Prayers for the Journey

Thank you O Lord

Lord as I enter this day,
May your fire be kindled in my heart.
May the flame of your love burn bright within me,
May its spark ignite your love in others
Warming the lonely,
Comforting the grieving,
Protecting the vulnerable.
This day and every day
May your love shine bright for all to see.

Christine Sine https://godspace.wordpress.com/

When heart is heavy,
body weak,
life filled with sadness,
spirits low,
when days are lonely,
dark with cloud,
preventing sunshine
breaking through;
remind us that you are
never further away
than a whispered prayer
can reach,
never closer
than when we’re weary
and on our knees.

(http://www.facebook.com/faithandworship)

One of my favourite Gerald Manley Hopkins poems:

Glory be to God for dappled things-
For skies of couple colour as a brindled cow,
For rose moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches wings;
Landscapes plotted and pieced-fold, fallow and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle trim.

All things counter, origninal, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift slow; sweet, sour; adazzle; dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change;
Praise him.

———————————–

When we call out your name
in times of hardship
or in our despair
and fail to hear your voice
or see the answer we desire,
forgive our impatience.
When we pray for healing,
freedom from fear
or relief from Satan’s grasp,
and grow weary of the task
of continuing with prayer,
forgive our lack of faith.
Your ways are not ours,
but in all things you are God,
your love and justice
will always prevail.
In your time and in your way
you will answer all our prayer.

(http://www.facebook.com/faithandworship)

Lord Jesus Christ,
your ways are good
and I praise you.
Your purposes are true
and I exalt you.
Your compassion never fails
I lift my eyes to you in adoration.

Christine Sine https://godspace.wordpress.com/

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.

As the wind loves to call things to dance,
May your gravity by lightened by grace.

Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,
May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May your sense of irony bring perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May your mind stay clear of all it names.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough
to hear in the depths the laughter of God.

— John O’Donohue (from “To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Invocations and Blessings”)

With thanks to Philomena Ewing

http://blueeyedennis-siempre.blogspot.com/

For all answers to prayer
gracious Lord, we thank you.
For a touch bringing healing
and lives made whole.
For the sharing of comfort
when the season is cold.
For one door that opens
and another one closed.
For the unseen blessings
of sharing your word.
Gracious Lord, we thank you
for all answers to prayer.

(http://www.facebook.com/faithandworship)

You are the God of eternal patience, ever waiting, ever planning, ever working towards a purpose of which we have just a glimpse.
Our vision is often more limited: by our own concerns, by our own fears, by our own imaginations.
Yet in these things there are seeds: the work of your spirit opening our mind and stirring our actions towards something greater than even we see.
Grant us, in this time of worship, a measure of grace to continue to wait in hope, to wait in expectation, and to wait with an openness to the fullness of Your purpose.

God of all ages, you have repeatedly planted the dream in unlikely people.
We remember the vulnerable and barren Abraham, whom you chose to father a multitude long before (and after) it seemed possible.
You called Moses to lead a transformation, even while he was part of a power which was at the heart of that problem.
Amos was a shepherd and tree-keeper in another part of the world when you sent him to your people with a unique message.
And Hosea – a man with deep family relationship issues – becomes a bearer of hope in the midst trouble.

Your eyes, O God, have ever been lifted to a future beyond our vision, yet one of which you give us glimpses.
Though we barely understand, and though we do not trust our capacity to see it through, we pray that you would continue to lead us through.
For you have not only shared the vision with us, You have poured out Your Spirit upon us, empowering us to do, and to be…
In our worship, we declare Your glory
In our prayer, we seek Your wisdom
In community, we begin to understand the wonder of Your grace.
In our surrender, we declare our trust in You.
Lord, we praise You!

Gary Heard http://the-eighth-day.blogspot.com/

Lord, let us walk into this day
Your light before us,
Your shield behind us,
Your friends beside us.
Lord, let us walk into this week
Your life before us,
Your strength behind us,
Your love around us.
Lord, let us walk from this place,
Your wisdom before us,
Your truth behind us,
Your breath within us.
Lord, let us walk into the world,
Gratitude in our hearts,
Thanksgiving on our lips,
Joy in our spirits.
Lord, let us walk into your loving presence,
In the name of the One who loves us,
In the name of the One who cares,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, One in Three, Three in One.

Christine Sine http://godspace.worpdress.com/

Gracious and generous God,

We remember all the gifts you have given us,
We remember how lavishly you have provided,
We remember how lovingly you have cared,
We remember especially that greatest gift of all,
Jesus Christ our Saviour,
And we give you thanks.
Amen.

Christine Sine https://godspace.wordpress.com/

On this our journey of faith
we trust in you alone, Good Shepherd,
guiding us
along a path you are familiar with,
leading us
beside green pastures and quiet waters,
feeding us
your word as refreshment for our souls,
steering us
from that which might tempt and divert,
protecting us
from that which might harm or destroy.
We trust in you alone, Good Shepherd,
on this our journey of faith.

(http://www.facebook.com/faithandworship)

We listen

 

 

On the Beach by Gary Heard

Today’s post is another written by Gary Heard, pastor of The Eighth Day – A baptist community on the edge of West Melbourne. It was first posted on Gary’s new blog Heard the Whispers which he writes with his wife Ev Heard. Gary and Ev have been part of the international core of Mustard Seed Associates for over many years.

It is reposted as part of the series Creating Sacred Spaces Do We Really Need Churches. 

The beach has never held much attraction for me as a place of recreation. Salt, sand, and seaweed clinging to my body has never seemed a relaxing way to spend an afternoon. Nor does the idea of heading down to an unprotected stretch of scorching sand on an already taxing day. I have occasionally been coaxed by my children to the coast where, sometimes in spite of myself, I find myself enjoying the water. But it has not taken a tsunami to warn me of the power and the perils of the ocean, knowing that below the surface lie powerful and hidden forces with the capacity to overwhelm.On the Beach

Paradoxically, I love the beach as a place of contemplation. Sitting in a comfortable space (preferably away from the sand), I contemplate the intersection of two very different spheres of life interacting with one another as I watch the waves lapping the shore and retreating – an incessant rhythm with its own enchantment. I am drawn to contemplate another world below the surface – out of sight – one which I have occasionally explored with snorkel or scuba gear, but more regularly through the camera lens provided by Jacques Cousteau. In this contemplation, the beach is a border into another world, one in which there is an ill-defined partnership with those of us who live on the land.

The ocean is a vast expanse of life, operating by different rules and bringing different experiences. We have learnt some of the ways in which it feeds our own life above the surface, but much remains a mystery. We sail upon it, fly over it, swim in it, and sometimes dive through it, but we are never really part of it. It is much more mystery than knowledge, with forces at work visible only to the experienced eye, and then some more. I find my contemplation moving from the waves, with their indefatigable movement towards and retreat from the shore, to be a reminder of the love of God, never giving up on us, at times reaching further into our lives, at other times more distant. But as my thoughts move to the depths, I contemplate the life and secrets contained within. We have an uneasy relationship with the sea, never truly mastered, never fully appreciated.

It has intrigued me that Gospel stories record Jesus teaching the crowds while standing on a boat on the sea. Beyond the words of Jesus’ teaching, I wonder at the symbolism – Jesus upon the ocean, filled as it is with a richness of life partially revealed, yet largely unknown to us, and a power we barely appreciate. Learning to explore that mystery remains a daily challenge.

Check out the other posts in the series:

Creating Sacred Space Do We Really Need Churches 

Every Garden Needs A Sacred Space

Reclaiming a Sacred Space – Cheasty Greenspace: A Place of Goodness and Grace by Mary De Jong

Creating a Sacred Space – Stir the Senses

A Garden of Inspiration – A Story of Leo Tolstoy

Symbols and Elements that Weave Together a Sacred Space

Why Being Spiritual may be More Important Than Being Religious by Rob Rynders

What is a Sacred Space?

Celtic Spirituality – What Is The Attraction?

In the Barren Places: Finding Sacred Space for the First Time – James Rempt

A Tree My Most Sacred Space by Ryan Harrison

Sacred Buildings by Lynne Baab

We are Raising the Roof.

Sacred Space – Listening to the Trees by Richard Dahlstrom

Sharing a Sacred Space by Daniel Simons

In the Back Yard by Gary Heard

In the Back Yard by Gary Heard

This morning’s post is written by Gary Heard, pastor of The Eighth Day – A baptist community on the edge of West Melbourne. It was first posted on Gary’s new blog Heard the Whispers which he writes with his wife Ev Heard. Gary and Ev have been part of the international core of Mustard Seed Associates for over many years.

It is reposted this morning as part of the series Creating Sacred Spaces Do We Really Need Churches. 

The back yard in my own family home was a battleground where test matches, football finals, and basketball championships were won and lost. Being the youngest in the family, any win was difficult, often requiring perseverance against the odds. Alongside broken windows, damaged fence palings and a dented rubbish bin found one could also discover bruised egos, a heightened sense of injustice, and some heated battles over rules, interpretations and application, some of which were referred to a higher power (parents!)

When invited recently to conduct a wedding in a back yard, I was drawn to reflect upon the significance of such places in forming key aspects of our identity. Most back yards are ordinary places, littered with strategically placed and creatively recycled pieces of furniture, vegetable gardens, trees and plants with a unique ability to conceal a tennis or cricket ball, and knick-knacks collected from holiday spots or favourite nurseries. Although they are closed spaces, back yards are open to the sky, bringing a twin opportunity to ground ourselves in particular relationships and settings, but also to dream of what lies beyond: open to the infinite wonder which the sky represents.

In the back yard I learned about justice. Being the youngest sibling, I was often out-played or outweighed in the rough-and-tumble of backyard matches. I learned to deal with injustice, to rebound when I felt cheated or overwhelmed, developing skills to deal with taller, faster, stronger siblings. These skills impact me to this very day. I certainly knew how far to push, and when it was better to let things go, learning to use my own assets in creative ways when a direct one-on-one contest was too daunting.

But back yards are symbolic of a much richer heritage. In preparing for the wedding service, I reflected upon the ways in which it symbolised a love grounded in the realities of relationships, not only of husband and wife, but wider family and community, affirming that love is planted firmly among family and friends, and grows out of the reality of our daily lives. Back yards are places where ordinary experiences are made ever richer by shared love, recollected through the years in family gatherings. Stories are formed, told and retold in this place, becoming part of our identity. And some threatening drops of rain reminded us all that in the back yard we are also exposed to the elements, requiring us to relinquish some control and enjoy the exploration and randomness which nature – and relationships with family and friends – can often bring.

I recall reclining in the backyard pondering the skies and my place in the universe beneath the wonder of myriad stars so far from the earth, illuminating the skies. Looking into history – for the light I could see twinkling left its source many years before – I pondered perspective and the bigger questions of life. And in later years I would sit in the back yard with my beloved, sharing dreams and hopes together, pondering imponderables, and simply enjoying each other’s presence. These dreams could be apparently mundane: we can plant this, we can build that… the source of an intimacy built with roots in common dreams, shared values, a mutual spirituality.

Jesus’ parables often have their roots in ordinary places – weddings, gardens, roadsides – because they are the repository where our identity is formed, and our perspective on the greater questions of life are shaped. They are the places where God can be found.

Check out the other posts in the series:

Creating Sacred Space Do We Really Need Churches 

Every Garden Needs A Sacred Space

Reclaiming a Sacred Space – Cheasty Greenspace: A Place of Goodness and Grace by Mary De Jong

Creating a Sacred Space – Stir the Senses

A Garden of Inspiration – A Story of Leo Tolstoy

Symbols and Elements that Weave Together a Sacred Space

Why Being Spiritual may be More Important Than Being Religious by Rob Rynders

What is a Sacred Space?

Celtic Spirituality – What Is The Attraction?

In the Barren Places: Finding Sacred Space for the First Time – James Rempt

A Tree My Most Sacred Space by Ryan Harrison

Sacred Buildings by Lynne Baab

We are Raising the Roof.

Sacred Space – Listening to the Trees by Richard Dahlstrom

Sharing a Sacred Space by Daniel Simons

GPS Navigation as a Spiritual Practice

Tom & I with Gary & Ev in Melbourne

Tom & I with Gary & Ev in Melbourne

This morning for the series What is A Spiritual Practice I am posting two articles by  Gary Heard .  Gary is pastor at a small in inner city Baptist church in Melbourne Australia called The Eighth Day.   The first article is  What are We Ministering Towards, He and his wife Ev have become good friends through years of sharing ministry interspersed with much fun, fellowship and food.

Jesus picked up and used the hands-on images of his day to depict the work of God – ploughs, pigs, lilies, mustard seeds… Not many of them resonate with our present experience, although they are somewhere within our knowledge bank. What images of the kingdom resonate in our 21st century environment, and how do they help us imagine God’s ideal future? Reflecting on the Navman in my car driving experience is just one example of how we might reconsider our tools as images of God’s purposes. read the entire article

Have you ever thought about using your GPS system to direct you as a spiritual practice?  In this second article Gary reflects on this useful devise that all of us have come to rely on so quickly.

Since Christmas there has been a new voice in our car as we travel, guiding us through the city streets. We have learnt a new language from this voice: “at the roundabout, take the second exit,” and “exit onto highway 82” – not our usual terms for giving directions. The in-car navigation is certainly a step up from a paper map in many ways. After keying in the address, we set off, the silence (or conversation) occasionally punctuated by a friendly robotic voice offering directions. The only problem with this device is its lack of intimate knowledge about directions, often pushing down side streets with speed humps, or directing us toward situations which are known traffic snarls. There are times I’d like it to exhibit a little sass in its personality: “Are you deaf? You were supposed to turn left back there!” where instead it takes a few moments to recalibrate and offer fresh directions.  Read the entire article


Bushfire Horrors – Where Is God?

I woke this morning with a heavy heart.  The toll continues to rise in Australia – now 171 confirmed dead and the arsonists who started many of the fires will be accused of mass murder according to the Prime Minister.  Whole communities have been completely wiped out by the raging fires.

Read the BBC report here

The question that many are asking of course is where is God in the midst of this horror.  And I must confess there are no easy answers.  I certainly do not believe that God wants disasters like this to occur, nor do I believe that it is punishment for our sins.  More than anything I believe that God is present in the grief and the suffering of families who have lost everything, including loved ones in the fires .  God cares deeply and intimately for all human kind.  God is with us in our grief and wants to comfort us in our anguish.

Last night Tom and I talked to our good friends Gary and Ev Heard, Baptist pastors in Melbourne Victoria.  They are in the process of putting together a team of chaplains who can go into the devastated communities later this week to grieve with and comfort those who are affected.  In their actions I see the presence of a God who grieves with us in the midst of all our pains.  I see God too in the dedication of the many hundred of volunteer fire fighters who are risking their lives to protect other peoples’ lives and property.  Such self sacrifice definitely bears the fingerprints of God.  Others have responded by opening their homes, by sending clothes and blankets and food.  Still others have responded with gifts of money.  All of these responses come, I beleive from the heart of God which resides deep within all of us.

There is no way that we can understand when disaster strikes but we can look for and encourage the presence of God in its midst.  In that spirit I would ask you once again to pray for those affected by these fires

  • Pray for the protection of fire fighters and police who are seeking to get the fires under control
  • Pray for those who have lost loved ones and homes
  • Pray for my friends Gary and Ev Heard and others like them who seek to provide spiritual and emotional support at this time
  • Pray that God would have mercy and send rain to help extinguish the fires.