Category Archives: Prayers

Lover. I wriggle under the implication of that word.


A Prayer

Jesus,
an old hymn tells me that you are
lover of my soul.
Lover.
I wriggle under the implication of
that word.
For if you are lover of my soul
you long for a response
to show you
that I have seen you for who you truly are
– gentlest Love
– warming my heart
– stirring my desire
for more of you …
and more of you …
and more of you …
until I am lost in the mystery
of being with you
in you, of you,
totally,
utterly,
One.
Help me to risk drawing closer to you today.
AMEN


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from ‘On Holiday with God’ Sue Pickering 2012 Canterbury Press, Norwich

Refresh – Journal of Contemplative SpiritualityVolume 12, Number 1. Summer 2013. I

Sue Pickering wonders often about retreating to a bach at Kinloch and being a granny,
but in the meantime is engaged in a stimulating mix of aged care chaplaincy; writing;
SGM Workgroup; spiritual direction, retreats and supervision; Cathedral governance;
learning the piano and occasional quilting. Helping others recognise the sacred Presence
in the midst of life is a continuing passion.

 

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A Prayer of One Who Feels Lost

A prayer of one who feels lost


Dear God,
why do I keep fighting you off?
One part of me wants you desperately,
another part of me unknowingly
pushes you back and runs away.
What is there in me that
so contradicts my desire for you?
These transition days, these passageways,
are calling me to let go of old securities,
to give myself over into your hands.

Like Jesus who struggled with the pain
I, too, fight the “let it all be done.”
Loneliness, lostness, non-belonging,
all these hurts strike out at me,
leaving me pained with this present goodbye.
I want to be more, but I fight the growing.
I want to be new, but I hang onto the old.
I want to live, but I won’t face the dying.
I want to be whole, but I cannot bear
to gather up the pieces into one.

Is it that I refuse to be out of control,
to let the tears take their humbling journey,
to allow my spirit to feel its depression,
to stay with the insecurity of “no home”?

Now is the time. You call to me,
begging me to let you have my life,
inviting me to taste the darkness
so I can be filled with the light,
allowing me to lose my direction
so that I will find my way home to you.

Amen.


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God hath not promised skies always blue

 

God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river, turbid and deep.

Annie Johnson Flint

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Beginning Again

Beginning Again

Beginning Again


I had thought ‘growing up’ meant
Gaining independence.
Taking my first reckless steps
As I stumbled across the living room floor,
Then, later on, into
Adult life.
Creating a ‘me’ shaped by
My visions, my goals,
My desires –
Accompanied by some
Steepcliffs of learning and a
Painful chastening at times
As I looked back on earlier
Behaviours and their consequences with
Disbelief and regret.
___________
I realise now that I have had the
Map upside down and been
Reading from back to front.
The landscape has changed;
Familiar landmarks are gone.
And I discover that
All I tried so hard to avoid is really
The pathway to what I most desire;
I am exchanging the freedom that confines for
The discipline of love;
Finding my freedom ‘in’ You.
Finding, in this unfamiliar place, that
I feel strangely at home;
A growing sense of belonging despite
My aloneness at time, as
Walls tumble, lines blur and
Resistance evaporates –
Until there is no longer
Thee and Thine or
Me and mine.
Until I am Yours,
Yours alone, and
You are mine, and we are just us

by Jane Hansen


Jane Hansen is married to Jim, and is also a mum and grandma. Jane enjoys country life
close to the Wairere Falls beneath the Kaimai Ranges, visits from family and friends and

writing in response to God’s grace in the blessings and challenges of everyday life.

Refresh – Journal of Contemplative Spirituality Volume 12, Number 1. Summer 2013. I

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Fire and Wildfire


Fire and Wildfire

Fire…
Warming
Enlightening
Protecting
Bringing safety

You are the fire I seek, the fire I yearn for,
the fire I invite…

But sometimes the fire is wild…
Purging
Destroying
Martyring
Consuming

You are the fire I avoid, the fire I dread,
the fire I run from….
Until trapped, I turn to discover

The fire that consumes anger with solace
The fire that consumes bitterness with sweetness
The fire that consumes injustice with peace
The fire that consumes resentment with love.

And standing before the bush that burns yet is not consumed
The holy ground
The sacred space
I cover my eyes,
I throw away my shoes,
And pray that the flame that never dies
Will make its home in me.

by Margaret Tooley
Margaret Tooley lives in Auckland New Zealand where she works as a spiritual director and church musician. She believes her most vital calling is to encourage others to discover and use their gifts for the glory of God.
Refresh – Journal of Contemplative Spirituality Volume 12, Number 1. Summer 2013. I

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Flow Motion

Flow Motion   You know those moments? I think we've all had them   Those moments When you are caught unaware Those moments When you least expect it

Flow Motion


You know those moments?
I think we’ve all had them


Those moments
When you are caught unaware
Those moments
When you least expect it
Those moments
Of inexplicable lucidity
When you slice off a sliver of time
And hold it gently
In the palm of your hand
Mesmerized
For a single, solitary
Flow-motion second


You know those moments?
Those bullet-time moments?
I think we’ve all had them


Where you catch your breath
And swallow your heart
Those moments
That reverberate
Through every hollow and strand of DNA
Those fundamental moments
That resonate
In sympathetic vibration
Resound
In harmonic excitation
Through every fibre of your very being
With the ebb and flow
The hum and thrum
The suprarational rise and fall
Of the divine Song


You know those moments
Those sweet, afterglow moments
I think we’ve all had them


That awaken the senses
And linger on the tongue
Like the tremulous thrill of your first kiss
Those transcendent, translucent moments
When you feel so alive
So uninhibitedly free
Those glorious manifest moments
That venture
Beyond the borders
Of intellectual propriety
With childlike curiosity
And dauntless, clarion faith
Moments where you expand up, up, up
On your tiptoes
Stretch your soul to the Sun
Arms outstretched to the fringes of the horizon
And plunge headlong down the rabbit hole
In the most exhilarating, electrifying free fall
Animatedly suspended
Upon billows of bliss
Frozen
Within a sliver of Immortality


For a single


Solitary


Flow


Motion


Second


***


— Mac, 2013

Mac Mackenzie


Mac Mackenzie is a folk singer, musician, poet, essayist, penny philosopher, slow life advocate & emerging minimalist. He speak’s English & Gaelic. He likes to dream and tell big fish stories. He like’s God & God likes him. You can read more of Mac’s work at his Blog Diary of an Arts Farmer and follow him onTwitter and Google+.


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Barry Pearman
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You Bore Me Up

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You Bore Me Up

You bore me up from the maudlin gloom
From the swirling murky mists;
The Stygian depths of mortal vanity
And nursed my melancholy wounds
With gentle succour and tender ministrations

You raised my frail feeble frame
And laid it upon a bed of white lilies
Stripped away the death pall
That clung to my ashen flesh
And washed away the brooding stench of death
With tender tears of mercy and compassion

And there in the waxing glow of dawn’s first light
In the golden alchemy of a virgin May morn
You softly brushed
Your ruby red lips to mine

And I imbibed your sweet fragrance
Through every pore
Satiated my parched, barren soul
With long, desperate draughts
From the chalice of Your passion

My heart opening, expanding
Like honeysuckle awakening
To the warmth of spring;
Blooming in blissful communion
As the sweet Nectar of Life
Pulsing through my veins

Your Life Blood

Transformed the coal blackness
Of my tainted, wounded soul into pure, refined gold

Pure light!

And then You bore me up
From the melancholy maudlin gloom
The swirling, murky mists
The Stygian depths of mortal vanity
To the rapturous heights
And inexplicable peace

Of everlasting life


Mac Mackenzie


Mac Mackenzie is a folk singer, musician, poet, essayist, penny philosopher, slow life advocate & emerging minimalist. He speak’s English & Gaelic. He likes to dream and tell big fish stories. He like’s God & God likes him. You can read more of Mac’s work at his Blog Diary of an Arts Farmer and follow him onTwitter and Google+.

7 Steps to Cleaning the Dirty Laundry of the Soul

Washing clothes is a task that you do again and again. 
Cleaning generally comes down to plain old elbow grease, determination and a willingness to look bad in the face of love.

I’m talking about Soul cleaning. Getting rid of the bad stuff, the dust and the dirt of sin.

I think it was Martin Luther who confessed that the greatest loss in the Reformation was the loss of the confessional box. (Please don’t quote this as I am not sure if it is accurate. If you know the source etc can you let me know)

We all need a place to go, a person to listen, and a Saviour to heal.

Do you have a habit of confessing your sin? 

David, after he was confronted by the Prophet Nathan about his affair with Bathsheba cries out to God his penitent prayer in Psalm 51.

Generous in love—God, give grace!
Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down.
You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.
Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life. Psalm 51:1-7

When we come to God, and others, with a true heart of confession we desire to cleaned and scrubbed in the laundry.

Clothes in David’s time were often washed by immersing them in streams and then beating the cloth on a rock. Not just once, but many many times until the deepest stains had been pummelled out.

It is no wonder that confession is not a popular spiritual exercise to practice.

Confession is exposing the soul’s core dirtiness.

Now do we do this?

1. Ask the Holy Spirit to expose what needs cleaning. Some dirt remains hidden, unseen, and buried. The comforting and cleansing power of the Holy Spirit desires to come and minister to the core of your soul.

2. Find a Soul friend. Someone who is safe, who will listen deeply and not condemn. Someone who will point you to Jesus.

In the presence of a psychiatrist I can only be a sick man; in the presence of a Christian brother I can dare to be a sinner. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We owe love to all people, but only to a proven friend are we to entrust “the secrets of the heart”. Aelred of Rievaulx

3. Name the sin. If pride, don’t say I have pride in my life, rather confess where you have pride in your life. “I  have always thought I was better than …’ If you have hurt others ask them how you have hurt them. Write it down if you have to.

4. Embrace the sin. See it for all its ugliness. Don’t just intellectualise it, but take it into yourself at an emotional level.

5. Place the sin. If we just hold the rawness of the sin within ourselves it will eat us up. It will trap us within its power and lead to self hatred and a bearing of the eternal cost of what has occurred  There is a solution. We take the sin, named and embraced, and we place it at the base of the Cross. On the cross  Jesus took the full penalty for our sins. I imagine a sign being on the Cross saying ‘For these sins I died’. I place my list of sins at the base, I hear an eternal whisper ‘You are forgiven, washed, pure and clean.

6. Worship and thank Jesus. He has done so much on your behalf.

7. Repeat wash cycle. More washing to be done as the Holy Spirit reveals.

Confession is an act of honesty and courage – an act of entrusting ourselves, beyond sin, to the mercy of a loving and forgiving God. Pope John Paul 2

In failing to confess, Lord, I would only hide You from myself, not myself from You. Saint Augustine

Questions to consider and leave a comment
  • What experiences of confession have you had? 
  • What makes a person ‘safe’ to confess to? 
  • What can be the result of holding on to unconfessed sin?
Barry Pearman
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Shock Me with Terrible Goodness – Good Friday

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Shock Me with Terrible Goodness

Holy One,
Shock and save me with the terrible goodness of this Friday,
And drive me deep into my longing for your kingdom
Until I seek it first-
Yet not first for myself,
But for the hungry
And the sick
And the poor of your children,
For prisoners of conscience around the world,
For those I have wasted
With my racism
And sexism
And ageism
And nationalism
And religionism,
For those around this mother earth and in this city
Who, this Friday, know far more of terror than of goodness;
That, in my seeking first the kingdom,
For them as well as for myself,
All these things may be mine as well:
Things like a coat and courage
And something like comfort,
A few lilies in the field,
The sight of birds soaring on the wind,
A song in the night,
And gladness of heart,
The sense of your presence
And the realization of your promise
That nothing in life or death
Will be able to separate me or those I love,
From you love
In the crucified one who is our Lord,
And in whose name and Spirit I pray.


by Ted Loder – Guerrillas of Grace 

Wounded Miracles

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Wounded Miracles 

The blind now see;
The deaf hear;
The lame walk;
The addicts are free.
Miracles are 
Everywhere!

Sometimes the lame walk, 
Unsteady on their feet;
The blind see dim reflections’
The deaf hear only
Some of the words, and
The addicts still bear
Scars.

Even so, 
The powers of darkness are 
Retreating, as the
Kingdom presses 
In and on – 
One life at a time.

For healing is
God’s Plan;
Why Jesus came’
Holy Spirit’s work;
More than bodies mended. It is hope restored,
Joy, meaning and purpose
Given back to life, to
The Living;
Lives made whole made
Holy – 
Heaven come down to Earth

by M. Jane Hansen
Spiritual Growth Ministries –  Volume 11, Number  2. Winter 2012.

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