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
 
______________________________
 
 
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.

to find our constant inspiration in you

image / picryl
 
Servant Jesus,
    what love you showed to your disciples
        and what humility in your service.
    You are the Life of life, Son of God,
        yet you stooped down
        to take off the grimy sandals
        and to wash their dusty feet.
    With loving care you dried them with the towel
        make them fresh and cool.
    Since you, our Lord and Savior,
        did such lowly service for us,
        ought we not humbly to serve others also?
Lord God,
    it is not easy to walk in your way
        when we seek peace among the nations.
    We find there are many who hate peace
        and prefer to seek the victory in war.
    Even amongst our neighbors and friends
        are those who want to prepare for war.
    I am for peace;
        but when I speak, they are for war.
    In my distress I call to you, O Lord;
    give me the courage and the faith
        to speak for peace.
Spirit of God,
    you call your people to patient endurance
        that we might not fail in time of testing,
        that we might not grow weary in well-doing.
        that we should not abandon our first love.
    Help us to find our constant inspiration in you
        that the lamp may be kept burning
            as we witness by your grace.
 
John Johansen-Berg, 1935- , English Minister
 
_______________________________
 
 
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.  Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

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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
 
_____________________________
 
 
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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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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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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to show the likeness of Jesus

Last dinner / Sieger Koder
 
O Lord God,
You have commanded me to believe in Jesus,
    and that I would flee to no other refuge,
                               wash in no other fountain,
                               build on no other foundation,
                               receive from no other fullness,
                               rest in no other relief.
Hi water and blood were not severed in their flow at the cross,
    may they never be separated in my creed and experiences;
May I be equally convinced of the guilt and pollution of my sin,
    feel my need of a prince and savior,
    implore of him repentance as well as forgiveness,
    love holiness, and be pure in heart,
    have the mind of Jesus, and follow in his steps.
Let me not be at my own disposal,
    but rejoice that I am under the care of one
    who is too wise to err,
                   too kind to injure,
                   too tender to crush.
Help me to guide my affections with discretion,
                   to owe no one anything,
                   to be able to give to the one in need,
                   to feel it my duty and pleasure to be merciful and forgiving,
                   to show to the world the likeness of Jesus.
 
 
___________________________
 
 
I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords
 

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this troubled and divided world

Garden of Eden, Metropolitan Museum of Art , Public Domain
 
Look in compassion, O heavenly Father,
    upon this troubled and divided world.
Though we cannot trace your footsteps 
    or understand your working,
    give us grace to trust you with an undoubting faith;
 and when your own time is come,
    reveal, O Lord, that new heaven and new earth
    wherein dwells righteousness,
    where the Prince of Peace rules,
    your Son our Savior Jesus Christ.
 
Charles Vaughan, 1816 – 1897, English scholar and Anglican churchman
 
________________
 
 
For behold, I create new heavens
    and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered
    or come into mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
    in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,
    and her people to be a gladness.

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a Deacon’s prayer

image / youtube
 
I thank Thee, Lord, for sparing me to see this morning, the blood running warm in my veins, the activity of my limbs and the use of my tongue.  I thank Thee, Lord, for clothing and for food, and above all, I thank Thee for the gift of your darling Son Jesus, who came all the way from heaven down to this low ground of sorrow, who died upon the cross, that “whosoever believeth upon Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
 
Our Lord, our heavenly Master, we ask Thee to teach us.  Guide us in the way we know not.  Give us more faith and a better understanding and a closer walk to your bleeding side.
 
I have faith to believe you are the same God that was in the days that are past and gone.  You heard Elijah praying in the cleft of the mountain.  You heard Paul and Silas in jail.  You heard the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace.  I have faith to believe that you have once heard me pray, when I was laying and lugging ’round the gates of hell, no eye to pity me, no arm to save me.  You reached down your long arm of protection, snatched my soul from the midst of eternal burning.  You placed me in the rock and placed a new song in my mouth.  You told me to go, and you would go with me; open my mouth, and you would speak for me.
 
For this cause we call upon you at this hour.  And while we call upon you, we ask you please don’t go back to Glory, neither turn a deaf ear to our call.  But turn down the kindness of a listening ear, catch our moans and our groans, and take them home to the High Heavens.  We please boldly one thing more, if it is your glorious will, I pray Thee.
 
Deacon Washington Banks, Gethsemane Baptist Church, 1973
 
_____________________
 
 
To you, O Lord, I cry,
    and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,
    if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
    Will it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
    O Lord, be my helper!”

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    you have loosed my sackcloth
    and clothed me with gladness,
 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

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you ascended into the heavens

Rabula Gospels / 6th Century Dsmdgold / Wikimedia Commons
 
To complete your seamless robe, 
    and so to complete our faith,
you ascended through the air into the heavens,
    before the very eyes of the apostles.
In this way you showed that you are Lord of all,
    and are the fulfillment of all creation.
Thus from that moment every human and every living creature
    should bow at your name.
And, in the eyes of faith,
    we can see that all creation proclaims your greatness.
 
Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153, French abbot and Cistercian mystic
 
_________________________
 
 
After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him.  As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.  “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

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bless the vaccines

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
 
Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the countless ways you show us your love. 
Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us 
    and giving people (those we call brilliant) a spec of your brilliance 
    to create vaccines that ‘help our bodies develop immunity to the virus’. 
We ask you to bless the vaccines to our bodies, 
    for those who are already fully vaccinated 
    and for those who will be getting them. 
We pray we will not be adversely affected – long and short term, 
    and, if it is in our best interests, 
    to only experience mild or no symptoms after receiving the vaccine. 
Thank you for all the volunteers and medical community 
    that are tasked with administering the vaccines. 
We confess our FAITH IS IN YOU and not the vaccine. 
So, we also pray for those who do not feel led to get one, 
    that you would also give them immunity and keep them healthy. 
We trust in You and your Word!

We pray this prayer in the lovely name of Jesus!
Amen!

Paula Cianci, family friend

______________________

Psalm 91:3-6  

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.

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