.
Don’t call us Lo-Ruhamah (Hos 1:6);
     instead, fill our lives with divine mercy.
 
I shall recall your works and wonders,
    and I shall remember you.
Will you forget us while we remember you?
We contemplate your works and hunger for your mercy.
Your compassion is better than life.
 
O Lord, Pharoah is wandering in your land!
The devil holds the neck of your daughters.
Loudspeakers are everywhere, rejecting your religion.
The body of Christ is blistered with divisions,
    and your people are busy amputating your body.
Where are the winds of heaven and the thunder of your voice?
Where is the arm of God?
Where are your wonders, acts of power, and fountains of mercy?
 
I cannot be convinced that you have forgotten your mercies,
    and so I wait for you.
Have mercy on me and my country.
Have mercy on us and guide your people.
Bring millions of believers to your church.
O Lord – Kyrie eleison
    Have mercy, O Lord!
 
Yohanna Katanacho, 1967 – , Palestinian Israeli evangelical theologian
 
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I cried out to God for help;
    I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
    at night I stretched out untiring hands,
    and I would not be comforted.

I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
    I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
You kept my eyes from closing;
    I was too troubled to speak.
I thought about the former days,
    the years of long ago;
I remembered my songs in the night.
    My heart meditated and my spirit asked:

“Will the Lord reject forever?
    Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
    Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
    Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”

Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
    the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all your works
    and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

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preparing to pray

Photo by Olivia Snow on Unsplash
 
 
Enable me, O God, to collect and compose my thoughts 
    before an immediate approach to you in prayer.
May I be careful to have my mind in order
    when I take upon myself the honour to speak
    to the Sovereign Lord of the universe,
    remembering that upon the temper of my soul
    depends, in very great measure, my success.
You are infinitely too great to be trifled with,
    to wise to be imposed on by a mock devotion,
    and abhor a sacrifice without a heart.
Help me to entertain an habitual sense of your perfections,
    as an admirable help against cold and formal performances.
Save me from engaging in rash and precipitate prayers
    and from abrupt breaking away 
    to follow business or pleasure
    as though I had never prayed.
 
Susanna Wesley, 1669-1742, mother of John & Charles Wesley, founders of Methodism
 
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The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and kind in all his works.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
    he also hears their cry and saves them.

Continue reading

The Lord is my pace-setter, I shall not rush

 The Good Shepherd, Sadao Watanabe, via Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
 
The Lord is my pace-setter, I shall not rush,
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals,
He provides me with images of stillness,
    which restore my serenity.
He leads me in the ways of efficiency;
    through calmness of mind,
    and his guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day,
    I will not fret for his presence is here.
His timelessness, his all-importance will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity
    by anointing my mind with his oils of tranquility,
    my cup of joyous energy overflows.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours,
    for I shall walk in the pace of my Lord,
    and dwell in his house for ever.
 
Toki Miyashina, Japanese poet
 
_________________
 
The Lord is my shepherd 
    I shall not want.
 
 
 

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have mercy on me, O God

image / Graham C99 from London, UK, CC BY 2.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
O Lord our God, how excellent is your name in all the World!
Your glorious majesty is excellent, but that brings me nothing;
    your justice is excellent, but that brings me nothing.
It is your mercy that must do me good,
    and therefore your other excellencies I adore,
    but this I invocate.
To invoke your justice, I dare not;
    your glory, I cannot,
    but your mercy, I both dare and can.
 
For why should I not dare, when fear gives me boldness?
How should I not be able when weakness gives me strength?
Why should I not dare, when you invite me to it?
How should I not be able when you draw me to it?
 
Do you invite me, and I shall not come?
Do you draw me, and I shall draw back?
Can there be a patron so powerful as you?
Can there be a beggar so dejected as myself?
 
Whom, then, is it more fit to ask for mercy than you, O God,
    who are the God of mercy?
And for whom is it more fit to ask for mercy than for me
    who am a creature of misery?
 
Richard Baxter, 1615 – 1691, English Puritan
 
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Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
  according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

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Your way laid open before me

Image, Ion Chibzii from Chisinau. , Moldova., CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
 
The way You have laid open before me is an easy way,
    compared with the hard way of my own will
    which leads back to Egypt and to bricks without straw.
If You allow people to praise me, I shall not worry.
If You let them blame me, I shall worry even less.
If You send me work, I shall embrace it with joy.
    It will be rest to me because it is Your will.
 
Only save me from myself.
Save me from my own, private, poisonous urge 
   to change everything, to act without reason, 
   to move for movement’s sake,
   to unsettle everything that You have ordained.
 
Let me rest in Your will and be silent.
Then the light of Your joy will warm my life.
Its fire will burn in my heart and shine for Your glory.
This is what I live for.  Amen, amen.
 
Thomas Merton, 1915 – 1968, American Catholic writer and Trappist monk
 
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Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

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for those involved with the law

Jesus Before Pilate, James Tissot, Wikipedia Commons
 
Lord Jesus,
    You were in prison, found guilty when you were innocent,
    You were executed as traitor when in fact you were Savior.
To you who died to set all free we pray for:
    All makers of the laws of the land,
         that they do so with reason and compassion.
    All interpreters of the law – judges, lawyers –
        that they be fair, honest and impartial.
    All administrators of the law – prison guards and superintendents – 
        that they be merciful in their firmness.
    All prisoners – that they may know that you are in prison with them,
        in their homes with their loved ones,
        and that in you is their hope.
    Though bound, may they be perfectly free in you and in your service.
 
John B. Coburn, 1914- 2009, Bishop of Massachusetts
 
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Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
   the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.

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Create in me a clean heart

image / pixabay 

 
I thank you, my dear God,
    that I have learned not to begin faith by my own efforts, 
    nor attempt to destroy my sin with my own repentance.
I might do this before other people
    and be acceptable to the world and its judges.
But with you, O God, there is an eternal wrath 
    which I cannot satisfy,
    and before it I would despair.
Therefore I thank you that Another 
    has seized and carried my sins 
    and has made atonement for them.
 
With joy I wish to believe this.
It seems so very right and comforting to me.
But I cannot believe it by myself,
    and I find no power in me to convince myself.
I cannot comprehend it as I ought.
 
Lord, lead me, help me.
Give me the power and the gift to believe.
I plead, as did David:
    “Create in me a clean heart, O God,
        and put a new and right spirit within me.”
I am unable to create a new and clean heart: it is your work and creation.
I cannot create the sun and moon
    and make them rise and shine brightly in the heavens
    any more than I can make the heart clean and give myself a right spirit,
    a strong and firm frame of mind that is unbending and unwavering
    and that will not doubt or mistrust your Word.
 
Help us daily to increase in faith.
Though the world should topple and all conspire against us,
    and though the devil were to destroy every creature,
    grant that I may not fall.
By your divine help let me remain in the Gospel.
Amen.
 
Martin Luther, 1483 – 1546, German Reformer
 
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Create in me a clean heart, O God,

    and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

the unity of your Church

image / Psalm 133 by Kyle Ragsdale / Bellwether Arts
 
O God, 
    whose will it is that all your children should be one in Christ;
    we pray for the unity of your Church.
Pardon all our pride and our lack 
    of faith, of understanding, and of charity,
    which are the causes of our divisions.
Deliver us from narrow-mindedness,
    from our bitterness, from our prejudices.
Save us from considering as normal
    that which is a scandal to the world
    and an offense to your love.
Teach us to recognize the gifts of grace 
    among all those who call upon you 
    and confess the faith of Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
French Reformed Church
 
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Behold, how good and pleasant it is
    when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
    running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
    running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon,
    which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
    life forevermore.
 

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May we encounter You today

image / Harold Copping / Wikimedia Commons
 
Loving God, our faithful father, you who created us in your image and likeness, and are willing to meet with us here, as market vendors, barbers, mothers and fathers.
 
We confess that in our sweat and toil, we often forget your presence.  In our struggles and weariness and frustration we are often lukewarm.  Forgive us.
 
Tabernacle with us.
We need you now more than ever.  Drained of strength and energy we come, that we might be re-energized and filled.
 
So come Lord. Come as the wind, blow your breath gently over us, blow the dust off our lives. Come as the fire, burn out all the hate and anger we feel towards those who oppress us and treat us unfairly.  Come as the water, wash the dirt of poverty off our stalls, the marketplace, and our lives.
 
Come as the dove – settle all matters concerning us.  Let peace reign.
 
May we encounter you today.  Ignite our hearts to worship and serve you.  Take your place and rule and reign in Jesus’s name as we leave our struggle at the foot of the cross and liberate us to worship you. Amen.
 
complied by Claudio Carvalhaes, professor of worship in New York City
 
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You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
    “Your face, Lord, do I seek.

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