D – Prayers for Wednesday

Prayer flags, Nepal — by Thandiwe Dale-Ferguson

Wednesday – Renewal

From a Daily Prayer Series by Lawrence Moore, UK

I began looking for a daily prayer series that would nourish me in the sort of spirituality that is necessary to be ‘transformed by the gospel’ and ‘making a difference for Christ’s sake’ (ie life-in-mission). I wanted something that would weekly put me in the place where renewal in the Holy Spirit could happen; where I was engaged with the vital questions posed to faith by our contemporary context (depth experience of God, a habit of prayer and spiritual discipline, global warming, human suffering, and faithful discipleship of Jesus). I couldn’t find what I wanted, so I wrote my own.

In offering them to you, I am conscious of how personal they are. I don’t mean ‘personal’ in the sense of being intimate; I mean it in the sense that they are my words and work for me. I have tried to keep them as free of ‘Church-speak’ as possible; tried to be as honest before God as Jewish Old Testament spirituality encourages us to be, and to make them open-ended and non-prescriptive in the belief that they need to facilitate and create a space in which we can commune with God.

If they work for you, I shall be only too glad – and humbled.

Lawrence Moore, UK

Preparation: a candle or tea light.
Suggestion: say the prayers aloud

Affirmation

All that I am,
all that I do,
all whom I shall meet this day
I offer to you now, God.

Lighting the Spirit flame

The Spirit who moved over the face of chaos,
bringing Light and Life;
the Spirit who inspired the prophets,
bringing Truth to speech;
the Spirit who descended upon Jesus,
filling and empowering him,
giving birth to New Life, hope and joy;
the Spirit who came upon the fearful disciples,
transforming them into apostles and martyrs;
the Spirit of the Living God
falls afresh on me today.

Reading

Read the following passages aloud, together with that suggested below.

Jeremiah 31: 31-34; Luke 3: 21-22, 4: 1-14; John 14: 15-17, 25-26; Acts 2:1-21; 1 Corinthians 12: 1-13

John 3: 1-10 – New Revised Standard Version

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the realm of God without being born from above.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the realm of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

Response

Born again.
Not through entering my mother’s womb a second time
but born of water and the Spirit.
Adopted as your child.
Filled with the very Life of God –
Now!
Today!
The gift of God,
shaken together,
pressed down
and running over!
Fill, me, Holy Spirit.

Praise and thanksgiving

God spoke
the Word sang
and you, Holy Spirit, were the music
that called Life into being.

You are the Divine Dance upon the waters of nothingness;
the footsteps of God,
the whirling, joyful extravagance of creative Love,
the dazzling overflow
of God-Life.

Heartbeat of God’s love,
fire of God’s justice,
sharp blade of God’s Word,
dove of God’s peace,
you are the midwife of New Birth.

In water,
in bread and wine,
in living dust-creatures,
the Living God lives with us
and in us.

Glory, glory, glory to you,
Unpredictable, Holy, Life-giving Spirit!

Amen.

Confession

Pause before the prayer, allowing God’s Spirit to search your heart.  Make your own confession.  Pause after the prayer to experience the reality of God’s forgiveness.

Why do I so readily settle for less, Spirit-giver?
Respectable religion
instead of living faith;
God-at-a-distance
instead of the searing closeness of your parenthood;
sameness
instead of the adventure of Spirit-life?

What is it I fear about you, Spirit?
What keeps my Scrooge-like heart shuttered to your Day?
Why do I so love shadows
when you offer me all the vibrancy of Light?
Why do I, a Child of the Sun,
choose to live as a creature of the Night?

You stand at the door.
I hear your knock.
Perhaps, if I keep silent,
you will think the house is empty
and leave.

Yet I long for your whirlwind presence,
the sweet-smelling air of heaven.
Do not go away, persistent Spirit.
Wherever you are going today;
wherever you are blowing –
take me with you!

Amen.

Intercessions

Read the prayers aloud.  At each point, pause to reflect and fill in the names of places and people as appropriate.

Creator-Spirit,
Heartbeat of God’s love,
melt my coldness,
chase away the shadows,
captivate my heart,
until I am filled
with the same stubborn,
selfless
and self-giving Love
for the world that is your abiding Passion.

Fire of God’s justice,
kindle in me righteous wrath
and prophetic passion.
Help me to dig the wells of fairness
so that justice will flow like rivers
and righteousness like a never-failing stream.

Sharp blade of God’s Word,
cut through the thick skin of my resistance
until I see the world through your eyes;
hear its groans;
feel its pain;
ache for its despair.
Then open my mouth
so that I may proclaim the Good News
in words that cut to the heart
and bring New Life to birth.

Dove of God’s peace,
brood over the disorder of my life.
Grant me the peace of your presence
which is so much more than the absence of conflict.
At home,
at work,
in Church,
in the community,
in the world …
make me a peacemaker
and not a paperer of cracks.

Make my life count for you.
Let me make a difference for your sake.
May my life bring you joy today.

Amen.

Blessing

I take into the world
the love of God,
the joy of Christ
and the peace of the Spirit.

Photo:  Nepali prayer flags, by Thandiwe Dale-Ferguson