God spoke strongly to me, grabbed me with both hands and warned me not to go along with this people. He said: “Don’t be like this people, always afraid somebody is plotting against them. Don’t fear what they fear. Don’t take on their worries. If you’re going to worry, worry about the Holy,
Fear God-of-the-angel-armies. The Holy can either be a hiding place or a boulder blocking your way….”
I will wait for God as long as he remains in hiding, while I wait and hope for him. I stand my ground and hope…
(Isa 8.11-14&17, the Message)
God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterise us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next. May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you … and May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!
Forgive me Father, for my faith is weak and small; a poor thing too dependent on outward supports and habits and starved of real vitality. Your child is easily frightened, and all her prayers and entreaties just now seem empty and faithless, the hope is drying up in her veins. Her labours seem pointless, her life fruitless and shallow – a thing of show and hypocrisy.
Jesus said: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Forgive me Father, for every touch of your love in creation and the kindness of others lets loose a storm of weeping instead of thankful songs. My heart is weary and heavy and has forgotten the taste of real joy, numb to the warmth of your presence and yet desperate to be away from this dreariness and at home with you. I am appalled at my own lack of faith, filled with shame at my unfounded good opinion of myself, and conscious of dishonouring and failing you and those to whom you have given me.
Jesus said: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Father, your child has seen once again what a poor thing she is; how undeserving the grace she has received and the continuing daily gifts of forgiveness and love which she receives. She has nothing of value to bring you, since all she has comes from your hand. Her worship is weak and her faith frail; her abilities limited and her tendency to stray after other comforts so dreadfully pronounced. Why do you bear with this one? She has no hope apart from you, and yet she cannot bear seeing the truth of her state – a lifetime of following Jesus, and yet so little to show for it.
Jesus said: Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Father, you see and know and love your child. Her heart lies open to you in all its poverty and hunger that she might be other than she is. Oh, to be at peace, to be daily filled with joy in your presence! To be trusting you because of your character and promises, instead of doubting you because my prayers are not answered the way I want. Oh, to love you for who you are, not for what you give me, so that my peace and hope are not at the mercy of my circumstances but founded securely in you.
Father God, you know that the gap between where I want to be as your child – one honoured to bear your name in the world – and where I actually am, is so big. You know the shame that fills me as I see the gap, as I sense the aridity of my spirit and the numbness which dulls me to the glory and power of your truth, and the salvation which is mine in Christ. Lord God, have mercy on me and by your Spirit at work in me, restore life and hope and joy that I might glorify you and daily testify to your goodness.
Jesus said: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Bless me today, merciful God, for the sake of your Son my Saviour, Amen