Prayer for February 25, 2020: Please pray with me. God who gives rest, I’m tired. I’m tired of encountering the idol of being right. This idol has a death grip on so much – so much of politics, on our social media, on our religions, on so many people. It’s a deadly idol that kills relationships. I’m tired of seeing and hearing your ways, O Lord, being dismissed because your ways don’t match with the beliefs we cling to, the false salvation that we seek. There is so much in this world that we don’t know. If only we would listen – listen for understanding, listen to hear the pain of the other. If only we would have eyes that could see – see the image of God in the other, see how our blind devotion to our beliefs and ideas and opinions are killing us. I’m tired Lord. I’m tired of people being so sure they are right, especially when they rationalize away what you tell us. I’m tired of people repeating the cultish rhetoric of politicians and political parties who only care about short sighted winning at all costs and obtaining power. I’m tired of people being willing to dehumanize others in order to be right. I’m tired of people’s politics consuming their identity. I’m tired Lord. There is no rest in this world when we place our hope and trust in politicians and political parties. There can never be any rest in them. There will always be another danger, enemy, opponent to fear and fight against. There will always be another issue to fight about. There will always be redemptive violence in word or deed that needs to be done. But in you, O Lord, we find rest. Your ways are not our ways – Thank you for that. Your ways are so much better. As St. Augustine said, we will not find rest, until we rest in you. Your ways are the ways of peace – not as an unattainable make believe destination – but as the actual way of life. Your ways are grace and mercy – getting what we don’t deserve and keeping use away from what we do deserve. Your ways are the ways of justice – for all people. That is what it means to love you and to love our neighbor. Your ways are the way of Sabbath – rest from producing and work – to be just being. Your ways are the ways of the Image of God. Yes, your ways are better than our ways. Why do we reject your ways, O Lord? Why do we fool ourselves into believing that we know better than you? Have we not failed enough in this venture? Have we not destroyed enough? Radically reorient us away from these ways – from the ways of partisanship, of blind loyalty to politicians and political parties, of literalism in religion, of fear, of anger, of an unwillingness to hear you and follow your ways because we don’t want to. I’m tired Lord. And I suspect there are many other who are just as tired. And don’t know what to do. Make us instruments of your peace. Make us instruments of your love. Give us the courage to pick up our cross and step forward. Give us the courage to die daily to ourselves so that we may know you, follow you, and receive your resurrected life. Amen.
Prayer for February 20, 2020: Please pray with me. God of life, you come to us and I wonder – what is it that you think about humanity? Humans have perfected abusive systems designed to gain power and money. We have been doing this for millennias. And we keep doing this. There’s nothing new about this. There’s nothing special about the people who maintain abusive systems. The abuse is the same, only the names of the victims change. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Your ways are not our ways. Your thoughts are not our thoughts. We are grateful for that. Upset the apple cart of abusive systems in our midst. Turn the tables of abusive systems. End these systems so that all people can live a thriving life. Amen.
Prayer for February 18, 2020: Please pray with me. God of grace and mercy, thank you. We are eternally grateful that you are not a God of karma, but of grace and mercy. In grace you give us what we don’t deserve. And in mercy, you withhold what we do deserve. Karma gives people what they do deserve. The world would rather operate on karma, but that is not your way. If it was, we’d be screwed. None of us would be worthy of being encountered by you. None of us would be worthy of salvation. None of us would be worthy of forgiveness. But this is not your way – you aren’t worried about our worthiness. Instead, you shower us with grace and mercy. You give us the gift of faith so that we can respond to what you have first done for us. Thank you. Empower us to be a reflection of your grace and mercy to others. Help us to leave the idea of karma in the ash heap. Let us be embraced by your grace and mercy and use them to embrace others. Amen.
Prayer for February 12, 2020: Please pray with me. God of Good News, you come and proclaim Good News to us. Why do we not expect this? Why do we expect bad news? Why do we anticipate it? This isn’t a promise that everything will be just fine – as if we are hiding our head in the sand. No, your Good News isn’t like that. Your Good News tells us the reality of what we are going though. It speaks to the pain in our life. It acknowledges reality. It calls the thing what it is. It doesn’t sugar coat anything. Rather, your Good News offers something different – that we will not be alone. You promise to be with us. That’s not something small. That’s significant. You walk with us in our pain and suffering. You walk with us through injustice. You walk with us when we are carrying our cross. You walk with us because you know the pain we go through. You’ve been there. You walk with us because that’s what love is about. You walk with us because more often than not, it allows us to see the real us that you see – to know what we are hiding and what we’re really made of. Be with us in times of trial. Be with us in times of evil. Be with us in ways that you know we need you. Amen.
Prayer for February 6: Please pray with me. Patient God, we need so much. At least we think we do. We encounter evil in the world and we worry. We fear it. We don’t know what to do. But you come to us and tell us not to be afraid. Over and over again, in the face of evil, you show up and tell us not to be afraid. You have outlasted many evils. You have outlasted evil empires. You have outlasted tyrants. You have outlasts false gods. You have outlasted humans bent on being gods. Your ways are not our ways. But your ways instill something in us that we could learn greatly – patience. Over and again, we see that evil falls. Patience doesn’t mean we just sit back and take it. It doesn’t mean we succumb to the evil and give in to it. Rather, you teach us patience in a different way – an active patience. You call on us to follow you – to follow your ways of being. You call on us to love our enemies and neighbors. This isn’t passive. It is the way you have chosen. It is a patient way that rejects the legitimacy of evil and evil systems. It is a way that rejects the ways of the world. It is a way that leads to your Kingdom – not as some far off destination, but rather as what it means to be in the Kingdom now. Love is patient. Give us the patience we need to follow your will and not be frustrated that we do not see the results we think that should happen on our time frame. It’s not for us to decide how and in what way your Kingdom unfolds. Amen.
Prayer for February 3, 2020: Please pray with me. God who comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable, stir us up. Come to the aid of those who are afflicted, oppressed, exploited, beaten, dehumanized, degraded, and worse. They need you. And they know it. They cry out to you. Hear their cry. And for those of us who are comfortable, poke us and make us uncomfortable. Make us so uncomfortable that we actually see that the afflicted aren’t different from us – we are connected to them. Their wellbeing is our wellbeing. Afflict us in our laziness. Afflict our desire to be in control. Afflict us to see that when we turn inward on ourselves and our own needs, that we are sinning. Afflict us to reject the idols that we create and see that they are empty and have nothing to offer. Afflict us into seeing the Image of God in our worst enemy, so that we can more easily see the Image of God in the stranger in our midst. Afflict us in order to transform us. We are a stubborn lot. Have mercy on us. Amen.
Prayer for January 31, 2020: Please pray with me. Holy God, hear the cry of your people. Hear the cry of those who lament. Hear the cry of those who are oppressed and exploited. Clear the eyes of those who can’t see the Imago Dei in others. Release the grip of those who cling to their privilege. Radically reorient those who claim to be your followers so that their actions match their words. Let our words and those things that we claim to believe be lived out. Let us live for others, as you have done so. Amen.