Friday, February 05, 2016

Turn Back

Speak or think these words until God is at the center of your mind.
When one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.
—2 Corinthians 3:16

Look down from heaven and see, from your holy and glorious habitation. Where are your zeal and your might? The yearning of your heart and your compassion? They are withheld from me. For you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us and Israel does not acknowledge us; you, O Lord, are our Father; our Redeemer from of old is your Name. Why, O Lord, do you make us stray from your ways and harden our heart, so that we do not fear you? Turn back for the sake of your servants, for the sake of the tribes that are your heritage. Your holy people took possession for a little while; but now our adversaries have trampled down your sanctuary. We have long been like those whom you do not rule, like those not called by your Name.
—Isaiah 63:15-19

Regardless of how things are going for us, you are indeed our Father. Only the true church of God can speak as Isaiah did in this passage, for when all evidence points to the contrary, though the people had turned away, the soul knew its true relationship with God. Faith maintains an interest in God even when our works make us into failures. When all is lost and gone, faith still cries, You, O Lord, are our Father! So it is with us still today. Though all around seem hopeless and though our best intentions have resulted in failure and sin, by faith we have a firm foundation upon which to stand.
—after John Owen, 21 Mar. 1675

(Suggested tune: Mit Freuden Zart
Come, let us praise the Lord of lords,
who brings us life and pleasure—
a Shepherd who attends the flock
with care that none can measure.
Give us desire to hear thy voice;
thy will to make thy way our choice;
thy love our fondest treasure.
—Psalm 95:6-7, Michael Morgan paraphrase

Let this prayer help guide the personal prayers that follow.
Help me, O God, honestly to admit my faults to you, even as you grant me the assurance that I am your child. Renew my life and point me once again in the right direction; in Jesus' Name...

(Spoken aloud or silently)

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 debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

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