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Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Sunday Prayer to Christ
Oh Christ, you are continually worshiped in heaven and on earth, in all times and at all hours; you are patience, compassion and mercy; you love the righteous, you have mercy on sinners, and you call all men to salvation, promising them all things to come.
Receive my prayers, this Sunday, as I celebrate Your resurrection; make my life conform to your will; sanctify my soul and body, order my thoughts, and give me victory in all trials and sadness, both today and in the week to come; protect me and bless me, and all of those who worship you this day, so that we may come to unity of faith and knowledge of your glory. For you live and reign, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God now and forever,
Taize Community, Midday Office 9/4/2014
Prayer for Forgiveness
Lord, I have betrayed you by following my own way; I have denied you by fearing to follow yours; and I have mocked you by not taking your death seriously. I sometimes feel like I am lost. Let your forgiveness find me. Hold me in your strong arms and give me your new life. Live in me and with me this day, that I may by your power find forgiveness and be made ever anew, reborn from above, living fully in your Spirit every minute. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray,
Prayer of St. Denis
You are wisdom, uncreated and eternal,
the supreme first cause, above all being,
sovereign Godhead, sovereign goodness,
watching unseen the God-inspired wisdom of Christian people.
Raise us, we pray, that we may totally respond
to the supreme, unknown, ultimate, and splendid height
of your words, mysterious and inspired.
There all Your secret matters lie covered and hidden
under darkness both profound and brilliant, silent and wise.
You make what is ultimate and beyond brightness
secretly to shine in all that is most dark.
In your way, ever unseen and intangible,
You fill to the full with most beautiful splendor
those souls who close their eyes that they may see.
And I, please, with love that goes on beyond mind
to all that is beyond mind,
seek to gain such for myself through this prayer.
from The Cloud of Unknowing by St. Denis, 14th century
Finally, let me go forth in thanks for the victory I have been given through our Lord Jesus Christ. May I be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and always remembering that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Psalm 73 (ESV)
Envy of Prosperous and Wicked Men
ruly God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For they have no pangs until death;
their bodies are fat and sleek.
They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.
Therefore his people turn back to them,
and find no fault in them.
And they say, “How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
Behold, these are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.
All in vain have I kept my heart clean
and washed my hands in innocence.
For all the day long I have been stricken
and rebuked every morning.
If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
I would have betrayed the generation of your children.
But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.
Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.
When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.
Notes on the Scripture
Seeing sinful, even wicked, people who are rich, beautiful, and in possession of many desirable worldly attributes and goods, is sometimes a difficult pill to swallow. Although this psalm is styled as a song to God, much of it is an internal monologue in substance, as the writer struggles within his own mind to reconcile the pain and envy he feels when he sees wicked atheists or idolaters who seem to be better off than he is.
The first Passover
The psalm is more dynamically structured than most psalms; it is very modern for such an ancient poem. Part one introduces the situation. He loves God, BUT . . . he has come close to losing his faith, because of his envy. Part two develops the theme. There is wonderful description of rich, arrogant people who have forgotten God, including lines such as “Their eyes swell out through fatness” and “their tongue struts through the earth”; this actually sounds very much like Shakespeare.
The third part identifies his feeling of despair. Our poet has tried to live a moral life and now finds himself beneath those who have not. It creates a dilemma for him.
The fourth section is the key to the meaning of the psalm; in modern terms, it would be the dramatic climax of a fictional work: “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me, until I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” These fat cats are living on a slippery peak from which they will fall; the poet bemoans his own envy, the urge within himself to be like them; he has become like a beast, that is, a slave to his animal nature.
He then recounts that “Nevertheless” he has remained faithful; even in his darkest moment he did not give up his faith. He ends his story with a short song of praise and faith, having renewed his commitment to God, certain the God will save him and the wicked will be judged.
There is really very little to add. Beauty, wealth, and life itself are fleeting. We store up our treasure in heaven, "where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal". (Matthew 6:20)
David the Psalmist, Grace Lutheran Church, Jersey City, New Jersey (US)
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Today in Daily Prayer
Matthew 5:40: If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.
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