Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

A Prayer of Augustine: “Be the joy of my heart”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Here’s another simple and simply beautiful prayer from St. Augustine. In his role as Bishop (pastor) for the church in Hippo, North Africa, Augustine became a great defender of right doctrine and right practice of Christian faith. All this theological work grew out of personal pastoral concerns that mattered to the everyday lives of his congregation. This prayer reflects the intimate, personal friendship that Augustine had with God. We think of him as a great thinker – he was. But above all he knew God and God’s love and grace. And this, more even than right belief was what he desired for those he led.

Read this prayer first as a “refresher course” for your soul; then read it a second time directing the words to God. Finally, take a time of silence and wait as the Holy Spirit registers your appeal, then responds.

O God, the Light of the heart that sees You,

The Life of the soul that loves You,

The Strength of the mind that seeks You:

May I ever continue to be steadfast in Your love.

Be the joy of my heart;

Take all of me to Yourself, and abide therein.

The house of my soul is, I confess, too narrow for You.

Enlarge it that You may enter.

It is ruinous, but do repair it.

It has within it what must offend Your eyes;

I confess and know it,

But whose help shall I seek in cleansing it but Yours alone?

To You, O God, I cry urgently.

Cleanse me from secret faults.

Keep me from false pride and sensuality

That they not get dominion over me.

Prayer for Lonely People

posted by nsymmonds

As news continues to unfold about George Sodini’s struggle with loneliness, I can’t help but think there are so many people in the world just like him. People who live reclusive lives not because they want to, but because somehow they feel unloved and the one solution to their problem is love. As I mentioned yesterday in my prayer for Sodini’s victims and his family, I feel this is a call for all of us to be in prayer for our brothers and sisters who are in the grips of loneliness. To help this along I wanted to post a prayer that I discovered in the Beliefnet prayer library:

Prayer for Lonely People

Loving God,
there are times in each life
when there is no one.
No one with whom to share
a word,
a laugh,
a sad remembrance,
a gentle touch,
a fond embrace,
a kiss of love.
Bless each one who suffers
from such loneliness.
Enrich life with a friend
or gentle stranger
who will spend a moment
noticing
and loving.
In those times
your love shines through,
the world is reborn,
and Christ is known.
So be it!
Amen.

By Vienna Cobb Anderson

Source: Adapted from “Prayers of Our Hearts” © 1991 Vienna Cobb Anderson. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

For more prayers, visit the Beliefnet Prayer Library.

God Talks Too IV

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Are there ways we can increase our likelihood of hearing God speak? I think so. In Nine Ways God Always Speaks, I offer the following:

What’s the difference between those who hear him and those who don’t? It’s as simple as how they listen. We know what you’re thinking. “I listen, but I never hear him.” Okay, we hear you. But frankly, how hard, how intentionally do you listen?

·         When you read the Bible, do you assume what you’re reading applies to you and try to figure out what God is saying to you personally?

·         When you have a stray thought, do you explore it to see if God somehow put it there for a reason?

·         When you wake up after a particularly vivid dream, do you pray asking God what he was trying to tell you?

·         When a friend says something more direct and personal than usual, do you wonder if God could be behind her words?

·         When an unlikely series of events happens, do you assume God arranged them for a reason and try to discover his purpose?

·         Do you examine your history, your environment, and your emotions to see what you can learn from them?

That is listening.

Listening is an active awareness of what is happening around you and an intentional pursuit of God’s voice. Many of us wrongly assume we haven’t heard God unless we’ve heard a James Earl Jones type voice amplified through the clouds. If you think that’s the only way you will hear him, it is the only way you will hear him. But here’s a hint–it’s not one of the ways he always speaks, likely it’s one of the ways he rarely speaks.

To hear God, we have to believe he wants to communicate with us. That doesn’t take a huge amount of faith, but it takes at least a drop. The people who hear from God all have a drop of that faith.

 What are some ways you increase your likelihood of hearing and understanding God?

 

Friends with God: Psalm 143:8-9

posted by Mark Herringshaw

King David banked everything on his friendship with God. God was everything to David.  Here’s how he describes that relationship in Psalm 143:8-9.

 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
      for I am trusting you.
   Show me where to walk,
      for I give myself to you.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
      I run to you to hide me.

David acknowledged this each morning. He knew he needed hear himself say again and again that God never fails. We too need this message reinforced in our daily lives. David asked God to show him where to walk. He needed counsel in decisions. Again, here is one friend asking another for wisdom. David admits he’s putting himself in God’s charge and that he needs to be rescued from enemies. God alone can help.

 

If you need to be rescued today, pray. Borrow David’s words. God wants to be your friend. He’s willing and able! If you don’t know what else to say, pray these simple words; then pause and wait while God responds. He will!

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