Creator of Worlds :: Worldwide Prayer

Psalm 148.1-4
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the skies.

Reflection: Creator of Worlds :: Worldwide Prayer
By John Tillman

Scripture tells us that creation groans to be released from sin. If the beauty and wonder of creation is what shines through despite its being shackled with sin, how much more beautiful may it be when all has been restored?

And…if creation is still capable of beauty and wonder through its groaning and pain, so much the more are we. We are not mere rocks that cry out, but God’s children whose mouths are filled with ordained praise. 

We are not trees that clap our hands with the breeze but God’s own family who celebrate the grace of God our Father even with our faces set firmly against a blowing gale.

With joy, we join this prayer from Christian brothers and sisters in Jamaica, praising and calling on the Almighty God, creator of all worlds!

Creator of Worlds
Prayer for the preservation of creation from Jamaica

Almighty God: Creator of all worlds!

We honor you for the marvels of your creation, and thank you for that part of it which is our home— the mountains, the green fields, and the sea— the abundance and energy of life in us and around us.

We confess that we have often forgotten that the world is yours and so we have misused and abused your gifts, causing distress and pain to others and to ourselves.

Out of your forgiving grace—hear us now as we pray for healing in our world.

Remember those who behold but cannot appreciate your wonderful world and those who abuse and deface its beauty—that they may discover the joy of tending the garden of the Lord.

Remember those who squander and waste resources you have entrusted to them, but are not concerned that others are starving.

Remember those who respect not life, your precious gift, in themselves and in others, and who from greed, or anger, or malice destroy human life without pity or fear.

Remember those who bear rule in communities and nations, acting with arrogance and without wisdom—that they may know that power is a trust for which they must give an account to you the only Absolute Ruler. May they in humility exercise the stewardship you have allotted them. May their labors promote peace and prosperity among the peoples of our troubled lands.

Oh Lord, help us all to be good stewards of this beautiful universe your mighty hand has brought into being.

In Jesus’ great name.

*Prayer from Hallowed be Your Name: A collection of prayers from around the world, Dr. Tony Cupit, Editor.


Prayer: The Greeting
For your Name’s sake, O Lord, forgive my sin, for it is great. — Psalm 25.10

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Joshua 16-17 (Listen – 5:13)
Psalm 148 (Listen – 1:28)

This Weekend’s Readings
Joshua 18-19 (Listen – 9:59), Psalm 149-150 (Listen – 1:36)
Joshua 20-21 (Listen – 6:58), Acts 1 (Listen – 3:58)

Thank You!
Thank you to our donors who support our readers by making it possible to continue The Park Forum devotionals. This year, The Park Forum audiences opened 200,000 free, and ad-free, devotional content. Follow this link to join our donors with a one-time or a monthly gift. 

Readers’ Choice Submissions

It is once again time for us to seek out the voices of our readers and hear from you about posts from the past eleven months that have challenged and comforted you and helped you find new meaning in the scriptures.

Readers’ Choice posts will be republished during the month of August and periodically throughout the Fall.

Follow the link to fill out the form. Feel free to fill out the form multiple times for multiple submissions. Please limit your submissions to posts published this calendar year, between September of 2018 and today.

For any questions about The Park Forum, or to make suggestions of posts via email, contact John Tillman at john@theparkforum.org

Read more about Overgrown by the Gospel
May the gospel make ruins of our pride and selfishness. May we be overgrown by the gospel.

Read more about Cultivation Means Tending
The gospel is a seed from the first garden, the garden of Eden. The seed of the woman, Jesus himself, is our salvation and we plant this seed in our own hearts.

No Princes :: A Guided Prayer

Psalm 146.3
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.

Reflection: No Princes :: A Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

How many believers veil their trust in men as trust in God? This can cause problems in two ways. 

In the first, it can cause otherwise faithful people to bend over backward to defend a corrupt leader because to admit that the leader failed or that corruption was present would reflect badly on God’s work. Or it might even mean that the man was never “God’s man” in the first place and we had been duped by him. Unable to admit this, we rally to support and deny any accusation or attack, deaf to evidence or appeal.

The second is, in a way, the equal and opposite reaction. It causes people to believe that they must abandon faith in God because of a leader who broke faith or gave into corruption or abused his power. (It is almost always a man who does this…) Unable to separate their faith from the identity of the leader, they abandon faith.

In both of these cases, the followers’ faith was never in God in the first place.

Let us pray using some of the words of Psalm 146, asking God to protect our faith from even resting a little finger on the unworthy foundation of princes or kings or leaders. May our faith be built solely and solidly upon Jesus, his cross of suffering, and his glorious resurrection.

No Princes
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.


The princes of this land cannot save us, nor do they intend to.
Their fine bracelets are shackles.

When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.


Even the greatest of princes will die, will fall, will fail.
Their plans will come to nothing and that nothing will come to those who trusted in them.

There is only one prince we must serve—the Prince of Peace…

He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free
The Lord gives sight to the blind,
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
The Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.


May we befriend the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow.
And may we live to see the ways of the wicked frustrated, the chains of the prisoners fall, the blind lead us on with new sight, the bowed down rise up to run.

Prayer: The Greeting
My heart is firmly fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and make melody. — Psalm 57.7

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Joshua 14-15 (Listen – 9:20)
Psalm 146-147 (Listen – 3:09)

Thank You!
Thank you to our donors who support our readers by making it possible to continue The Park Forum devotionals. This year, The Park Forum audiences opened 200,000 free, and ad-free, devotional content. Follow this link to join our donors with a one-time or a monthly gift. 

Readers’ Choice Submissions

It is once again time for us to seek out the voices of our readers and hear from you about posts from the past eleven months that have challenged and comforted you and helped you find new meaning in the scriptures.

Readers’ Choice posts will be republished during the month of August and periodically throughout the Fall.

Follow the link to fill out the form. Feel free to fill out the form multiple times for multiple submissions. Please limit your submissions to posts published this calendar year, between September of 2018 and today.

For any questions about The Park Forum, or to make suggestions of posts via email, contact John Tillman at john@theparkforum.org

Read more about God’s Kingdom Versus God’s Reign
As Christians today, we are often tempted, as the Israelites were, to put faith in shaping society through the exertion of governmental power.

Read more about The Commission of Truth
Whenever the light of truth shines, may we never join in trying to cover up or deny what is revealed.

Praying as Music

Psalm 145.21
My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.
    Let every creature praise his holy name
    for ever and ever.

From John:
One of the reasons we read Psalms every year in our two-year reading plan is that it teaches us so much about prayer. It is not that we should copy the psalms, although reading them as our own is a valuable practice. As Charles Spurgeon says of this psalm, we should make our own music in prayer: “Let each Christian reader present his own praise unto the Lord, and call it by his own name. What a wealth of varied praise will thus be presented through Christ Jesus!”

For our reflection today we turn to the conclusion of the book we have often drawn prayers from for our Worldwide Prayer series, Hallowed be Your Name: A collection of prayers from around the world. The conclusion is written by the editor, Dr. Tony Cupit, and, similar to Spurgeon’s challenge, calls us to join our prayers musically in a worldwide, Spirit-empowered unity. 

May it be so.

Reflection: Praying as Music
By Tony Cupit

If music is a universal language, prayer can be similarly described. Prayer is humankind’s universal language of love to God, a song of praise to our Maker, a cry of anguish for our sin, a note of pleading for our needs, an expression of thanksgiving for all God’s wondrous grace. And prayer is a whole lot more. We join as a fellowship of Christ’s followers to lift our hearts in prayer.

And prayer produces a beautiful union, a harmony between God and humanity. Before we begin to sing our song of love to God in prayer, we realize that in an amazing way God is already waiting for us to speak, to listen, to pray. This interaction between God and us, we call prayer. And always this duet is part of a glorious symphony as we join our prayer to God with fellow believers.

All around the world, God’s people sing an anthem of praise to God. Prayers—songs of worship and praise—are offered in this booklet so we can all enjoy heavenly music, duets, ensembles, choirs, congregations, whose music soars heavenward. These become an expression of reverence, of awe and wonder, to our Creator God whose mystery is wonderfully intriguing, to God’s Son whose person is beautifully enchanting and to God’s Holy Spirit whose presence is fiercely challenging and gently reassuring.

Whether we pray as a duet, a trio, a quartet, or a choir, may our worship in prayer be harmonious, melodious, clear and constant—for it was Jesus who taught us to pray, “yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever.”

*Excerpt from the conclusion of Hallowed be Your Name: A collection of prayers from around the world, Dr. Tony Cupit, Editor.

Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
May you be blessed by the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. — Psalm 124.8

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Joshua 12-13 (Listen – 8:18)
Psalm 145 (Listen – 2:19)

Thank You!
Thank you to our donors who support our readers by making it possible to continue The Park Forum devotionals. This year, The Park Forum audiences opened 200,000 free, and ad-free, devotional content. Follow this link to join our donors with a one-time or a monthly gift. 

Readers’ Choice Submissions

It is once again time for us to seek out the voices of our readers and hear from you about posts from the past eleven months that have challenged and comforted you and helped you find new meaning in the scriptures.

Readers’ Choice posts will be republished during the month of August and periodically throughout the Fall.

Follow the link to fill out the form. Feel free to fill out the form multiple times for multiple submissions. Please limit your submissions to posts published this calendar year, between September of 2018 and today.

For any questions about The Park Forum, or to make suggestions of posts via email, contact John Tillman at john@theparkforum.org

Read more about Prayer from the Cave
When we read the Psalms, we observe masters at prayer. If we read with more than a passing glance we can see their technique well enough to improve our own.

Read more about Hope Still Rises :: Worldwide Prayer
May the church follow Christ’s footsteps as he moves to help those affected by these persistent signs of the sinfulness and greed of our world.

Breath, Reconsidered

Psalm 144.3-4
Lord, what are human beings that you care for them,
mere mortals that you think of them?
They are like a breath;
their days are like a fleeting shadow.

John 3.5-8
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

Reflection: Breath, Reconsidered
By John Tillman

We rightly think of the psalmist comparing us to breath as humbling. But not everything that humbles humiliates. When humbled we are prepared to be lifted up, by God.

In Aramaic and Greek the word for “Spirit,” “breath,” and “wind” is the same word. This makes Christ’s conversation with Nicodemus one in which we must carefully attune our ears to context. Jesus is purposefully mixing his meanings. As Eugene Peterson rhetorically asks in his book, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, “What’s being talked about here, breathing, or weather, or God?”

Although the length of a breath may be a humbling downside, perhaps, there is also an upside.

Breath, Reconsidered
Lord, what are we that you care for us?
We are like a breath.

Like a breath, Lord, we pass from the earth.
Like a breath, Lord, insubstantial we seem.
Like a breath, Lord, some deep and some shallow.
Like a breath, Lord, we dissipate in the breeze.

But you gave us breath,
Your mouth on Adam’s lips.
And you redeemed breath
When Christ first drew it in
And you received his breath,
When his Spirit he released
He gave that Spirit to us
When on the disciples he breathed…

We are Adam’s first breath,
His first breath, re-breathed.

We are like a breath, we are a beginning
We are like a breath the first sign of life
We are like a breath, divine inspiration
We are like a breath, a baby’s first cry
We are the breath, of a worker,
drawn to take strength

We are the breath, of a mother,
that can warm frigid hands
We are the breath, of the preacher,
whose voice carries a dream
We are the breath, of a singer,
whose song fills the land

Breath sustains symphonies
Breath extinguishes candles
Breath ignites embers
Breath powers prophets
Breath connects lovers
Breath fills balloons
Breath is life

Breath serenades
Breath enlightens
Breath enlivens
Breath laughs
Breath shouts
Breath prays
Breath fills
Breath comes
Breath goes

Lord, what are we that you care for us?
We are like a breath.

Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Come, let us sing to the Lord; let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving and raise a loud shout to him with psalms. — Psalm 95.1-2

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Joshua 11 (Listen – 3:52) 
Psalm 144 (Listen – 1:56)

Thank You!
Thank you to our donors who support our readers by making it possible to continue The Park Forum devotionals. This year, The Park Forum audiences opened 200,000 free, and ad-free, devotional content. Follow this link to join our donors with a one-time or a monthly gift. 

Read more poetry: Accepting Jesus
She takes within her body
The cure for the sickness of sin
She gives the maker of the Garden
Tiny feet to walk earth again.

Read more poetry: He Stoops to Raise
He strips himself.
He lays aside
His Heaven
His throne
His clothes
His life

Our Least Favorite Commandment

Psalm 137.4-6
How can we sing the songs of the Lord
    while in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
    may my right hand forget its skill.
May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
    if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
    my highest joy.

Reflection: Our Least Favorite Commandment
By John Tillman

When violence or injustice harms those close to us, we typically react with admirable compassion toward the victims. “Even sinners do that.”

What is more revealing of a heart shaped by Christ is how we act toward perpetrators. Down in the comment streams below fundraisers and bake sales, you will also find our baser instincts. You will find those vowing violence against the perpetrators. You will find those calling for merciless application of the fullest extent of the law’s punishment. You will find those wishing prison rape on the attackers.

All hearts shaped by our violent culture react this way. Even Christian communities react this way—sometimes when they have only been attacked with harsh words. There is, perhaps, no commandment of Jesus that we flout with more impunity than, “do good to those who hate you.”

Our first instinctive thought regarding injustice is, “someone has to pay.” And we prefer “justice” done by our own hands, in our own way. 

In scripture there are often violent men and calls for violent actions. Psalm 137 has long been struggled over by faithful believers as almost too terrible to exist in the same Bible with Psalm 139 that speaks tenderly of life in the womb. (Yet, even Psalm 139 calls for the death of the wicked.)

Speaking of this most violent of Psalms, Charles Spurgeon recognized that as bitter as the psalmist’s cry is, he still is relinquishing his own anger to be tempered by God into the sword of justice and administered by God at a time of his own choosing. 

“We may rest assured that every unrighteous power is doomed to destruction and that, from the throne of God, justice will be measured out to all whose law is force, whose rule is selfishness, and whose policy is oppression…shall despots crush virtue beneath their iron heel and never be punished? Time will show.” — Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Injustice is before us, behind us, beneath us, and above us. Yet we rest assured that Christ who is before us, behind us, beneath us, and above us sees it too. God has given judgment to the Son and he will carry it out. All “whose policy is oppression,” will answer to the judgment of Christ.

The next time we think, “someone has to pay,” may we also hear the voice of Christ speak within us saying, “I will pay. It is finished. Forgive them. They know not what they do.”

Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
The Lord is full of compassion and mercy, slow to anger and of great kindness. — Psalm 103.8

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Joshua 7 (Listen – 4:58) 
Psalm 137-138 (Listen – 2:13)

This Weekend’s Readings
Joshua 8 (Listen – 4:58), Psalm 139 (Listen – 2:26)
Joshua 9 (Listen – 4:58), Psalm 140-141 (Listen – 2:44)

Thank You!
Thank you to our donors who support our readers by making it possible to continue The Park Forum devotionals. This year, The Park Forum audiences opened 200,000 free, and ad-free, devotional content. Follow this link to join our donors with a one-time or a monthly gift. 

Read more about Killing With our Hearts
Some of the most popular sayings of Jesus are here in Matthew’s fifth chapter. So are many of the most ignored sayings of Jesus.

Readers’ Choice Submissions
It is once again time for us to seek out the voices of our readers and hear from you about posts from the past eleven months that have challenged and comforted you and helped you find new meaning in the scriptures.

Readers’ Choice posts will be republished during the month of August and periodically throughout the Fall.

Follow the link to fill out the form. Feel free to fill out the form multiple times for multiple submissions. Please limit your submissions to posts published this calendar year, between September of 2018 and today.

For any questions about The Park Forum, or to make suggestions of posts via email, contact John Tillman at john@theparkforum.org

Read more about Choosing Gentleness Over Violence
We cannot continue posting and liking things that are resentful, quarrelsome, and the opposite of gentle, yet expect to represent Christ and the Gospel in the world.

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