Prayer for January 4: Please pray with me. God of mercy and justice, you give us so much – our very lives. Your creation yearns for you and your way. And at the same time, so many reject you and your ways thinking they know better than you. How silly! you reject a theology of winning – where we make winning into an idol to be sought after and sacrificed for. You reject a theology of winning that divides and separates people into us and them. You reject a theology of winning that is self-centered. Instead you offer mercy and justice – both of which we can not earn. They are yours, but you give them freely. Your mercy is a tender touch. Your justice is a cleansing river. Help us to seek your mercy and justice in the world. Strengthen us to share your mercy with all we encounter. Give us courage to expand your justice in our systems so that more people can encounter you and have changed lives. Amen.