Prayer for August 16: Please pray with me. God of forgiveness, today we pray a really difficult prayer – a prayer we’d rather not pray. There seems to be a lot of these prayers lately Lord. Today, we pray for white supremacists. Yes, those people. The people we would rather shout and curse at. The people we’d rather slap up side the head to knock some sense into. The people we have great difficulty loving or showing any kind of love towards. Yet, somehow they are a part of your creation too. We don’t understand them Lord. In a sense, we don’t want to. We just want the craziness to stop, the racism to end, the violence to cease. St. Silouan once said that the man who cries out against evil men but refuses to pray for them will never know the grace of God. That’s not easy Lord. Yet, here are. We are praying for these people. We pray an imperfect prayer, a prayer that feels so odd and where our words are carefully crafted and yet uncertain at the same time. Ultimately our prayer can only be this – we place these people in your hands Lord. Give us the courage and strength to confront evil when we see and hear it. But help us to confront it in a way that brings life to people and creation – not destruction. Help us to show an alternative so that we don’t adopt the same techniques and strategies as those who proclaim a gospel of hate and fear. Soften their hard hearts. Open our hearts and teach us to show love for those we find unlovable. Touch our imaginations so we can see how we are to love these people and in so doing unleash love’s power to change lives – even those lives that seem unchangeable. Help our unbelief that these people could never change. Change their hearts and minds as only you can Lord. We want a miracle. We need a miracle. We ask for a miracle. We are desperate for a miracle. Help us to believe that it is not only possible, but that it is unfolding right before our eyes and in our hearts. And in so doing, dare we say it, make us an instrument of your peace and the most unlikely of miracles. Amen.
Prayer for August 15: Please pray with me. God of purpose, today we pray for all who struggle with the meaning of their life. We pray for all who feel nothing but an empty void. We pray for all who are lost and directionless – living for the sake of existence. Be with these people – accompany them in their life journey. Let them know that they are not alone in life. Amen.
Prayer for August 14: Please pray with me. God who comes to us in the tumult of life, today we pray a prayer we’d rather not pray. As the events of the last couple of days in Charlottesville, VA settle down, we pray for for the family of the person who lost their life. Give them the strength they need to get through these difficult times. We pray for the counter protestors – to give a strong voice to the voiceless. We pray that those who counter extremists would be given wisdom and courage to respond in effective ways that shift the attention away from extremists and their message to a message of hope, love, and radical inclusiveness that you give us Lord. And finally we pray for those who are consumed by fear and hatred. We place them in your hands Lord because we just don’t understand how anyone can thrive with these beliefs. We place them in your hands Lord because we just don’t know who to reach people consumed by fear and hatred. We place them in your hands Lord because we just don’t know what to do with them. Guide our words towards those who see the world completely different. Guide our hearts in the tumult of life. Amen.
Prayer for August 11: Please pray with me. God who shows up in the midst of tumult and chaos, boy do we need you. Our world is crazy, yet the crazy thing is we think this is new. Chaos has been the norm for so long, yet we forget that it is normal. We often feel like we are like the disciples being tossed about in the boat and fear everything around us. And in that fear we erect walls and ways to keep the chaos and others away. But they never work. Isolation is never the answer. If it was, Peter would have drowned. But then you show up Lord and bam, something even crazier happens – grace. you give us exactly what we don’t deserve – a hand reaching out to us and saving us. Thank you. Amen.
Prayer for August 10: Please pray with me. Triune God, you are the very essence of community – three in one. You are a mystery that reveals yourself to us throughout history. In you we see what ideal community really is. Yet, how hard it is for us to live out community. So often our egos get in the way. Often our fears and worries and anxiety separates us from community. Far to often those in leadership and those that seek power raise anxiety levels and find ways to separate people rather than bring them together. Tear down the walls that divide us from our neighbors. Open the doors of our hearts to those that have been enemies. Remove the fences we place around ourselves that separate us from others. Take the blinders off of our eyes so that we can see that others around us – even those that are different from us because of skin color, nationality, language, economic level, educational level, and more – have value and are a valued part of our community. Together we fare far better than alone. Amen.
Prayer for August 9: Please pray with me. God of the poor, you tell us that the poor we will always have with us, yet that doesn’t mean you excuse poverty. You call on us to love and care for the poor – even to serve the poor. We feel good about serving the poor Lord, but do we take this too far? Keep us vigilant in serving the poor – in ways that actually help the poor, ways that tap into the value of the individual, in ways that encourage and empower, in ways that build relationships, in ways that we might not even imagine. Don’t just let us write a check to an agency that works with the poor so that our hands don’t have to get dirty. Push us to be uncomfortable enough to not only serve the poor, but to befriend the poor and in so doing, to humanize and lift up our fellow human beings. Amen.
Prayer for August 8: Please pray with me. God of Love, who is love itself, we thank you for the love you have and give. Help us to understand what love really is – it is not controlling, but freeing. It doesn’t judge, but accompanies. It does not demand, but rather encourages. Love is not conditional, but rather unconditional. Allow us to experience this kind of love. And in experiencing it – give us the courage to also give it to others. Amen.