Monday, July 13, 2009

Prayer | Colossians 2

A few weeks ago, Scott led a prayer based on Colossians 2:13-15 specifically. Here it is:
Tonight, Lord Jesus, we proclaim your forgiveness. We thank you that while we were fleeing from you, you nailed to the cross all of the wrongs we had committed against you. We thank you that in the power of the resurrection we stand free to love and serve you because you have disarmed every person and power that once ruled over us.

Yet, Lord, we know so many who are still in chains, trapped. Tonight, we pray for these people, our friends, our family, our neighbours, our fellow citizens, our brothers and sisters in humanity, and in some respects still, ourselves.

We pray for those trapped in a pattern of addiction to a habit, a drug, a person, whatever it might be.
We proclaim your victory of any and every addiction. Lord Jesus, you have disarmed anyone or anything that attempts to be the lord over a person’s life. We proclaim freedom for those oppressed by addiction.

We pray for those trapped under the rigours of religion and religious institutions, duty-bound, serving a law rather than the Living God.
We proclaim your victory over the powers of human-made religion. Lord Jesus, you have disarmed all attempts to create a god other than the one Triune God. We proclaim freedom for those oppressed by any and every religion.

We pray for those trapped in a cycle of poverty, so often beholden by a system which seduces them to remain as they are.
We proclaim your victory over poverty. Lord Jesus, you came to preach good news to the poor and proclaimed the great reversal – that the last would be first. We proclaim freedom for all of those oppressed by poverty of any kind.

We pray for those trapped by their belief that their worth is somehow tied up in what the world deems it to be – whether it be in their appearance, their popularity, their abilities.
We proclaim your victory over every thing that tries to steal our identity and value away from you. Lord Jesus, you have disarmed every power that attempts to drag us down and dehumanize us. We proclaim freedom for all those oppressed by the lies of this world about who they are.

We pray for those trapped by pain and hurt they have experienced, trapped by the scars of the hurtful actions of others towards them.
We proclaim your healing for all who are brokenhearted. Lord Jesus, you have disarmed every power that attempts to wound and harm us. We proclaim freedom for all those oppressed by pain and hurt.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Prayer | February 8, 2009

This is the prayer that was led by Jan D at our TILT gathering.

Heavenly Father, we come into your throne room this evening.
We know that the door is always open and that we can enter boldly because we are your beloved children!
As we look to your right hand , we see Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
We are reminded that His righteousness clothes us ... we have become children of God through His finished work!
We praise you that you have such love for us that you gave your precious Son so that we can have a relationship with you both for now and for all eternity!
As we stand in your presence we are reminded that our home is not in this world but while we are on this earth you have Kingdom work for us to do.
One day we will take up residence in our Heavenly home, the one that Jesus has prepared for us ... but for now, you ask us to be faithful to the calling you have on each of our lives!

Father, as we gaze into your eyes we feel your love ... deep into the very depths of our being!
We want to tell you this evening that we love you, too!
Coming into your presence like this makes us so aware of those areas in our hearts that are not pleasing to you or right with you!
As they are exposed we need to bring them before you for your perspective and cleansing.
Lord, we so want to be clean vessels for you to work through.
You know the desires of our heart you know what stands between us and You ...
Let’s take a few minutes to quietly allow the Spirit of God to search our hearts and reveal the sin that needs to be confessed.
Lord, we want to be fully open to you.
Is there anything else that we need to confess together as your Body ... as your people ... before we go on?
We thank you that you offer forgiveness of sin on an ongoing basis.
We are so grateful that your mercies are new every day!
You say in your Word that as your children we need to have hearts of thankfulness in order to be like Jesus.

We pause right now to tell you again how much we love you and either out loud or silently we want to specifically thank you for ...
Let’s us raise our voices in thankfulness to the Lord.
Thanks be to God for His enduring goodness, His marvellous grace and abundant provision!
Now let’s turn our hearts to some of the practical concerns of Spring Garden Church ... I will suggest a topic and then you can either pray out loud or silently as the Spirit directs
- Church pastors: Gene, Bill, Greg, Margaret, Jay, Children’s Pastor
- Deacons and elders
- TILT leadership team
- The new building project
- Students ... at York, at Tyndale, those looking for summer jobs, those finishing High School and trying to figure out next year, the youth at Spring Garden and youth group
- Those whose jobs are tenuous, those who have been laid off, those without employment prospects ... for our response to this as a church? Let’s pray for the new opportunities that are there for us to share Christ in the midst of such hardship?
- Our missionaries both near and abroad, those who are on furlow and those about to be, for Youth Unlimited, AIA, and any other ministries represented by our church membership
- Linton family and the upcoming Gala, other families in our congregation who struggle daily with disability and disease, those who are battling cancer, mental health issues and other debilitating illnesses
Lord, we now want to pray for our city.
What would you have us pray for our city this evening?
either pray silently or out loud as the Spirit leads.
And finally Lord, we are so aware of the turmoil in our country, in the U.S. and around the world.
We pray for you to be present in the upcoming meeting between Obama and Harper.
We know from your Word that those who call upon You ... You will answer!
May Mr. Obama and Mr. Harper call on the name of the Lord!
Father, we ask ... how would you have us be praying for our country and our world this evening?
As we go out may we be people who hunger to commune with you this week and may we continually be aware of your loving presence.
May we be faithful in prayer ... as your Spirit directs and leads us.
We thank you for hearing the cry of our hearts and our prayers this evening.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Community Prayer | By Mark G

May your peace shine among us and your love set us free, Lord, we pray.
In you alone, Our hearts find rest and peace.
Keep us persevering in faith and set in our hearts the desire for your Kingdom…
In you alone, Our hearts find rest and peace.
Guide your Church along the way of the Gospel; may your Holy Spirit keep us welcoming…
In you alone, Our hearts find rest and peace.
We pray for the leaders of the nations; may they have the will and the means to promote justice and freedom…
In you alone, Our hearts find rest and peace.
O Christ, you have taken our weaknesses upon yourself and taken charge of our illnesses; support those who are going through trials…
In you alone, Our hearts find rest and peace.
For those who work with the oppressed, with foreigners and with the lonely…
In you alone, Our hearts find rest and peace.
We entrust to you our families and friends, all who have asked for our prayers and who pray for us…
In you alone, Our hearts find rest and peace.
For Canada, for Toronto, that the Christians here may be witnesses to truth and creators of unity, Lord, we pray.
In you alone, Our hearts find rest and peace.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lorica Prayer

On Sunday night, our focus was on Celtic Spirituality and specifically the "Lorica Prayer". These are prayers for protection over our whole bodies and being. For our time of prayer, we used an adapted version of a Lorica Prayer from Calvin Miller's book (one of them). Download the prayer here, or read it below.

Lord of mine, now and forever,
To me you are one and indivisible,
Creator God, redeemer Christ and indwelling Spirit,
You are indestructible and eternal;
I am weak and subject to pain and dying.

Proclaim to God those places where you have seen him create new life, where redemption has occurred, where the life of the Spirit has flourished. It may be transformation in your own life, or that of a friend, or in our city or neighbourhood.

I would serve you upon this footstool called the planet;
It is my only possible home,
The Roman stage where your incarnation came
To demonstrate the furthest victory that flesh can know.

Pray for those places where Christ’s victory is needed, as unexpected as it might be. Christ’s victory brings peace, life, justice, and wholeness. It may be a workplace conflict, a homeless person you walk by daily, a family relationship, a government issue, an international catastrophe.

I love the world you made.
It is the porch of heaven,
And there is such need here that I would serve you, Christ the Son,
Till all who live in hope stumble onto Calvary
And come to know why they were born.

Pray for specific people in you know who need to ‘stumble onto Calvary’. Thank God that he is already present in their lives. Pray for an ever-growing love for this world and its inhabitants, confessing to God those places where you do not love. It may be that you judge certain friends, ridicule our government, or treat some people with disdain. Pray for the grace to love them and see Christ in them.

But to help you in reclaiming this lost world,
I must beg you to lengthen my days
And guarantee my fragile life
So I shall have all the time I need to bring
The world to your feet.

Lord, we recognize that we cannot bring God’s Kingdom to its fullness on our own, and yet you have called us to be your Body – the tangible, physical expression of your presence and activity in this world. Pray for listening ears to hear where and to whom God desires us to go in his name. Pray for a blessing upon the places where your heart desires God’s Spirit to move in a powerful and evident way. Perhaps it is a conflict overseas, your campus, or your family.

Therefore, I pray this prayer of protection over you as you seek Christ’s redemption in every corner of the world.

Lord, guard our minds, so we may speak with clarity, truth and justice.

Make our heart to beat for years – for we must serve you by going to the places you have called us, by being people of peace and wholeness in our schools, our workplaces, our families, our city and our country.

Protect us from an impure conscience, for only purity of heart can lead to purity of life. And it will be our pure life which will speak of your glory in our lives and draw people closer to you.

Guard our steps, for waywardness prevents us from continually walking together, closer to you.

Build in us an open interest and empathy for all we meet who swelter in their grudges, for only those who are free of anger can be ambassadors of Christ, bringing hope and justice to every situation.

Give us full health so that we may serve you undistractedly.

Set us on the rampart,
Give us health enough to complete the dream of God.
Amen, Father, maker of my body.
Amen, Christ, incarnate power of health and life.
Amen, Spirit, teacher of my ministry.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Rublev's Icon of the Trinity

Using icons as a form of meditation is probably quite foreign to most of us, yet it is a rich part of Christianity's history. To read an explanation of icons, check out this posting on the Daily.

For our series on spiritual habits, one of theme images is a 15th century icon done by Rublev of the Trinity. Go to this website for a detailed 'tour' of the icon. Here's what Henri Nouwen writes about this image:

"Andrew Rublev painted this icon not only to share the fruits of his own meditation on the mystery of the Holy Trinity but also to offer his fellow monks a way to keep their hearts centered in God while living in the midst of political unrest. The more we look at this holy image with the eyes of faith, the more we come to realize that it is painted not as a lovely decoration for a convent church, nor as a helpful explanation of a difficult doctrine, but as a holy place to enter and stay within. As we place ourselves in front of the icon in prayer, we come to experience a gentle invitation to participate in the intimate conversation that is taking place among the three divine angels and to join them around the table. The movement from the Father toward the Son and the movement of both Son and Spirit toward the Father become a movement in which the one who prays is lifted up and held secure...

Through the contemplation of this icon we come to see with our inner eyes that all engagements in this world can bear fruit only when they take place within this divine circle. The words of the psalm, "The sparrow has found its home at last. . . . Happy are those who live in your house" (Ps 84: 3,4) are given new depth and new breadth; they become words revealing the possibility of being in the world without being of it. We can be involved in struggles for justice and in actions for peace. We can be part of the ambiguities of family and community life. We can study, teach, write and hold a regular job. We can do all of this without ever having to leave the house of love. . . . Rublev's icon gives us a glimpse of the house of perfect love."

Quoted from: Nouwen, Henri J. M. Behold the Beauty of the Lord: Praying with Icons. Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 1987, pages 20-22.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Breath Prayer | Jesus' words to us

We frequently use the breath prayer as part of our meditation at TILT. Read more about it here. On this Sunday, we focused on Jesus' words to us as we read about Paul's promise to everyone aboard the ship - that each one of them would survive the impending crash.


The Apostles' Creed

During an evening of prayer for and celebration with the persecuted church, we read the Apostles Creed together as a symbolic act of standing together with all the saints throughout time. If you want to use this as a desktop background or anything, simply click on the image for the full-size and save it (right-click).


Monday, March 31, 2008

Easter Meditation | Matt Adams

On the morning of the third day, when it was still dark out, we were all dead in our sin. Our bodies had been buried in the ground with Christ; there was no hope of life. It was as if we were stuck, buried in the ground, enclosed with soil, dirt and earth on all sides. We could not move, not to the left or to the right, we were trapped. The earth had enclosed around us. The ground froze over and we were stuck in the freezing cold ground, trapped with no hope. We tried to climb up through the soil but it was no use, it was so hard to move because the ground was frozen and ice and snow had covered the ground in many thick layers. It was suffocating. Even when we got near the surface we hit the inches of thick ice and snow, it enclosed our own mortal lives. All of humanity was trapped in the depths of the earth, tangled in our own depraved imaginations. We were a long time lost; it felt like God had abandoned us, like there was no hope.

Nation warred against nation. Child after child died of hunger. Women were beaten, neglected and abused. Teenagers cut themselves and no longer wanted to live because of the devastation. Those who had food could not eat it because of the vain beauty that had been turned into idolatry. They were indeed stuck, trapped in their sin. Then something miraculous happened, something unexpected. They began to feel the earth move beneath their feet. Was it the warmth of spring coming or was something else happening? What was this glimmer of life, this hope from a distant land? They waited and watched in expectation, they could feel the tremors. From the depths of the earth, from the depths of sin and depravity, a plant began to grow. Against all odds an impossible event started to happen; new life began to rise up through the frozen ground. Life was breathed into Christ’s body. Life came to his hands and feet, to his arms and legs. His blood started to flow, his fingers began to move. God his Father breathed life back into his lungs and He began to sit up. When the entire world was in darkness, trapped and entangled in the soil, roots and weeds, Jesus began to rise. Jesus rose through the depths of our sin, through the famine, through the hatred, through our deprived beings. He was like a shoot beaming forth in the spring. He rose and grew, bigger and bigger. He began to move earth, to shake the land everywhere. He rose up through the ground, through the dead bodies and broken bones until he reached the top. He reached icy ground level that had been too thick for any human to break through; He reached the top and looked at everything that had kept us dead in our sin and said, “No more”. In one swift move, in an act of resurrection, Jesus broke through the icy ground, he came to life. But Jesus didn’t leave the dead bones in the earth, rather he breathed life into the earth so that the ice melted away, the ground was opened up and the people of the earth began to rise to life. Jesus, through his death and resurrection, opened up the ground that had kept us all captive for so long. “Get up and live” he said, “come and follow me.” After Jesus had risen from the dead, on that Easter morning, it was still cold outside, but we had seen the Son rise. Even though we humans still struggled, even though there was still war, famine, poverty, violence and hatred, we now knew that there was hope. We didn’t need to stay underground, trapped in our sin. We, too, with Jesus began to live a resurrected life where it was possible to be healed, to be transformed, and to be a people of love and hope. When all of the angels saw that the son of God had risen they started in their celebration dance. They began to blow their trumpets for they knew that hope had been born again. When God’s people heard the noise they began to join into the heavenly dance and song, saying “Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia to the lamb who was slain.”


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Lectio Divina | Led by Matt A

Last Sunday, Matt led us in this reading of Scripture:
Luke 2 – The Message
So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

Colossians 1- The Message
15-18 We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.
18-20He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he's there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Movies & Faith | Expelled

Looks like an interesting movie coming out this spring by Ben Stein, entitled "Expelled", examining the world of science and its persecution of those who believe in some sort of Creator. Check out the site here.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Lord's Prayer Backwards | from Cheryl

A couple of years ago, I (Cheryl) was at a worship gathering at Weston Park Baptist and the pastor Alan Davey had us read the Lord’s Prayer backwards. I’'ve been meaning to share it with you long before this, but didn’'t get around to it or I would forget. Then we prayed it last week and now I can’'t get it out of my head. It was new to me and made quite an impact on my heart.

For ever and ever
The power and the glory
For yours is the Kingdom
Deliver us from the evil one
And lead us not into temptation
As we have forgiven our debtors
Forgive us our debts
Give us today our daily bread
On earth as it is in heaven
Your will be done
Your kingdom come
Hallowed be your name
In Heaven
Our Father


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Lectio Divina | Psalm 18

Our meditation time on Sunday night was a lectio divina, which you can read about here. The lectio was a reading of part of Psalm 18:
4 The ropes of death entangled me;
floods of destruction swept over me.
5 The grave[a] wrapped its ropes around me;
death laid a trap in my path.
6 But in my distress I cried out to the Lord;
yes, I prayed to my God for help.
He heard me from his sanctuary;
my cry to him reached his ears.

7 Then the earth quaked and trembled.
The foundations of the mountains shook;
they quaked because of his anger.
8 Smoke poured from his nostrils;
fierce flames leaped from his mouth.
Glowing coals blazed forth from him.
9 He opened the heavens and came down;
dark storm clouds were beneath his feet.
10 Mounted on a mighty angelic being,[b] he flew,
soaring on the wings of the wind.
11 He shrouded himself in darkness,
veiling his approach with dark rain clouds.
12 Thick clouds shielded the brightness around him
and rained down hail and burning coals.[c]
13 The Lord thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded
amid the hail and burning coals.
14 He shot his arrows and scattered his enemies;
his lightning flashed, and they were greatly confused.
15 Then at your command, O Lord,
at the blast of your breath,
the bottom of the sea could be seen,
and the foundations of the earth were laid bare.

16 He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
18 They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
but the Lord supported me.
19 He led me to a place of safety;
he rescued me because he delights in me.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Suffering | CBC Radio's Tapestry

Tapestry is a show on CBC radio on Sunday afternoons. Rodway pointed out an excellent show last week, which had a professor from Wycliffe speaking about suffering. From Tapestry's website:

The Victorian novelist George Eliot once wrote that “deep unspeakable suffering may well be called a baptism, a regeneration, the initiation into a new state.” To modern ears, Eliot’s poetic view of suffering may sound a bit much. But to the Reverend Doctor Ann Jervis , it makes sense. Ann Jervis is an Anglican Priest and professor of New Testament at Wycliff College, and at Trinity College. She is also the author of At the Heart of the Gospel: Suffering in the Earliest Christian Message.

Download the show here (right-click and select Save As...) or get the podcast (CBC Tapestry) or listen to it below:


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Peace of the Lord Be With You | A Meditation by Matt A

Download it here, listen to it here:

...or read below:
All day long I see patients who are sick, dying and in need. I wonder whether these
individuals know why I’m doing this. I wonder if they know the love of God through
me and his healing hands through my care and support. After all of my labor people
sill get sick, they are still lonely and there is always more to do. I am tired, worn out
and sometimes struggle to remember why I am doing this.
“The Peace of the Lord be with you.”

Every day I get to spend time with children; teaching them, caring for them, doing
administrative tasks to keep things going around the school. These kids go through
many stages in life. One year I’m there best friend and the next year they don’t even
say hi. I wonder whether I will have a lasting impact on these kids, whether I really
make a difference. It is often hard to fit in with staff too. Do they understand me? Do
they really know who I am? Do they see the Lord I serve in me and the work that I do?
“The Peace of the Lord be with you.”

Every week I come to the Church or this place of ministry. I give up evenings,
weekends, holidays, time with friends and family to serve the Church and the scattered
of this world. I often wonder whether it’s all worth it. Does anyone care? Does anyone
see the sacrifices I make? I can not often see what I’m building. It can be a lonely
journey. Sometimes I spend so much time on demanding tasks which I dislike that I
miss the opportunities for joy, for passion and for ministry.
“The Peace of the Lord be with you.”

When well school ever end; it feels like I’ve been a student forever. I am thankful for
this privilege, but when money is low, professor’s talk to much, the stress never ends
and everyone thinks I have it easy, it’s hard to show that I’m thankful. Where I’m even
going? What career will I choose? What is God’s will for my life? How do I know?
“The Peace of the Lord be with you.”

It’s hard to feel joy, to smile and to believe that everything happens for a reason when I
have friends and family who are sick and dying. Everything is not okay. It hurts so
much to experience suffering, to see my loved ones suffering, that I often pretend like
it’s not even there; like I live in another world. What hope do I have? What hope does
my family have?
“The Peace of the Lord be with you.”

I am a new mother. I am a new father. Does anyone see how precious life is? How
dear this child is? I wonder what they will grow up to be like. How can I raise this child
so that they will know the deep love of God? Will they know how much I love them?
How will I protect them and keep them safe?
“The Peace of the Lord be with you.”

It’s another day at the office. Another day of small talk, photocopying, filing,
procrastinating, trying not to eat poorly and daily duties. Am I wasting my life in this
office? Does this work even matter? I wonder if I should switch jobs, but what would I
do. I hope someone cares about me, that this work does matter. I hope that I can still
be a faithful Christian and work in a place like this; can I?
“The Peace of the Lord be with you.”

I have no job. I have no status. I have no money. It is hard to feel important in a
world where your carrier is power, and I don’t even have one. It’s hard to make good
friends and have a good conversation when you’re caught in your home most of the
day. I know that I spend money that I don’t have in ways that I shouldn’t but I don’t
know how to live otherwise. I just want to be comforted. I want to belong. I want to
have a home.
“The Peace of the Lord be with you.”

I haven’t cried in months. I haven’t experienced God in ages. Where has He gone?
Does He even exist? Sometimes I wonder if this faith is a sham. Maybe it would be
easier to give up; to do whatever I want. I’m sick of all these rules, of all this guilt and
manipulation. I’m sick of hating everything; I just want to be free.
“The Peace of the Lord be with you.”

I am so thankful to God for everything He has done. I can not keep signing His
praises. I want to shout on the top of a mountain. I want to soar in the heavens with
God. I want the world to know that God reigns, that Jesus is alive!
“The Peace of the Lord be with you.”

Numbers 6:22-26:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be
gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”


Monday, October 15, 2007

Prayer of Examen | Second Commandment

Stemming from Gene's teaching on Sunday night, we used the above as a prayer of examen.