Lord, you have said, “Come unto me, all you who are weary”. I pray today for those who are weary, weary of life itself; weary of its problems, its struggles; its burdens; its insoluble difficulties; its broken relationships; its long ongoing illnesses; its looming nightmares. I bring them all to you. In Jesus’ name, heal and renew – AMEN.
Lord, thank you for the assurance that I am not alone in this world, that you have said, “I am with you always, to the end of the world”. Lord when times are tough, be with me. When I am worried, be with me. When I am ill, be with me. When I feel lonely and lost, be with me. When I am confused, be with me. In Jesus’ name – AMEN.
Lord, help me to live a life of love. Inspire me to love you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Help me to love my neighbour as I love myself, as you told me to. Keep reminding me that love is the biggest thing in the world, and especially so in a world that breeds hatred, suspicion and death. I ask it in the name of Jesus – AMEN.
“The Lord says to those foreigners who become part of his people, who love him and serve him, … and faithfully keep his covenant: ‘I will bring you to Zion, my sacred hill (and) give you joy in my house of prayer’”.
Isa 56:6, 7 GNB
Years ago a book appeared on the market entitled “Your God is Too Small”. It listed and looked at all the inadequate ideas there are of God. The title became something of a catch-phrase. Most people’s ideas of God are too small. So were the ideas of the Israelites. And their unwanted visit to Babylon caused them to expand their idea of God. Previously they had believed that their God would have nothing to do with the Babylonians or any other nation. Here, speaking after the first batch of exiles had returned to Israel, Isaiah revealed a new discovery about God. He had arms that opened wide to welcome foreigners who would love, worship and serve him. God would even bring them to Jerusalem. They would share in the temple worship alongside the “true-blue Israelites”.
The arms of God opened wide to receive people of all nations and the arms of Jesus opened wide on the cross to offer God’s love and his redemption to people of all nationalities, cultures and languages. Jesus had healed a Roman centurion’s servant and shown himself to be above the narrow nationalism that still dominated the thinking of many of his fellow Jews. Expand your concept of God as well. Have nothing to do with the narrow excluding ideas of so many versions of religious belief. Welcome all-comers to the family of God. God does!
Lord, help me to be as welcoming as Jesus was to everyone.
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