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

May Your Spirit …

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May your Spirit guide my mind,
Which is so often dull and empty.
Let my thoughts always be on you,
And let me see you in all things.
 
May your Spirit quicken my soul,
Which is so often listless and lethargic.
Let my soul be awake to your presence,
And let me know you in all things.
 
May your Spirit melt my heart,
Which is so often cold and indifferent.
Let my heart be warmed by your love,
And let me feel you in all things.
 
Johann Freylinghausen, 1670-1739, German pietist and hymnist
 
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how much more will the blood of Christ, 
who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God,
purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

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how do I worship in spirit?

image / pixabay
 
O God, what is Spirit?
How do I worship in spirit and in truth?
I am such a solid, earthly creature,
    my feet planted firmly on the ground,
    my life based upon material things.
I like to touch and feel and see before I believe.
I am accustomed to dealing with houses, land, and money,
    with bread, meat and potatoes,
    with objects handled, weighed, and valued
    by my own standards.
I am uncomfortable with what cannot be analyzed
    or dissected or given a market value.
What is Spirit?
 
Yet, O Lord, the very things I handle and see
    lose meaning when they become ends in themselves.
They are all given meaning by the things of the spirit,
    by love and hope and faith.
I know when I come down to it,
    if I have all kinds of earthly goods
         and have not love,
    I have nothing.
I need the mystery beyond the tangible.
I need the things of the spirit
    to give meaning to the material things I prize.
I cannot divide life up,
    you have made it whole.
If I avoid love, diminish hope, deny faith,
    my appreciation of my house and land,
    my meat and potatoes, shrinks,
And I become a little man
     with little aims and little power.
 
Kenneth Phifer
 
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But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—
when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. 
The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 
For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.
 

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Holy Spirit, make us whole

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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
 
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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
 
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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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in contact with the Spirit

image / Hans / Pixabay
 
Lord, I see what the Holy Spirit is like
  as I gather the garbage to burn in the fire.
I try to keep the fire burning continually;
  nevertheless there are times when it seems
  that the fire has gone out completely,
  but I know that underneath, a few embers continue to burn.
I think humanity is like the garbage and the Holy Spirit is like the fire.
Just as I gather the garbage to burn in the fire
  so may your church gather together humanity
  and put it in contact with the Spirit
  to purify it until it is no longer garbage.
May the church never lose hope,
  even when the fire cannot be seen
  and the garbage is plentiful.
May we be convinced that the fire continues to burn below
  and that it will never go out.

after words shared by a Garbage man in South America
A Procession of Prayers, edited by John Carden
 
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John answered their questions by saying, 
“I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

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Glory to the Trinity

Trinity image / Metropolitan Museum of Art / public domain
 
Grant, O God, of your mercy, that we may come to everlasting life,
    and there beholding your glory as it is, may equally say:
Glory to the Father who created us,
Glory to the Son who redeemed us,
Glory to the Holy Spirit who sanctified us.
Glory to the most high and undivided Trinity, 
    whose works are inseparable,
    whose kingdom without end abides,
    from age to age forever.
Amen.
 
St. Augustine of Hippo, 354 – 430 
 
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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, 
    and the love of God, 
    and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

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Pentecost prayer

Pentecost mosaic / Pete Unseth, CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
Holy Spirit, almighty God,
  proceeding from the Father and the Son;
Jesus the eternal Son, our Redeemer,
  has promised that you will kindle in us the true knowledge and love of God.
Stir up in our hearts, we pray true fear, true faith,
  that we may acknowledge the mercy
  which the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hast promised
  unto us for his sake.
Be our comforter in all difficulties and dangers,
  and kindle divine love in our hearts,
  so that by true obedience,
  we may offer perpetual praise to you
  and to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
  and to his blessed Son, our Saviour and Redeemer.
Amen.

Philipp Melanchthon, 1497 – 1560, German reformer with Martin Luther
 
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But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, 
    will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
 

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preparing to be bearers of reconciliation

image / Nick Thompson / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
 
 
O Risen Christ,
    you breathe your Holy Spirit upon us
    like a gentle breeze
    and tell us: ” Peace be yours.”
Opening ourselves to your peace,
    letting it penetrate the harsh and rocky ground
        of our hearts,
    means preparing ourselves to be bearers 
    of reconciliation wherever you may place us.
But you know that at times we are at a loss.
So come and lead us to wait in silence,
    to let a ray of hope shine through in our world.
 
Brother Roger, 1915 – 2005, Swiss monastic, founded the Taizé Community
 
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On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

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the new commandment

Jesus washing Peter’s feet by Sieger Koder / Jim Forest Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
 
Jesus, you gave us the new command to love each other 
    just as you loved your disciples.
We are eager to imitate you in loving our brothers and sisters, but like Peter,
    our efforts are often more words and good intentions 
        than action and sacrifice..
We want to offer ourselves fully in friendship
    but when the relationship becomes costly we disengage.
We want to reach out to those different from ourselves
    but tend to stay within our safe routines.
And when relationships lead to hurt or betrayal 
    we withdraw to protect ourselves
    and fail to keep your commandment.
You know this about us.
You know that we are weak and made of dust.
 
Oh, pour out an extra measure of faith upon us!
Strengthen us with the supernatural ability to love just as you loved.
Enable us to present ourselves as living sacrifices in our relationships.
 
But more than that, bless our flawed, timid expressions
    and communicate them through your Holy Spirit,
    so that those who we begin to love, 
    know that, in fact, they are loved 
    completely
    by you
just as you loved your disciples, and us, unto the end.
 
EM
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It was just before the Passover Festival. 
Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. 
Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
 
A new command I give you: Love one another. 
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
 

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