Desirable Desires…

photo: Hammond Coates

photo: Hammond Coates

(an acrostic prayer)

Dear Lord, into Your house we run today to seek Your presence in our lives anew and afresh.  We long to worship you!

Excise the sin from our lives with the sword of Your word as we hear it today. May we surrender our wills to Your will, Father.

Supplant our desires with Your desires for us, Father. Help us to see Your desirable desires for each of us, today, O God.

Instruct us through Your Spirit, Father, as we read Your word today.  May we be doers and not hearers only.

Remove the fear from our hearts and minds as we approach You today, Father. Help us to know Your love casts out our fear.

Align our hearts, our very beings, with Your desires for us today even in this worship time and space, dear Lord.

Begin in us again, the newness of life that you have for each of us through the death, burial, and resurrection of Your son, Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Lean into us today, O Lord, that we may learn the value of leaning ourselves into you!

Examine us, Father, through the prism of Your grace and mercy. May we be found useful as a reflection of You today!

Develop us into the likeness of Jesus, Father. May we become more like him for having been in this place today.

Envelope us, around and about, with the power of Your Spirit to forgive as we have been forgiven and to show mercy as You have been merciful to us, O God!

Save us from our selfish desires, Father. We know that left to ourselves, we are sinful and our desires are wrong-hearted.

Infuse us with the power to be Your love in this world, Father. May what we do be an instrument of Your love and peace, O God!

Replenish the joy of our salvation, dear God. We confess our sinfulness has stolen parts of us. Please restore Your joy to us!

Empty us of ourselves and fill us with Your Spirit.  May we be a shining beacon to draw people to You, Father.

Send us from ourselves unto those who need You, O God. Open our eyes to see where You need to be shown as we reflect you today, O God.

         In the name of the most desirable desire, even Jesus Christ our Lord, we pray.  Amen!

The Path Continues…

Bless the Lord…

photo: Cindy Adams Hennigh

photo: Cindy Adams Hennigh

(an acrostic prayer)

Blessed Savior, Son of God, savior of us all, we come to pray in Your name, to worship You, to bless Your holy name.

Lead us from the sinful path that we have walked, into Your path of grace and mercy, Father.

Enthuse us by Your Spirit, that we might encourage those we meet, to trust in You, dear Father.

Saturate us with power of Your Spirit that we might allow You to bless others through us, O God!

Segregate us from Satan as we strive to show You to this sinful world, Father. May we allow You to be our defense and stay.

Temper us by the fire of Your word, O God! May we come through Your purifying love and mercy and be found useful to You!

Hallowed be Your name, O Lord. We want to be a blessing to You as You seek to save and restore those who do not know You through Your Son.

Exhibit through us Your love, Your mercy, Your forgiveness, and Your grace, O God.

Longing to see you face to face, Father, we seek to be with You and to be used in Your kingdom’s work, even here, even now!

Occupy our minds today, Father. May we be ever conscious of Your Spirit’s leading in our everyday lives.

Rain Your cleansing mercy and grace down on Your children today, O God. May we reflect You to our world today.

Defer Your judgment on those who do not accept You today and give us the courage to go to them that You might save, even as You use us to share Your love to them!

In the name that is blessed above all other names, even Jesus Christ, Your Son, we pray.  Amen

The Path Continues…

On My Knees…

Dismal Mountain, Amherst County, VA.

photo: Hammond Coates

(an acrostic prayer)

Omnipotent Father, You alone who hear our prayers in the name of Your Son, Jesus, we come to worship You in this time and place.

Newness of life is what we seek, Father. We come in prayer to offer ourselves again to You. Hear our prayer, O Lord!

Move us from self-reliance to full reliance on You and Your word as Your Holy Spirit guides us to Your understanding today, dear God.

Yearning for the freedom of full-release from the guilt of our sins, Father, we seek Your forgiveness in Your mercy.

Known by You, Father, we are sometimes frightened by that knowledge. Help us to realize, anew, that You only want what is best for us in Your will. Father, forgive our fearfulness before You!

Needing to be cleansed, we come seeking Your cleansing stream of forgiveness, love and mercy, dear Father.

Envelope us in Your grace, Father. Help us, even as we pray, to understand something of the love it takes to show Your grace to others we meet here on this earth.

Even in the midst of praying, we want to praise and worship You, Father, for You alone are worthy to be praised!

Save us, Lord! We kneel before You in earnest prayer and adoration. May our prayer today be a sweet savor raised to You.  Thanks You Father, for hearing us today.

         We pray in the name of Your Son and our Savior, with thanksgiving. Amen!

The Path Continues…

Jesus, My Friend…

Red Maple alongside Crabtree Falls

photo: Hammond Coates

(an acrostic prayer)

Jehovah God, ruler of the universe, we come to worship You and only You today through Your Son, Jesus Christ and in the power of Your Holy Spirit.

Envious of the stillness You require, we come to lay down our busyness and constant motion to be still and know You, Father.

Save us through the blood of Your Son, Jesus.  He calls us friend, Father. May we be friends to You as we worship today.

Usher us into Your presence, Father, by the leading and urging of Your Spirit.  May we sense Your love, mercy and grace, even now, O Lord.

Send us in the same power that calls us to show Your love to this world in which we live. We need your “alongside-ness,” Father.

Move us from selfishness to friendliness, Father. A friendliness that looks after those in need and helps those who need You.

Your requirements of love, justice and mercy are ever before us, Father. Help us to allow You to live them through us today.

Forget our sins, Father. We know Your Son’s blood will cover us if we repent. May we be seen through His sinless life as worthy to be called Your friends today. Father forgive us!

Remove the darkness from our eyes that we may see the who, what, when and where of Your will for us today, O God!

Instruct us again through Your word today, O God. May our hearts, souls and minds be attuned to You today.

Enter into our consciousness to awaken us to Yourself as we strive to be still and know as we are known.

Nailed to a cross, forsaken by His earthly friends, yet Your Son called them friends, Father. May we somehow come to understand just a portion of that kind of love, Father, as we live for You in this world.

Damnation is what we deserve, O Father.  Help us as we examine ourselves today in the light of Your word to fall on Your Son’s blood and be covered to rise pure in Your sight, Father.

We pray with thanksgiving for Your forgiveness and mercy, Father and in the name of our friend, even Jesus Christ. Amen!

The Path Continues…

Looking After…

Gloria Scott  sunset photo Feb 2013

photo: Gloria Scott

(an acrostic prayer)

Lord, God, Creator and Sustainer of us all, we come to worship You, Father.

Open Your eyes of love to us today, Father, that we may feel You looking after us, even now!

Observe in us, Your children, something of a reflection of Your love for mankind, Father. May we look after the people You put in our paths, as You look after us.

Kernel Your love in us so the very center of our beings will be full of Your love and peace and joy and justice, as You look after us today.

Invigorate those God-given emotions that cause us to see as You see; to do as You would do, and to look after one another in Your name.

Naked we feel when we accept Your looking after us, Father. Help us to know the joy of realizing that Your love is what is looking after us.

Gather us to Yourself, Father, that You may help us see You and that we would worship You in spirit and in truth.

Abbreviate Your anger toward us today, Father, for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, as we repent of our sins and seek forgiveness.

Fearful, we are, Father, that sometimes we try to hide from Your “looking after.” Satan has, once again, sold us a bill-of-goods.  And we are less for having taken it as gospel instead of Your Word..

Thrust us from this place of comfort into Your world to “look after” even as we are “looked after” by You Father!

Empty us of pride and selfish reactions to Your offer of grace and mercy, O God. Fill us with Your Spirit today!

Remind us of whose we are, dear Father. We are Your children who need looking after today and we bow before you O God.

In the name of the one who “looks after” us, even Jesus Christ, we pray!  Amen!!

The Path Continues…

Thoughts on “Looking After”…

photo: Hammond Coates

photo: Hammond Coates

(Note to readers: This is the longest post that I have ever written.  I apologize for the length, but the words wouldn’t stop!  Yes, I blame it on the words!!!)

I was born and raised in a rural, south central Virginia farming community in the 1950s. We had neighbors who did the same things as we did, we were all farmers. We raised chickens, pigs, cows, had a horse or two on the farm at various times while I was there. We planted corn, tobacco, wheat, oats, soybeans, garden vegetables and had a variety of dogs and cats during my life on the farm.

One of the best parts of that rural lifestyle was what was called, “looking after”. We “looked after” one another’s farm, children, and other living things. I didn’t know any other way than when someone needed “looking after”, we did it, no fanfare, no t-shirts that called attention to what we were doing, we just did it because that was the way we were raised. “Looking after” or caring for someone or something was just what you did in the course of living.  It was the way of life.

This “looking after” was in essence, the taking care of of someone or something when there was need in the community. For example: if a person were to get sick and not be able to harvest a crop of some kind, the neighbors would get together and “look after” getting that crop harvested for that family. There was no thought of getting paid to do this, it was just a part of people “looking after” people in need. If need this “looking after” would extend to the preparing the crop for sale or preparing for use by the neighbor.  It was a comprehensive “looking after.” And it wasn’t a one-time thing.  If needed, the neighbors would do it again and again for the same person and the rest of the community.

Beyond doing for the sick or incapacitated, people would also “look after” the farms of others while they were away, maybe on vacation or visiting family or even going to town to shop. It was a comfort to be able to know that your neighbor was “looking after” your stuff, whatever it may have been. People knew that whatever went on in that community, people had each other’s back, so to speak. I can remember times when suspicious people were confronted as to the purpose that they were on a certain piece of property while the owner was not present.

I remember a time or two that I got into a little “trouble” at the local school where I attended. I was hoping to get back to the house and explain my side of the situation only to find out that I had been “looked after” by a neighbor who was also a teacher at the school and she had already filled my mother in with the particulars of the trouble. (It seems that it really does take a village to raise a child, at least in my community.) Needless to say, I didn’t appreciate that kind of being, “looked after” at the time. But looking back, it was a good thing to have someone “looking after” you, for in times of real need you could count on someone to be there to walk beside you, no matter what the situation.  I think I learned that at an early age and it has served me well over these years. I believe that learning this “looking after” concept was the beginning of knowing about trust and grace and mercy as well as love.

There is something very comforting about being “looked after.” I find it comforting to know that someone knows my struggles and is willing to come alongside and help me. This sounds strangely similar to my God!

I know, for some, this sounds like a direct invasion of their privacy. These people feel that’s it’s no ones business what they do or what struggles they may have.  That attitude strikes me as a very lonely view of life. Although I must confess that I’ve been there myself.  I grew up in a set of standards that said we keep our business to ourselves and we don’t share those outside of the family. But I would hasten to say that we always “looked after” people in our neighborhood and they “looked after” us, when needed.

I realize there is a line that you shouldn’t cross when “looking after” people, but there is a definite need in our world to, once again, “look after” one another.

Before you complain too much about me suggesting that we need to do more “looking after” each other, I’ll confess that I know where my concept of “looking after” each other was reinforced from the earliest times of my life. I know my views expressed here come from my Christian world-view.  That may turn you off immediately, I hope not, but that is your freedom.  But I know that my God wants me to share what He had given to me and that includes “looking after” those in need or “looking after” those in my sphere of influence, whoever they may be.

I will confess that we Christians must bear some of the blame for the condition of the world around us.  I believe that too many Christians have abandoned this concept of personally “looking after” others in favor of a non-personal, anonymous approach through the government. “That’s what I pay taxes for’” some say. I say, “Really?” I believe we have bought into the concept that I don’t need to be personally involved with others as long as I can get someone or something else to do it for me. Sorry, I don’t buy that! (That’s as political as I will get.)

You see, I know I NEED looking after. I cannot live this life I’ve been given without someone, yes, a personal relationship is required here, “looking after” me.  I admit that and accept that as a human being.  I cannot always lift myself up by my own bootstraps.

Sorry, folks, life does not work that way. I only hope I can “look after” as I have been “looked after”.  I know I do not walk alone in this life. Beyond family friends, and acquaintances, I know my God “looks after” me through His Son, Jesus Christ and by the presence of His Holy Spirit. I know He sees and knows me.

Being ‘looked after” is, for me, the greatest expression of love, grace, and mercy that my God shows me.

“Looking after” someone or something, is my expression of trust and hope. Let me encourage you to “look after” someone today.  Take care of your friends and those you come into contact with daily.  You never know what they are going through and how “looking after” them will, in turn, cause you to see even more “looking after” that is needed. Don’t run from “looking after.” I beg you, stay and “look after” someone.

Don’t fear “looking after,” for in “looking after,” you will be “looked after.”

June 29, 2015

The Path Continues…

“Looking After…”

photo: Chris Adams

photo: Chris Adams

I’ve been thinking about writing an acrostic with the phrase, “Looking After….”  Several situations have arisen concerning individuals that I’m acquainted with that have me thinking about what it means to “Look After” someone or something.
I’m posting to ask your help before I write my thoughts on the subject. Any comments about your experiences would be very helpful.  What does it mean in your culture or family or situations to “look after” someone or something?  I would appreciate any comments as I look to write about it myself. It may turn out to be more than an acrostic, but we’ll see what develops.
Thanks, in advance!
Hammond