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 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.
Prayer for December 20: Please pray with me. Ageless God, today we lift up our youth. Youth is such a precious thing – something we don’t appreciate until after it is over usually. Be with our youth, in their struggles and victories. It’s not easy to figure out one’s place in the world. Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. So often we fumble our way through our early years. If we are fortunate, we have parents who assist us along the way. We pray for all who did not benefit from a loving and caring home. Give youth the courage to try and fail and figure out what’s what. Give youth the patience and persistence they need to keep going without knowing. Thank you for our youth, Lord. Amen.
Prayer for December 18: Please pray with me. God of the oppressed, yesterday we read from the prophet Isaiah that you bring good news to the oppressed, that you bind up the brokenhearted, that you proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners. Lord, there are a group of people who desperately need this – those that suffer from domestic violence and abuse. They feel like prisoners in their own homes, captives at the mercy of mad people, brokenhearted because of the violence caused to them by ones they supposedly love, oppressed and out of control. Walk with them and accompany them. More than that – free them from their captivity and imprisonment in pain and suffering. Move within us to do something, anything, when we come across people who are abused. Keep our eyes open and don’t allow us to turn away – let us be a channel of communication with the abused to know that they are cared for and are not alone. Change the hearts of those that would abuse someone else. Open their eyes to seeing that their lives will not improve by trying to control someone else – they will only bring misery and pain to others and eventually to themselves. If their hearts remain cold and frozen, move them – move them physically away from their victims so they can’t cause more harm. Open the doors of their homes and let them leave. Free them from their own captivity to violence, anger, shame, addiction, wrath, and being lost. Amen.
Prayer for December 15: Please pray with me. God of culture, today we lift up our culture. It’s so easy to fall into the trap that our culture is drifting from you. Too easy. Being negative feels good for far too many people Lord. It’s easy to complain and wail and moan that things are like they used to – as if the past was some how perfect and without fault or error. Wake us up to the reality that people have always been broken as long as sin has been in creation. You don’t call us to be culture police or culture warriors. Instead you call us to live differently – in a new way. You call us to do something counter-cultural – to love and forgive, to offer mercy and grace, to be patient, and to see the humanity of others. Strengthen us in this. Amen.