In Praise of Grace

Today’s service was Harvest Sunday.  Our theme was forgiving our neighbour which was beautifully encapsulated into We reap what we Sow.  To be forgiven, we must forgive.  This is the crux of the matter.   Grace was flowing freely in our service.  In fact, it was totally overwhelming at times.

So that others may be blessed, the following are our Harvest Prayers:

Heavenly Father,

 

The sight of the mist rising slowly against the powder blue sky and deep furrows of the old Man is breathtaking as reflected on the sheet of glass called Coniston Water.  Suddenly the light shines so brightly through the mist that the old oak tree at the bottom of the lake is a picture of illumination, it’s roots firmly planted in the earth but cushioned by the lush dewy green grass inhabited by a flock of sheep.  I am brought quickly back to harvest Sunday.  I see in the tree a perfect object of your creation.  It’s limbs are always in touch with you as they rise up to the heavens above.  All who see it see a part of your glory.  All who look to it see what happens to the wise.  All who look to it see how we could be if we were as balanced as that tree, in perfect harmony with the earth around it and in constant communion with you.  Father God, help us to have our feet firmly planted in your word and keep us in constant communion with you.

 

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

As I look to the tree I see a swallow soaring.  I am reminded of a scene of swallows sitting on a wire last evening.  How do they organise themselves so perfectly?  How do they all know exactly what to do?  Those swallows soaring through the heavens are constantly in your care.  Cushioned by soft billowy clouds and helped along by gentle breezes and strong gales, it is by working together as a team that they can manage a journey of thousands of miles not just once but twice a year.  What can your church learn about working together from those swallows.  A strand of three fibers cannot easily be broken.  Let us sow the seeds of respect, encouragement and love for one another.  Bless our talents and use them for your glory as we work together in your kingdom.

 

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

As I walked on top of the moorland yesterday, I came upon a sea of glittering diamonds.  As my eye focused on just one of those precious gems, I suddenly saw every colour in the rainbow magnificently glowing in a prism more lovely than any earthly gem.  Reflected light on one drop of water was a show stopping paradise.  Your light is even brighter and more lovely than that beautiful prism.  We are the salt and the light.  When your light shines through us, we can shine your light on the world around us.  When we keep close to you, we are effective.  Shine your light Lord Jesus, shine it brightly that our harvest will be full.

 

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Hazel, in her prayers a few weeks ago reminded us that one drop of your blood can wash away the sins of the world since the beginning of time.  Imagine the power of wiping out every sin from all time with just one drop of blood.  It is more than I can understand.  I am overwhelmed.  Imagine what you can do through us in our daily lives if we forgive our brothers as you forgave us.  Keep us strong as we go out from this place sowing the seeds of forgiveness.  Keep this drop of blood flowing in our hearts and minds as we sow your fields and reap your harvest.

 

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

When we call to you, we tap into the great power that created the earth and all the heavens.  We have our feet firmly planted in the earth like the old oak tree at the foot of the field.  We have a higher view like the swallows in the sky.  We have the light of the world as the prism of glory in a drop of water.  When we forgive one another, we see the power of a drop of our saviour’s blood in a transformation that exceeds all expectations.  It is awesome.  It is miraculous.  It is our faith.  Silently now, we bring all of our thoughts, needs, and prayers to you.

 

Heavenly Father, heal us, help us, deliver us, renew us, we are your people.  You are our God.  Let us walk with you as we live and work to your glory.

 

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your son, our saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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Standing in the Gap

Ezekiel 22:30  “I looked for a man among them who would build up a wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.”

The above passage is from yesterday’s UCB readings. Lately I have been reading the lessons from the NIV verson of the Women’s Devotional Bible published by Zondervan Press which also has 365 devotions for the year.  There was one specifically for the passage shown above and it is so powerful, I would like to share it with you here.

Author:  Kathi Mills

Looking back on my life prior to my conversion in 1974, I realize now there were many intercessors on my behalf.  In addition to my own dear family who prayed for me faithfully, I remember one instance in particular when God burdened the heart of a woman I hardly knew to pray for me.

I was in a hospital, far from home and family, drifting in and out of consciousness.  Several times I became aware of a woman’s voice praying for my salvation, as well as for my physical healing.  At one point I heard a doctor describing my condition as critical, warning that I might not survive.

It was then that I recognized the voice of my intercessor once again as she spoke out in faith, “Doctor, I respect what you say, but I cannot accept it.  I’ve been praying for Kathi and I believe she will not only recover, she will walk out of here and live for God someday!”

Before long, I did walk out of that hospital, returned to work, and learned that it was my boss’s wife (I had only met her twice) who had “stood in the gap” for me.  When I tried to thank her, she responded with a confident smile, “Don’t thank me – thank God!  He has great plans for your life.”

Soon after that I moved away, never to see her again; but five years later when I gave my life to Christ, I remembered her – this faithful woman of God who never saw the results of her prayers for my salvation, but who believed God to answer those prayers in his time.

We often give up too easily on God in our busy lives.  Peter, a few Sundays ago, talked about the bright sunshine that we see when we get high enough in an airplane regardless of how many clouds obscure it from below.  Like the sun, which is ever present, Jesus is always there for us.  It is only we who move away.  Keep on praying and keep on intercessing.  Go to Revelation 8: 1-4 and see how God responds to the prayers of the saints.  God is alive yesterday, today and tomorrow and we are part of his great kingdom not just in the here and now but from all ages to eternity.

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