Prayer / Poem of the Week # 16

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 16

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

45. Christ Ascended

A brilliant sun
shining on snow-capped mountains
lifts our hearts
to the risen Christ,
presidential, ascendant,
with the Father in glory.
Enable us, awesome Lord,
to pause and revere you,
then to set about the work
for which you have commissioned us,
in and through the power
of the Holy Spirit.

Lord Christ, kingly and supreme,
Aoraki salutes your greatness.
Taranaki, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe
honour you as transcendent
Lord and Messiah.
Hikurangi reaches for
the morning rays of sunrise
before all others.
You are kingship like Taupiri.
You are the summit
of all human searching,
te maungaroa,
te puke teitei,
yet all may reach out
and touch you,
ascendant, triumphant, all-glorious,
in unity with the Father and the Spirit,
for ever adored and worshipped.

From The Shepherd’s Call – Te Karanga o te Hēpara:
Prayers and liturgies for rural Aotearoa New Zealand
By Bill Bennett (2018)

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 15

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 15

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Swords Into Ploughshares

Ploughshares –
   implements for cutting furrows
Swords –
   implements for cutting people.

Ploughshares –
   fixed in a frame
   drawn by a horse
   guided by a man
Swords –
   fixed in a hand
   wielded by a man.

Ploughshares –
   used before sowing
Swords –
   used for cutting down

Ploughshares –
   used for rooting out weeds
Swords –
   used for rooting out lives

God help us
  to prepare our life-soil
  to receive your seeds
   of fruitful love.

Isaiah 2: 4

From A Celebration of Life by Meg Hartfield (2016)

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 14

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 14

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Seventy-one

Create a quiet place in me, Lord
hush the babble of my mind
the racing of my pulse
then my heart will begin to hear
    your ‘gentle, murmuring voice’

Slow me down, Jesus
I need to take time
to see the beauty of creation
the exquisite intensity of your care
that way I’ll come to appreciate
    and be thankful

Teach me to listen, Abba
to the cries of those in need
the questions of the confused
    so I can learn compassion

In this unquiet world
help me to find a quiet place
    and a quiet time

Lord, I need to hear
the counsel of your spirit
the poetry of your love
then I’ll have something to share
    with those who cannot hear you.

From Redemption Songs by Mark Laurent (2016)

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 13

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 13

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

They’re taking my city away

like some failedexperiment
they’re taking my city away

house by house
block by block
whole suburbs
disappearing
to hidden forest
blackhole

dirty trucks
on shattered streets
moving much more than bricks and wood,
moving mem’ries
moving hopes
moving all
the little things
that take a lifetime
to grow

sadness haunts
the empty land
where children once played,
couples made love
argued and cried
neighbours chatted
over fences
about grandchildren
and things

nor’wester
sucking up dust
they’re taking my city away
ground going too
filling our hair
getting in eyes
gritting mouths
with the bitter grain
of what was

they’re taking
my city away
now the sacred task of building
a new one starts –
may we all be the builders
may we build with
wise heads
raise up with
love in our hearts.

— East Christchurch, 2013

From The In-Between Land: Psalms, Poems and Haiku by Mark Gibson (2015)

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 12

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 12

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Spirit God (Gathering)

Genesis 1:2; Exodus 19:18 – 20:1-21; Psalm 78:14; 1 Kings 8:10-11; Isaiah 6:1-4; Ezekiel 43:1-5; Malachi 3:1; Mark 1:9-13; Acts 2:1-4

Spirit God, hovering over a watery world,
ordering creation from primordial chaos,
clothing earth’s nakedness with nature’s abundance,
breathing your spirit life into our humanness;
shelter us under your motherly love,
transform our turmoil into tranquillity,
fill up our emptiness with your wisdom divine,
raise us aloft on the winds of eternity.

Spirit God, dwelling in pillars of cloud and of fire,
alighting on Sinai in flaming splendour,
thundering forth commandments of covenant,
sanctifying holy a nation of slaves;
guide us on journeys through barren wastelands,
help us climb mountains for encounters with you,
speak laws of love into our consciences,
make sacred a church of commonplace folk.

Spirit God, filling with glory Solomon’s temple,
soaring heavenward on chariots of fire,
inspiring your prophets with visions that challenge,
promising the coming of the Davidic Messiah;
form from your people your present day temple,
transport us above our everyday thinking,
show us the ways of heaven on earth,
make of us true disciples of the Anointed One.

Spirit God, as a dove descending,
declaring beloved of the Father his Son,
driving the Christ into the wilderness,
inspiring rebuffs to the tempter’s allures;
fly down upon us the blessing of peacefulness,
proclaim our membership of the family of God,
be there for us in our spiritual barrenness,
grant us release from the enemy’s snares.

Spirit God, on Pentecost coming,
sounding like wind and appearing like fire,
descending upon the hundred and twenty,
bringing to birth the new covenant church;
bless our celebration of time that is holy,
full us with the joy that gives light to our lives,
be in our midst as we gather together,
proclaim in and through us the gospel of God. Amen.

From: Prayers for Southern Seasons: Poems and prayers for Christian worship and devotions. By Joy Kingsbury-Aitken.

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 11

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 11

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Approach 4

God of blessings,
We are thankful that we are not alone,
that we have been placed in community.

We are thankful that we live in your world;
A world skewed towards good and not evil;

a world which rates compassion
higher than complacency;
a world where love is cherished and
creatively expressed.

Confront and stir us from dullness of perception;
forgive our lack of response to your Spirit.
Sharpen our awareness of holy ground;
Prompt us to turn aside and see wonders.

Forgive us if we have made your world less loving
and help us live life as your daughters and sons,
actively engaged in life’s wonders and concerns.
Forgive us for times when we have over-reacted,
and for times when we have lagged in zeal.

Encourage us to speak the truth we know
and to act in love wherever love is needed.
Enable us to live in your strength and power,
liberated for the possibilities of the future. Amen.

From: Lay Preaching Basics by Rosalie Sugrue (2018)

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 10

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 10

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

41. Thanksgiving for Winter

God of all seasons,
we give you thanks
for the grey wet mornings,
for the cold southerly days,
for the mist that hovers in the hills,
and the fog that blankets the river valleys,
for the fresh snow on the ranges and mountain tops,
for the clear sharp sunny days
that follow the frosts,
for all that makes winter
a time to dress snugly and keep warm.
We give thanks for the reserves
 of silage and hay and winter feed
to supplement the needs of stock,
for the long acre and the electric fence,
for the pruning of fruit trees
and grape vines,
for the season of rugby, league and football,
for hockey and netball,
for golf, and for pony club,
for dog trials and other sporting and social events,
for raincoats, swanndris and gumboots,
for roaring fires, hot soup and scones
and safe shelter from winter’s chills.

From The Shepherd’s Call – Te Karanga o te Hēpara:
Prayers and liturgies for rural Aotearoa New Zealand
By Bill Bennett (2018)

Click here to Order Print books and here for eBooks

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 9

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 9

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Pentecost

Waiting
wondering – how long Lord?
their hearts yearning
   for the sound of his voice
   the touch of his hand
   the sight of his face
and those eyes,
searching, compelling, loving –
   above all loving.

It had seemed that love was dead
life empty, pointless,
worse for them who had lived
   with the Lord of Life
   living now with stifling grief
   hardly to be borne.

Then, of a sudden – GLORY!
their Lord alive
   breathing
   moving
   loving
unutterable joy
   bursting in Easter light –
glorious excitement
   of never knowing when
   but knowing that he would come –
a warmth, a light, a joy, and a peace
and Jesus in their midst.

Then, finally,
their tear-filled eyes straining
   for one last glimpse in the sky –
   and he was gone.

Again Lord
the agony again?
from heights of happiness
   to be bereft, empty, lonely again?
“But you shall have power,”
he had promised.
When Lord? When?

So they gathered
to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost –
and suddenly –
   rushing
     swirling
        buffeting
the mighty wind of God’s breath,
leaping tongues of living flame
   darting
      flickering
        alighting
empowering each, loosening tongues
hearts aflame
souls outpoured in love and praise,
the gathered world could hear
   and comprehend
   the mighty words of God –
a Presence, a Power, overflowing
the Holy Spirit of God.

And I Lord,
weak, fearful, doubting
even I Lord
   would be filled –
but to be full of you
   is to be empty of me?
So be it.

I wait, with outstretched hands
in awed certainty
   as the promised power floods in
   filling
   warming
   irradiating
   equipping me
to be the face of Jesus
the hands of Jesus
the voice of Jesus
the love of Jesus –
   for a hungry world.

From A Celebration of Life by Meg Hartfield (2016)

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 8

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 8

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Sixty-three

River of life flow through me
I’m weary as a traveller can be
I need your water to wash over me

River of life flow through me
I’m weak as a baby can be
I need your power to strengthen me

I was lost in the desert
I was dying of thirst
I would never have found you
if you hadn’t found me first

River of life flow through me
I’m dead as a sinner can be
I need your spirit to revive me

We’re all on this journey
it’s a hot, dusty road
without you to sustain us
we’d never get back home

River of life flow through me
I’m lonely as a pilgrim can be
I need your song to comfort me

Let your water wash over me
River of life, flow through me.

From Redemption Songs by Mark Laurent (2016)

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 7

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 7

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Psalm 7

O Christ of the poor and the maligned,
the suffering and the weak
we give thanks for your love
that binds us together
in our small congregations
in the broken east.

You know our struggles and our fears
our doubts and our burdens
our deep weariness
you are our constant companion
giving us the strength and inspiration
we need day-to-day.

We never feel like we have enough people
or enough resources
to meet the challenges
or respond to the needs
of this shattered place

But strangers are welcomed
food and drink is offered
someone listens when pain is shared
people are accepted just as they are
help is given in small ways

One day a week we gather
in a circle like a family
in a plain and ordinary place
to celebrate our faith and trust in you
to seek your guidance
restore our energy
keep our hope alive

It’s never easy but
we continue to find our way
through the mess and chaos
the grief and the loss
sustained by your life within us
and the warmth of community

So it hurts and angers us
when we hear that big wealthy churches
in the west of the city
don’t think that we are performing.

They say that we are not up to scratch
we are failing and should be shut down
we don’t match their vision
of what a church looks like.

Give us courage in the face of such judgement
and the laughter and wisdom
to deal with “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

Help us not to get caught up in their negativity
but in your grace and joy.

O Christ, we thank you for your loving solidarity
with the widow, the poor, the small and the downtrodden.
In the midst of our struggles we are not alone.

From The In-Between Land: Psalms, Poems and Haiku by Mark Gibson (2015)

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