Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Prayer from the Children of God

Dear God, We come to you today, your children, to praise you for who you are and what you have done for us. We thank you for calling us your own and leading us from darkness into light. We thank you for creating us, sustaining us, and redeeming us to eternal life through the sacrifice of Jesus. We thank you that even though we see dimly the truth of your glory, you continue to make yourself known to us and we look forward to the day that we may know you fully.

We come to you today God, your children, to ask forgiveness for falling short of your will and desire for us. Forgive us for our sinful actions, those we recognize and those we’re still too blind to see. Give us humility to recognize our own shortcomings and the grace to forgive them in others. Forgive us God for our sinful omissions. Lead us to always act in the way that you would guide us. Forgive us for failing to encourage and lift up. Forgive us for sitting by in the midst of injustice. Forgive us for thinking we’re better than we really are. Take away our arrogant spirits, quick to point out the mistakes we perceive in others. Replace it instead with an humble heart, recognizing that the battle is over, the victory is won.

We come to you today God, your children, to lift our needs to you. You are a good God, and provide for us well. We pray that you would hear the need of our hearts and show us your peace. We pray for our children. Help us to raise them that they might grow to reflect your glory, knowing that they too are yours. Give us the compassion to hold them tight when they are vulnerable and give us the wisdom to let them go when they are strong.

 God, we come to you today, thankful that we are your children, but knowing that we fall short of the honor of that title. For this we are indebted to you for providing the sacrifice that would clean our dirty souls that we might present ourselves to you, the living God through prayers such as this, that you might hear our voice and speak to us in return the good word needed in our ear.

(1 John 3:1-7)

Sunday, March 04, 2012

What's more important, the thing on the inside they're trying to protect or the "danger" on the outside they're protecting it from?
Is this really Virginia?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Prayer for Grace

Dear God,

We thank you for your abundant grace so freely given to our broken selves and world.  While we wait for eternity to fully realize the depth of your forgiveness and grace, we pray that we might learn to draw strength from it today.  We work so hard to be right, but let us not forget the priority of compassion and forgiveness.  Fill us with your grace so that we might truly put others before ourselves.  Your grace allows us to find contentment.  Free us from unrestrained consumption, the belief that because it is available that it is good.  Remind us that though all things may be permissible, that all things are not profitable.  Give us grace to resist our temptations.  We rely on our own strength and will too often seeking our own definition of good.  Without your grace, no amount of good is good enough, for only through you can we find redemption.

We lift to you this morning our burdens and needs God.  We know that you hear the cry of our heart.  Give us ears to hear and a heart to listen in return.  Your way is the way of peace and fulfillment God, we pray that you set our feet on that path as we look to our Savior Jesus as our guide.  We pray for our world, and troubles faced by our brothers and sisters of which we’re not even aware.  We pray for our nation and thank you for a system in which we our voices may be heard.  May our voices reflect the voice of hope, joy, peace, and love.  We pray for our community that we might forge relationships and connections that allow us to share life together, celebrating the good and mourning our losses, and continually striving to realize thy kingdom come.  We pray for ourselves, that you would reach into our very souls and shape us into the people you would have us to be for we realize that community, nation, and world will never be any better than the individuals who populate them.

We pray for your blessing God.  Give us knowledge for our minds, strength for our bodies, and courage and compassion for our hearts.  We ask for this not for our glory, but yours, that we might be your people in this world.  You are our God and for this we are thankful. 


Saturday, December 10, 2011

An Advent Prayer of Joy

Psalm 126
A song of ascents. 
1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,  
we were like those who dreamed.2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
   our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
   “The LORD has done great things for them.”
3 The LORD has done great things for us,
   and we are filled with joy.

 4 Restore our fortunes, LORD,
   like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow with tears
   will reap with songs of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
   carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
   carrying sheaves with them.

Dear God,

May this morning bring us assurance of the eternal joy we have in you.  In the midst of this advent season, among all of the displays of our world we’re given a message of joy.  Bright colors and catchy songs pervade our lives and tell us we should be happy.  Yet even the coming of Christmas doesn’t end our worries in this world.  We lift our troubles before you this morning God because as much as we try to hide our suffering behind polite smiles we need you in our lives and in our world.  We pray for the day when polite smiles aren’t needed and we beam with a joy that comes from restoration. 

Be with us God as we mourn the losses in our lives.  In this season we cherish our time with loved ones, but the absence of some grows even larger in our hearts.  As we deal with physical struggles we ask for comfort.  When our bodies break down, we pray even more that you rest in our soul and give us peace.  Politics and economics bring spirit crushing anxiety when governed by the rules of the world.  We pray that you help us to practice God’s politics and live in a heavenly economy that brings life and light into our lives and the world.

Fill our mouths with laughter, fill our tongues with song, for the Lord has done great things for us.  We need look no further than our hands can reach from left to right to find proof of your faithfulness to us.  We thank you for the life-giving relationships in our lives.  Through good and bad we thank you for our friends and family.  We curse the traffic and hate the crowds this time of year, but help us to notice the friendly smiles, the people who hold a door for us or offer their spot in line.  Right after you made us you said it was good, let us remember that and hope for the day when humanity will be restored in all of the goodness in which you created us.

Until that day God may we seek your will and strive to live out all of the goodness that is in us through the grace and goodwill of your Son, Jesus.  In all of our troubles remind us that God is with us.  As we prepare ourselves for Christmas and remember the birth of Christ, help us to draw strength from the knowledge that just as you entered the world through a baby to draw us close to you, that we may continue to allow Christ into this world through us.  You have done great things for us Lord, and we are filled with joy.  Amen.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Prayer of Rest and Forgiveness

Dear God,

We come to you in thanksgiving. May our hearts and minds rest in you. We thank you for stillness. As we sit in your space give our bodies rest from a week of work, school, and play.  Clear our minds of all the clutter we've filled them with this week.  Help us to give away all of our thoughts that we may think only of you.  We pride ourselves on our independence and how well we take care of ourselves, this might not be all bad, but relieve us of that pressure so that we may rely wholly on you.

Thank you for taking care of us even when we don't recognize it.  Help us to see you for all that you are to us.  More than a good idea, more than a set of values, you are the God who created us and longs to draw us close.

Forgive us for the space we create between you and ourselves.  Forgive us for ignoring you because we're so content with the way things are.  Forgive us for the hurt we cause each other because we're so wrapped up in ourselves.  Forgive us for misrepresenting you and causing others to doubt you.  Forgive us for our overconsumption.  Forgive us for turning negative when things don't go our way.

We know that you are with us, may we remember this and let it drive our words, thoughts, and deeds, daily.  We preay for our world, that we could truly find peace and understand how living together should work.  We pray for our country, that we could make wise decisions with civility.  And we pray for our church, that we would bring your light into this world, reflecting the glory of the God whom we serve.

Break our hearts for the things that break yours God and give us a submissive spirit that we might be shaped into the men and women that you have intended for us to be.  We ask all of this in name of our Savior who taught us to pray, Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And, forgive us of our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory.  Forever, Amen.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Really Pat?

You may have heard the news about Pat Robertson's latest offensive comments.  This time it didn't target gays or foreigners, but the diseased.  In a recent television appearance, Robertson replied to a caller asking about how he should adivise a friend who had decided to see another woman because of his wife's advanced Alzheimer's. 

I grew up fundamentalist, so I think I know the answer here.  Tell the friend to stop, ask forgiveness, and love on his wife until death.  From birth to seventeen years old, I attended a good old King James, Bible Believing, Independent Baptist Church, three times a week, every week.  That makes over 2500 sermons before I even became an adult, and most of them had something to say about sex, drugs, and/or rock and roll.  Don't take me the wrong way, the people of that church showed love and care with their actions, but the message out of their mouths came clear.  Adultery and Divorce are wrong.

I've never been a big fan of Robertson, but I thought he would at least get this one right.  But no, he said "I know it sounds cruel, but if he's going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her."  He admits that marriage is until "death" but then says that Alzheimer's is like a living death.  So that makes it ok I guess.

This is so wrong, and the reason why I believe Christians (yes, I am one) need to understand the source behind their convictions.  For starters, our nation is great, and I love family, but let's be clear.  I believe in a man, who I also believe was a God (the God even).  That this God-man lived on this earth and suffered death at the hands of his creation.  Miraculously, he didn't stay dead.  He returned to this earth until ascending into heaven.  If you're not a Christian, that sounds foolish.  If you are, it probably doesn't sound foolish enough.  If you really believe that (and I do) its a pretty big deal.  Bigger than a pledge or blood relationships, or all of the legalistic morass we let ourselves get bound up in.

Let's look to some reason.  If said wife has "lost her mind", we might conclude that she is no longer "like the living", therefore a covenant relationship like marriage may be voided on those grounds.  She is less than human, not deserving the same right to expect faithfulness from her husband as one who possesses full mental health.  If that's the case, then how can you argue that a fetus in the womb possesses full life that can't be violated.  Is the potential of life more valuable that the fulfillment of life embodied in its final journey to death?  Does the fetus deserve any more the right to birth than a person deserves the right to maintain full dignity and humanity even unto death?

Too much self-serving logic going on here.  Of what value is life?  Can we argue over it's beginning at conception or birth while we sit idly by watching execution take place?  How did a discussion of Alzheimer's take us to capital punishment?  Shane Claiborne wrote just today a defense of Grace in the face of death.  Should we dismiss the Psalms and get self-righteous over the fact that King David, guilty of murder, should have never been allowed to live long enough to write them?  Should the bulk of the New Testament be rejected because the writer, Paul, would have willingly accepted the penalty for his crimes if his conversion had been true?

We need to think!  Humanity, infused with the very breath of God is exceedingly deep, but we flippantly decide who is deserving and who doesn't have the privilege to the rights of that humanity.  We are too ready to set our minds firm on issues of abortion, death, the right to life, and dying with dignity when these issues deserve deep and mindful consideration and soul-searching. 

But unfortunately for many, it's just a whole lot easier to find out what Pat thinks about it.