Spirit of PrayerPart one of thirty prayer poems packed with practical wisdom, theological truths and poetic insights, wrapped in layers of exquisite music by Francis Cummings and Linda Louisa, and interspersed with five of Carol Sampson’s beautiful songs.
May you feast on the riches,
and turn to these words and music
at times when they will inspire
the Spirit of Prayer to flow within you,
and help you to make sense
of many things.
Below you will find each track with illustrated lyrics to follow as you listen.
Click the button above to listen to all the tracks on a SoundCloud playlist.
A Feast for the Ears and the Eyes with ‘every track a diamond’, as one person put it.
Sally Mowbray has beautifully illustrated these prayers and poems. Do take the time to enjoy them – she has created a real work of art.
Concerning the piece ‘Bring your work to completion,’ Laurie Klein wrote:
‘It is intimate, inspired, and it drew me right in. I especially love the section where you invite us to listen to the Scriptures being read and spontaneously assign them as prayers to the name or face which pops into your head. For every verse that you read, I found the Spirit supplying the recipient.’
We hope you will be blessed with similar experiences as you soak in the words and music.
Spirit of Prayer (1)
May the Lord empower you as you listen, and enable you to respond in the Spirit of Prayer.
(1) Vision of Glory
I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven.
And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said,
“Come up here, and I will show you what must take place.”
At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian.
As I looked, thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze.
A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from before His face.
Thousands upon thousands attended Him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.
The court was seated,
and the books were opened.
This vision of You in Your glory
takes me far beyond the trite and shallow,
Your voice is like the sound of rushing waters,
and Your face like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
You have opened the door
for me to come into Your exalted courts
to hear what Your Spirit exhorts;
for this is where the real decisions are made
as Your saints and angels gather round Your throne.
Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labour on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
(2) Pool of Bethesda
Come up higher to seek My face;
it is not chance that has brought you to this place,
and I am waiting to meet You here.
High and mighty one,
You place Your hand on us and call us secret warriors.
You pour out anointing oil from Your flask,
and appoint us for a season to specific tasks.
It is here in your courts that I see how You hold
all things together by Your sovereignty –
and the profound and perfect interconnectedness
of Your plans and purposes.
And just as You move the seasons forward,
so Your guidance comes successively
as and when we need to know it.
Lord Your Word reminds us that all things are ours (1 Cor 3:21)
whatever we do or do not own;
Establish in us the balance between simple spontaneity
and profound inner order.
Place us in teams and trysting places where we can develop
the strategies that will best direct and envelop our days,
and cause the Spirit of prayer to draw near.
When condemnation snags my soul,
restrain my fears and lift me to a higher plane again.
Remove the shackles of my fear:
the overweight of former years,
and the shock of heavy stumbling blocks;
for You delight to gather a mighty harvest
from even our simplest prayers.
You love to see us immersing all we do,
and everyone You lead us to,
in the light that comes from You.
In all things we extend earnest prayer,
wrapped in the fragrance of thanksgiving.
Release afresh the freedom of the Spirit’s tears
in the spirit of eternal prayer.
Overcome the peril of false attachments,
until we truly want what You most want;
for You miss us when we put anyone or anything ahead of You.
As we crystallise Your victories on this home run
we celebrate the battles You have won;
and when we fall and stumble,
help us not to crumble but to start again;
for Your ability to forgive
is so much greater than ours to fail.
Ancient of Days, we rejoice in these moments You accord,
when You direct seeming coincidences
from the centre of Your throne;
initiatives that love alone interprets and inspires,
that lead toward Your throne.
The writer to the Hebrews reminds us that we have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. We’ve come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect – and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant.
I am with you today Lord Jesus, by the pool of Bethesda
and You delight to share this time in the cool of the day
not just to prepare me for some coming trial,
but because even in the thick of the action
You seek companions who share and understand Your heart.
I am with you today, Lord Jesus, by the pool of Bethesda
and I need no angel to trouble the water on behalf of Your daughter,
for the King of Kings has placed springs within my soul.
Lord of the still calm waters of this healing pool,
You surround me with a love
that confounds all hostile stares
rescues me from deadly snares,
and gives me the grace to endure in tribulation as in wealth
– and a peace that passes understanding,
which the world can neither give nor take away.
(3) Host of Heaven
The Lord’s angels are closer than we think,
strong to deliver God’s help those who are on the brink
May our spirits be still and pure enough
to catch glimpses of them in action
and to follow any commands they direct our way.
Lord, we speak in Shetland of hamefaring,
when thousands with links to the islands
make their way home
for a poignant and joyful reunion;
and we too are hamefaring;
making our way to Heaven
where innumerable saints
are pouring out their praise
to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
And we, by grace, dwell in the company of
this great cloud of witnesses
whose prayers live on –
for He is the God of the living, and not the dead,
and we by grace share communion
with this heavenly throng.
Teach us what it means to enter this sacred sanctuary,
as Your Spirit shows us more of what it means
to live with the nearness of the Host of Heaven.
One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple.
Knowing the eternal reward that awaited You
You were prepared to leave the riches of Your heavenly home –
as the vanguard for a thousand million souls
who would also serve the largely unappreciative,
and suffer at their hands.
Even so may we Your followers check from time to time whether what we are doing
really is of eternal worth: loving Jesus, and serving those for whom He died.
(4) Lord of my Life
My Master, my Friend, my Brother
Saviour, Redeemer and Lord
My father, my King, my High Priest in Him
my Peace and Refuge in the storm
My Rock, my Fortress, my Deliverer
My Shield, my Salvation, my Strength
My Shepherd, my Healer, my Joy and my Peace
My Hope and the Light of my Life
You are the Lord of my life
and in You I’m alive
and I set my gaze on You
trust only in You
hide Your Word in my heart.
(5) I Receive Your Love
This is a prayer for those who are going through times of near intolerable pressure.
If the Lord is moving the stage sets of our lives around, it is only because He is changing the scenery – and by His mercy the new scenarios will be good. By His grace may we let Him do whatever it takes to keep us moving forward.
To those who are feeling overwrought and pummelled,
and only just keeping going,
the Lord says,
Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’
says the LORD Almighty.
“What are you, O mighty mountain?
You will become level ground.
Then he will bring out the capstone
to shouts of `God bless it! Grace to it!’
“Don’t despise the day of small beginnings!”
My children, many have come
and many have gone
without finding the place of inner release.
There are reasons for the blocks that keep them
from standing on the Rock.
Some plans miscarry through
failing to seek My plans and purposes;
and insufficient tarrying in My presence.
So come, My child,
over the shards, through the narrow places
and across the broad slow plains
until you find some quickening ray as you pray;
for I too am paying a heavy cost
to keep you in the fray.
Lord, with joy I receive Your love,
for nothing else can satisfy my heart,
and nothing less shall fill my day.
I receive Your love;
deep within my soul.
You do not give us a spirit of timidity,
but of power and love and self control.
Rally our defences when the devil intrudes;
challenge our complacency
when we are tempted to go our own way.
You want us to seek You,
even in the most ordinary of events.
Therefore as you go,
may you know His power in your life;
as you live, may you yield up more of your heart
and so receive His love –
which nurtures like a mother
and teaches like a father.
(6) Shepherd of our Souls
Lord Jesus by Your birth
You earthed eternal love
and sparked something new in each heart that You touched.
The heart of the downcast disciples burned within them
as You joined them on the road to Emmaus.
Just so do You shepherd our souls,
exalting the humble
but leaving the proud to stumble;
for nine times out of ten
the essence of judgement lies less in some external act
than in the silent shrivelling of the soul.
Not knowing all You can do in the hearts of excluded ones,
the teachers of the law browbeat those they regarded as scum;
but You exalted them to be the salt and light of the world.
Since You delight to evoke some higher way of seeing
help us to tease out hidden gifts and talents
in the hearts of valiant souls.
It is the way of love,
and its deepest pain,
that one partner often loves more than the other –
and this is still more true for You, Lord.
Help me play my part to requite,
at least in part, this love
that never shrinks from pouring out
so much in return for so little.
Lord Jesus, You know what I must do
to further Your work in my soul.
Don’t let me skimp on spending time with You,
or walk with a spiritual limp;
If I have allowed anything to die within my soul,
reclaim that ground and fan the gift into flames –
for You are my pilot through all my reefs and griefs.
Lord Jesus, You know what You must do
to further Your work in the heart of the Church.
Don’t let us skimp on spending time with You,
or walk with a spiritual limp;
We dedicate the projects You would have us undertake –
orchestrate them to Your pulsating glory;
for You are our pilot through all our reefs and griefs.
Increase the scope of our concern
and send us where You will –
but may we always have a special heart
for the oppressed, misunderstood,
And when our particular race is run,
You will welcome us to our place,
removing every trace of all that is misplaced;
for everything goes deeper
as we deepen by Your grace.
(7) Spirit of Prayer
Lord Jesus, as surely You saved the wedding from disaster,
You’re never short of plans for leading us on,
so help us to look less at circumstances that oppress,
and our own lack of resources,
and more at the assurance of Your presence.
With what authority You sent Your disciples out,
demonstrating that one plus You is still a majority.
Show us where we have under performed
by being too slow to act on what
You have bestowed.
Time and again You reproved Your disciples
for their profound unbelief.
May we make it our absolute priority
to stretch out Your rod of authority,
so You may never have to chide us
for failing to move in the power You provide.
When we know not what to pray,
may Your Spirit point the way,
bidding us ask, seek and knock;
to bind and release,
in order that Heaven may have the increase.
Spirit of prayer,
saturate our hearts
with joy and fervour,
so that whether we are giving birth through hardened earth
or dancing for the sheer romance
of loving You,
our prayers may range wide and far,
and match Your generous stride.
Come light that knows no night,
whether we be introverts or extroverts,
keep us in Your Spirit’s flow;
so that all we do, and even think
may be carried out beneath the banner of Your authority.
For You have given us today and eternity.
And though it is right to take proper steps and to make proper plans
You would rather have us fully engaged from day to day
rather than holding out for some mythical moment
when it all begins to happen.
Stir up in us this most precious habit of prayer,
so that we may catch the many things we see and hear
and unlatch them all in prayer.
You keep no record of our wrongs,
but the recording of Your deeds and doings
is a mighty springboard for our faith.
We direct our spirits now to lift
places and people before Your throne,
who may even be unknown to us,
but who are deeply known and loved by You.
(8) Make Room for the Lord
We focus so much of our energy on our external appearance;
how we are coming across, what we are wearing and so on.
As a dear friend used to say,
‘If we could just get that amount down by a few percent,
it would leave so much more room for the Lord to work.’
We can’t afford to underestimate how much effort
the powers of darkness put into distracting us.
The devil knows how to spin a plausible yarn,
and how to level his guns at us.
It takes courage to call his bluff,
and to realise that these guns may not be loaded
– or, if they are, that the Lord can still deflect and protect us.
This is serious spiritual warfare.
we want to ask that You will help us discern what is our task
and what is Yours
and to really know the difference.
For this will help us to be clear
when it is right to take steps to defend ourselves,
and when we can safely leave You
to do all the defending for us.
Provide close confidants with whom
we can pour out our hearts,
without needing to adjust our terminology,
and worrying whether we are getting
our politics and theology quite right;
for this is this flow of trust
that You love to honour most.
(9) You Never Change
In the beginning, You laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of Your hands.
They will perish, but You remain the same,
and Your years will never end.
Lord, You never change,
but I would not be the poet and prophet that I am
were every day to be just as yesterday.
On dank drab winter’s days,
when the sunlight lies
hidden in the haze,
keep me from the myth
‘but what if’s’,
and the lonely
Lift me afresh upon your shoulders,
to behold Your power over all these boulders.
Intervene in my daily routine
whenever I am straying towards the ravine
and whisper, ‘this is not the way.’
Thank You for the many ways you convey Your pleasure
when I overcome self doubt and push the boat right out.
May I never become so entrenched
that I quench Your Spirit’s fire
or treat true prophecy with contempt.
Give me the wisdom not just to hold on to what is true
but to press through and appropriate that which comes from You.
High and mighty one,
so glorious in apparel,
from the storehouse of Your unseen observation dome
send Your prime shalom.
And Lord, reshape every peril
on the anvil of Your love.
Impart fresh new dreams within our hearts
on those long and dusty climbs
when nothing seems to rhyme.
(10) I am bought with a price
“What causes fights and quarrels among you?
Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?” (James)
“A patient man calms a quarrel,
but starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam.” (Proverbs)
“The Lord’s servant must not quarrel;
instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach,
not resentful but patient with difficult people.” (2 Timothy 2)
Paul reminds us that it is no longer we that live but Christ who lives in us. Since we are no longer our own, Christ’s interests should be our concern, and we should be willing to lay down the things that lead to quarrels and division.
Father, Your word says,
Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker.
You sent the Lord Jesus full of grace and truth,
veering now in the direction of grace
and now more towards truth,
as wisdom required.
Grant us more of this divine authenticity
that moves in great simplicity
more one way and then the other
as wisdom requires,
reconciling souls with their Maker.
Give us courage to contend for the faith,
but keep us from flaring up in ire
when people snipe and gripe,
lest we end up fighting fire with fire.
Infuse Your grace and truth to defuse each of our temptations,
but guard the flashpoints in our hearts
lest the enemy’s battering ram
appoints a quarrel that seeks to breach the dam.
Lord, we give you full permission
to define and realign our onward mission.
Grant us grace to embrace this glorious truth,
that we were bought at a price to be our Beloved’s –
and He is ours for ever.
am I the man of peace
that you would have me be,
or do I still both fret and regret?
The man who lives and moves in peace
reaches out to lend Your strength,
so let Your life breathe through me today,
transforming the churnings of my heart,
augmenting the spirit of quiet content.
The woman who lives and moves in peace
surrenders everything to God.
She is patient and interruptible;
she neither fears nor fawns
but draws near to the sad and withdrawn.
Lord, am I a woman who lives and moves in peace,
or do I still both judge and grudge?
Is there anything that I must yield afresh to You?
I declare war on all in me that opposes You.
and ask You to mould my temperament
in the spirit of Your quiet content.
And Lord, where there is stress and sterility
as the result of apparent incompatibility,
help us develop ways of coping
that will give us the ability to help each other through,
and transform our differences into much appreciated features:
a profoundly complimentary kaleidoscope.
(11) I am not in charge
Lord, I cannot put this too strongly:
I want to declare it to the deep places of my heart:
I am not in charge!
For every time I begin to act
as though everything depends on me,
I end up making mistaken demands:
Forgive me every time
I miss vital warning signs.
and cross these hidden boundary lines.
My desire to follow Your will
gives me no right to reproach or encroach
for when I judge outward deeds and dealings
it only serves to trigger
unwise judgements that polarise matters still more;
and though I see people’s faults so clearly,
I often miss their inward humility.
Lord, You allow the most irksome things
to come my way to reveal my tendency to fix.
Help me move beyond the outward need for conflicts
and to realise that what You actually want
is for me to relinquish all control.
I pray for that quality of grace that refrains from running down
and gives to others far more space,
honouring them to receive Your crown.
When everything inside is screaming
that some extreme thing needs removing,
You sometimes shelve my plea,
permitting scenarios that appear to threaten everything.
Let’s not hear these words and think they must apply
to some other soul who has gone awry –
but rather pause awhile to confess our deadly soul attack.
(12) My soul finds rest in God alone
Lord, drop Your still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls
the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of Your peace.
Lord, I’ve often sung those words,
but since dew
never falls on stormy nights
let my heart be still enough
to receive the whispers of Your love.
Sometimes, Lord, Your silence is as eloquent as words,
for You know what You are planning to do,
as surely as You stilled the hunger
of the crowds who followed You up the hill.
You want us to trust You
beyond all immediate signs of comfort.
Fishermen catch no fish
until they cast their net,
and since I will know no peace of mind
until I place my burdens
into Your powerful hands
I cast all variety of anxiety upon You now,
undeterred Shepherd of my soul.
King David said, “I delight to do Your will”;
let his words be also true of me.
If You had let me follow
the devices and desires of my heart,
I would never have reached the places
You had in mind.
so You have allowed strange disappointments to come my way
in order to fulfil Your higher vision;
and You want me to trust You in what comes next.
May we leave no stone unturned in following up Your leads;
for though we never know which ones will succeed
You give growth to the seeds we sow.
It’s so often when we go the extra mile that Your power breaks through,
so help us follow every sign of Your Kingdom
as we give You the people and situations we are involved in.
(13) Abundant God
Father, it is as natural for You to give of Your fullness
as it is for us to breathe,
for You are the very image of plentifulness,
and when it comes to serving You,
help us to put first things first, and last things last,
lest anything become an idol or a snare;
for You are from everlasting to everlasting,
and Your years will never end.
Since You make use of even the trials and residues of life
You declared: “Let nothing be wasted,” (John 6:12) –
and the baskets were filled with the loaves that remained.
You remind us to launch out into the deep
and to let down our nets for the catch. (Luke 5:4)
It isn’t skill alone that will catch these fish
but obedience to Your voice;
so where would you have us cast our nets today, Lord?
It sometimes feels as though my giving to the poor and needy,
and even to your Kingdom warriors,
is but a drop in the ocean,
yet even the Pacific is made up of so many drops,
and Your word tells us to give and it will be given back to us:
everything added because Your hand has guided;
so I bow my knee afresh
and await Your further instructions
on who and what You wish me to support.
Grant us too the inner strength and resilience
to reject the enemy’s assessment of the way things are –
and to press on beyond every disappointment.
Challenge and confront the ‘no go’ areas in our thinking patterns
in order to give free course to Your thoughts and insights.
Grant us spiritual fathers, mothers and mentors –
and the willingness to serve in this way ourselves,
with steadily increasing influence
in all the work You see fit to give us –
and that we are seeking to do for You, abundant God.
(14) Guide and Counsellor
Come to Me, My child;
from all the wild perplexing things
that are robbing you of peace.
Rest awhile, for My sake
as well as yours,
for even when you’re feeling really down
you will not drown;
I am still your Guide and Counsellor,
who provides my child
with all she needs.
You know all that has happened,
what I have done,
and what others have done to me;
the profound hurts that have tossed my life this way and that.
I know these sufferings will not thwart Your final plan,
but right now I need to give expression to my pain.
Lord, You’ve brought me to this place
where I need your healing embrace;
Let Your refining love console me
when I am feeling out of control,
and struggling to define my role.
When I feel exposed,
and hanging by a thread
You want to see me fight –
but I can’t go on unless You send
to stitch my rended heart.
So as we seek Your face,
Refresh us with Your grace.
(15) With God in the Darkness
When we are under extreme pressure, the Lord is our ever present help and refuge – but that does not mean that we will necessarily find it easy to feel His presence. May the pressures not hold us back from seeking Him – and from sharing what we are going through with at least one other person.
The prophet said,
‘In the shadow of His hand
He hid me.
He made me into a polished arrow,
and concealed me in His quiver.’
Lord Jesus, we shelter beneath the refuge of Your Almighty hand –
and find such sweetness there,
but sometimes it is hard to stand,
because it is so dark beneath Your hand.
Forgive us when we fail to understand
that You are using this narrowed time to prepare a polished arrow
for Your very special plans.
When the ability to sense Your presence fades,
help us proclaim that You are still the same,
for even if it is dark beneath Your wing,
You still want us to sing;
and all that we have known of You still applies
when You come in seeming disguise.
When You look back on those times of darkness, Lord,
when our pathway narrowed
and we were deeply harrowed;
may You rejoice that we did not give in to the bleakness;
for although the surface of our life was profoundly ruffled,
and Your presence strangely muffled,
deep down the water remained as still as ever.
Stir up in us the determination to hold fast
until the darkness parts and the danger is past.
Give us grace to ride each millrace,
until the waters slow and peace returns.
Grant us grace not to begrudge those days
when we must trudge across the sandy expanse –
for deserts end in Your fond embrace,
and the only way to gain the reward
is to take firm hold of Your pledge,
and to tear all obstacles to shreds.
But the Warped One flees not
before the uncommitted.
He keeps his claws embedded
in hearts too narrowly set
on their own affairs.
He only bows to those whose ambitions
range beyond their own immediate sphere of service –
and since he greatly fears
souls who refuse to compromise,
Lord, make us those whom both Heaven and hell acknowledge.
in my spirit I am back in places where I have met with You.
I pray now for the joy of Your presence,
the comfort of Your touch
and the power of Your leading
on all whom I bring to You in prayer.
Let Your compassion come upon them now,
releasing souls from the deadweight of stifling tradition
and turning the predictable into living encounter
as the wind of Your Spirit blows through.
(16) Arise, my Love
Arise, my love
My beautiful one, come with me.
See the winter, the winter has passed.
The rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth.
The season of singing has come,
You are, you are my love.
You are the apple of my eye.
Oh my beauty – my beautiful one –
How I delight in you.
Nothing can change what I say.
My love is holding you safe.
Arise, my beautiful one.
Come away and be with me.
Show me your face so lovely.
Arise, my beautiful one.
Lift your voice and sing to me
so i can hear your voice so sweetly.
Cos I, I love you.
Flowers appear on the earth.
The season of singing has come.
Arise, my beautiful one.
Come away and be with me.
Show me your face so lovely.
Arise, my beautiful one.
Lift your voice and sing to me
so i can hear your voice so sweet.
Because I, I love you.
(17) Bring Your work to completion, Lord
This is an opportunity to bless specific people who you care for deeply using various Scriptures as your starting point. May these prayers and meditations inspire you to turn many other verses in the Psalms, Proverbs, Prophets and New Testament into living prayer.
May the Lord, who has begun a good work in you,
help you to work out your salvation with fear and trembling
and bring His work to completion
in Christ Jesus.
As you pass through the rushing waters
may they not overwhelm you.
May the Lord keep you from being burned in the fire
May the troubles you go through
achieve an exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
as you keep your eyes fixed not on what is seen
but on what is unseen.
(2 Cor. 4:17-18)
As you wait on the Lord, may your strength be renewed,
so that you can mount up on eagle’s wings,
run and not grow weary
walk and not grow faint.
May your heart be discerning and acquire knowledge.
May the Lord keep you from answering before you listen,
for that would be your folly and your shame.
May you learn from your afflictions
(Ps. 119:67, 71)
and when you feel offended,
may you not bar the gates of your heart,
for walls are easy to build
but so much harder to dismantle.
I pray that God will bless you and enlarge your border,
that His hand will be with you
and that He will keep you from evil
so it might not hurt you.
May the Lord build His hedge around you,
and your house,
and all you have on every side.
May the Lord give you discretion and good judgement.
May He give you success in building the house of the Lord.
May you be strong and courageous
and neither afraid nor discouraged.
(1 Chron. 22:11-14)
May you have the tongue of one who is taught,
and speak a word in season to him who is weary.
May the Lord waken you morning by morning
to listen to His voice.
May your faith remain strong,
even in the face of great sifting.
May you know authority and power to trample upon scorpions,
and strength over all the powers that confront you.
May the Spirit of Truth guide you into all truth
and reveal the things that are God’s to you.
May it always be your goal to please Him,
so that when you stand before the judgement seat,
you may receive the rewards that are due to you.
(2 Cor. 5:10)
As you contemplate the path of your life,
may the Lord guide your steps.
Through the fear of the Lord may you be kind to the needy, and
(Pvbs. 16:6, and 1 Sam. 2:9)
may He keep your spirit from being crushed
(Pvbs. 17:22, 18:14);
may your feet be beautiful as you walk in your destiny.
and keep your heart at peace.