The Lord is the strength of my life of whom then shall I be afraid?
When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not be afraid, and though there rise up war against me, yet will I put my trust in him.
One thing have I asked of the Lord and that alone I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the fair beauty of the Lord and to seek his will in his temple. For in the day of trouble he shall hide me in his shelter; in the secret place of his dwelling shall he hide me and set me high upon a rock.
And now shall he lift up my head above my enemies round about me; therefore will I offer in his dwelling an oblation with great gladness; I will sing and make music to the Lord.
Hear my voice, O Lord, when I call; have mercy upon me and answer me.
My heart tells of your word, ‘Seek my face.’ Your face, Lord, will I seek.
Hide not your face from me, nor cast your servant away in displeasure.
You have been my helper; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
Though my father and my mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.
Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me on a level path, because of those who lie in wait for me.
Deliver me not into the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen up against me, and those who breathe out violence.
I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and he shall comfort your heart; wait patiently for the Lord.
I will exalt you, O Lord, because you have raised me up and have not let my foes triumph over me.
O Lord my God, I cried out to you and you have healed me. You brought me up, O Lord, from the dead; you restored me to life from among those that go down to the Pit.
Sing to the Lord, you servants of his; give thanks to his holy name. For his wrath endures but the twinkling of an eye, his favour for a lifetime.
Heaviness may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.In my prosperity I said,
‘I shall never be moved. You, Lord, of your goodness have made my hill so strong.’
Then you hid your face from me and I was utterly dismayed. To you, O Lord, I cried; to the Lord I made my supplication:
‘What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the Pit?
Will the dust praise you or declare your faithfulness?
Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me; O Lord, be my helper.’
You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness;
Therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing; O Lord my God, I will give you thanks for ever.
1 Kings 8.31-62
‘If someone sins against a neighbour and is given an oath to swear, and comes and swears before your altar in this house, then hear in heaven, and act, and judge your servants, condemning the guilty by bringing their conduct on their own head, and vindicating the righteous by rewarding them according to their righteousness.
‘When your people Israel, having sinned against you, are defeated before an enemy but turn again to you, confess your name, pray, and plead with you in this house, then hear in heaven, forgive the sin of your people Israel, and bring them again to the land that you gave to their ancestors.
‘When heaven is shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against you, and then they pray towards this place, confess your name, and turn from their sin, because you punish them, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel, when you teach them the good way in which they should walk; and grant rain on your land, which you have given to your people as an inheritance.
‘If there is famine in the land, if there is plague, blight, mildew, locust, or caterpillar; if their enemy besieges them in any of their cities; whatever plague, whatever sickness there is; whatever prayer, whatever plea there is from any individual or from all your people Israel, all knowing the afflictions of their own hearts so that they stretch out their hands towards this house; then hear in heaven your dwelling-place, forgive, act, and render to all whose hearts you know—according to all their ways, for only you know what is in every human heart—so that they may fear you all the days that they live in the land that you gave to our ancestors.
‘Likewise when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a distant land because of your name —for they shall hear of your great name, your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm—when a foreigner comes and prays towards this house, then hear in heaven your dwelling-place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and so that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built.
‘If your people go out to battle against their enemy, by whatever way you shall send them, and they pray to the Lord towards the city that you have chosen and the house that I have built for your name, then hear in heaven their prayer and their plea, and maintain their cause.
‘If they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy, so that they are carried away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near; and if they come to their senses in the land to which they have been taken captive, and repent, and plead with you in the land of their captors, saying, “We have sinned, and have done wrong; we have acted wickedly”; if they repent with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies, who took them captive, and pray to you towards their land, which you gave to their ancestors, the city that you have chosen, and the house that I have built for your name; then hear in heaven your dwelling-place their prayer and their plea, maintain their cause, and forgive your people who have sinned against you, and all their transgressions that they have committed against you; and grant them compassion in the sight of their captors, so that they may have compassion on them (for they are your people and heritage, which you brought out of Egypt, from the midst of the iron-smelter). Let your eyes be open to the plea of your servant, and to the plea of your people Israel, listening to them whenever they call to you. For you have separated them from among all the peoples of the earth, to be your heritage, just as you promised through Moses, your servant, when you brought our ancestors out of Egypt, O Lord God.’
Now when Solomon finished offering all this prayer and this plea to the Lord, he arose from facing the altar of the Lord, where he had knelt with hands outstretched towards heaven; he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice:
‘Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel according to all that he promised; not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke through his servant Moses. The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our ancestors; may he not leave us or abandon us, but incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his ordinances, which he commanded our ancestors. Let these words of mine, with which I pleaded before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires; so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. Therefore devote yourselves completely to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.’
Then the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the Lord.
They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. When they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them; so, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.
We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. A certain woman named Lydia, a worshipper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.’ And she prevailed upon us.
One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, ‘These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.’ She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, ‘I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And it came out that very hour.
But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market-place before the authorities. When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, ‘These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.’ The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
God, who in generous mercy sent the Holy Spirit upon your Church in the burning fire of your love: grant that your people may be fervent in the fellowship of the gospel that, always abiding in you, they may be found steadfast in faith and active in service; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.