Below is the resource I provided for our contemplative prayer gathering today at noon. We will provide time and space regularly for church members to come and pray in our sanctuary. If you would like to pray where you are today, maybe this will help.
Welcome to Oxford Baptist Church and our contemplative prayer time. During this time, the sanctuary is open for you to come, rest, and pray. You may do with this time and space whatever you would like. You may stay as long as you would like and leave whenever you are ready.
If you need a guide for this time, this page is provided for you as a resource. You may pray it all in order, or skip around, or follow your own prodding and guiding. This is a resource to assist you, not a to-do list of readings that need to be accomplished.
It is our prayer that being in this space together, quietly, during this time, will help connect you to God and to your faith in a special way despite the difficulties of the season of life we find ourselves in.
God Bless, Oxford Baptist Church
Heavenly Father, we gather in this sacred place to turn our attention to you. Lead us into and through the mysterious silence where your love is revealed to all who call. We pray that by closing our mouths, you will open our hearts to the presence of the spirit of your Son. May the words we read and pray, take root in our hearts that we might experience your presence and love more fully after having shared this time together.
We give ourselves to you now.
Read the Psalm slowly and consider how this might be your prayer. Think about how you might be called to act of these words.
I will sing of loyalty and of justice;
to you, O Lord, I will sing.
I will study the way that is blameless.
When shall I attain it?
I will walk with integrity of heart
within my house;
I will not set before my eyes
anything that is base.
I hate the work of those who fall away;
it shall not cling to me.
Perverseness of heart shall be far from me;
I will know nothing of evil.
One who secretly slanders a neighbour
I will destroy.
A haughty look and an arrogant heart
I will not tolerate.
I will look with favour on the faithful in the land,
so that they may live with me;
whoever walks in the way that is blameless
shall minister to me.
No one who practises deceit
shall remain in my house;
no one who utters lies
shall continue in my presence.
Morning by morning I will destroy
all the wicked in the land,
cutting off all evildoers
from the city of the Lord.
During this prayer, take time to consider all those in our lives, our families, our friends, our community, and our world who need our prayers.
Lord God, friend of those in need,
your Son Jesus has untied our burdens and healed our spirits.
We lift up the prayers of our hearts for those still burdened, those seeking healing, those in need within the church and the world.
Offer your prayer for others now before closing with:
Hear our prayers
that we may love you with our whole being
and willingly share the concerns of our neighbors. Amen.
This scripture from Exodus will also be used in worship on Sunday. Take a few moments to read it slowly. You may decide to read it several times, each time asking a different question such as:
What brings you hope? What brings you fear?
What calls you to act? Who is God using to bring goodness?
How are we called to do the same?
The Israelites Are Oppressed
Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, ‘Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.’ Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labour. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labour. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.
The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, ‘When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.’ But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, ‘Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?’ The midwives said to Pharaoh, ‘Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.’ So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, ‘Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.’
Birth and Youth of Moses
Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him for three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.
The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. ‘This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,’ she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?’ Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Yes.’ So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.’ So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, ‘because’, she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’
Sitting in Silence
By now, you may have read prayers and scriptures, but have you stopped? Have you sat still? Have you quieted your mind and hearts in the sacred place? What if you sat still (maybe close your eyes) to listen and feel for the Spirit of God? Can you take 5 minutes to do so? 10 minutes?
Prayer of Confession
In your presence, oh Holy God, we come with penitent and obedient hearts to confess our sins. In your mercy, hear our prayers … (Silent Confession)
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves;
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us.
Fill us with desire to delight in your will and walk in your ways to the glory of your name. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon
Our Almighty God has mercy on us and forgives us of all our sins through Jesus Christ. May we be strengthened in all goodness and by the power of the Holy Spirit, kept in eternal life. Amen.
Most Holy God, the source of all good desires, all right judgments, and all just works: give to us your servants that peace which the world cannot give, so that our minds may be fixed on the doing of your will and that we, being delivered from the fear of all enemies, may live in peace and quiet rest; Through the mercies of Christ Jesus our Savior. Amen
When you are finished, you may depart in silence and peace to love and serve the Lord.
God Bless you.