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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Collect[ion]

Collection

Greetings y’all,

Hope you are having a great Monday – we at Living Stones have just started a 24/7 Prayer week. So, I thought I’d blog a little bit each day on prayer ideas, reflections from the prayer room and ideas for our own prayer lives. Today the theme is collects.

I have been using these prayers to help deepen my own prayer life and you may like to give it a try.

In the traditional liturgical service the collect is an opening prayer and looks something like this;

Let us pray;

A time of silence to be kept

God of constant mercy,
who sent your Son to save us:
remind us of your goodness,
increase your grace within us,
that our thankfulness may grow,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

Taken from the 12th Sunday after Trinity

There are two main areas that I want to look at in this blog post that I hope will aid you in your prayer life. The first is the order the collect happens and then the second is the collect (Bold Text) itself.

1) The Order 

The collect can be broken into four parts – with each part reinforcing community and the importance of praying together in unity. Each part is important in giving the prayer meaning.

a) The Invitation

It seems quiet simple doesn’t it? Let us pray… but it is part of the whole prayer. The collect is about gathering (collecting) the thoughts of the community and praying together as a response to our individual prayers. Therefore the invitation is key, let us (the body of Christ) pray.

b) The Silence

This is the heart of the collect – it is in the silence that we pray, we collect our thoughts around the theme of that particular collect. We meditate on the scriptures the Holy Spirit brings to mind, we stay in the present – knowing we are loved by God. Silence is so important to our prayer lives and I feel we often underestimate it and its importance.

c) The Collect

The collect is then said as a bringing together or summation of the individual prayers prayer. In the traditional liturgy the leader will say the prayer as a way of articulating the silent prayers of the church. But, we are finding it works equally well when said together as a community.

d) The Amen

The community responds with a AMEN – so be it. We have prayed individual and now we agree with this prayer together.

The collect is not so much vein repetition but carefully thought out reflection and response. Which actually builds in time for the work of the Holy Spirit and for us to respond as a community, not hinder it.

2) The Collect 

So, we have looked at the part of the service where the collect would be. Let’s have a look at how they are constructed and this has been incredibly freeing in my own prayer life and I hope it will be in yours.

a) Address

This is simply who we are speaking to, in our example God is address as “God of constant mercy”

b) An attribute, quality of God or something He has doen

This generally is linked in with the theme of the collect, in our example above we read, “who sent your Son to save us: 

c) The petition

What we are asking of God. “remind us of your goodness, increase your grace within us”

d) The reason or expected result

Why we want that prayer to be answered. “that our thankfulness may grow”

e) Conclusion

The Christ centred conclusion, “through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

f) Amen

As it says! So be it!

So, there is a brief overview of Collects.

They are important in our times of corporate prayer as I have said already. But, I am also finding great use in jotting down my own collect style prayers as part of my prayer time. They help shape our focus, they help remind us of who God is, they help us think what we are actually asking for and why we want it. As a result my times of prayer have become more refined, more fruitful as my mind wanders less.

They also lead to more content-filled prayers – we think a little, speak less but with more purpose and wait on God more. I for one am all for that.

I am also finding that they are helping in the constant prayer as well. As I am staying mindful of Jesus, praying for the people I meet or in the same coffee shop as me, my prayers are fed from my collected thoughts on that subject. I am praying God’s blessing on them knowing that we serve and follow a God who is rich in mercy and is for us not against us.

My encouragement to you would be to give it a go, write a collect and maybe even share it with your community this week. You know what is going on in your community – try to put that into a prayer that collects your thoughts and bring it as a corporate offering.

Grace and peace,

Steve

Here are two of mine, see what you think;

Heavenly Father, Seer of all, our protector and our shield. Grant that we will walk rooted and built up in Christ, that we may our lives with thanksgiving in our hearts. In the name of Jesus our risen saviour.

Amen

Faithful Father, Full of grace and mercy. We ask that your peace would rule in our hearts that we may be faithful in our witness of you, through Christ our Lord and Saviour

Amen

Some more examples of the Collect can be found here.

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Rise and Shine [Part 2]…

Greetings,

Friday came and went!

But here are a few ideas to further the conversation on re-presenting Jesus.

@MrsBlunders and I have had many conversations over the recent months of things that we would like do, what we want to do and what God may be calling us to do. Some of these may never be done, some will be developed over the next few years.

We have decided that we want to live in the expectancy of what God is doing now and let that spill over into the future. We are trying to live as if those things were in place now – we are living in the now. We don’t want to keep saying, “we’ll do that when….”. There are certain things that are money dependant – like decorating, but there are a whole heap of things that are not. We were waiting for the ‘quieter day’.

We have realised that the quieter day will probably never come! We have to be wise and strategic in what we decided to do, but we must do things now.

On a personal note, I feel God is calling me in a certain direction and has asked me to raise my game and live like I was doing that calling already. This has involved giving certain things up, selling a few things and devoting time to study of and reading God’s word.

So to part two of Rise and Shine; 6 ideas to try re-presenting Jesus to all we meet.Some of these suggestions we are experimenting with and some we have not done yet, but see which one strikes you and let us join together in re-presenting Jesus.

1) Pray for those near you

When you are next in a coffee shop or some other public place and you have a few extra moments, pray for those who are around you. Pray God’s blessing on them, pray for followers of Jesus to come in to contact with them that day and ask God if you need to say something.

2) Give you place to someone in a hurry

If you are not in a rush, let the person who obviously is in a rush go before you – bless them at the same time.

3) Say ‘thank you’ more often

Find opportunities to thank people you know and do not know. Leave your friends thank you notes, send an email thanking someone for there service on a Sunday or just for being a friend.

4) Catch your child doing something good

I recently read ’60 minute Father’ by Rob Parsons (I highly recommend it to all Dads) and one of the main points that I came away from the book was the importance of catching your children doing something good and praising them for it. I’m working on this everyday, especially in the morning when I’m on go slow! 😉

5) Join in with #3goodthings on Twitter and Facebook

We have a great window through Twitter and Facebook to show what following Jesus is all about. We can give thanks for what God is doing in our lives as well as being real and saying that life is hard. We re-present that  following Jesus is not an immediate fix to all our problems, but a real relationship with a real God who loves us.

6) Invite more people round for meals more often

We love food and we love our friends. We are trying to combine the two when we can. Who could you invite for a meal in the next few weeks?

So there you go a few insights into how we are trying to re-present Jesus. Can I encourage you to look at what are you doing and what you can do to re-present Jesus to all that you meet?

Let me know your thoughts,

Grace and peace,

Steve

Almighty One,

All power, majesty and glory are yours!

We ask that you would strengthen and equip us,

that we may be faithful in our witness of re-presenting you,

through Christ our Lord and Saviour

Amen

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 18, 2011 in God, Gospel of John, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Mission, Prayer

 

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Rise and shine…

Hello again,

It’s been a while, we have been very busy with EODS, children and other bits and bobs. But, we hope to get back to blogging on a regular basis from today!

We as a community (Living Stones) have been dwelling on this short passage from the Gospel of Matthew;

Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:15-16 ESV

We have been looking at what it is to let our lights shine before others and how good works fit in. We are still very clear that our relationship with Jesus is based entirely on His grace and nothing we can do either adds or takes away from His grace. Paul stresses in Ephesians this very point;

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing;  it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

Paul is quiet clear that it is grace (the gift of God) not a result of works. He once believed that he needed to keep the law in order to be right with God. But, the revelation of meeting Jesus on the Damascus Road changed his whole thinking.

This Jesus is the one who had died (according to the law) an accursed death on the cross. In Paul’s mind, Jesus had been condemned by the law (Deut 21:22-24 cf. Gal 3:13) and cursed by God. But, now God has glorified this accursed man! The law which condemned Jesus, was itself condemned by God.

Saul’s very life was falling apart.

We start to understand why Paul was in Damascus for three days trying to get his head around what all this meant.

In a nutshell it meant; faith in God’s grace.

The works we do therefore are out of grace, not out of anything else. We work for God from the position of grace, our works do not add anything to our salvation but, they are how we show our faith in action. We put our faith in God’s grace when we live for Him alone. We are called to be God’s representatives in our local places.

Another way to look at the word represent is to say RE – PRESENT. A representative is someone who re-presents the will of another.

We are to re-present Jesus to all that we meet. We show them His will – grace, mercy, love and compassion.

We are to show everyone we meet Jesus again,

through our actions,

through our deeds,

through our words,

our prayers,

our choices,

everything we do is to bear witness to re-present Christ to the world in which we live.

Paul also says in his letter to the Ephesians that we are to,

make the most of every opportunity for the days are evil. Ephesians 5:16 ESV

Paul is talking in this chapter 5 about walking with Christ, in love, faith and wisdom. We are to do the same.

Making sure that in every opportunity we get that we learn to re-present Jesus to a fallen world.

Paul goes on in Ephesians 6 to point out that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers. Therefore, if it has got flesh and blood it is not our enemy.

So, we make the most of every opportunity to re-present Jesus to all.

Where there is despair – we bring hope

Where there is hatred – we bring love

Where there is bitterness – we bring forgiveness

Where there is mourning – we mourn with them

Where there is joy – we celebrate

Where there is illness – we speak healing

Where there is brokenness – we hold them, like Jesus would

We are to bear witness to what God has done in our lives and to declare that JESUS is LORD.

So let us rise and shine and show God’s glory to all that we meet!

Have a think and let me know your thoughts,

Look out for a another post on Friday with a few practical tips on how we can go about re-presenting Jesus.

Grace and Peace,

Steve

 

Prayer:

Almighty God, Father of all,

We thank you for the gift of your son,

your grace towards us,

We ask that we may re-present Christ to all we meet – this and every day.

May we learn to tell our stories, 

May we learn to share our lives,

May we learn to be a community of Grace,

May we re-present Jesus faithfully to all whom we meet today,

In Jesus name and in the power of the Holy Spirit,

Amen

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 12, 2011 in God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Mission

 

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