Take Refuge in God

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
    for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
    until the disaster has passed.

Psalm 57:1 NIV

Prayer

Oh, Lord, exalt Yourself above me and all that I am – possessions, friends, comforts, pleasures, reputation, health and life – everything. Test me, Lord, and see whether I can really leave everything in Your hands. Bring my life into line so that I will not be fully myself, but fully in You, knowing the truth that I can take refuge in You. Oh, Lord, set in motion a chain of circumstances that will bring me to the place where I can sincerely say, ‘Be thou exalted above the heavens’. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

All hail the power of Jesus’ name!

Let angels prostrate fall;

Bring forth the royal diadem,

And crown Him Lord of all;

Bring forth the royal diadem,

And crown Him Lord of all.

Edward Perronet (1726-1792)

A Prayer for Ukraine and Russia

Heavenly Father, hear our prayers for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and Russia.

Lord we ask for peace for those who need peace, reconciliation for those who need reconciliation and comfort for all who don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Lord may your Kingdom come, and Your will be done. 

Lord God, we ask for you to be with all – especially children who are suffering as the crisis in Ukraine deteriorates. Lord for those who are anxious and fearful. For those who are bereaved, injured or who have lost their lives. And for those who have lost loved ones. Lord hear our prayers. 

Lord, we ask that decisions makers hear Your voice. Parents protecting their families – deciding whether to stay or leave. Church leaders as they support and comfort people. And Lord we ask for wise actions from global leaders – who have the power not only to start wars, but to stop them too.  

And Father God we cry out for an end to this crisis. We pray for all your children, both Ukrainian and Russian, for there are no winners in war. We pray for mercy, peace, and truth – because You are light, hope, power, and love. Amen. 

Update and Prayers for Ukraine

Heavy fighting, shelling and air strikes across Ukraine have had devastating consequences for ordinary people. Over 5 million people have fled the country in recent days, and many more have had to leave their homes to escape the fighting. At Ukraine’s borders with Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova, huge numbers of people are arriving with only what they can carry. In many places there are long waits to cross and scant facilities waiting for them on the other side, with temperatures dropping below freezing overnight.

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Hanging On

Hanging On by Eddie Askew

It all seemed fine, Lord,

Walking along, not a care in the world, everything going right.

I was even remembering to say the occasional thank you to you,

when it changed.

The sun clouded over: A cold wind blew out of nowhere.

The first drop of rain splattered down

hitting the warm, dry earth of my path with a finality

that said the weather’s changed. I shivered.

Lord, when things go wrong help me to remember the good times.

When my life with you, and my fellow Christians,

hits rock bottom and I find it hard to take,

stay with me.

No, that’s wrong, Lord. You are with me,

I know it.

Just help me to feel it.

Not just the theory, but the experience.

When I’m disappointed

and hurt by outside events,

by the way others behave,

when I’m honest enough to look at myself

and admit that the fault often lies inside me,

then let me feel you near.

And when the pain is bad,

when the sheer effort of keeping my feet

moving along your road,

when the scenic route through the mountains

-AA recommended –

turns into the rocky path of a small Calvary,

give me the strength to go on.

It would be easy, sometimes, to give up.

To drop out at the roadside, a casualty.

A great future behind me.

I’m not sure, at times, why I do go on, until,

when I get out onto the other side of the pain,

and warm myself again in your sunshine,

I know.

You were with me. Are with me.

Lord, I pray for those

in the middle of their pain barrier today.

Trying to stay on the road, putting everything they’ve got

into the effort of getting through to the night.

Through the cloud of uncertainty,

may they be sure of your love.

In the loneliness,

may they feel your arm slipped through theirs.

In the darkness of depression,

may they hold on to the promise of your light.

Help us, Lord,

Just to keep moving.

From his obituary in The Guardian (2007)
“Eddie Askew, the former general director of the Leprosy Mission (TLM) … devoted half a century to the disease and its consequences. …
Inspired by his travels and his Christian faith, Eddie found an outlet for his creativity in painting and poetry. A Silence and a Shouting, his first book of meditations and artwork, was published in 1982. It was followed, over the years, by 16 others, and the sale of his books and paintings raised around £2.5m for TLM.”

The Twenty Third Psalm

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
   He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

For the Brokenhearted

O Lord my God, I come to You bereft in spirit with a heart that is breaking. My mind is in turmoil and I just do not understand all the anguish that seems to be hitting me from all sides. You know Lord exactly the pain that is in my heart and the sadness and grief that I am going through and I come to You, my God, seeking Your blessed peace in my heart.

Heal my hurting heart and bind up the lacerations that have penetrated so deeply into my soul, for You alone are my hope, You alone are my strength and stay. I have nothing and no one left but You Lord.

Bind up my fragmented heart I pray, as You have promised. It says in Your Word that You came to heal the broken hearted and to free those that were entrapped in the emotional suffering of their lives. Lord, that is my position now and I trust in You alone.

I give You my fragmented heart and pray for Your blessed peace, Your gracious peace, Your perfect peace that passes all human comprehension. Take me as I am Lord and fill me anew with your love and grace, for only through You can I be renewed in spirit, only in You can I rest in safety.

Thank You O Lord my God,

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Dear Heavenly Father, You are the Creator of all things and You sustain all of life. I come to you, acknowledging that your will is best and that your plan is far greater than any I could ever ask for or imagine. Lord, I come to you with troubles that are weighing on my heart and the hearts of many believers. God, I know that you carry all burdens, and I ask that you share your yoke with us now during this difficult time. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

God, I want to be a person who stands firm and trusts You wholeheartedly. I want to be unshakable and resilient, but that can only happen by depending on You and trusting You. Develop that deeper trust in me, God I desperately need it and want to trust you more. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

Psalm 40:1-2 NIV

You will go out in joy

and be led forth in peace;

the mountains and hills

will burst into song before you,

and all the trees of the field

will clap their hands.

Isaiah 55:12 NIV

Living in the Faith

Instructions from the Apostle Paul to the body of believers at Philippi

Most of all, friends, always rejoice in the Lord! I never tire of saying it: Rejoice!  Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us.  Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.  And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.  Keep to the script: whatever you learned and received and heard and saw in me—do it—and the God of peace will walk with you.

Philippians 4:4-9 The Voice Version

Please go here for a full commentary on these verses and practical guidance.

A New Serenity Prayer

I happened upon this prayer by Father James Martin. It’s an alternative version of The Serenity Prayer and is for all of us who are amazingly adept at ignoring the log in our own eye yet are over-anxious about the speck in our brother’s and sister’s eye.

A New Serenity Prayer by Father James Martin

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the people I cannot change,
which is pretty much everyone,
since I’m clearly not you, God.
At least not the last time I checked.

And while you’re at it, God,
please give me the courage
to change what I need to change about myself,
which is frankly a lot, since, once again,
I’m not you, which means I’m not perfect.
It’s better for me to focus on changing myself
than to worry about changing other people,
who, as you’ll no doubt remember me saying,
I can’t change anyway.

Finally, give me the wisdom to just shut up
whenever I think that I’m clearly smarter
than everyone else in the room,
that no one knows what they’re talking about except me,
or that I alone have all the answers.

Basically, God,
grant me the wisdom
to remember that I’m
not you.

Amen.

James Martin wearing glasses

 Fr. James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, editor at large of America, consultor to the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication and the author of many books, including the New York Times bestsellers “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything,” “Jesus: A Pilgrimage” and “Learning to Pray.

A Quiet Time With God

Help Me Live It – Keith Green
Oh Lord, You’re beautiful
Your face is all I see
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me
Oh Lord, please light the fire
That once burned bright and clean
Replace the lamp of my first love
That burns with holy fear
I want to take Your Word and shine it all around
But first help me just to live it, Lord
And when I’m doing well,
help me to never seek a crown
For my reward is giving glory to You.

Christ Be With Me – St. Patrick
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Christ.
May your salvation, Lord, be ever with us

Lead Us – St. Augustine
Lead us, O God, from the sight of the lovely things of the world
To the thought of thee their Creator;
And grant that delighting in the beautiful things of thy creation,
we may delight in thee, the first author of beauty
and the Sovereign Lord of all thy works, blessed for evermore.

Empty Vessel – Martin Luther
Behold, Lord, An empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it. I am weak in faith; Strengthen thou me. I am cold in love; Warm me and make me fervent That my love may go out to my neighbour. I do not have a strong and firm faith; At times I doubt and am unable to trust thee altogether. O Lord, help me. Strengthen my faith and trust in thee. In thee I have sealed the treasures of all I have. I am poor; Thou art rich and didst come to be merciful to the poor. I am a sinner; Thou art upright. With me there is an abundance of sin; In thee is the fullness of righteousness. Therefore, I will remain with thee of who I can receive But to whom I may not give. Amen.

Lead Me – Thomas Merton
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahed of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Twenty-Third Psalm – Psalms 23: 1-6
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff–they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

The Lord’s Prayer – Matthew 6:9-13
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our debts and we forgive
our debtors,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil,
for thine is the kingdom and the power
and the glory, forever. Amen.

Beloved – John Wesley
Now, to God the Father, who first loved us, and made us accepted in the Beloved;
to God the Son, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood;
to God the Holy Ghost, who sheddeth the love of God abroad in our hearts,
be all love and all glory in time and to all eternity.
Amen.

Prayers for Mental Wellness

Heavenly Father, I come to You today seeking guidance. I strive to be your strongest soldier, but I cannot do so without acknowledging my own weaknesses first. Lord, help me to overcome these battles my mind has challenged me with. I know You are always with me, and any hurdles I face can be conquered with Your grace. My mental health is not at its best, but I know this suffering is not permanent. This too shall pass, and I pray that You will continue to watch over me as I fight my own personal demons. Amen.

Dearest Lord, thank You for always being there for me – both for all the good times, and the bad. I know my mental illness does not define me, for who I really am is a child of Christ. I may trip and fall every now and then, and it will hurt, but no pain is as eternal as Your everlasting love for me. Please continue to guide me as I get back on my feet. I shall not be defeated by my mental illness, for your healing hand will save me in my darkest hours. Amen.

Lord, the shining light of my life and my guide. You are the one who guides me through everything. Through these difficult times, help me soar like an eagle and fly. Help me to rise above and overcome my challenges, just as an eagle that soars in the sky. May I gain strength from Your word and from my prayers. I know that one day I will be free as an eagle. There will be no more shackles and not be held down by these weights called mental illness. I trust in You Mighty God who frees me. So give me the strength and renew me every day, till You come again. I ask these in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Source: Christian.net

The Doubter’s Prayer by Anne Bronte

A DRAWING OF ANNE BRONTE BY HER SISTER, CHARLOTTE

Eternal Power, of earth and air!
Unseen, yet seen in all around,
Remote, but dwelling everywhere,
Though silent, heard in every sound;
If e’er thine ear in mercy bent,
When wretched mortals cried to Thee,
And if, indeed, Thy Son was sent,
To save lost sinners such as me:
Then hear me now, while kneeling here,
I lift to thee my heart and eye,
And all my soul ascends in prayer,
OH, GIVE ME—GIVE ME FAITH! I cry.
Without some glimmering in my heart,
I could not raise this fervent prayer;
But, oh! a stronger light impart,
And in Thy mercy fix it there.
While Faith is with me, I am blest;
It turns my darkest night to day;
But while I clasp it to my breast,
I often feel it slide away.
Then, cold and dark, my spirit sinks,
To see my light of life depart;
And every fiend of Hell, methinks,
Enjoys the anguish of my heart.
What shall I do, if all my love,
My hopes, my toil, are cast away,
And if there be no God above,
To hear and bless me when I pray?
If this be vain delusion all,
If death be an eternal sleep,
And none can hear my secret call,
Or see the silent tears I weep!
Oh, help me, God! For thou alone
Canst my distracted soul relieve;
Forsake it not: it is thine own,
Though weak, yet longing to believe.
Oh, drive these cruel doubts away;
And make me know, that Thou art God!
A faith, that shines by night and day,
Will lighten every earthly load.
If I believe that Jesus died,
And waking, rose to reign above;
Then surely Sorrow, Sin, and Pride,
Must yield to Peace, and Hope, and Love.
And all the blessed words He said
Will strength and holy joy impart:
A shield of safety o’er my head,
A spring of comfort in my heart.

Anne Bronte was an English novelist and one of the members of the prominent Bronte literary family. She is best remembered for penning the classic 19th century novels ‘Agnes Grey’ and ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’, both of which deal with the oppression and social status of women in Victorian England. Born as the youngest daughter of Patrick Bronte, a poor Irish clergyman in the Church of England, she had a very difficult childhood, losing her mother at a young age. More family tragedies followed as she lost two of her elder sisters in quick succession. Raised by her mother’s sister, she was primarily educated at home by her father and aunt. Her father had a well-stocked library, and Anne along with her sisters Charlotte and Emily grew up reading the Bible, Homer, Virgil, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron, Scott, and many others. She started working as a governess while still in her teens to help her family financially. The job experience was horrible and she had to return home after being removed from the position. Inclined towards literary pursuits from a young age, she drew inspiration from her difficult experiences as a governess and detailed it in her novel, ‘Agnes Grey’. A talented writer, her budding career was cut short when she died of tuberculosis, at the age of 29. Source