Prayer for January 22: Please pray with me. Holy One, you cause us to raise many, many questions. We question and wonder about so many things. We question and wonder about people and their lives and their beliefs. Yet we think our lives and beliefs make perfect sense and that you agree with us. How foolish. We are flawed Lord. We can’t understand. We don’t understand others or how they come to conclusions. Yet, we have no trouble making someone an enemy or opponent when we don’t understand them. Turn us to see people differently – not as a puzzle to figure out or an opponent to defeat, but rather as a Child of God. That can be difficult though Lord – let’s not kid ourselves. That can be very difficult when some people are so disagreeable and temperamental. But remind us that we can’t control others. We can only learn from them. Help us to stop trying to force others to believe like we do or live our way. Help us to invite people to come and see what God is doing in our lives – how God forgives us and transforms us. This should be obviously evident though Lord – as long as we aren’t trying to fool ourselves or others. It should go through us and out of us and impact our relationship and interactions with those around us. Let your forgiveness and transformation not stop with us, but go through us to others. Amen.
Prayer for January 19: Please pray with me. God who takes big risks, encourage us in our risk taking. Not in risky behavior, but rather in taking a risk to live out your call for our lives. Being your follower is a risk. We risk ridicule, anger, separation, and more. Following you is a risky endeavor Lord. We don’t know where it will take us. Following you could cost us dearly – cost us relationships, employment, standing in the public, comfort, and yes, even our very lives. Yet, you call on us to take up our cross and follow you. That’s not about just being uncomfortable and inconvenienced for a short time. This isn’t like the latest fad diet. This about resurrection of life – transformed life – our lives. You risk much in encountering us. You call on us to risk it all too. Let your Spirit come upon us, touch us in a way that sets our hearts on fire, that transforms us and lets our shields down. You are a God of big risks. Open our hearts to that risk for each of our lives. Help us to live out the risky faith that you give us. Don’t hold back the fear that it will cause – that just lets us know we are responding in trust. Let us risk it all for you Lord. Let us take a risk in feeding those that need food, in offering water to those who need a drink, in providing cleanliness for those who need a shower and clean clothes, in helping someone enslaved to drugs find freedom, in setting captives caught in trafficking free, and more. The world needs more risk takers Lord. Make us an instrument of your risk. Amen.
Prayer for January 18: Please pray with me. Timeless God, you touch creation in many ways over history. You work in mysterious ways. How fortunate that we get to see the results. How blessed are we when you choose us to carry out your will. Yet, don’t let that go to our heads. We aren’t the only ones that you choose to work through. We aren’t the first ones either. Nor will we be the last. And, this isn’t the only place where you are active. You work throughout creation, across time to bring about your reign. Let us be instruments of your will, but don’t let us be tools who buy into thinking that we are more important and more special than others. Amen.
Prayer for January 17: Please pray with me. God of all, today we come to you in mercy. We like to think that we are yours, but we act as though you only control the parts that we offer. You aren’t a God of 50%, or 75%, or even 99%. Rather, it’s all 100% that you desire. There is no wiggle room with you when it comes to our lives. Yet, we think we can fool you. We are only fooling ourselves though. Forgive us with our ideas about controlling our lives. Redirect us from this. While we would love to see what you have in store for us, we also know that if you did, it would scare us half to death and we would run away. Instead, help us to listen to you and to follow your call for our lives and each day. Amen.
Prayer for January 16: Please pray with me. God who resides in uncomfortable and inconvenient places, we seek you out. Help us to see you where you are – not in the nice clean places that we think you should be in at a time that is convenient to our schedules. No, if we know anything, it is that following you is uncomfortable and inconvenient. But maybe that’s the point. Maybe that’s the way you show us that we are not in charge. Because if we were, then we’d encounter you only at the fancy restaurants and grocery stores, the fancy offices and glamour jobs, the amusement parks and popular TV shows. Not that you can’t encounter us there. I just don’t think we are even open to seeing how you encounter us there all the time. We’re too busy staring at the lights and the shiny objects of fame and fortune. Rather, your hiddenness becomes so apparent in the places we’d rather not go and in the people we’d rather not be with – the poor, the homeless, the prostitute, the druggie, the sex slave, the illegal immigrant, and more. They are dirty Lord. They are messy Lord. They are dangerous Lord. Yet, what can we do when you call to us and say “Follow me.” We follow. And we go where we would rather not. And you encounter us. And lives are changes – including our own. And, like Philip, when asked if anything good can come from Nazareth, responded by saying “Come and see.” Give us the courage to respond with “come and see.” Amen.
Prayer for January 12: Please pray with me. God of all people, how long will it take for us to get this – to really understand this to the point that it changes us? How long will it be until we see other human beings with different skin color as our brothers and sisters? How long will it be until we are willing to go beyond skin deep? How long will it be until we stop blaming others for what happens to us – anyone who looks, sounds, speaks, or thinks differently? How long will it be until we stop building walls to separate us from those that are different and we start beating swords into plowshares? How long will it be until the lion and lamb can lie together? Break the chains that imprison us. Break the chains of racism. Break the chains. Believing that one skin color is superior to another is asinine Lord. Yet, so often we live in self-segregated worlds. Why? Fear? Move us past the fear we have. Move us past the fear of what might be if things change. Open our eyes to see the humanity of others. Open our eyes to seeing how we benefit from systems designed to make some of us comfortable. Open our eyes to the outcast in our midst. And not only open our eyes, make us uncomfortable and inconvenienced enough to live your calling in our lives – to proclaim boldly your loving presence, to follow your lead in breaking the chains that enslave us all, to be your hands in breaking the chains of sin that bind us. Amen.
Prayer for January 11: Please pray with me. God who calls us and sends us out, we want to listen, but we don’t. We want to answer your call, but in our own way. Yet you have different plans for us. You are in the business of changing lives, for creating miracles. And you use us to do this. Give us the courage to be your tools, to be your hands and feet, to be your voice and to share your words of grace, forgiveness, peace, and love to those that desperately need to hear it – and to those who don’t realize that they need it too. Use us as the tools that bring about change in people’s lives. And change us too. This isn’t just about others encountering you and being changed. It also for us. Encounter us, change our lives so that we can bring you with us to other so they can encounter you as well and have their lives changed. Amen.