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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fixed Hour Prayer examples (Dr.R Barton)

Morning Prayer. In the morning, we begin with praise, affirming and celebrating God’s presence with us, receiving his loving care towards us and committing the work of the day to him.
O God, open our lips and we shall declare your praise.
God said: Let there be light; and there was light.
And God saw that the light was good.
This very day the Lord has acted!
Let us rejoice!
Praise the Lord!
God’s name be praised!

Mid-day Prayer. At mid-day, when tasks and to-do lists are pressing in and human effort is at its height, we stop to renew our awareness of God’s presence, to rest in him for a few moments and ask for his peace and guidance regarding those things that are concerning us. The opening prayer/invocation is always our heart cry:
O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.
Oftentimes mid-day prayer will contain some sort of a prayer for wisdom such as this Collect for Grace, which is one of our favorites in the Transforming Center.
O God, by whom we are guided in judgment,
And who raises up for us light in the darkness,
Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties,
The grace to ask what you would have us to do;
That your wisdom may save us from all false choices,
And in your straight path we may not stumble.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.    AMEN.
If you pray that prayer with any kind of sincerity at all, it is guaranteed to change the trajectory of your day!

Evening Prayer. In the evening as the sun sets and the natural light fades, we acknowledge God as the source of our light and greet one another with expressions of peace.
You, O Lord, are my lamp.
My God, you make my darkness bright.
Light and in Jesus Christ our Lord,
Thanks be to God!
In many communities, evening prayer is the longest of the prayer services, offering us the opportunity to place the cares of the day in God’s hands as we make the transition from day to evening.
We praise you and thank you, O God,
For you are without beginning and without end.
Through Christ, you created the whole world;
Through Christ, you preserve it
Through Christ you made the day for the works of light
And the night for the refreshment of our minds and our bodies.
Keep us now in Christ, grant us a peaceful evening,

A night free from sin, and bring us at last to eternal life.
Through Christ and in the Holy Spirit,
We offer you all glory, honor and worship,
Now and forever. AMEN.
Evening prayer typically includes the Gospel reading for the day and may include a brief reflection or homily. Later on in the evening prayer service, we offer up general intercessions for ourselves and others, bringing our own specific needs and the burdens we are carrying for others to God. The fact that the intercessions are written for us relieves us of the need to be so wordy in our intercessions—a helpful discipline given the fact that this is another place in the spiritual life where human striving and fixing can so easily take over. As our personal spiritual journeys lead us to a greater capacity to be with God with what is true about us and to rest in him with our own lives, so we are able to hold others and their needs quietly in God’s presence as well.
Written intercessions (also called Prayers of the People in some settings) allow us to join together in lifting up our shared concerns to God and then to agree together by praying in unison,
Lord, in your mercy.
Hear our prayer.

Night Prayer. When we are together on retreat, we end the day with night prayer in which we celebrate God’s presence during the day and ask him to grant us the rest we need.
May God grant us a quiet night and peace at the last.
AMEN. It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
To sing praise to your name, O most high;
To herald your love in the morning.
Your truth at the close of the day.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hunger: 6 PM

The bags of potato chips on the counter at work have been mocking me all day...thank goodness they were sealed bags for the temptation to snag a chip or two might have overwhelmed me.

Of course when we fast we feel hunger. I always feel guilt too. Guilt for feeling whiny and crabby when so many in the world are hungry every day....guilt for needing a prompt like my stomach to prod me to pray with more intention. Even guilt at the fact that I can break the fast and stuff myself with food at any point and sadness that I am so very easily tempted.  But I am glad that I also feel gratitude and longing for more...I only wish my hunger pangs for God's word resonated through all of me the way my hunger pangs for physical food do. And it's good to close the day feeling satiated (there's a family joke in there), content in filling myself with a bit more time with Him. That feeling of contentment seems to stem, today at least, from being reminded of God's power and holiness.

In Christ Alone: Noon

Seeking God's will, God's vision, God's voice
Being in His presence and humbly waiting
Trusting in His grace and provision

Psalm 139:9-10
New International Version (NIV)

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast

As we prayed together as a staff today my mind kept returning to the vision of roots. First of roots going deep, holding us steadfast in the storms of life, drawing deep from the well of God's grace and goodness and power. Then of the roots of our heritage - brought forth in a comment from a friend about her admiration of the "beautiful root system" of the Presbyterian church. And finally the roots I saw were a network, bringing to mind the connections of our faith, one believer to another.
Provision from Him, and through Him.
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

Unity, Wisdom, Vision: 8 AM

Jesus answered them, "Do you finally believe? In fact, you're about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I'm not abandoned. The Father is with me. I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world."
John 16:31-33

At 8 AM the word I received was to lean into God, to trust Him to be big enough for anything our church will face. I realize I went to bed last night really distressed and mulling over all the "what ifs"...looking at solutions and game plans and feeling pretty hope-less. This is not ours to "fix" and it's certainly not time to throw up our hands in despair. While praying this morning it became clear to me that I/we need to dig into our reservoir of faith and truly trust God, that we need to wait on His timing, that we need to release our grip and allow Him to work through and in us in the days ahead. In this world we WILL have tribulation but He has overcome it all already. And I remembered a promise from months ago, a promise of a time of revival close at hand for our church. Why would I allow the doings of man to cause me to doubt a promise from God?

He has given me work to do and with eyes on Him I need to continue to serve and believe. As I closed my time of prayer a second scripture, Micah 6:8, came to mind.

He has shown all you people what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

You are Holy, Mighty, Faithful; you are love.