Take words with you
and return to the Lord.
Say to him:
“Forgive all our sins
and receive us graciously,
that we may offer the fruit of our lips.
3 Assyria cannot save us;
we will not mount warhorses.
We will never again say ‘Our gods’
to what our own hands have made,
for in you the fatherless find compassion.”
4 “I will heal their waywardness
and love them freely,
for my anger has turned away from them.
Thank You, merciful Father, for hearing us when we call. You receive us and restore us when we come to you in repentance. You freely give Your love to us, pouring it out on us without measure and without price. All of us may come, rich and poor alike, for all that You require of us are words – something every one of us can afford – heartfelt words of confession and repentance. You ask for words because You are a God Who hears. So receive my prayer, Lord. Hear me when I call out to You. I forsake all others, and I look to You alone for salvation. Cleanse my heart, Lord, and let the fruit of my lips bring You honor and not disgrace.
“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will respond as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.”
Lord, I confess that I have been the wandering, unfaithful one. My heart has been enticed by so many glittering illusions. But Your amazing love will not let me go! You lead me to the wilderness. One by one You take away the illusions and reveal them to me for what they are. The empty world that I have created falls down around me. Lead me once again to the place where I may hear the tender call of Your love. By Your grace, renew my heart to sing Your name with the zeal of my first love.
“I am very rich; I have become wealthy.
With all my wealth they will not find in me
any iniquity or sin.”
Spiritual blindness is the companion of pride. Am I blind, Lord? Have I confused prosperity with spirituality? What good will it do for me to gain the whole world if I lose my very self in the process? What can I give in exchange for my soul? My life does not consist in the abundance of possessions, nor can my status blind the eyes of Your justice. Open my eyes to see my life as You see it. Cleanse me from sin. Clothe me in the garments of Your righteousness and teach me to lay up treasures in heaven.
A psalm. For giving grateful praise.
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Lord God, You have shown me once again Your unending, ever faithful promise of love, healing and provision, bringing me through these last few days and increasing my faith in You with answered prayer. Help me now to always remember to hold Your promise close to my heart and to know You are always present in my life. And to be grateful for Your gifts and presence as I walk the path You have laid out for me.
I also want to thank the hundreds of friends, brothers and sisters and those faithful people that have been praying for myself and my wife.You have increased my appreciation for the power of prayer a hundredfold and I will never be able to express my thanks adequately. Know that I hold you all in high esteem and I pray that I will be able to return the gift in some small way.
(1 John 4:7-12)
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Lord, You have provided a simple but sobering test of Christian spirituality – our love for You can be measured by our love for others. And we have all, without exception, failed Your test. Every time we refuse to lend a helping hand, to listen to a hurting friend, to curb a critical tongue, we refuse to love You or to obey Your commandments. Strip away our selfishness, Lord, and help us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and in doing so to love You wholeheartedly.
(1 Timothy 4:4-5)
4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
We give You thanks, our great and gracious God, for all the good things You have created. These innumerable blessing are daily showered upon us by Your good will and You delight in sharing them with us.
(Romans 5:6-8) You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
I thank You, merciful Lord Jesus, that You did not wait for us to repent. You did not wait for us to change our ways or to clean up our act. You saved us while we were still sinners. And we are all sinners, sinners by birth, sinners by nature, sinners by choice, sinners by default—sinners for whom You died. There is no sin that Your blood cannot cover, no stain Your blood cannot cleanse. There is no one so lost that You cannot find him, no prodigal so distant that You cannot hear her prayer. There is no person so sinful to be saved—just too stubborn to accept Your gift of salvation.
(Ecclesiastes 2:10-11) I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.
How often I delight in what I have done: my achievements my victories, my possessions, my family… my, my, my. But what is it all worth apart from You, Holy God? “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” Unless You walk through me, my labors will be empty. Unless I abide in You, I can do nothing that matters. Unless I do Your bidding, my life will never bear fruit that will last. But when I live by Your grace and for Your glory, then my toil will not be in vain. Help me, Lord, to devote my life to doing Your will, for then I will have treasures in heaven, treasures that will last for eternity.
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
I praise You, Lord, for Your merciful kindness and love. More frightening than the thought of letting go of You is the thought of You letting go of me, of relinquishing me to the consequences of my sin. You could have abandoned me. But instead You led me to repentance. O God, may I never take Your kindness for granted!