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 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 7: Please pray with me. God of the hungry, feed us. We heard in yesterday’s Gospel story that Jesus went to a desolate place – a place where there was no life and nothing of value. Yet, when he showed up, people came, people were healed, and people were fed – both their stomachs and their spirits. There are so many who hunger for so many things Lord. There are many who hunger for food, hunger for love, hunger for mercy, hunger for forgiveness, hunger for community. Feed us to overflowing in all of these things. And in so doing, make us your instruments so that we can go out and feed the hungry around us through your abundance. Amen.
Prayer for August 4: Please pray with me. God of Truth, clear the blinders from our eyes. Make us the blind man whom Jesus restored sight to. Help us to see that we are not the ultimate arbiters of truth – only you are. Move us away, far away, from our preferred binary beliefs that pit people against one another, that create the “good” and the “bad” people. Push us far away from cornering people into either/or decisions. Deep down we know that life is messy and full of gray. That doesn’t mean that anything goes. It means we are dealing with the reality of humanity. And help us in our unbelief of thinking that our faith is based on what we believe. If that is so, then our faith is pretty shaky and nothing more than a house of cards that is ready to cave in at any moment. Open our hearts to live into trust in you, not knowing what the future holds, but knowing that you walk along side us as we journey forth. Amen.
Prayer for August 3: Please pray with me. Calming God, today we pray for all who live in anger. We pray for those who are victimized and turn to anger. We pray for those who get a rush from being angry. We pray for all those who have to experience the wrath of another person. Calm our hearts. Lower our emotions from the anger that burns within. Help us to see that anger only destroys and does not build up. Help us also to not have a blind eye to injustice around us. Let us not be angry about it, thinking that in anger we are doing something, but rather be moved by it to point that we act. Amen.
Prayer for July 26: Please pray with me. God of humility, you know what humility is, far more than we can ever imagine. For Christians, we believe that you humbled yourself in taking on human form. Not only that, but you humbled yourself to the point of death – a humiliating death of crucifixion. And you did that for us. Help those who struggle with humility and too often give in to their own ego and sense of importance. Help us to know that we are but small specks that are here one day and gone the next and that we will be forgotten in the ashes of history. But you will not forget us. Help us to be humble today and each day. Amen.