Your disposition toward me is goodness

image /peasap / flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
 
Lord, remind me that Your disposition toward me is goodness.
    Keep me from the dark suspicion that You are not good.
You act with generosity and benevolence.
    Keep me from believing that You are not for me.
You are gracious and compassionate.
    Keep me from the assumption that I am beyond Your grace.
You are faithful and steadfast.
    Keep me from the opinion that Your disposition toward me could change.
You are rich in love and never petty in Your anger.
    Keep me from doubting the richness of Your love for me.
 
Kurt Bjorklund, 1968- , American Minister and author of
 
_________________
 
 
You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead?
Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 
So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, 
    how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

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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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interceding for friends

image
 
My good Lord,
    I long to pray to you for my friends,
    but I am held back by my sins.
Since I stand in such need of grace myself,
    how can I dare ask for grace for others?
I anxiously seek intercession on my own behalf.
    yet even so I shall be so bold
    as to intercede for others.
You commend me to pray for my friends,
    and love prompts me to do so.
So I pray to you, good and gracious God,
    for those who love me for your sake
    and whom I love in you.
 
If my prayer does not deserve to be answered,
    please love them for their own sakes,
    for you are the source of all love.
And make them love you with all their hearts
    so that they will speak and do
    only that which pleases you.
My prayer is but a cold affair, Lord,
    because my love burns with such a small flame.
Yet you who are rich in mercy
    will bestow your grace not according to my prayers
    but according to the infinite warmth of your love.
 
Anselm of Canterbury, c. 1033-1109, Benedictine monk and archbishop
 
__________________
 
 
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. 
Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.  
And pray for me, too. 
Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan
    that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.
 

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to see the human predicament

Jesus and the poor / 1857 / Library of Congress / public domain
 
O God, our Father,
the fountain of love, power and justice,
the God who cares, 
    particularly for the least,
    the most suffering and the poorest among us.
O God, Lord of creation, grant us today your guidance and wisdom
    so that we may see the human predicament for what it is.
Give us courage and obedience 
    so that we may follow you completely.
Help us, Lord, to bear witness to the cross of your Son,
    our Lord Jesus Christ, who alone is the reason for hope,
    and in whose name we pray. Amen.
 
Koson Srisang, Thailand
 
_____________________________
 
 
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

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Compassionate heart of Jesus

The Crucifixion 1360’s / Metropolitan Museum of Art / Public Domain
 
Compassionate heart of Jesus, have mercy on me.
Even before I offended you, my Redeemer, I did not deserve
    the great graces you have given me.
You created me, gave me so many inspirations 
    and all totally undeserved on my part.
But having offended you, not only did I not deserve your favors,
    I certainly deserved to be abandoned by you for all eternity.
But you, in your great mercy, have waited for me
    and preserved my life even when I was at enmity with you.
Your mercy allowed me to see my misery and you called me to conversion;
    you gave me sorrow for my sins and a desire to love you.
Now, I hope that, with your grace,
    I am in your friendship once again.
 
Alphonsus Liquori, 1696-1787, Italian Catholic bishop and theologian
 
____________________
 
 
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

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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
 
________________________
 
 
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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that all mothers may bear your love

Photo by Andrae Ricketts on Unsplash
 
O God, the mother of all living beings,
    the creator of the universe and the giver of all good things.
We thank you for our home on earth 
    and for the joy of living.
By your divine wisdom you have made mothers 
    the bearers of new life on earth.
As we worship, O Lord, call to our minds 
    the magnificent and gracious gifts that you have bestowed upon mothers.
We thank you for their love, their forbearance, 
    their patience and their unselfishness.
And we pray that all mothers may be bearers 
    of the love that you have so graciously shared 
    in the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, for our salvation.
Amen.
 
Thomas Kilgore, Jr., 1913-1988, pastor and human rights advocate
    
_______________________
 
 
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
 

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Let me be free

Photo by Vaishakh pillai on Unsplash

Jesus Christ, the beginning and the end, 
    the resurrection and the life, 
    the perfect man who gave His life for sinners, 
    I worship you, I adore you, I sing aloud your name. 
I am one of those whom you saved, whom you set free, 
    when you died on the cross. 
You redeemed me from the slavery of sin. 
And yet I cannot escape the overpowering sense 
    that I am still a wretched sinner, 
    that my every action is worthless or evil. 
I am like the dry sand of a desert thirsting for water.
I am like a criminal languishing in prison. 
 
Good people try to help me, and I pray that you will reward them; 
    but their goodness does nothing to assuage my sense of wickedness. 
Patient people try to teach me your ways; 
    but I am so stubborn that I cannot learn. 
Humble people seek to serve me; 
    but in my pride I cannot truly appreciate their services. 
Lift the burden of wickedness; break down my stubbornness; root out my pride. 
Let me receive your life-giving love. 
Let me be free.
 
Fulbert of Chartres, c.970-1028, bishop of the Cathedral of Chartres, France
 
__________________________
 
 
And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 
    let us go right into the presence of God 
    with sincere hearts fully trusting him. 
For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, 
    and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

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sharing in your death

imageMikhail Nesterov Public domain / Wikimedia Commons
 
My Lord and God, I know that I cannot share in your resurrection 
    without also sharing in your death.  
Strengthen me to take up my cross and deny myself daily; 
    that I may crucify the drives within me that lure me away from loving you 
        and loving my neighbor as I ought.  
Silence the voices within me calling me 
    to self-indulgence, to self-service, and to self-advancement, 
 and let me hear only the voice of your Spirit 
    leading me into the ways of love, peace, and obedience.
 
I belong to you, Lord Jesus, 
    for you bought me at the price of your own blood.
Help me to live the rest of my life in this body for you,
    and not for my own desires or pleasures.
Make me a new creature who does your will.
 
David A. de Silva, Methodist professor
 
_____________________
 
 
Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

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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
______________________
 
 
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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