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Riverview, Queensland, Australia
I am a semi-retired church pastor exploring the dynamics of life in Christ in this exciting world.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Perception is Reality

Perception is Reality


This prayer, reportedly from Billy Graham is challenging. Some of the metaphors we would agree with but our customization into the consumerism of today makes some of them rub against the soul.

'Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbour's possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honoured values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and Set us free. Amen!'

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Prayer

Ipswich Central Presbyterian, Queensland, Australia: 12/10/09
Elder: Alan Johanson
Prayer: Thanksgiving and Confession..

Shall we come now to God in our prayers of Thanksgiving and Confession? Let us pray.

“Eternal God and ever loving heavenly Father, having expressed our joy of worshiping together in the words of the Hymn that we sang as our opening hymn, we come now to thank you for all that you have done for us, and in deed do each and every day. As the Psalmist has written, ‘Your blessings are new every morning.’ And Lord as we bow in your presence this morning, help us to know and appreciate more fully the wonderful way in which you care for us.

Heavenly Father we thank you for the things in life that we so often take for granted; for food and shelter and for the freedom that we enjoy, especially the freedom to worship you.

Lord we give thank for the fellowship of believers, that in Christ Jesus we are heirs of your great kingdom. We thank you for the brothers and sisters that we have in the faith with whom we enjoy, and have enjoyed in the past, fellowship and friendship within you Church throughout the world. Lord for all those “kinsfolk” that have been Christian Fathers and Mothers and Brothers and Sisters to us over the years, we give you thanks. Especially Lord, we thank you for their fellowship and friendship; their prayers and encouragement; their and help and guidance, and their concerns and care for us.

We would also give thanks Lord, for preserving our land, Australia, from the terror of war, the tyranny of oppression and the ravages of famine. We give thanks for the ease of life, the freedom of democracy and the enjoyment of modern living.

We thank You Father for the diverse beauty of nature around and about us. For the warmth of the sunlight that nurtures it all, for the moon and the stars that demonstrate to us the vastness of your creation, and for the rain that falls and creates new life and gives promise and hope to those who toil to produce our food.

We thank you Lord, for work and its rewards and for times of relaxation and leisure. And especially we thank you, for the love of family and friends and all the comfort and joy they bring to our lives.

And Father, for the hard times; the things in our lives, that so often, we can not understand and find hard to bear, we thank you that in such circumstances, we are able to recall the promises given in your Word. We give thanks Father for all the comforting words that Jesus spoke. Words such as the verses at the end of Chapter 11 of St Mathews Gospel “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,” Lord your word gives us such comfort and confidence when life hurts, and that comfort in you brings us through our trials and tribulations, stronger in our faith and with a greater realization of our dependence on you. Help us Lord, we pray, that as we face the various trials and hardships of this life here on earth, to trust you more fully; to cling more closely to your Word. Your Word that assures us that “you are with us always”, and that “You will never leave us nor forsake us”.

Father again we thank you for your Word as it is written in the Bible. We thank you that it so accessible to us. We give thanks that we are able to gather regularly and have “The Good News” explained to us. Lord we thank you for those amongst us who have the gift of teaching and the knowledge of your word and are able to impart the truth to us.

Gracious God, once again we thank you for the assurance of salvation. For Lord your Word tell us, that we have “A sure and certain hope”; That we are heirs and joint heirs of the salvation that you have provided, if we put our trust in the redeeming work of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.

We are grateful Father for the truth of the Scripture that tells us, that “He who knew no sin was made sin for us” and that he who died in our stead, arose again for our justification and lives with us, forever more as our comforter, mediator and friend. For this your work of grace we give thanks.

And so Father, we thank you for the abundant grace which meets us anew each and every day with forgiveness, peace and power in Jesus Christ your Son. We thank you that through His life and death and resurrection that you have provided our salvation.

So Father we come in the name of Jesus our Saviour and seek forgiveness for the times when we have been ungrateful for this wonderful love; this gift of redeeming grace, and for all the times that we must have grieved you by our indifference and selfishness. And Lord for the times that we have been so caught up with our earthly pursuits that we have neglected to include you in our daily lives; for when we have neglected to read your Word and to fellowship with you in prayer, we seek your forgiveness.

Father we confess that sometimes we have spoken in haste and said unkind things for which we have not sought forgiveness from those whom we have wronged, nor have we sought forgiveness from you. Forgive us now we pray, for such neglect.

And Lord, we confess that we have thought unkind thoughts. We have neglected to help those in trouble, and we have not taken time to speak a word of kindness to those in distress for these sins, forgive us O God.

And Lord as we each confess, now, in the silence of our own hearts, those things that we know are unworthy of our high calling in Christ Jesus, we ask that you will touch us afresh. Father we recall the words of the old hymn that we know so well and we pray them now “Breathe on me breath of God, Fill me with life anew, that I might love as you have loved, and do what you would do”.

And Father for the times when we have felt so out numbered or dominated, by those who don’t know you, that we have hidden, as it were, the light of Christ from them, for fear of ridicule or rebuff. Lord for our weakness, and ineffectiveness, we ask your forgiveness and we pray that you will give us confidence to witness for you, in spite of what might seem great odds. And Lord, we pray, that through our efforts that your Church here on earth may grow and that those with whom we associate may be saved from the peril of not knowing you as Lord and Saviour.

All these, our prayers, we ask it in Jesus name and we pray as He taught us saying :-

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,
for ever and ever.]

Amen.