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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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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I pray for the children

Photo by Andrae Ricketts on Unsplash
 
This morning, Lord, I’m praying for many people,
    just a day after Dobbs v. Jackson…
 
I’m praying for those 
    disappointed and angry,
who believe their rights have been trampled and crushed:
    their choice and autonomy wrenched from their grasp…
 
And I’m praying for those 
    now claiming a victory,
who believe that justice has finally prevailed:
    the right to life, refreshed and reclaimed…
 
I pray for our country, 
    torn apart and embittered,
where the battle for rights will continue to rage,
    dividing our nation, body and soul…
 
I pray for the Church 
    to preach with compassion
the gospel of life as the wisdom for choosing
    what’s loving and true, what’s generous and good…
 
And I pray for the Church 
    to faithfully serve
with shelter, support, understanding and help
     people and life in all shapes and all forms…
 
And last, but not least, Lord, 
I pray for the children conceived every day:
    planned or unplanned, welcome or not,
    impaired or healthy, ill-timed or convenient,
        each one made in your image divine,
        each one named by your love and your grace,
        each one, your own, entrusted to us…
 
Many to pray for, many to hold
    in our arms, in our care, in our love.
Help us to welcome the gift of new life
    with its challenges, burdens and blessings, 
        with the strength and help of your grace…
 
Amen.
 
Fr. Austin Fleming, Roman Catholic Priest serving near Boston, MA  
Concord Pastor
 
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And the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, 
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, 
Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, 
do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, 
and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”

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give us the light of reconciliation

Chapel Of Reconciliation, Michael McLaughlin Photography, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons
 
Lord, God our Father, 
through Jesus Christ, your Son, 
in the power of your Holy Spirit, 
    give light to our eyes, that we may see your light, 
    the brightly shining light of reconciliation! 
For this is the greatest sickness, 
    when one cannot see the light, even during the day.
Free us from this sickness, 
    us and all Christians who celebrate Easter either well or poorly,
    the entire human community, both near and far,
    who are again and again being confused and endangered anew!
 
Bless what comes to pass in this church and in other churches 
    and communities that are now still separated from us,
    that it may be a testimony to your name, your kingdom, and your will!
Reign also over all the various concerns of the government authorities,
    administrations, and courts here and all over the world!
Strengthen the teachers in consideration of their high task 
    for the growing generation;
  the people who write newspapers,
    conscious of their grave responsibility for public opinion that they influence;
  the doctors and nurses,
    for genuine attentiveness to the needs of those who are in their care!
Substitute your comfort, your counsel, and your help 
    for all that would accuse the many lonely, poor, sick and confused among us!
And let your mercy be apparent and powerful to all who are here in this house,
    along with their families!
We place ourselves and all that we lack and that the world requires
    in your hands.
 
Our hope is on you.  We trust in you.
You have never let your people be put to shame,
    whenever they earnestly called on you.
What you have begun,
    you will surely finish. Amen.
 
Karl Barth, 1886 – 1968, Swiss Reformed theologian
 
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From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. 
Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, 
    we regard him thus no longer. 
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself 
    and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 
  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, 
    not counting their trespasses against them, 
    and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

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O Jesus, crucified, have mercy upon me

image / Luca Giarelli, CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
O Jesus, poor and abject, unknown and despised,
    have mercy upon me, and let me not be ashamed to follow thee.
O Jesus, hated, calumniated, and persecuted,
    have mercy upon me, and make me content to be as my master.
O Jesus, blasphemed, accused, and wrongfully condemned,
    have mercy upon me, and teach me to endure the contradiction of sinners.
O Jesus, clothed with a habit of reproach and shame,
    have mercy upon me, and let me not seek my own glory.
O Jesus, insulted mocked, and spit upon,
    have mercy upon me, and let me not faint in the fiery trial.
O Jesus, crowned with thorns and hailed in derision;
O Jesus, burdened with our sins and the curses of the people;
O Jesus, affronted, outraged, buffeted,
    overwhelmed with injuries, griefs and humiliations;
O Jesus, hanging on the accursed tree, bowing the head, giving up the ghost,
    have mercy upon me,
    and conform my whole soul to thy holy, humble, suffering Spirit.
 
John Wesley, 1703-1791, English churchman and founder of Methodism
 
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It was now about the sixth hour,
    and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 
    while the sun’s light failed. 
And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.
Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said,
    “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” 
And having said this he breathed his last.

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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
 
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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.
 

resplendent Jesus, have mercy

 image / pxhere
 
O Lord; O King, resplendent in the citadel of heaven, all hail continually;
    and of your clemency upon your people still have mercy.
Lord, whom the hosts of cherubim in songs and hymns
    with praise continually proclaim, upon us eternally have mercy.
The armies aloft, O Lord, sing praise to you;
    those to whom the seraphim reply, ‘have mercy.’
O Christ, enthroned as king above,
    whom the nine orders of angels in their beauty
    praise without ceasing,
    upon us, your servants, ever have mercy.
O Christ, hymned by your one and only church throughout the world,
    to whom the sun, and moon, and stars, the land and sea,
    ever do service, have mercy.
O Christ, those holy ones, the heirs of the eternal country,
    one and all with utter joy proclaim you in a must worthy strain:
    have mercy upon us.
O Lord, O gentle son of Mary free;
O King of kings, blessed redeemer;
    upon those who have been ransomed from the power of death,
    by your own blood, even have mercy.
O noblest unbegotten, yet begotten Son, having no beginning,
    yet without effort (in the weakness of God) excelling all things,
    upon this your people in your pity, Lord have mercy.
O sun of righteousness, in all unclouded glory,
    supreme dispenser of justice,
    in that great day when you strictly judge all nations,
    we earnestly beseech you, upon this your people,
    who here stand before your presence,
    in your pity, Lord, then have mercy on us.
 
Dunstan, c. 909 – 988, English monastic and bishop
 
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Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,
    so that we may receive mercy 
    and find grace to help us in our time of need.
 

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to confess what the Lord has done for us

Jarena Lee, By Lithograph by P.S. Duval, from life by A. Huffy, Wikimedia Commons
 
God, you know the secrets of all hearts.
Favor us with your presence, O God.
Display your power by a general outpouring of the spirit.
May sinners cry for mercy, while others shout for joy.
May we be faithful stewards of the manifold gifts of God
    and never be ashamed to confess what the Lord has done for us.
May we never lose the witness out of the heart
    by withholding our testimony from our friends and neighbors 
    of your power to save.
May we not just run well for a season,
    and yield to the temptation of the tempter’s whisper
    saying “not now” 
    and by and by the soul becomes barren and unfruitful.
May we “watch” and tell around what a dear Savior we have found.
 
Jarena Lee, 1783-1864, African American minister
 
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For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. 
It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes
    —the Jew first and also the Gentile. 
This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. 
This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. 
As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

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Our Good Shepherd

image / Hans Schäufelein 15th century / Metropolitan Museum of Art
 
Show me, O Lord, your mercy, and delight my heart with it.
Let me find you whom I so longingly seek.
See, here is the man whom the robbers seized, mishandled,
    and left half dead on the road to Jericho.
O kind hearted Samaritan, come to my aid!
I am the sheep who wandered into the wilderness – seek after me,
    and bring me home again to your fold.
Do with me what you will, that I may stay by you all the days of my life,
    and praise you with all those who are with you in heaven for all eternity.
 

St Jerome, c.347-420, translator of the Latin Vulgate

Seasons of Devotion

 
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I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
 

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