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.
Prayer for December 13: Please pray with me. Holy One, you have to be laughing. You just have to. You have to be laughing at our ridiculous attempts to control things around us – to impose rules on those around us and control people. You have to be laughing at our self-importance. You have to be face palming our attempts to figure out how to govern ourselves. You have to be sighing at how we place so much importance in our elections – as if our very salvation depended on it. Oh how foolish of us to make elections so very important. How did we get to this point that we have made elections into life or death situations? How did we get to the point that our identity as your children is willingly replaced with identity to political party? Why are we willing to trade in our identity as your children for a tool used to obtain worldly power? Is it worth it? Hardly. But then, what can you expect from sinful, broken people Lord. We will keep getting it wrong Lord. We’ll keep equating your will with some election result here or there – fooling ourselves into believing that we are somehow special in history or as a people. We’ll fool ourselves into believing that you have chosen our nation as something unique and that you offer us some kind of special blessing. We’ll fool ourselves into believing that your will matches the agenda of one political party or the other and that your will is an extension of our nation’s greatness – greatness defined in terms of power and might rather than love. We’ll keep doing this Lord. And you’ll keep being patient. You’ll keep forgiving us. You’ll keep loving us. And some of us will stand in awe and wonder of you and your persistence to encounter us and change our lives. Thank you for your persistence Holy One. Amen.
Prayer for December 11: Please pray with me. God of the lost, today we pray for all who feel lost. We pray for all those who are confused. We pray for all who feel the world is upside down. You tell us that our salvation is in you, yet so many of your followers dismiss this in favor of putting their salvation in so many other things – politicians, political parties, nations, weapons, ideologies, work, exercise, drugs, alcohol, sex, entertainment, and more. How long oh Lord? Why does this persist? What is it about humanity and our stubbornness in rejecting you? Why do we reject what you tell us – what you promise us? What could we possibly replace you and all that you offer with? something human-made? A mere mortal? All these things will fade away with a whimper or worse – a wail of regret. Yet, so many put their hope in what is mere dust. Where does our allegiance lie, Oh Lord? Our allegiance is in you. Yet, that seems so hard for so many – even those that call themselves your followers. Help us to look past this Holy One. Do not let us become disheartened. Where else could we possibly go? You have the words of eternal life. Thanks be to God. Amen.
Prayer for December 7: Please pray with me. Holy God, today we pray for peace. Peace is a difficult thing for humanity – we don’t seem to get it. Peace doesn’t come through poking and provoking – no matter how hard we poke and prod. Peace doesn’t come through demands and insults – no matter how forcefully we yell. Peace doesn’t come through ego and hubris – no matter how far we puff out our chest. And peace doesn’t come through wiping out an enemy and scaring one’s enemies away through military weaponry. Peace comes through vulnerability, humility, openness, and accompanyment. Peace comes through a recognition of the humanity of those that differ from us. Peace comes in each decision we make to see what we hold in common rather than to see who is right and who is wrong. Forgive us when we make decisions that diminish peace. As St. Francis of Assisi once prayed, make us instruments of your peace. Peace isn’t a destination Lord, but rather a way of living and being. Amen.
Prayer for November 14: Please pray with me. God of language, who is the Word, we lift up those who need a word of Good News in their lives. We ask for a blessing for all who proclaim your Good News in places and with people who live in darkness in the world. Be a word of grace, mercy, and forgiveness to people who rarely experience these gifts. The world can be merciless and unforgiving, yet you offer an alternative Lord. Help the hearers of this Word to be open to hearing it for what it is – an invitation to restored relationship with you. Amen.
Prayer for November 13: Please pray with me. Holy One, today we lift up those who have suffered from violence against them. We especially pray for victims of sexual violence and abuse, manipulation, and from threats of violence. Give them the healing they need Lord – not just of their body, but rather, the whole person. We also lift up those who would harm others sexually. They are in your hands Lord. Amen.