Pray like a Poem.

Pray as though writing a poem: concisely, deeply, meaningfully. 
Do not pray like a short-novel… losing focus, using repetition of words to kill time.
Prayer is not a time to preach to God, or man.
You are praying to God. | CYL, May 2017

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In the multitude of words sin is not lacking,

But he who restrains his lips is wise. |Proverbs 10:19

With [the tongue] we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. |James 3:9-10

 


The world is on their way to You but they’re tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided
My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,”  have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? | James 2:1-5

 

…Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours”
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Plain and Pure.

“You shall not make anything to be with Me—gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves.  An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you. And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it.” | Exodus 20:23-25

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Matthew Henry explains:

To make their altars very plain, either of earth or of unhewn stone, Exod. 20:24, 25. That they might not be tempted to think of a graven image, they must not so much as hew into shape the stones that they made their altars of, but pile them up as they were, in the rough. This rule being prescribed before the establishment of the ceremonial law, which appointed altars much more costly, intimates that, after the period of that law, plainness should be accepted as the best ornament of the external services of religion, and that gospel-worship should not be performed with external pomp and gaiety. The beauty of holiness needs no paint

…They are here assured of God’s gracious acceptance of their devotions, wherever they were paid according to his will (Exod. 20:24): In all places where I record my name, or where my name is recorded (that is, where I am worshipped in sincerity), I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. Afterwards, God chose one particular place wherein to record his name: but that being taken away now under the gospel, when men are encouraged to pray every where, this promise revives in its full extent, that, wherever God’s people meet in his name to worship him, he will be in the midst of them, he will honour them with his presence, and reward them with the gifts of his grace; there he will come unto them, and will bless them, and more than this we need not desire for the beautifying of our solemn assemblies.

Lord, what season is this?
Do we sow, or water, or reap?
Forgive, if we have made ‘worship’ into a show.
If we fear the perspectives of man more than of God.
You have asked for holiness, not for the appearance of holiness.
You look at the heart behind the sacrifice.
You, Who sees the heart.
Nothing with which we disguise or hide ourselves is hidden from You.
(And if we do not see, Father, reveal to us the condition of our heart.
Do not let words, talent, experience, heritage, or anything else we possess take the place of a pure and genuine heart before You.)
Father, make us pleasing to You again.
Teach us to sacrifice with a pure heart.
May the sacrifices we bring be pleasing to You.
Will You come as we call on Your name?
Teach us to reflect the beauty of Your holiness.
That others may be drawn to You through our daily living.
Lord, You know we need to increase — inside and out.
Teach us how to tend that Land You have given us.
IJN.
Amen.

All my Hope and Desires.

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.  The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” | Exodus 14:13-14

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Matthew Henry to explain: 
He directs them to leave it to God, in a silent expectation of the event: “Stand still, and think not to save yourselves either by fighting or flying; wait God’s orders, and observe them; be not contriving what course to take, but follow your leader; wait God’s appearances, and take notice of them, that you may see how foolish you are to distrust them. Compose yourselves, by an entire confidence in God, into a peaceful prospect of the great salvation God is now about to work for you. Hold your peace; you need not so much as give a shout against the enemy, as Josh. 6:16. The work shall be done without any concurrence of yours.”

Note,
(1.) If God himself bring his people into straits, he will himself discover a way to bring them out again.
(2.) In times of great difficulty and great expectation, it is our wisdom to keep our spirits calm, quiet, and sedate; for then we are in the best frame both to do our own work and to consider the work of God. Your strength is to sit still (Isa. 30:7)

 

Make my will lost in Thine:
I made worth my highest goal, and shame my greatest fear.
But You quietly knocked on my door and asked to meet.
And spoke these words again, “No one who hopes in [Me] will ever be put to shame…” (Psalm 25:3)

Let it be so.
That all may know You are the Lord.

To clarify.

“God, it has been quite a year–
I’ve lived a little bit and I’ve died a little more.

I know that I’ve asked it before…”
| Aperture, Sleeping at Last

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I changed a setting tonight.
For a long time, I’ve allowed the picture to be out of focus.
I don’t remember when, or why…
My eyes have adjusted to the blurriness — I was comfortable.

Until I saw it through your eyes tonight.
I had forgotten what clarity was like.

Tonight, I’ve readjusted, as clearly as I could.
To see things differently.

There is an uncertainty that paralyzes.
There is a fear that numbs.
(I’ve wondered at your silence.)

Yet did not your heart cry out, like mine:
There must be more!

We were — are — promised Purpose and Certainty.
How can we settle for less?

Remember: Only dead fish keep flowing with the current.
Live fish eventually have have to swim against it.

We mustn’t flow with the currents of fear and uncertainty, lest one day we realize we’ve died, and it was only our bodies floating side by side.

No, but we must swim.
Even if not side by side.
Swim, swim strong, against the current.

Swim, swim with all your might, to the place of your calling — the destination placed in your heart.

There is no greater joy, and no satisfaction more complete, than obedience to His call.

(How I wish you and I would swim in the same school.)

But for now, if you pass me as you swim against the current, or if I should pass you…
It’ll be alright.

Our inner compass points us to the same place.

There, we’ll meet again, and all striving will cease.

In the meantime, good friend (and I shall not wince at this),  keep swimming.

 

 

You know my doubts.
The uncertainties with which I live.

Make me to know Your promises again.
Make to know Your faithfulness.
And keep drawing me back.

Teach me to love the Potter’s hands.

First Love.

So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying, “You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves. And you shall lay on them the quota of bricks which they made before. You shall not reduce it. For they are idle; therefore they cry out, saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’

 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me?  For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.

And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord.  I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord I was not known to them.  I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant. | Exodus 5: 6-8, 22, 23; 6:2-5 

Father, the straws continue to pile up.
Or, like Jenga — slowly, slowly, blocks are taken away; the structure stands on its fragile frame.
I stand watching, straightening the remaining blocks, hoping for stability before that last brick goes before the tower tumbles.
Yet, Father. Whose hand is it who takes away the bricks?
And You allow it to be so.
In times when we wait for an answer, a leader, a path…
Make us to remember our first love.
Love that does not disappoint.
Love from which love originates.
A standard for manhood and true masculinity.
Sacrificial leadership in gentle humility.
The promise of ultimate and glorious victory.
And yet, You understand the frailty of man.
Hear our groaning.
Remember Your covenant.
As we remember our first love, Lord, remember us.

 

The Road & the Road Blocks

Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”  So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord?  Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” | Exodus 4:10-12

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Then Moses took his wife and his sons and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the rod of God in his hand.

And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the Lord met him and sought to kill him.  Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses’ feet, and said, “Surely you are a husband of blood to me!”  So He let him go. Then she said, “You are a husband of blood!”—because of the circumcision. | Exodus 4: 20, 24-26

A difficult passage… Matthew Henry explains:
The sin of Moses, which was neglecting to circumcise his son. This was probably the effect of his being unequally yoked with a Midianite, who was too indulgent of her child, while Moses was too indulgent of her. Note,
(1.) We have need to watch carefully over our own hearts, lest fondness for any relation prevail above our love to God, and take us off from our duty to him.
(2.) That when God discovers to us what is amiss in our lives we must give all diligence to amend it speedily, and particularly return to the duties we have neglected.
(3.) When we have any special service to do for God we should remove as far from us as we can that which is likely to be our hindrance. Let the dead bury their dead, but follow thou me.
(Lord, is this for me to claim?)

Do you doubt?

This I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;  
his mercies never come to an end.
— Lamentation 3:21-22

Was it only yesterday that we made those great declarations of love and faith?
How have we so easily stumbled?

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What was it this time?
…Past memories, future thoughts, present circumstances (questions and comments)?
The company, and the lack thereof?
The drive home alone, the song on the radio…

The temptations are ever near.
But with You, there is victory.

(Teach me to recognize them, and to flee before there is a chance for them to take root.
And if I have stumbled, lead me to retrace my steps to where I have fallen from my walk with You.
And lead me to the path – the place – where You want me to be, “lead me in the way everlasting.” Amen.)


Lord, You have asked:

Do you love Me more than these?”

As with Peter…
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

(…Teach me what this means, and transform me to mean this as I respond.)


Thank You for answering tonight.

19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
    the wormwood and the gall!
20 My soul continually remembers it
    and is bowed down within me.

21 But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
     great is your faithfulness.

24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.

27 It is good for a man that he bear
    the yoke in his youth.
28 Let him sit alone in silence
     when it is laid on him;

29 let him put his mouth in the dust—
    there may yet be hope;
30 let him give his cheek to the one who strikes,
    and let him be filled with insults.

31 For the Lord will not
    cast off forever,
32 but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
    according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
33 for he does not afflict from his heart
    or grieve the children of men.

— Lamentations 3:19-33

Good morning.

It has been a peculiar morning.
If our lives were a collection of stories, this story would not have been one that I would select for the pages of my book.
And yet, the Author of Life (and of my life) has chosen it today.

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And in the living and reflection of it, I sense the perfect grace of His provision.
The methods through which He imparts His grace and gifts are beyond Man’s understanding.

Today, I saw a little more of man’s frailty…
Of our powerlessness to control our own health, even our lives.

Try as we may, with the best formula offered by science and experience,
there comes a time when these will not do.

And you come face to face with that choice:
To recognize God and His sovereignty, and to submit your life to Him, or
to refuse Him and grasp at straws that the World offers.

For those who do not yet know God, please do read this
(For there is only one Way to salvation).

For the Christian, allow me to add one more thought:
If you’ve trusted Him with your life in eternity — eternity after death,
do you trust Him in the eternity now — in your daily life?

Do your trust in Him for eternity, even now…
In whatever situation you are facing today?

Friend, this is something I struggle with, too.
But don’t be satisfied with the struggling alone; ask Him for victory over this.
Amen.

—- And tomorrow, we start again.

Morning Dedication

May I view all things in the mirror of eternity,

waiting for the coming of my Lord,
listening for the last trumpet call,
hastening unto the new heaven and earth.

Order this day all my communications according to Thy wisdom,
and to the gain of mutual good.
Forbid that I should not be profited or made profitable.

May I speak each word as if my last word,
and walk each step as my final one.
If my life should end today,
let this be my best day.

— The Valley of Vision (Excerpts)



Morning Needs


O God the author of all good,
I come to Thee for the grace
another day will require for its duties and events… 

May I engage in nothing in which I cannot implore Thy blessing,
and in which I cannot invite Thy inspection…

Teach me how to use the world and not abuse it,

to improve my talents,
to redeem my time,
to walk in wisdom toward those without,
and in kindness to those within,
to do good to all men,
and especially to my fellow Christians.

And to Thee be the glory.

— The Valley of Vision (Excerpts)