Tag Archives: prayer

Prayer Warrior

Water of the WordSomething I’m not. But I’m always drawn to it, despite my recalcitrance. 

Here are some resources I’ve found very helpful. They are by Andrew Case, a musician who really does good things. Here is his website: His Magnificence

The .pdf documents below are books for husbands, wives and parents, respectively.

They are primarily scriptural. Meaning they are right out of God’s Word, crafted into prayers.

water-of-the-word-2nd

prayers-of-an-excellent-wife

setting-their-hope-in-god

 


Home Again – Not Enough Showers to Get Off All the Dirt

Three months seemed more like six or more. But it ended. Gotta say it was far more than I expected, and quite different from the last time I got underway with a ship. I’ve never been to sea with so many people on such a big vessel. Frankly, I don’t think I could’ve predicted the different dynamics. And they were certainly different. I spent most of the time doing everything but the usual things in my job description. Which should illuminate how the whole thing works. The job description is more like a guideline from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Something broke – in me, not the ship – on this trip. I’m still unable to pin down just what goes on. Maybe it’s an early mid-life thingy or just the entirely new environment after several years of being on land. At least those might contribute.

The barrage of humanity – close, heavy, overwhelming and incessant was quick to become a problem. My last experience on a ship did not include the perspective I have of life, the universe and everything that I have now. And I took much of the sailorese, tradition and general dirt of people rather hard. It is difficult like nothing else I can think of to maintain peace and patience in the midst of the world when the world is condensed into a couple of thousand people living in a giant shoe-box on the sea.

To really explain all this out is more than I can put into a single post. That is why several of the previous entries are more poetic attempts to capture some of what I was feeling at the time.

Suffice to say, it was a shock nearly every day to hear the crassness, the dark thoughts and misery of regular people again after so long. I’ve been sheltered for a long time. I don’t like it, but I got the point rather late that there really is a real world and I’m part of it. I got my sailorese – the cussin’ and foulness back fairly quickly and then spent the duration fighting against it.

I lost a lot of faith, in a way, but I gained some insight into the mechanics of The Faith as well. There is something to be said about ivory tower Christianity, but in all, the isolation from Real World may be more of a loss. Though I find it distasteful or distressing (depending on the particulars), I think it’s better to be “in the mix” rather than in a monastery. We forget the complexity of depravity and corruption (our own!)  when we stay in our houses, our little support circles and home-schools. Apart doesn’t mean out-of, though every time I’ve been in there, I’ve wanted to run. A few times should have seen me running but I didn’t, and I hate that.

I also learned that to compare me to those great trials in the Scriptures (or anywhere else), in light of this common world is a difficult and often not-so-profitable exercise. Yes, my difficulties may well pale in comparison to those of the greats – David and Joseph, Paul and Christ – but I am not them – just a shadow of their massive weights on our lives. They set a standard for righteousness and suffering all at once, but I think we forget that they are (especially Jesus) more than we are. They are first things, the Formers and the Designers – hand-picked by God Almighty for essential elements of His plan of redemption and we are not co-actors on that level. We are recipients of their gifts of suffering, goodness, faith and all that entails.

Though I take up my cross daily, in emulation of Christ, I do not take up His Cross. That one I cannot take up; only He could. So I am not safely comparable to Him in my own trials. I am small and weak (made manifestly obvious during the last three months), and need Him for my support. I cannot endure what the greats endured for I am not in that select crew. I am not downplaying the Christian position; rather I am thinking that we over-rate our individual status in suffering and trials in some way that makes us equal to the task.

And we’re not. At least I’m not.

To accept this (provided I’m thinking rightly) may be a key to a right standing before the benevolent Father and His interceding Son. Broken and needy is far greater than safely cushioned in a fall. Fall far enough, fast enough and no amount of pious cushion can save. The impact reveals the lie.

Crying out to the Father-Son-Spirit for help sometimes ends up best when I don’t feel safe. Pleading for my life may end best with that uncertainty that comes from a desolate echo in my heart, reminding me that there’s still more to bear, more to fear, more trudging and sweating and groaning.

Remind me, o Spirit,
of my smallness, my weak estate.
for I depend, every second
on thy provision to make
my breath upon my lips
my gaze upon God’s grace
my feet fast on the earth
my trust truly trusting
And not upon my own work
Which fails as it stands.

The claim is that religion is a crutch. That may be fairly accurate from time to time.
Sometime the claim falls sorely short. The Faith is sometimes a gurney.
With an IV, straps, blankets and a half-dozen people trucking along with gauze, pain-killers, sutures and other bloody tools making slow headway in just keeping the patient alive during the trip.


Today Tis Not Enough

I cannot see
How you find joy in me
With my ceaseless perils
And hiding and dying

I cannot lift me
I cannot reach your security
There is no path
To the seas of glass

Though I weep
Tears in this deep
Deep soul and cry to you
Today tis not enough

Nor any day
These days
And no enemy
Oppresses me

No enemy here
Upon which my eye may rest
Simply endless fear
And ponderous darkness

You might think
Satisfaction finds
Itself in looking back
To days more fine

That I might take heart
In all that you are
Father, Giver, Son
And all that you have done

But it rests not in me
I cannot see
My mind swallows me
In cloud and perilous black

I have read your psalms and the sweet refrains mind me of summer-land. Though I return to the shadows, trembling afresh at the weight upon me, I have read your psalms. I have believed and you have marked this humble thing of a man. I remain, crying out to you, and you have answered. The Lord has answered my cries and he has dealt mercifully with me. I only await the burden of his lovingkindness. One day there shall be no more tears.


Wednesday Prayer

Prayed tonight on Psalm 2, Acts 4:23-31, Psalm 50:23 and 1 Corinthians 10:31.

Prayed for our missionaries, our local churches, our country, pastor, elders and congregation.

Prayed for our children and for loved ones who do not know Christ.

Prayed for God’s direction in our paths of service and for His grace in wisdom and trust in Him.

Thanked the Lord for His great blessings, for His covenant and His many means of grace.

Thanked Him for our faithful preachers and the Truth they boldly proclaim to us.

Thanked Him for our baptism and His table and all that they mean.

Prayed much for many things and it was good. A quiet hour of grace.

It was a good first night with Christopher in prayer.


Moratorium on Harshness

I see a bitter thread in me. A shadow that puts a dimness on my need to be gracious. I am to be a bringer of peace and brother-love to those with whom I am in Christ. My lifelong tendency toward sarcasm and snide remarks keeps trying to rear up again and again.

And I have seen this in others too, which serves strangely enough not to encourage my own rough handling of those with whom I have differences, rather to frighten me and humble me into remorse for my own instances.

The viciousness between Dispensational and Covenantal folks makes me hurt. I pray that this is the Lord softening my heart and that I’m experiencing a true sense of Christian charity and love for brothers in Him.

No joke, I was praying this morning — more like the Spirit was groaning with mine, since I couldn’t come up with much more than “Give me grace to be wise and faithful to Your Word.” My prayer is out of a sense of need as I deal with my convictions about Covenant Theology and the arguments that Dispensationalists present. I’m studying both from as fair a middle-ground as I can manage, not focusing too much (as I can manage) on any one aspect, be it church, eschatology. And today, more than usual, the general fisticuffs appear to be magnified.

Now, I’m all for being direct and calling a spade a spade. I’m willing to, God willing, stand up for correct theology and doctrine. I hope that I’m a willing teacher and able to reprove someone who sins in my presence should it be called for. But when the great heads in this day, top theologians from both CT and DT camps can conference in peace and brotherly love, but the meta below shows a beast in the back room… That’s what’s been brewing on the Intertubes for a few weeks now.

So I pray again for wisdom and charity. Especially for patience to see the end of a fight and be of few words save those that will build up my comrades in the faith and encourage others to do the same. I hope this blog succeeds in the same.


The Hardest Part

The world is filled with darkness and pain. Like the ringing of a great bell in a close space even a beautiful tone causes pain and disorients. The hurt and emptiness claws at us, dragging us down the rooftops to the brink of night, right to the chasm that awaits with its angry maw, silent yet seething with malice.

And the world is liberally peppered with joy. Green and golden days filled with the whispers of voices that reverberate in our memories long after the conversation and the moment depart. Candles and balloons, symphonies and mad embraces that are sometimes desperate clinging or sometimes needful things that halt our very breath.

Both the evil and the blessed are deadly, for they seek to entrap us in themselves, to entrap us in ourselves and we are most often willing captives, as if every one of us suffers from Stockholm syndrome every moment of our lives.

We seek to balance the misery, or overcome it by seeking and acquiring the joy, but cannot overindulge so we season all with bittersweet roots and brambles, hoping to make kinder the pain and avoid the illusion of bliss.

There is a way, to see this whole mess, out of the maze. It is simply to read the pages of our lives in the categories of God’s benevolence and provision and His judgment and warning. He is ringing the bell and conducting the symphony. When we seek the joy that is not illusive, not limited to our short lifespans, we find the lasting rest and peace that upholds us through the pain and despair. We realize that we cannot sort the data, find the meaningful bits nor even discard the extremes without falsely lifting ourselves from sanity. We must discover that only the Creator, the Savior, the Lord of all of this can make sense of it. And then we must realize that He has made sense of it, insofar as our weakness can contain, for us.

Our misery, our depraved sensibilities, our corrupted selves are offered restoration in the form of forgiveness and promise. Our joy is translated from momentary, fleeting glimpses of heaven, into limitless revelation of glory and majesty that is incomparable.

The hardest part is that it all seems to remain the same, afterward. The days bite us, the sun sets, the cold seeks our flesh and our teeth gnash in hatred and spite. The battle over this, however, becomes a fleeting thing as we rejoin our promised forgiveness and covenants week after week, year after year among the myriad others who have turned from their futile corruption to seek Christ who took on our miserable flesh, did all that we could not, and felt the corruption and deadly penalty that all of us should have found at the end of our own rope. He gives us hope, gives us shelter, shakes out our closets and lifts us to dry ground if only we heed His call.

Lord may your good news reach bleeding ears. May your life bring life to the dead and dying. May your grace uphold your people as you bring more to yourself every day.

____________________________________

Part of following up on It’s All Messed Up, a post from October 2010.

I sure hope this hits you.


Holy, Holy, Holy

I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” — Isaiah 6:1-5

How can I bring my voice to raise
A single word to thy praise
When my feet I cannot conceal enough
My face I cannot seal
From thy majesty, thy searing gaze
What word of hope is there for me
To reach thy ear in praise

Undone am I beneath your throne
I know no thing to lift me up
My soles are seared upon your ground
My eyes are blind and cannot watch
E’en the shadow of your passing
What breath of hope is there for me
To whisper among your hosts

My sin has poured upon thy fame
A tarnish I cannot remove
That were it washed before my eyes
At once I must expire
Have mercy on me o Adonai
What worth have I to thee
To fall under thy holy train

Despite this dearth of any good
In me that warrants thee
May thy name resound
Throughout my soul
By grace, mercy, Lord save me
Eternity rests in thee
Without the cross my sin besets me

___________________________________
Luke 18, Romans 7, Matthew 6,


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