Scotty Smith: A Prayer for Releasing the Fragrance of Christ

April 24, 2015

Yesterday Pastor Scotty Smith posted an excellent prayer at Heavenward, his prayer blog at The Gospel Coalition site.

This line in particular really struck me and stuck with me throughout the day:

Keep me in the place of humility, brokenness, and dependence that more of the sweet perfume of the gospel may waft upward before you as an offering of praise and released through me, wherever you send me.

Amen! (though really…, on second thought, who wants more brokenness?!?!?  BUT… if it will make Christ’s glory more beautiful in my life, I really DO want to be able to pray these words!)

***

Here’s the beginning of the prayer and the Scriptures which shaped his prayer:

Apr 23, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 2 Cor. 2:14-15 (NLT)

     But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 2 Cor. 4:7 (ESV)

     Dear heavenly Father, these wonderful words tell the story of how I want to live up till the Day Jesus either returns, or the day you choose to bring me home. May the fragrance of Jesus and the aroma of grace being increasingly released through this fragile jar of clay that I am.

     Keep me in the place of humility, brokenness, and dependence that more of the sweet perfume of the gospel may waft upward before you as an offering of praise and released through me, wherever you send me. Father, thank you for making me Christ’s captive and a prisoner of hope. Thank you for rescuing me from sin and death, from my guilt and shame, from the illusion of self-sufficiency and the lie of self-righteousness.

You can read the rest here.


An Easter Prayer by Mark D. Roberts

April 21, 2015

An Easter Prayer by Presybterian pastor & blogger Mark D. Roberts:

PRAYER: Gracious God, how we praise you for your power made known in the resurrection. Death could not defeat you. Rather, the death of Jesus set the stage for an extraordinary display of your power. Christ is risen! You have won the battle. Alleluia!

Yet the power of the resurrection is not merely something we celebrate joyfully, but also something we can experience daily. Your power is for us, helping us, guiding us, setting us free. Your power is in us, healing us, renewing us, and gifting us for ministry, so that we might serve you in the church and in the world.

Even as we celebrate the power of your resurrection on this Easter Sunday, may we live by that power today and each day of our lives. And may your church be renewed by this power, so that we might live each day as a demonstration of your resurrection.

To you be all the glory. Alleluia!  Amen.

From here (where there is a longer, excellent Easter devotional)


An Easter Prayer by Mark Galli: “Be the resurrection and life…”

April 15, 2015

O Risen Lord, be our resurrection and life.

Be the resurrection and the life for us and all whom you have made.

Be the resurrection and the life for those caught in the grip of sin and addiction.

Be the resurrection and the life for those who feel forsaken.

Be the resurrection and the life for those who live as if you do not.

Be the resurrection and the life for those who do not believe they need resurrection and life.

Be the resurrection and the life in churches that believe they are dying, and in successful churches who don’t know they are dead.

Be the resurrection and the life in us who know the good but fail to do it,
who have not been judged but still judge,
who know love but still live for self,
who know hope but succumb to despair.

Be the resurrection and the life for those dying of malnutrition and hunger.

Be the resurrection and life for those imprisoned unjustly and those imprisoned justly.

Be the resurrection and life for those who live under regimes that seek to crush all who proclaim resurrection and life.

Be the resurrection and the life for those in the throes of sickness that leads to death.

Be the resurrection and the life in families where the weak are maltreated by the strong.

Be the resurrection and the life in marriages that are disintegrating.

Be the resurrection and the life for women trafficked and enslaved by the forces of wickedness.

Be the resurrection and the life for those whose lives are snuffed out in the womb.

Be the resurrection and the life for anyone anywhere who knows suffering and death in any form, and for Creation itself, which groans in travail.

Be the resurrection and life in the life we share and the fellowship we enjoy,
that filled anew with the wonder of your love and the power of your grace,
we may go forth to proclaim your resurrection life
to a world in the grip of death and yet on the verge of redemption,
a redemption promised by you and assured by what occurred on the first Easter morn.

Amen.

H/T:  Trevin Wax


A Compilation of Eastertide links and resources – celebrating the full 50 days of the Easter Season

April 9, 2015

UPDATED: 19 April 2015

This post is sticky – look below for new entries

This year more than ever, I feel an urgency to continue to celebrate Easter throughout the entire 50 day Easter Season (traditionally known as “Eastertide” in Anglican circles).  Perhaps it is the bleakness of the world, and the awareness of evil (such as recent terrorist killings of Christians in Kenya and Libya…) that makes me want to cling to the joy of the Lord’s resurrection and meditate on the glorious truth of His victory in a more focused way this year.  Continuing to reflect on His resurrection power also helps remind me that His power is at work in my heart to conquer sin.  Finally, I find myself wanting to continue to strengthen some of the spiritual disciplines started in Lent in terms of time spent in Scripture, taking advantage of this 50 day season to walk with Jesus and fellowship with Him, allowing Him to expound the Scriptures and stir up my heart so it burns with more a passion for Him.  With these goals in mind, I offer the following list of some articles, reflections resources, prayers, music all focused on helping us maintain an Easter-focus during the 50 days of Eastertide. 

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NEW (April 19) – DON’T MISS THISA Compilation of 70 Favorite Easter and Eastertide Hymns.  Note, there is now a separate Easter Hymns category, since we plan to post a lot more Easter hymns in coming days!

NEW UDPATE! – (April 15): I’ve just posted about a great blog and a new Eastertide devotional resource on the theme Practice Resurrection 2015.  This post also includes a short list of some of the links in our Eastertide compilation (specifically links to reflections on practicing resurrection / celebrating Eastertide).

Let me link the blog and devotional separately:

The blog: This Sacramental Life by Tamara Hill Murphy.  See especially #practiceresurrection2015 – who wants to join me? and her Easter Daybook entries

The devotional:  Eastertide Devotional 2015 from Christ Church Austin (pdf version here)

And you can follow along on Twitter using #practiceresurrection or #practiceresurrection2015

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First, some of my favorite resources, links and entries from years’ past:

Keep reading below – there are nearly 50 additional links!

Read the rest of this entry »


A prayer for Eastertide – listening to Christ for 50 days

April 6, 2015

It was a bit odd browsing Twitter today and seeing how quickly the topics of discussion have moved on from the quite intense focus on spiritual things during Holy Week and Easter to more mundane daily things…  And our blog traffic drops from thousands of visitors per day during Holy Week to a hundred or two hundred during the days following Easter.

Why is it we get excited by the forty days of Lent, but find it hard to stay focused during 50 days of Eastertide?  I am preaching to myself here.  It’s much easier for me to come up with devotional entries during Advent & Lent.  My track record of blogging during Eastertide is pretty miserable!

A prayer Kendall Harmon posted at TitusOneNine, attributed to E. Milner-White struck me quite powerfully:

Make our hearts to burn within us, O Christ, as we walk with thee in the way and listen to thy words; that we may go in the strength of thy presence and thy truth all our journey through, and at its end behold thee, in the glory of the eternal Trinity, God for ever and ever.

This strikes me as a good prayer for Eastertide – the 50 days of the Easter season.  May these 50 days be ones in which we walk with Jesus intentionally and listen to Him expound the Scriptures to our hearts, and may we ask Him to keep our hearts burning with a passion for Him and His Word.

Let’s encourage one another and pray for one another to truly celebrate the full SEASON of Easter, not merely one day, or one week.  We’d welcome ideas and comments from readers (and Twitter followers), and information on good resources for staying Easter-focused throughout Eastertide.


For He has clothed me

April 5, 2015

Genesis 37:3 (ESV)
Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors

Exodus 28:15-20 (ESV)
“You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, in skilled work. In the style of the ephod you shall make it—of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen shall you make it. It shall be square and doubled, a span its length and a span its breadth. You shall set in it four rows of stones. A row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle shall be the first row; and the second row an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond; and the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; and the fourth row a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They shall be set in gold filigree.

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,
To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! (Psalm 123:1)
my soul shall be joyful in my God;
My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. (1 Samuel 2:1)
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. (Revelation 22:14)
as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)

Our Father in heaven,

By the death, resurrection, and ascension of Your Son Jesus Christ, seated at Your right hand in heaven, we have been brought into Your covenant and have become a crown of beauty, a royal diadem in the hand of the Lord.  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

Isaiah 62:3

Rejoice, ye Christians! Rejoice!


Who is like you, Jesus – a wonderful prayer of praise

May 13, 2014

Thanks to Trevin Wax for posting this fantastic prayer this week. I needed this reminder of who Jesus is… (And hey, it even counts as an Easter devotional prayer since it reminds us that Jesus is the life of those who are spiritually dead. 🙂 )

Who is like You, Jesus, sweet Jesus?
You are the light of those who are spiritually lost.
You are the life of those who are spiritually dead.
You are the liberation of those who are imprisoned by guilt.
You are the glory of those who hate themselves.
You are the guardian of those who are paralyzed by fear.
You are the guide of those who are bewildered by falsehood.
You are the peace of those who are in turmoil.
You are the prince of those who yearn to be led.
You are the priest of those who seek the truth.

– Johann Freylinghausen, 1670-1739, from Prayers for Today


Another great Easter prayer from Scotty Smith – Celebrating our Living Hope

April 28, 2014

Pastor Scotty Smith posted a wonderful Easter-themed prayer yesterday at Heavenward, rejoicing in the LIVING HOPE we have in Christ:

Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being shielded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5

     Dear heavenly father, on this first Sunday after Easter, I praise you for the calling to ponder the magnificent and measureless implications of the resurrection of Jesus, best described, in Peter’s words, as hope—living hope. Not a “fond hope”—fragile and uncertain; not “hoping against hope”—a wistful yearning; and not “hoping in hope”—groundless optimism, but a living hope.

We dare live with hope because Jesus is alive—raised from the dead. He’s not our dead model to imitate; he’s present Savior, to know, love and trust. We can live with hope because we too are alive, a second time—having been given new birth, a new life, and a new creation story through the gospel. You cannot love us more and you’ll never love us less.

Father, thank you for your endless mercies, measureless grace and steadfast love, all lavished on us in Jesus. Thank you for a most certain inheritance, kept in heaven for us—the legacy, heirloom and new-birthright of the life in the new heaven and new earth (2 Peter 3:13). Everything broken will become unbroken. Every tear will be wiped away—no more death or mourning, only life and the perpetual new morning of a grace-full eternity.

And, Father, thank you that this inheritance is not only being kept for us, but that we are being kept for it—shielded by your power until the Day Jesus returns, and you finish your good work in us. Hallelujah, many times over! We can no more keep ourselves saved that we were ever able to earn a relationship with you.

Through the riches of this living hope, may we live and love to your glory; may we suffer and wait patiently by your grace; may we love and serve Jesus increasingly (1 Pet. 1:8), and fret and fear, less and less. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ bold and beautiful name.


Bishop Eric Menees’ reflection on the Collect for the Second Sunday of Easter

April 27, 2014

From the Soundings blog

Alleluia. Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.

What a joyous proclamation of our faith! So much is captured in this opening acclamation of the Easter Season. Jesus broke the bonds of sin and death, and opened the gates of heaven to all who believe in his name. But this is not only a future hope: his sacrifice has made possible true, lasting, and profound reconciliation between man and God, here and now.

This Sunday we are reminded that the Church is God’s instrument for that reconciliation:

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery hast established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

In this week’s Gospel, Jesus appears to the disciples in the upper room on that first Easter Day. He breathes on the disciples and says: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” (John 20:22b-23)

What an awesome responsibility, and what an awesome joy, Christ has given to his Church. As a priest of the Church, it has been my greatest honor to pronounce absolution upon men and women who come to the Lord with contrite hearts. That forgiveness is available to us because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and his resurrection from the dead.

There is a bit more at Soundings


Prayers for Easter Week (the Easter Octave)

April 23, 2014

this is from the Ohio Anglican blog where you can find each day’s lessons & collects:

The Octave of Easter

 ¶ At Morning Prayer, instead of the Venite, the following shall be said, and may be said throughout the Octave.

CHRIST our Passover is sacrificed for us: * therefore let us keep the feast, Not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; * but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Cor. v. 7.

CHRIST being raised from the dead dieth no more; * death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: * but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, * but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. vi. 9.

CHRIST is risen from the dead, * and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, * by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, * even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor. xv. 20.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, * world without end. Amen.

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

¶ This Collect is to be said daily throughout Easter Week.


An Easter Prayer from Peter Marshall: May we never again live as if Thou were dead!

April 23, 2014

We thank Thee for the beauty of this day, for the glorious message that all nature proclaims:
The Easter lilies with their waxen throats eloquently singing the good news;
The birds, so early this morning, impatient to begin their song;
Every flowering tree, shrub, and flaming bush, a living proclamation from Thee!
Open our hearts that we may hear it too!

Lead us, we pray Thee, to the grave that is empty, into the garden of the Resurrection where we may meet our risen Lord. May we never again live as if Thou were dead! In Thy presence restore our faith, our hope, our joy. Grant to our spirits refreshment, rest, and peace. Maintain within our hearts an unruffled calm, an unbroken serenity that no storms of life shall ever be able to take from us.  From this moment on, O living Christ, we ask Thee to go with us wherever we go; be our Companion in all that we do. And for this greatest of all gifts, we offer Thee our sacrifices of thanksgiving. Amen.
(Peter Marshall)

found at the Biola April 21 devotional


An Easter prayer for those who are “foolish and slow in heart to believe”

April 21, 2014

I appreciated Scotty Smith’s prayer today at Heavenward.  Here’s an excerpt:

… I love how you came alongside of the Emmaus men, for I am so much like them. I’m often a foolish slow-of-heart man, who needs the gospel today as much as the first day I believed it. How I praise you for your tender forbearance, unlimited patience, and grace-full persistence.

As you dealt with my brothers, so deal with me. Continue to reveal yourself as the main character and hero in all the Scriptures. Don’t let me read the writings of Moses without thinking about you, Jesus—especially the law. May Moses’s words always drive me to the riches of your grace; for you have fulfilled the demands of the law for us, and are now fulfilling the beauty of the law in us.

And continue to show me how you are fulfilling everything the prophets have spoken—not just the things concerning your sufferings on the cross and your resurrection from the dead, but also all the promises of your present work, as Redeemer and Restorer.

The full prayer is here.


Bishop Eric Menees’ Reflection on the Easter Collect

April 20, 2014

Almighty God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by thy life-giving Spirit; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

As I write this weeks Bishop’s Note, I am smack dab in the middle of the planning and preparations for all of the truly beautiful and intricate liturgies of Holy Week, along with the sermons that accompany them. Additionally, I am smack dab in the middle of several sensitive pastoral situations and the daily cares and concerns of my family. In other words – I’m smack dab in the middle of life! We live in a fallen world – a world that knows pain and suffering; sin and death – and this Holy Week we are reminded very clearly of that reality. However, in our Easter celebrations we are reminded once again that Sin and Death do not have the final word. Jesus had, and has, the final word with his glorious resurrection two thousand years ago.

Allow the words of these weeks collect to wash over you. Note that there is no hesitation, no wavering, no doubt or fear that so often accompany the voice of the world around us. “Almighty God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life,” This is a profound proclamation of our faith that is grounded in the reality of the resurrection! On that first Easter Sunday, Jesus completed what the Law and the Prophets could not do. With the Fall of Adam and Eve came death and sin, and with the resurrection of Jesus Christ came eternal life with God for all who would put their trust in him.

Jesus’ resurrection demands a response, and the “Easter Bunny” just won’t cut it. Note that the petition in the collect is not: “Allow us to have a beautiful day full of joy and happiness.” The appropriate response to the resurrection is a deep desire to live a godly and holy life that overcomes sin and death: “Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by thy life-giving Spirit….”

The “death of sin” is not only the end of our earthly life – the final beats of our heart.  It is the death that comes when we compromise and tell ourselves, “My sin is not really that bad – I’m better than Joe or Mary.” With that kind of compromise comes the rationalization that sin is a relative term: “What is sin anyway but just a little mistake.” And with that rationalization comes the spiritual death that this prayer speaks against.

Rather than hate the sin in our lives, we tell ourselves to love it – to accept it. Before too long we compromise on other things as well. We don’t need to pray daily, or read scripture daily, and when there are more entertaining things to do on Sunday, well, we certainly don’t need to go to church. All of this rationalization and compromise leads to a void in our lives, and an ache in our souls, that only the Risen Lord can fill by the power of his life-giving Spirit!

I pray that this Easter Sunday, and every day, you and your family will be filled with that same life-giving Spirit; that same power of the risen Lord; that same joy and awe that comes when we realize that Jesus didn’t die and rise again for some unnamed, unknown person out there somewhere, but that he died and rose again for YOU!

I pray you all a Happy and Blessed Easter!

***

Thanks as always to Fr. Dale at Soundings for posting these reflections on the Collects.  Bp. Eric Menees is the bishop of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin.


Updated Compilation of Easter Prayers

April 19, 2014

last updated: April 19, 2014 

(I’ll be tinkering with this over the next few days as new resources become available.  Check back again in the next 2 – 3 days for new links and info.)

Here is a compilation of all the Easter Prayers we’ve posted the last few years.  Here’s the link to our Easter Prayer category.

In the second section is a list to other good sites for Easter Prayers around the web.

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(oldest entries on top, newest entries last)

Daily Prayers and Reflections for Each Day of the Easter Octave

The readings and the collect for Easter Monday

An Easter Prayer for the Persecuted Church

Collects for Tuesday & Wednesday of Easter Week

An Easter Blessing prayer

A Prayer of Adoration for Easter: Te Deum Laudamus

Easter Prayers: Blind us to All But Christ

An Easter Prayer: dying daily to sin that we may live in the joy of Christ’s resurrection

A Wonderful Daily Prayer for the Easter Season

An Easter Prayer by Brother Roger of Taize: If You Were Not Risen

An Easter Prayer: born anew to a living hope

Collect for the Second Week of Easter

Collects & Prayers for the Third Sunday of Easter

Victor Hoagland: The Thomas in All of Us

St. Gregory the Great’s Easter Prayer

An Easter Prayer by Helen Steiner Rice: May this Easter Grandeur Awaken Faded Flowers of Faith

An Easter Praise Litany from New Zealand

Easter Prayer: Vivify, Justify, Save

St. Hippolytus’ Easter Prayer

A prayer for the Second Sunday of Easter

An Easter proclamation of blessing

An Easter Prayer: May Your Resurrection Power Break Forth

Praying the Pascha Nostrum through the 50 Days of Easter

Easter Prayers: Raise us from the death of sin

“Let Him Easter in Us”

Easter Prayers: Make our hearts to burn within us

Jesus, free me from the quicksand of vain regrets…

A prayer of Exultation for the Ascension

How Shall I Sing That Majesty?

An Easter Thanksgiving Prayer

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Here are other recommended sites to find Easter prayers:

All the Easter Vigil Prayers (from Creighton University’s site)

Easter Collects – from Lesser Feasts and Fasts (from liturgies.net)

ChurchYear.Net – Easter Prayers

Creighton University:  Prayers for the Easter Octave

A collection of Anglican Easter Collects (if I recall correctly these are from the New Zealand Prayer Book – I need to verify this…)

Faith & Worship:  Prayers for Easter

Godspace:  Easter Prayers  (I hope to post an updated list of links to Easter resources at Godspace soon)


An Easter Thanksgiving Prayer

April 2, 2013

Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because thou hast broken for us the bonds of sin and brought us into fellowship with the Father.

Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because thou hast overcome death and opened to us the gates of eternal life.

Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because where two or three are gathered together in thy Name there art thou in the midst of them.

Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because thou ever livest to make intercession for us.

For these and all other benefits of thy mighty resurrection, thanks be unto thee O Christ.

H/T Kendall Harmon

 


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