A prayer in praise of Jesus, the generous refresher of our souls

March 8, 2012

[Note: this is not a “typical” Lent prayer, perhaps but it does include the themes of hunger for God and also the challenge to share the “manna” we receive from the Lord with others, so it seems very appropriate for Lent!]

Once again I find myself captivated by one of Pastor Scotty Smith’s prayers at Heavenward. His prayer for today is both a prayer of adoration at Christ’s lavish refreshing and generosity, and yet a prayer of deep longing crying out for MORE of God’s grace.

I encourage you to go read the whole prayer, but I was particularly struck by the closing section and the phrase “our palms are turned upward in gratitude and groaning” – that is a beautiful way to describe how my heart often feels toward God when I have so much praise to offer, and yet such brokenness and longings as well!

We humble ourselves before you today, Lord Jesus. Theoretical grace only works for theoretical brokenness, weakness and weariness. We own the real needs we have that you alone can meet—needs of heart, mind and body. We’re not ashamed to let you know just how desperate we are for your refreshment. You love to give, and we love to receive from you. Our palms are upward, in gratitude and groaning…

And as grace runs downhill to the needy, so it flows freely to others. As you blow mercy into the sails of our hearts; as you bring bread to the table of our hunger; as you anoint us with oil of gospel encouragement and gladness, to whom would you send us today—to whom would you send me? All manna from heaven is to be shared with others. Freely we receive, freely we will give. Blessed are the refreshers, for they will receive even more refreshment from you.

The whole prayer is here.


Lent Week 2 devotional – emptying ourself to focus on God

March 8, 2012

The site IMBY.net has a nice reflection on focusing on God, not fearing emptiness, for Week 2 of Lent:

Focusing on God can be a huge struggle: each day we are surrounded by things that compete for our affections. When we say “no” to the distractions of the world and choose not to indulge our overactive appetites for food, media images, or some other thing, we may feel surprisingly weak; even nervous. Our anxiety level jumps at the thought of being empty of some familiar thing.

But this emptiness pleases God. When we empty ourselves for his sake, he can fill us in ways nothing else can. When we make ourselves weak, he is able to make us strong. … This emptying also reminds us of how Jesus emptied himself of his divine rights and humbled himself when he came to walk with us, and to die on the cross in our place.

The full entry is here.

If you read the full entry you will find a collection of Scripture passages to reflect on, as well as a prayer and a suggested weekly Lenten discipline.


Another Lent Prayer by Pastor Scotty Smith: “Coming Alive to More Gospel Implications During Lent”

March 8, 2012

Pastor Scotty Smith of Christ Community Church in Nashville, TN is NOT an Anglican, but an evangelical who has embraced the discipline of writing out prayers, and I REALLY enjoy his prayer blog, Heavenward, whenever I have a chance to do much blog reading.  His prayers are based on deep reflection on Scripture.

Many of his prayers this Lent are explicitly Lent-focused, and a few days ago, he posted another explicitly Lent-themed prayer lamenting his own attempts at “performance-based righteousness” – that is being holy or spiritual by his own efforts.  If you, like I, struggle with trying to be righteous in your own strength, go read this prayer!

The prayer is based on this Scripture passage:

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. 1 Thess. 5:23-24

Here’s his closing excerpt:

Father, how I praise you for turning my man-centered mourning into God-delighting dancing. You’ve removed the sackcloth of my unrighteousness and my self-righteousness, and have clothed me with the wedding garments of the Lamb. You have declared me to be righteous in your sight, engraved on your hand and secure in your embrace.

With the music of a coming banquet already emanating from heaven, my prayer is simply this: more and more, and through and through, make me like Jesus. You are faithful and you will do it. So very Amen I pray, with profound gratitude and humble assurance, in Jesus’ holy name.

Go read the full prayer here.


Mark 4:21-23 and Sunday School Lesson

March 8, 2012

Also he said to them, “Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:21-23
)      Holy Spirit, give us ears to hear what Jesus is saying to us. Help us show forth the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our communities, our work places, our families, and our parishes.

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from you, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to you. (Psalm 139:11-12)
      Father, thank you that there is no darkness dark enough to hide me from your light. Help me daily walk as a child of your light. Thank you.

I Want To Walk As A Child Of The Light http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1hI-1XXgII

STUDY GUIDE: SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON 22, March 11, 2012
Theme Verse: Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)
Readings: John 2:13-22; Exodus 20:1-17; Romans 7:13-25′ Psalm 19:7-14
Memory Verse: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)
Next Week: John 6:4-15; Ephesians 2:4-10; 2 Chronicles 36:14-23; Psalm 122

A word received: I want to build you into the church I want. I AM the foundation and cornerstone. Look to me — let me build you up by my Holy Spirit and my word.

      Gospel: John 2:13-22
      Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
      He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you make it a den of robbers.” (Matthew 21:13)
      A word received: I long for your bodies to be houses of prayer that I have cleansed and purified by the fire of my Holy Spirit (see Matthew 21:13) I long to drive from you everything that defiles your body.

      Old Testament: Exodus 20:1-17
      “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” (Exodus 20:2)
      A word received: Look at how I begin these commands, stating bluntly that you were in bondage and I rescued you. Remember those who said to me, “They answered him, ‘We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, “You will be made free”?’ “ (John 8:33) You cannot keep my commandments until you acknowledge your need to be set free from bondage to sin.

      Epistle: Romans 7:13-25
      Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Romans 7:24-25)
      A word received: Turn to me and I will deliver you and set you free. You cannot do that on your own, you need the power and cleansing fire of my Holy Spirit.

      Psalm: Psalm 19:7-14
      A word received: Let my word come into your heart and mind and soul. I want my word and Spirit to bring you to new ife in me. I want to make you my child by adoption and grace.

Thursday: [70], 71 * 74; Gen. 42:29-38: 1 Cor. 6:12-20: Mark 4:21-34
Friday: 95* & 69:1-23(24-30)31-38 * 73; Gen. 43:1-15: 1 Cor. 7:1-9: Mark 4:35-41

      Notes from the Front Line

***** Start now reading and reflecting on the lessons for Sunday so that you can receive all that God has for you (John 2:13-22; Romans 7:13-25; Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 19:7-14).

***** Date: Wed, 07 Mar 2012
From: Nigel Mumford
Subject: Daily Quote…
      Let God reassess your stress.

Albany Intercessor


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