Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 9/22

It's been said, Lord, 
that your first language is

If that's the truth
(and I believe it is!)
it's no wonder
I sometimes have trouble hearing you...

Plus, there's too much, so much noise 
in my life,
in my mind and thoughts,
in my heart and soul:
too many sounds competing for my attention
and distracting me
from the silent, peaceful sound
of your presence and your word...
So I'm praying, Lord
for some silence in my day:
    a time and place set apart
    just to be quiet,
    to listen for your breath, 
    for a whispered word
    to break the silence in my soul,
    to fill me with your presence
    and calm my anxious thought
    and to settle me with peace...
(Take some time here
   just to sit in the silence, to sit in the silence,
        to let the silence enter you...)
Quiet my heart, Lord,
til the only sound I hear
is the beating of my heart,
the heart you've made your home,
your dwelling place with in me...

Silence my world, Lord:
    quiet my soul:
    tame my anxiety,
    calm my fears,
    temper my passions,
    compose my mixed emotions
    ease my burdened heart
and then 
    and drench my heart in mercy
making peace
'tween my heart, Lord and yours
in a silence broken only
by your whispered word of peace
and my heart's word of thanks...






NIGHT PRAYER: Thursday 9/22

As evening comes, Lord, 
I want to thank you for all the times you spoke to me today
- but I missed what you said
    because I was too busy and distracted
    or day dreaming, paying no attention
    or because I made no time for prayer today,
    quiet time to listen for your voice and for your word...

And I want to thank you, Lord
for all the times today when you nudged me in the right direction
- but I took a wrong turn nonetheless
    because I wasn't looking for your guidance
    or thought I didn't need your help
    or because I figured my way was better than yours
    - and we both know where that kind of thinking lands me...
And I want to thank you, Lord,
for all the times today you invited me to share in your work
- but I didn't lend a hand, I didn't help you out
    because I was too self-absorbed to see my neighbor's need
    or because I was just plain lazy and chose not to get involved
    or didn't trust you'd help me do
    what seemed beyond my strength and skill...
And I want to thank you, Lord,
for all the times today you showed me something beautiful
- but I walked on by and didn't stop to look
    because I was lost in my own interests
    or too busy to put my day on pause,
    or some bling, bright and shiny, caught my eye
    and so I missed your simple gifts in nature:
    exquisite, free, divine and tagged for me...

So I pray tonight, Lord, that tomorrow:
    - I'll make more time for prayer to hear the word you speak
    - I'll follow where you lead me with your wisdom and your grace
    - I'll get off my butt and lend a hand to those I meet in need
    - I'll open wide my eyes to see your beauty, all around me

'Til then, Lord, 'til tomorrow,
    protect me while I lie awake
        and guard me while I sleep
    that awake, I might keep watch with you
        and asleep, rest in your peace...

When looking for tonight's song, Godspell's Day By Day came to mind but I wanted something more reflective in tone - that's when I came across Victor Johnson's setting of these well known lyrics which are attributed to St. Richard of Chichester (1197-1253). 
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Day by day, day by day, day by day,
O dear Lord, three things I pray:
to see thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
follow thee more nearly,
day by day.
Still hankering for Godspell?  
OK - here it is! 
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Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 9/21


Some friends are grieving this morning and Henry Van Dyke's poem on death, a piece I've posted a number of times over the years, comes to mind. Though he was a preacher, the poet's imagery here is more nautical than religious - but his verse speaks beautifully of how we Christians understand dying - and the life that awaits us...
I am standing upon the seashore. 
A ship, at my side, spreads her white sails to the moving breeze 
and starts for the blue ocean. 
She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, 
she hangs like a speck of white cloud 
just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, 
    "There, she is gone"

Gone where?
Gone from my sight. That is all. 
She is just as large in mast, hull and spar 
as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight 
to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me -- not in her.

And, just at the moment when someone says, 
    "There, she is gone,"
there are other eyes watching her coming, 
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, 
    "Here she comes!"

And that is dying...
    Image source











NIGHT PRAYER: Wednesday 9/20

One thing I'm really good at, Lord,
    is worrying about tomorrow
and fretting about next week, next month 
    - and even into next year!

And I awfulize the future, Lord:
    imagining, fearing, even presuming  
the worst case scenario
    for whatever tomorrow may bring...

Truth be told, Lord: 
    most of what I worry about
        - simply never happens -
but that doesn't keep me from spending my time
    stewing and stressing over tomorrow
        - and whatever it might (or might not) bring...
So, as this day ends, Lord, 
    help me anticipate, expect
        and thank you in advance
    for tomorrow's unknown blessings:
        on their way, headed in my direction,
            already your gifts to me...
Open my mind and my heart, Lord,
    to expect your healing and blessing,
and to trust you hold my tomorrows
    in the palm of your loving hand...
Help me look for your unknown blessings,  Lord,
    the gifts you offer to lead and guide me,
        mend and heal me, guard and protect me
    and bring me your comfort and consolation:
        the joy of your presence, your grace and your peace...

And should Thursday still be a rough day, Lord,
    remind me amidst my troubles:
you're with me every step of the way,
    right by my side, taking my hand,
as we walk together, eyes opened wide,
    searching for unknown blessings
        waiting along tomorrow's path...

Protect me while I'm awake
    and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch for you
    and asleep, rest in your peace...


Let Us Give Thanks for Unknown Blessings 
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Let us give thanks for unknown blessings already on the way.
Let us give thanks for unknown blessings already on the way.
God holds the future, the present and the past,
so let us give thanks for unknown blessings already on the way. 
See the birds of the air
they neither sow nor reap
yet God will give them food to eat
and God will care for us.
Lilies of the field 
they neither toil nor spin
as they are clothed in glorious light
God gives us what we need.
Do  not fear or fret
our lives are in God's hands
so praise and thanks should be our song
to God, our hope, our home.




Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 9/20



I Have Loved You by Michael Joncas  

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NIGHT PRAYER: Tuesday 9/19

I pray tonight, Lord,
for people I've hurt
and who in their kindness have pardoned me
when I've asked for their forgiveness
    - what a blessing and gift their mercy has been...

And I pray, too, Lord, 
for those I've offended
who've not yet been able
to forgive me my faults:
    what a healing for me that mercy would be
    - and for them as well, I'hope...
And I also pray, Lord, 
you open my heart with your mercy and grace
when it closes up in the face of hurt,
when I wall myself in, lost in self-pity,
when resentments and grudges
keep me from pardoning 
those who seek my forgiveness... 

And I pray tonight, Lord,
for those I've hurt
without my even knowing:
    when my unintended carelessness,
    my accidental clumsiness,
    bruised and even wounded some
    who chanced to share my path...

And I pray for those who suffer, Lord:
    who go without while I have more,
        more than I could ever need;
    who want for just life's basics
        while I store up my extras;
    who have a claim on what is "mine"
        since all that's "mine" is gift from you
            - on loan, for me to share...

And I thank you for your mercy, Lord:
for all the ways you pardon me,
    forgive, release and cleanse me,
of my failings, faults and sins, 
    of my haunting guilt and shame
and of all the harm I cause
    when I fail to love and keep your Word
and fail to love my neighbor
    as I am loved by you...
Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake
    and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
    and asleep, rest in your peace...
Forgiveness by Matt West

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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 9/19


Amid this day's distractions,
   all around me and within,
 keep me mindful of your presence, Lord,
     wherever I may be...

Keep me mindful of your care,
    of your ever faithful vigil,
of all the ways you're with me, Lord,
    through the night and day...

Make me mindful of your whisper,
   help me hear it in my heart:
words of grace to guard and guide me,
   to keep me far from harm...

Keep me mindful of your Spirit,
   moving, breathing in my soul,
always calling me and leading me
   to walk the path you chart...

Make me mindful of my neighbors, Lord,
   whose paths cross mine today:
help me tend their many needs
   with a generous, open heart...

Clear my mind of its distractions
   purge my heart of anxious fear,
make a quiet place within me, Lord,
   where you and I can meet...

Keep me mindful of your presence,
    help me just sit still and pray
'til I find you in the silence
    and in you, Lord, find my peace...






NIGHT PRAYER: Monday 9/18

Tonight's prayer has several parts: 
    (1) I listen to the Lord speak in the scriptures  
    (2) I respond to the word I've heard
    (3) The Lord answers my prayer!
    (4) I speak to the Lord once again..
Even when I walk through a dark valley,
I fear no harm for you are at my side,
with your crook and your staff you give me courage...
- Psalm 23

Even when I walk through a dark valley...
Is that right, Lord? 
Even in the dark?
    - even when I can't see where I am? 
        or where I'm going?
    - when I can't find my way 
        and I can't find you?
    - even when I'm not sure
        how I ended up here in the first place? 
Even when I walk through a valley of fear?
    - when I stumble through clouds of confusion? 
    - when the path leads me deep 
        into lonely woods?
    - w hen I walk through a valley
        so shadowed and deep 
            I lose sight of my trust and my hope?  
    - when I'm scared and alone
        when I'm lost and confused?
    - when I wonder and worry 
        that you've left my side...
Even then, Lord?
And the Lord answers...
Yes, even then!  Especially then!
Even then I promise I'm with you
    - though you don't see my face or hear my voice,
    - though you may not feel my hand warming yours,
    - though you earnestly seek but somehow miss me...
Even then, I'm right by your side:
    - the flicker of hope alive in your soul
    - the glimmer of grace in your heart of hearts
    - the  spark of the Spirit's fire and warmth
    - the torch that shines on your shadowed path
    - the light in the tunnel leading to peace...
Trust that I'm with you when you can't find me,
    trust you have strength surpassing your own...
Trust in my light when all is in darkness:
    - trust in my light come into the world,
        a light the night cannot overcome
    - trust in my light come into your heart,
        a light that glistens in all your tears
    - trust in my light come into your soul,
        a flame my Spirit will tend with care
    - trust in my light come into your mind
        to illumine your thoughts 
            with wisdom and grace
    - trust in my light come into your life
            to lead you and guide you
                and bring you home...
 I respond to the Lord...

From my dark valley, Lord - hear my prayer: 
    - my cry for your protection
    - my plea for consolation
    - my need for light and warmth
    - my prayer joy to fill my heart...
You're with me, Lord, my shepherd,
    even and especially 
        when I'm lost and feel alone...

I trust you're always by my side
    to calm my fears 
        and wipe my tears away,  
to light my path and draw me 
    ever closer to your side...
Even now, Lord, 
    wherever be my valley,
        however deep the darkness,
even now, this very night
    you're my shepherd
        and you'll help me find the way...

Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake
    and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
    and asleep, rest in your peace...


    performed by The Stellar Singers

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The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all I need,
He makes me lie down in green meadows,
Beside the still waters he will lead.

He restores my soul, he rights my wrongs,
He leads me in a path of good things,
And fills my heart with song.

Even though I walk through a dark and dreary land,
There is nothing that can shake me,
He has said he won't forsake me,
I'm in his hand.

He sets a table before me in the presence of my foe,
He anoints my head with oil,
And my cup overflows.

Surely, surely goodness and kindness will follow me,
All the days of my life,
And I will live in his house,
Forever, forever and ever.

Glory be to our Father, and Brother,
And to the Holy of Holies,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
Life, without end.  Amen.