The Super Natural Life – prayers for strength, words of wisdom, daily bible reading

The Super Natural Life – prayers for strength, words of wisdom, daily bible reading

A Prayer of Augustine: A Personal Appeal

posted by Jill

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 true faith. But all of his 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 directed to God. Then take a time of silence and wait as the Holy Spirit registers your appeal and 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.

A Prayer of Thomas a’ Kempis

posted by Jill

The great Dutch mystic Thomas a’ Kempis was the author of the Christian devotional classic Imitation of the Christ. In this prayer credited to Thomas we see the beauty of grace. “Forgiving as we have been forgiven.” If we can get a hold of this, agree with this, and live like this, we can be healed and set free and changed before we turn the clocks ahead.

 
I offer up unto You my prayers and intercessions, for those especially who have in any matter hurt, grieved, or found fault with me, or who have done me any damage or displeasure. For all those also whom, at any time, I may have vexed, troubled, burdened, and scandalized, by words or deeds, knowingly or in ignorance; that Thou wouldst grant us all equally pardon for our sins, and for our offences against each other. Take away from our hearts, O Lord, all suspiciousness, indignation, wrath, and contention, and whatsoever may hurt charity, and lessen brotherly love. Have mercy, a Lord, have mercy on those that crave Your mercy, give peace unto them that stand in need thereof, and make us such as that we may be worthy to enjoy Your grace, and go forward to life eternal.
Amen.

A Prayer of Augustine: “You are My Health”

posted by Jill

St. Augustine didn’t trust his physical body. Prior to his conversion to Christianity Augustine had lived to please and indulge his own appetites. For the rest of his life on earth he considered his “flesh” as the enemy of his soul. I believe Augustine overreacted a bit. After all, God created our bodies, and called them “very good,” and one day we will be given new resurrected bodies. The idea can’t be all bad! In this prayer Augustine recognizes that human life in the human body is something given and sustained by God. This prayer of praise recognizes that life and health are a gift.

If you are struggling with health issues, lift this prayer to God and know that HE is your health, and all you’ll ever need!

Great are You, O God, and greatly to be praised; great is Your power, and Your wisdom infinite. We who are but a particle of Your creation, praise You. You awaken us to delight in Your praise; for You made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You. What are You then, my God? Most high, most good, most omnipotent; most merciful, yet most just; most hidden, yet most present; most beautiful, yet most strong; stable, yet incomprehensible; unchangeable, yet all-changing; ever old, ever new; supporting, filling, and overspreading; creating, flourishing, and maturing; seeking, yet having all things. You, O God, are my life, my joy, my health.

March is national diabetes month. Let’s remember to pray for our friends and family who are battling this condition.

A Prayer of Augustine: “You are My Health”

posted by Jill

St. Augustine didn’t trust his physical body. Prior to his conversion to Christianity Augustine had lived to please and indulge his own appetites. For the rest of his life on earth he considered his “flesh” as the enemy of his soul. I believe Augustine overreacted a bit. After all, God created our bodies, and called them “very good,” and one day we will be given new resurrected bodies. The idea can’t be all bad! In this prayer Augustine recognizes that human life in the human body is something given and sustained by God. This prayer of praise recognizes that life and health are a gift.

If you are struggling with health issues, lift this prayer to God and know that HE is your health, and all you’ll ever need!

Great are You, O God, and greatly to be praised; great is Your power, and Your wisdom infinite. We who are but a particle of Your creation, praise You. You awaken us to delight in Your praise; for You made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You. What are You then, my God? Most high, most good, most omnipotent; most merciful, yet most just; most hidden, yet most present; most beautiful, yet most strong; stable, yet incomprehensible; unchangeable, yet all-changing; ever old, ever new; supporting, filling, and overspreading; creating, flourishing, and maturing; seeking, yet having all things. You, O God, are my life, my joy, my health.

March is national diabetes month. Let’s remember to pray for our friends and family who are battling this condition.

A Prayer of Augustine: “Our Hearts are Restless”

posted by Jill

In his spiritual autobiography, Confessions Augustine tells the story of his wandering, painful quest to find true peace. He searched in philosophy and religion, in self indulgence and in self effacement. He found peace finally only when God found him. This famous prayer of Augustine expresses well what his own life proved. I think many of us can relate. If you are seeking for, but have not yet found deep and lasting peace, take Augustine’s words to heart. Then take them to God as your own prayer. God will listen; he will give peace. As Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give you peace as the world gives it.”

Everlasting God, in whom we live and move and have our being: You have made us for Yourself, and hearts are restless until they rest in You.

Augustine’s Prayer to the Holy Spirit

posted by Jill

Augustine was Bishop of Hippo in North Africa in the 4th-5th century. Except for the writers of the New Testament, no one has had more influence than Augustine in establishing Christian belief and practice. This prayer to the Holy Spirit invites God to work within our will to make us desire God and to empower us to fulfill that desire. Augustine was particularly aware of our human frailty and he believed we needed God’s strength to do God’s will. I can relate!

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.

Amen.

Praying With Jesus. Lent: Days 15-21

posted by Jill

Matthew 6:9-13

“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”

Some things to think about:
Of course God’s will is done in heaven.  But on earth?  Was 9-11 “God’s will?”  Is child molestation or bankruptcy or divorce “God’s will?”  Though the Bible promises that God is sovereign and that “all things work together for good to those who love him…” the Word also acknowledges that some things “on earth” are not as they should be.  And in this prayer we are invited to ask God that this would change.  We are to address injustice, fear, brokenness, and sin without despair.  We are to ask “Lord, thy will be done here in this sorrow as your will is done in heaven.”  This is bold prayer.  It is declaration.  In this phrase we ask that the very nature of God as revealed in his name would be realized in the real situations of our world.  We pray that “The Lord who heals” (his nature) would reveal his nature in a situation on earth that needs healing.  This is an exciting venture in prayer.  For here we partner with God to see his name glorified in the earth!

Some things to do:
Now we get down to business.  This week begin to take the names of the Lord and prayer them regarding the situations of the world around you.

  • In government: prayer with names of the Lord for our civic leaders
  • In business: pray with the names of the Lord for your business and career
  • In families: pray with the names of the Lord for your family and other families
  • In education: pray with the names of the Lord for our next generation
  • In church: prayer with the names of the Lord for our local church and churches worldwide
  • In you: pray with the names of the Lord for your own body, soul, and spirit.

 

Some things to talk about:
How do you envision heaven?   What does Jesus mean by asking us to pray that God’s will would be done on our planet as it is done in heaven?  What is the current state of your immediate circle of the world?  How does this prayer change the way you feel?  Does this kind of prayer give you some hope in the face of the overwhelming trouble around you?

Praying With Jesus: Lent Days 8-14

posted by Jill

Matthew 6:9-13

“Hallowed be thy name”

Some things to think about:
Praise. Call him Holy. Speak the name of the Lord. What an invitation! Here prayer is to be praise… with a specific identity attached: God’s.

Your name is the most personal part of your identity. When you sign your name to something you are depositing a representative sign of your very self. It is the same with God. When God tells us his name he is revealing the very essence of himself. This is why the “name of the Lord” is so very precious. He is telling us exactly who and what He is!

In the Bible God has many names, all of which reveal a specific facet of his nature.
YHWH – Ex. 3. “The Lord.” He is the infinite eternal, self existent “I AM.”
YHWH JIREH – Gen. 22:14. “The Lord will provide” He cares for his own.
YHWH ROPHEHA – Ex. 15:26. “The Lord our healing.” He fixes brokenness.
YHWH NISSI – Ex. 17:15. “The Lord who wins.” He battles evil.
YHWH MEQUADDESHKIM – Ex. 31:13. “The Lord sanctifies.” He sets apart.
YHWH SHALOM – Judges 6:24. “The Lord is peace.” He brings order.
YHWH TSIDKENU – Jer. 23:6. “The Lord my righteousness.” He is holy!
YHWH SHAMMAH – Ex. 48:35. “The Lord is there.” He is present.

This is the essence of God’s nature. He has revealed his infinite mystery to us in his Word. And in these words we can know him intimately.

Some things to do:
This week begin to call God by his names. Speak aspects of God’s nature (a specific name) in relation to the situations in your life, your family, our church and the world that need to know that YHWH is Lord! “Praise the Name of the LORD”

Some things to talk about
What does your name mean? Is there any correlation in your personality to the name you were given? How about God’s names? Which is the easiest one for you to personally understand? Which is the most difficult?

Praying With the Saints: John Wesley

posted by Jill

John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer

John Wesley, along with his brother Charles founded the Methodist Movement in England in the 18th century. Wesley preached open-air sermons and followed up by encouraging his converts to join small groups for prayer, study and moral accountability. Wesley’s “Covenant Prayer” was a key element in his own spiritual discipline and in Methodist discipleship. Wesley’s movement had a significant impact contributing to the abolition of slavery.

There is a reason why his writing, his movement, and his influence is still discussed today. He had a life purely and wholly dedicated to God. Earlier this week I read of the rich young ruler who couldn’t give up his riches or his status. Not so with John Wesley. Here is the proof. Here is his prayer:

I am no longer my own, but yours.


Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;


put me to doing, put me to suffering.


Let me be employed by you or laid aside by you,


enabled for you or brought low by you.


Let me be full, let me be empty.


Let me have all things, let me have nothing.


I freely and heartily yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.


And now, O glorious and blessed God,
 Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,


you are mine, and I am yours. So be it.


And the covenant which I have made on earth,


let it be ratified in heaven. 


Amen.

Can I pray this, and mean it?

Lent, Law and Gospel According to Johnny Cash

posted by mherringshaw1

But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die

When I hear that whistle blowing, I hang my head and cry…

Johnny Cash “Folsom Prison Blues”

 

It’s Lent and I’ll be giving up Barry Manilow… for Johnny Cash. Seriously. I’ve created a “Cash” station on “Pandora” and I’m playing him, religiously. There’s nothing like a stash of Cash when I’m feeling too big for my britches. I can count on him to deliver a lethal dose of “true” to sober my up. He turns me right way round (repentance) and back to Father. Try him. I  dare you.

 

I’ve never known how to peg Johnny Cash. He is “The Boy Named Sue” and “The Man in Black.” He is country, classic rock, blues, outlaw, folk and gospel. Cash was/is… Cash. For nearly six decades he rode the rail lines of his own deeply personal music – personal made painfully public. It carried him several times in and out of popular acclaim, and under and then through crippling
addictions. Start to finish Cash’s music changed little, though it always depicted a man who longed to change himself, but could not. Johnny Cash bellowed out one long blatantly public penance borne from the shame of blatantly public guilt.

 

Admitting our guilt, said Cash, is the purist form of sanity. He had a profound sense of God’s relentless holiness, and his own relentless ungodliness. God, he admitted, always gets the last word.

Go tell that long tongue liar

Go and tell that midnight rider

Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back-biter

Tell ‘em that God’s gonna cut ‘em down.

Johnny Cash “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”

 

He’s coming, and is he ever ticked!

There’s a man going around taking names

And he decides who to free and who to blame.

Everybody won’t be treated all the same.

There will be a golden ladder reaching down when the man comes around.

Johnny Cash “When the Man Comes Round”

 

Cash levels bad news, first. He damns to hell any “I’m Okay, You’re Okay, It’s All Gonna Be Okay” Pollyanna optimism. Nothin’ and nobody is okay! By laying bare his confession, he demands, as we dare to listen, that we lay bare our own confession. There may be reasons; there are no excuses, and any hope of salvation from our plight of self-inflicted doom is going to prove costly…
to someone.

The beast in me has had to learn to live with pain

And how to shelter from the rain

And in the twinkling of an eye might

Have to be restrained

God help the beast in me.

Johnny Cash “The Beast in Me”

 

In the second half of his career, with the persistent mercy of his second wife, June Carter, Cash began to reach out for the grace he knew he needed.

I never thought I needed help before

I thought that I could get by – by myself.

Now I know I just can’t take it anymore.

With a humble heart, on bended knee,

I’m beggin’ You, please for help.

Johnny Cash “Help Me”

 

Finally, he seemed to both receive forgiveness from God and extent forgiveness to himself.

I couldn’t manage the problems I laid on myself

And it just made it worse when I laid them on somebody else

So I finally surrendered it all brought down in despair

 

As Martin Luther once put it, we have the Law and we have Gospel, in that order. Listening to Cash helps me remember this; remembering keeps me sane, and true. Guilt is my plan for Lent. Full on. Bare and bold. Then and only then can I rightly own my role in Friday’s crime. Then and only then can I right appreciate Sunday’s surprise ending, and the unfathomable sheer gift of eternal freedom issued in my name by His… “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

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