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.

 

Prayer Vigil: Preparing for Visioning

Before his ascension, Jesus instructs the disciples to go back to Jerusalem and pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1) The disciples prayed for nine days and on the tenth day received the Spirit’s empowerment, boldness and wisdom for the next chapter in God’s mighty acts of salvation. (Acts 2) Down through the ages, Christians have followed this same pattern of intense prayer and preparation before entering their next chapter with God.

Below you will find a prayer and scripture schedule for the nine days leading up to a decision making meeting or retreat. This prayer vigil was originally designed for congregations entering into a time of visioning, but can be used at other times as well.  Whatever your need, I pray it is useful to you as you seek God with the others in your congregation.

May the Kingdom come in us and through us, as it is in heaven! – Lisa <><

Day 1
Scripture: Matthew 5:6
Include in your prayers:
• Revival of God’s people hungering and thirsting for God
• Those who are hungering for God but have not found a church home
• That all will be filled with the Holy Spirit

Day 2
Scripture: Matthew 16:13-19
Include in your prayers:
• That we would trust Christ to build the church and not try to do it in our own strength

Day 3
Scripture: Acts 2:36-47
Include in your prayers:
• That thousands would follow Jesus in life transforming ways
• That God’s church would be effective and faithful

Day 4
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Include in your prayers:
• What is God calling us to do and what is God calling us to stop doing?

Day 5
Scripture: Colossians 1:9-12
Include in your prayers:
• That we would lead lives worthy of the Lord and pleasing to the Lord
• That we would be made strong in the Lord so we might persevere in faith and good works
• That we would be a thankful people

Day 6
Scripture: Psalm 92:12-15
Include in your prayers:
• That God’s people of every age would flourish and be fruitful

Day 7
Scripture: Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19-20
Include in your prayers:
• Where is God calling us to go?
• Who is God calling us to serve?

Day 8
Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-16
Include in your prayers:
• The unity and maturity of God’s people
• That people would know and serve out of their spiritual gifts

Day 9
Scripture: Proverbs 3:1-8
Include in your prayers:
• That we would hear and follow God’s leading
• Those who will be leading the meeting

Day 10
Day of the Meeting or Retreat

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© 2011 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in your setting with proper attribution. Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this compilation in any form. For more information on the art used in this work, please refer to the copyright information page.

John Day 20: The Death of Lazarus

John 11:5 from The Brick Testament, The Bible in Legos

Gospel of John Reading Plan
Day 22 Reading:
John 11:1-16

Bringing the Word to Life
In complete darkness, try to walk through your house or do some household chores. Turn on a light to appreciate the power and glory of Christ’s light in our lives.

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
Although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days and did not go to them. – John 11:5-6 (NLT)

Observation
Jesus receives word that his beloved friend Lazarus is gravely ill. He delays going to heal him and Lazarus dies. Jesus does not delay because it is dangerous to return to Bethany. He delays because God has another plan.

Application
After all these years, I am still learning to trust that God is always good and always true, to have confidence in God. Confidence comes from the words con-fide meaning with trust. What would my life look like if lived with confidence in God; in times when I understand and when I do not, when the answer comes quickly and when the answer seems delayed, when the reply is what I expect and when it is a surprise.

My prayer came out as a poem today…
There are times when I feel in perfect rhythm with you
Other times I feel out of step
Confused and unnerved like a child on her first day of class

You offer me your hand again, that I may follow your lead
I want to fly in your arms, trusting you are always there to catch me
but I hold back
I have been dropped before by other partners

You understand
You are a patient teacher

You train me in the discipline of your ways
I become flexible and strong
Quicker to respond to your touch
You show me step after step
I begin to understand your timing
I want to trust it, even when you are beyond my sight
You move again and again and again in my life
My confidence in you grows
I take the leap of faith

For quotes on the theme When God Delays, click here

For a worship liturgy entitled Lord of the Dance (based on today’s prayer/poem), click here
 
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For more information on the Gospel of John Reading Plan, click here

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

Devotion: Let Me Remember

Remembering by Reginald K. Gee

Psalm 102:11-12
My days are like an evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.
But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever;
your name endures to all generations.

Recently, I came across the poem Let me remember by Winston O. Abbott. Four times the poet says, “Let me remember” before getting to what he wants to remember: “that my life is not a solitary thing.”

Abbot echoes the wisdom of John Donne, “No man is an island.” How true. What I do and who I am matters far beyond me. Each of us is interconnected to each other and to the natural world. We’re not just interconnected, we’re interdependent. Our actions, our words, our very being, ripple through countless lives. Yes, life is a series of fleeting moments of the present; yet when tied to others and tied to God, they are the powerful stuff of forever.

The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.– Helen Keller

Time and again, my vision is shrouded to this truth. Shrouded in the mists of my daily doing: deadlines, calls, chores, family. Shrouded in the mists of heartache and longing. Even the most memorable moments can be lost in the mist of busyness, distraction, or trivial escape. It’s time for the mist to lift. It’s time to re-member, time to put the present bits together for the good of the whole.

Let us pray: Lord, take away the mists that keep us from the fullness of relationship and interaction. Lift the congestion and smog. Blow through. Clear the way till we are fully present to you , to nature, and to one another. In the Name of Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Light, we pray. Amen.

Let me remember, by Winston O. Abbott
Let
me
remember
beyond forgetting —
let
me
remember—
let me remember always
for my spirit is often shrouded in the mists
let me remember beyond forgetting
that my life is not a solitary thing
it is a bit of the rushing tide
a leaf of the bending tree
a kernel of grain the golden wheat fields
a whisper of wind about the mountaintop
a reflection of sunlight upon the shining waters
it is fleeting
it is of the moment
it is timeless
it is of eternity.

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

Christmas 5a: Joseph's Dream

Joseph’s Dream by Laura James

The Story of Christmas
Day 5 Reading:

Matthew 1:18-25

Joseph’s Dream
by Raymond Chapman

The shock, the sorrow,
the surge of anger,
the desire to hurt the loved one who seemed faithless-
did the black rage shake him when it was first made known?

But love prevailed,
stronger than resentment;
there would be no scandal, no shaming, only a quiet ending
before the long years of loneliness after a hope that had failed.

Unquiet sleep, broken dreams,
came after a day of bitter decisions;
then a new vision, prompting, comforting, challenging-
something unheard, undreamed by any dreamer;
even Joseph of Egypt was never so highly favored.

There was no turning back on the command of God
though the calling baffled sense, defied language,
found no answer in the familiar, loved religion.

Only a love too faithful for consummation
could make ready for a holy birth.

In Nazareth gossips whispered, sniggered, pointed:
a dusty road lay open towards Bethlehem.

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Your vision will only become clear when you look inside your heart…
Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside, awakes. -Carl Jung

Joseph changes direction overnight in a dark conversion…
Joseph is awakened by his dream.
– Suzanne Guthrie, At the Edge of the Enclosure Blog

Joel 2:28-29 and Acts 2:17-18
And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.

For information on The Story of Christmas Reading Plan, click here

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