Prayer: All will be Brought to Light (Matthew 2:1-12)

vision eye see2014 Bible Reading Plan for Christmas
Day 25 Reading: Matthew 2:1-12
The Wise Ones

Having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they left for their own country by another road
– Matthew 2:12

Prayer: All Will be Brought to Light
Radiant One, give us wisdom
to know when to wait and when to act
to know what to pick up and what to leave behind

The hidden will be brought to light
hidden words
hidden thoughts
hidden actions of our hands
hidden motives of our hearts

Radiant One, give us wisdom
to stand- trusting all will be revealed
to bow- knowing all will be revealed

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Be sure to check out some wonderful prayers based on this scripture passage by Steve Garnaas Holmes, entitled Another Road and Inward Magi.

This post is part of the 2014 Bible Reading Plan for Christmas. Click here for more information, including a list of all the readings.

Prayer: All Will be Brought to Light © 2013 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Worship Resource: Lord of My Heart

eye heartWorship Resource: Lord of My Heart
ALL SINGING: Be Thou My Vision
United Methodist Hymnal #451, verses 1 and 2

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true word,
I ever with Thee and Thou with me Lord;
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
Great God of Heaven my treasure Thou art

Instrumental music continues during the prayers.

ONE or ALL: Adapted from a traditional Celtic prayer
Lord of my heart, give vision to inspire me,
that working or resting, I may always think of you.
Lord of my heart, give light to guide me,
that, at home or abroad, I may always walk in your way.
Lord of my heart, give wisdom to direct me,
that thinking or acting, I may always discern right from wrong.

ALL:
Heart of my own heart, whatever may befall me,
Rule my thoughts and feelings, my words and actions.

ONE or ALL: Adapted from a traditional Celtic prayer
Lord of my heart, save me from worldly wealth,
that I may always look to the riches of heaven.
Lord of my heart, save me from military prowess,
that I may always seek your protection.
Lord of my heart, save me from unnatural pleasures,
that I may always find you in your wonderful creation.

ALL:
Heart of my own heart, whatever may befall me,
Rule my thoughts and feelings, my words and action.

ONE or ALL: Adapted from a traditional Celtic prayer
Lord of my heart, give courage to strengthen me,
that amongst friends or enemies, I may always proclaim your justice.
Lord of my heart, give trust to console me,
that, hungry or well-fed, I may always rely on your mercy.
Lord of my heart, save me from empty praise,
that I may always boast of you.

ALL: Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, the power,
and the glory forever. Amen

ALL SINGING: Be Thou My Vision
United Methodist Hymnal #451, verse 3

Great God of heaven, my victory won
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Son
Heart of my own heart, whatever be fall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of All

Option: Begin the worship sequence with the following Confession and Pardon
ALL: Confession and Pardon
United Methodist Hymnal, page 8

Merciful God,
We confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have failed to be an obedient church.
We have not done your will,
We have broken your law,
We have rebelled against your love,
We have not loved our neighbors,
and we have not heard the cry of the needy.
Forgive us, we pray.
Free us for joyful obedience,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Time of silent confession

ONE:
Hear the good news:
Christ died for us while we were yet sinners;
that proves God’s love toward us.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.
Glory to God! Amen.

Click Here for a wonderful prayer by Steve Garnaas Holmes entitled The Heart of Christ
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Lord of My Heart compilation © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

For more information on the music, scripture translation, art and the use of this resource in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Quotes: Calling, Purpose, Vision

Reaching for StarJoel 2:28 NRSV
I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams, and
your young men shall see visions.

When we speak of vision, we are speaking of more than a moment of inspiration; we are talking about a conviction that alters us completely—inside and out.  A vision is a sense of “for this I was made” —- “to this I must give my life.” It is the flame that ignites our ministry and the foundation that enables it to stand against winds of opposition and change. – Steve Harper, Shepherd’s Care: Vision (1)

The two most important days in your life
are the day you are born and the day you find out why.
-Mark Twain

If you want to build a ship,
don’t drum up the people to collect wood
and don’t assign them tasks and work,
but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The human imagination hungers for substance, for meaning, for God. If it encounters a world without meaning, it slowly starves for lack of anything to chew on. The “organs of meaning” must have something to eat. Feeding the God-hungry imagination is, I believe, precisely the church’s task in spiritual formation.
– Sarah Arthur, The God-Hungry Imagination

Habakkuk 2:1-3 NRSV
I will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint. Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.

A vision without a task is hopeless, a task without a vision is treachery
but a task and a vision together is the hope of the world. –Suzette Hattingh

You get God’s vision by saying

  • What do You want me to do?
  • How do You want me to do it?
  • And when do You want me to do it?

You need to stop praying, “God, bless what I’m doing.” And instead start praying, “God, help me to do what You want to bless.” I get up in the morning and I pray a very similar prayer every day. “God, I know You’re going to do some very exciting things in the world today. Would You give me the privilege of just being in on some of them? I just want to be in on what You’re doing. I want to do what You’re blessing.”
– Rick Warren, 3 Aspects of the Vision God Has for Your Church

The Bible doesn’t teach us to keep looking over our shoulders to see if others approve of us or not or to second guess ourselves when we see an opportunity to do more or to rise to the next level in the work God has given us to do. We’re told to fix our eyes on Jesus, to love God with every fiber of our being and give ourselves wholeheartedly to his purposes. – Carolyn Custiss James

“Do not be afraid,” just like “you are forgiven,” are needed companions throughout our lives. We strive to be faithful followers, to be strong and bold in vocation. But sometimes, strength wavers. Sometimes, boldness weakens or mutates into arrogance. By and large, those experiences come because of fear. “Do not be afraid” can fade into the background all too quickly when tragedy or injustice or downright ignorance holds sway. But God does not give up on us. God does not strip us of our calling in those times when we realize that even having nothing to fear but fear itself still leaves us with a considerable antagonist to face. Rather, God calls us out — out of sin, out of fear — and gives us the possibility of a new day. – John Indermark, Do Not Live Afraid

Quote and Blessing from In the Sanctuary of Women by Jan Richardson
One of the signs that we’ve found our way to a core desire, something that God desires for us, is that in following it, we feed not only our own hunger but that of others as well. When we pursue God’s longing for our life, it never serves only ourselves. Vocation is a word that gets at this idea. … Vocation isn’t merely about what job we have but about who God has created us to be in this world. Vocation conveys the notion that God has designs on us and has placed us within this world to work for its flourishing in concert with our own. In writing about vocation, Frederick Buechner says, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

BLESSING
Where the hunger of the world beyond you
meets the hunger of the world within you:
may you find yourself in this place.

Ephesians 1:17-19 NRSV
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.

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For an excellent article by Steve Harper on the four dimensions of a vision, click here

For a summary of how a vision becomes manifest in the world as explained in the book Visionary Leadership by Burt Nanos, click here

For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Quotes: Biblical Leadership

leadership quote - JQ Adams1 Peter 5:2-4 NIV
Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

Excerpt from I will raise up Shepherds, by Steve Garnaas Holmes
Jesus shows us: the shepherds won’t be kings.
They will be the humble but courageous
who speak and act for justice and mercy,
who receive power not by coronation
but by the anointing of the Spirit.
We won’t look to the powers to save us.
We will look to one another to tend us.

And God will give might to their compassion,
and fill their shepherding with power.
God will dwell within their struggle for justice,
and speak in their voices.
God will raise up shepherds who set free the oppressed
and bind up the brokenhearted—
in their wounds and to each other—
who resist those who destroy and scatter,
who tend to those who are fearful or dismayed or missing.
God will anoint them and raise them up
and they will be the shepherds who heal the people,
and justice and mercy will rule.

The prophet’s cry is not a promise of comfort.
This is a call to action. (Jeremiah 23:1-4)

We like to declare that the Gospel is counter-cultural, and thereby God-given and transformative.  Should we not draw the same conclusion about ministry that is rooted in the Gospel? Isn’t our ministry supposed to be counter-cultural. too?  And the most powerful way we do this is by adopting the biblical model of ministry–of being shepherds. The Bible’s use of this metaphor (in both Old and New Testaments) was a way of overturning the “CEO” model of religious leadership that defined and dominated Jewish priesthood.  It made ministry relational, not regulatory–incarnational not institutional.  Ministers were to be servants, not masters.  Holiness was the watch-word, not hierarchy.  People mattered more than position and power. Our need for counter-cultural ministry is as great as ever.  The world experiences CEO’s all the time.  But what they are longing for is pastors–people who will show up in their valleys with rods and staffs, ready to help them make it home. – Steve Harper, Counter Culture Ministry

There is such an enormous hunger for meaning in life, for comfort and consolation, for forgiveness and reconciliation, for restoration and healing, that anyone who has any authority in the Church should constantly be reminded that the best word to characterize religious authority is compassion. Let’s keep looking at Jesus whose authority was expressed in compassion. – Henri Nouwen

Listen Friends, what I want to tell you is this. The world needs you to start leading again. To step out of the shadows and into your strength, your skills, your compassionate heart, your crazy ideas. But you don’t have to be THE ONE in charge. And you don’t have to go it alone. Let’s share our strength. Let’s make room on the stage for the voices that have a whisper in a crowd. (They want to roar, and we need to hear them.) Let us – well and truly – LEAD.
– Rachelle Mee-Chapman, Tithe Your Power 

The Bible doesn’t teach us to keep looking over our shoulders to see if others approve of us or not or to second guess ourselves when we see an opportunity to do more or to rise to the next level in the work God has given us to do. We’re told to fix our eyes on Jesus, to love God with every fiber of our being and give ourselves wholeheartedly to his purposes. – Carolyn Custiss James

Matthew 20:25-28 NRSV
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Spiritual leaders fear being judged in this one way—as either a success or a failure based solely upon numbers. If we live in this fear, we can never allow ourselves to listen to God. This is the pivotal choice every spiritual leader must make: serve God or serve our fear. If we serve our fear, we will be enslaved to the ways of the world and the egos of those around us who seek to control our lives. If we serve God, we will fearlessly be able to see and discern how God is working for life and growth in every situation, large and small. – Daniel Wolpert, Leading a Life with God

I think being able to apologize for my mistakes and not ever seeing that as a threat to my authority is critical…but that is different than apologizing for who I am.  Everyone does this but I hear women do it all the time. It’s not helpful. I think trying to pretend to be someone that you are not does nothing but water down your power.  Because in a way, we are most powerful when we are simply who God made us where God put us. Maybe this and only this is where our authority rests. No need to defend it or protect it or apologize for it. Just rock it, brothers and sisters.
-Nadia Bolz-Weber, The Authority of Apology

When I stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ, he is not going to ask me if I was a clever orator. He is not going to ask me how many books I wrote. He is only going to ask whether I continued in the line of men and women, starting way back in the time of Adam’s grandchildren, who led others to call upon God.
– Jim Cymbala, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire

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Click here for an interesting discussion of authority, spiritual disciplines, and the Great Commission entitled Making Disciples in a Postmodern World by Bishop Ken Carter.

For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Prayer: Raise Us Up (1 Corinthians 9.26)

boxing-gloves
1 Corinthians 9:26 CEB
This is how I run- not without a clear goal in sight.
I fight like a boxer in the ring, not like someone who is shadowboxing.

We grow weary in doing good
In doing “church”
Endless tasks grind us down
Weighty needs bury us blow by blow

Holy Spirit
Raise us up from the long count
Raise us up again and again and again
Arouse us
Focus us
Strengthen us
Your calling clearly in our sight
in our hearts
in our hands

Press us on to the prize
Your glory
Your kingdom come
For you are the One, True, Living God
Now and forever
Amen

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Prayer: Raise Us Up © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia.
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please leave a comment for information on publishing this work in any form.