Sep 26, 2016

A Psalm of Praise: Psalm 112

Here is a beautiful paraphrase of Psalm 112. It was written by Nan C. Merrill, in Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness.

Prayer of Praise
A Paraphrase of Psalm 112

Praises be to You, O Gracious One!

Blessed are those who reverence the Holy One,
who greatly delight in the Word!
For they dwell with Love,
and their children will learn of peace and justice.
Abundance and wholeness will be their heritage,
and truth will be their banner.

Light penetrates the darkness for those who face their fears;
Love stands by them with mercy and forgiveness.
It goes well for those who are loving and kind,
who live their days with justice and integrity.

They become co-creators with the Divine One;
they bless the world with their presence.
In times of trouble, they know not fear;
their hearts are firm,
trusting in your Loving Companion Presence.

Yes, their hearts are steady, they are not afraid,
even their enemies are blessed by their love.

They are generous and give freely;
the needy are offered shelter and food;
justice and mercy make their home there;
and their righteousness endures forever.

The unloving are witness to this;
who knows when the seed will find a fertile heart?
The fruits of those who know Love are blessing to all!

~ written by Nan C. Merrill, in Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness.  https://www.amazon.com/Psalms-Praying-Invitation-Nan-Merrill/dp/0826410456

Opening Prayer: In Praise of a Gentle God

Here’s a thoughtful opening prayer from John Hammond.

Opening Prayer

We give you thanks and praise, God our Father,
for you are a God of gentle mystery!

Our [ancestors] praised you for your might and power,
for the strength of your great right hand.
But you revealed yourself in gentleness,
in compassion and in love—
in the forgiving glance,
in the caress of little children,
in the warm affection of the breaking of the bread.

We thank you for calling us together,
in the presence of your Son,
healing grace,
bond of friendship,
bread of peace.

Because he has shown us who you really are,
we are happy to sing to you
this our song of praise…

~ written by John Hammond in Winter’s Coming Home (The Benediction Foundation of the State of Vermont, Inc. 1975) https://www.amazon.com/Winters-Coming-Home-Celebrate-Christmas/dp/B000GU9BTK

Readers' Theatre: Generosity

Here’s a readers’ theatre setting on the topic of wealth and generosity. It combines verses from Mark 10:17-22, 12:38-44 and 2 Corinthians 9:6-15.

Readers’ Theatre
(Mark 10:17-22, 12:38-44, 2 Corinthians 9:6-15)

One:     As Jesus started on his way,
            a man ran up to him
            and fell on his knees before him.

Two:     Good teacher,
            what must I do to inherit eternal life?

Three:  Why do you call me good?
            No one is good—except God alone.
            You know the commandments:
            ‘You shall not murder,
            you shall not commit adultery,
            you shall not steal,
            you shall not give false testimony,
            you shall not defraud,
            honor your father and mother.’”

Two:     Teacher, all these I have kept since I was a boy.

One:     Jesus looked at him and loved him.

Three:  One thing you lack.
            Go, sell everything you have
            and give to the poor,
            and you will have treasure in heaven.
            Then come, follow me.

One:     At this the man’s face fell.
            He went away sad,
            because he had great wealth.

            Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple
            and watched as the crowds dropped in their money.
            Many rich people put in large amounts. 
            Then a poor widow came
            and dropped in two small coins.
            Jesus called his disciples to him and said, 

Three:  I tell you the truth,
            this poor widow has given more
            than all the others who are making contributions. 
            For they gave a tiny part of their surplus,
            but she, poor as she is,
            has given everything she had to live on.

Two:     Remember this:
            Whoever sows sparingly
            will also reap sparingly,
            and whoever sows generously
            will also reap generously. 

One:     Each of you should give
            what you have decided in your heart to give, 
            not reluctantly or under compulsion, 
            for God loves a cheerful giver. 

Three:  And God is able to bless you abundantly,
            so that in all things at all times,
            having all that you need, 
            you will abound in every good work. 

Two:     Now he who supplies seed to the sower
            and bread for food 
            will also supply and increase your store of seed
            and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
            You will be enriched in every way
            so that you can be generous on every occasion,
            and through us your generosity will result
            in thanksgiving to God.

Prayer: Seeing the World Differently

Here’s a prayer of petition from the Christian Aid website.

Prayer

“If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.’”  Luke 17:6

Boundless God,
help us to see the world differently—
not with our own limited vision
but with the gaze of love and justice.

Give us the foolishness to believe that we can change
what the world says is impossible;
and when we lose sight of the power of love to change the world
increase our faith. Amen.

~ posted on the Christian Aid website. http://www.christianaid.org.uk/

Intergenerational Prayer: 2 Timothy 1:7

Here’s an all-age prayer inspired by 2 Timothy 1:6-14.  It was written by Joanna Harader and posted on Practicing Families.

Intergenerational Prayer
(inspired by 2 Timothy 1:7)
                                                                                        
“…for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice,
but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.”

Dear God,
Sometimes we feel afraid.
Give us your spirit of power.
Sometimes we feel upset.
Give us your spirit of love.
Sometimes we feel confused.
Give us your spirit of self-control.
Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to live in us.
Amen.

~ written by Joanna Harader, and posted on Practicing Families. http://practicingfamilies.com/