a preacher’s prayer at sunrise on Sunday

 

Father, who will give attention to you this morning? And should you allow me the privilege once more to speak of you, who, I ask, will hear you through my feeble, fumbling words? Will it be those who have heard many times before? Let them not be indifferent or complacent through familiarity. Will it be some who have never heard you before? Do not allow any of us to not encounter you. Work out my words, work through my words, work despite my words this morning – just work what you will in the moment, Father.

Give us your attention, Lord, even as we ask your help in our giving you our own; give us audience as we seek you. Take us by our hands to the Father and plead our need with your outstretched hands. Open our minds and break open our hearts, shining all you are on all that we are that we might change more into the likeness of you. Let us be all about you – entralled and enraptured with you, adoring you and freshly committing ourselves to emulating you.

Spirit holy, your ways and words are beyond our grasp, and yet, it is your words and words that must touch us, stir us, trouble us, settle us, and teach us. And so, I pray you will handle us and hold us this morning, working into each spirit present things far beyond what any of us can see and hear with our eyes and ears. As you have arranged for this time and place, our providential meeting with you in the presence of others, do walk among us and talk to us.

Begin this work with me, I pray. Where I need to tremble afresh, make me tremble. Where I need to rest confident in you, please plant me there. In all things today, work through me for the blessing of others and so bless me to that end.

In the name of my Savior, with trust, I come asking.

Amen.

prayer at the start of a school year

 

Father God, you are the Great Teacher and we are your students. You alone know how to shape us right in mind and actions. You alone are true knowledge and wisdom. Your matchless care for even the smallest and least of us, the youngest or weakest of us, is unlike any other. You are the Loving Guide and Good to each and every one of us. Praise be to you forever for who you are!

And so, Father, we lift up to you the children that you have given us. And, we hold up to you, for your blessing, every person who is a guide and teacher, a source of wisdom and knowledge, and a model of unbiased care and good to our children, and the children of all others.

Grant to both those who learn and to those who teach, minds and hearts ever more full of what you have them to become and share. Put into their spirits all that is humility and confidence, inquisitiveness and discernment, strength and courage, hope and joy. Bind these, and these qualities, all the more together in love of you and for each other.

For your glory, Father, not our own, we ask. All praise be to you forever, in the name of your Son, Jesus.

Amen.

By preachersmith Posted in Links

the parable of the parched grass

 

Parched-grass

A man’s front yard was covered with grass. The grass near the center of the yard always did well. It received what it needed on a regular basis – sunlight, moisture, nutrients, and protection from enemies. It needed special attention at times, but only at times; occasionally it suffered for some reason, but only occasionally. It quickly rebounded from any misfortune, for it was easy for the grass to do well there.

However, life for the grass located closer to the street was very different. Whenever it rained, passing cars splashed the chemicals and oil in the street onto the grass. This was hard on the grass and the soil in which the grass was trying to grow. The soil became very different from the soil near the center of the yard. And, given that the boundary for the grass was concrete, the sun always, and quickly, baked away any moisture that was to be had. Consequently, weeds grew in much greater abundance among the grass near the street. Between the weeds, the heat, the pollution, and other troubles, the grass near the street had a very difficult life. Suffering was a daily experience there and the grass there never knew another. And woe to that grass in the brutal heat of summer or if it was scalped!

Now try as it might every day, the grass near the street could never better its lot in life on its own. If it ever did better at all it was solely because it was given special care by the man who owned the yard and those he called to help him improve the life of the soil and grass in need.

These things remained true for the grass near the center of the yard and the grass further away from the center as long as the man owned the yard.

Hear the parable of the parched grass, for the grass is people.

By preachersmith Posted in Links

silver ingots from En Gedi

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As a part of MoSt Church‘s Bible reading project today we’re in Isaiah 5-8. Everyone familiar with Isaiah remembers the first portion of the chapter (vs.1-17), especially vs. 14. But, do you remember how the chapter ends (Isaiah 7.18-25)? It is a strong word regarding how God will whistle up Assyria to come and have its way with his people, Judah, for their sin.

“On that day, there will be thorns and thistles in every place where a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels [about 25 lbs.] once grew.” (Isa. 7.23)

While in the Israel Museum in 2013, I snapped these pics of a hoard of silver ingots that was discovered in a jar in En Gedi (in Judah, near the Dead Sea). They date back either to the time of Isaiah, or very close to it.

By preachersmith Posted in Links

a prayer for the younger & the older

 

Each Friday for the bulk of this year, I plan to share with you a brief prayer to God our Father. These prayers will address all sorts of matters and concerns and will appear in no particular order. There is no grand plan or schedule to them; just prayer, pure and simple.

Pray with me, won’t you?

Father God, thank you for the light you have given me and have enabled me to walk in thus far. Praise be to you, my God, Dispeller and Defeater of darkness, my Light and my Salvation!

Forgive me of every grain of darkness in me. I beg you to continue to be patient with me for I know that I remain so very blind to so very much more of what you would have me to see, what you would have me turn from, and what you would have me embrace. I will die in this condition, on this ceaseless journey of enlightenment, in and toward, your light. How I need your constant guidance and direction! I know this, and so, into your hands I commit my spirit.

Keep me humble, Father, about what I think I know. Never stop working on me. In your Son’s name I pray, chisel me into something useful and good for your name. Make me a good reflector of your light. Grow me!

And I ask such not for myself alone, but also for all of my brothers and sisters everywhere, in every church family. Especially for those who are very young and are so very dependent on how those who are older model the meaning and practice of a walk of faith with you. Shield their hearts and minds from being shaped wrong, lest they grow hardened or cold, misled and misleading. Grow in them great discernment and persistence, so that they pick the good and toss the chaff away.

And I pray especially for those who are up in years and are growing more limited in their options in life and company. Continue to mature in them a mind ever opening wider to your work and ways of love. Protect their spirits lest they fall prey to the manipulative ways of our enemy, the evil one, and give way to disappointment and fear or give up and quit their journey with you altogether.

Please hear my prayer in the name of your Son, my Savior.

Amen.