Prayer for January 15, 2020: Please pray with me. God who abides with us, make your home in us. You are a God who comes to where we are. You came to the Adam and Eve in the garden and walked with them. You came to the prophets in a variety of ways. You came incarnate as Jesus and pitched your tent with us. In Revelation we hear how you will come to renew creation and abide with the renewed creation and make your home among mortals. Over and over again, you come to us. Today we say a special prayer for those who are experiencing homelessness. Be with them. Keep them safe. Give them shelter. Give them what they need. End systems that keep people in poverty. Work through your disciples to be your presence with all in need. Amen.
Prayer for January 14, 2020: Please pray with me. God of peace, make your presence known to us. We have a faulty view of peace. The world thinks that peace is a destination. But the problem is that we never arrive. There’s always an excuse to avoid peace. There’s always an enemy to fight or kill. There’s always someone who does us wrong. There’s always someone to blame. When there is always someone else who is in the way, we will never be at peace, because we refuse to see the image of God in the other. We remain blind. Open our eyes to a new ways of seeing the world. Open our Hearts to new ways of living. Open us to the way of peace so that we may be instruments of peace. Open us to be peacemakers. This is not an easy calling. But it is worth it. Amen.
Prayer for December 9, 2020: Please pray with me. God of peace, you come to a world that is never at peace. The world doesn’t recognize you because it doesn’t know what peace is. Yet, you show up. Again, and again, and again. The world is slow to learn peace. It’s too busy fighting to take notice of what not fighting is actually like. Peace isn’t the absence of war. Peace is the opposite of war. Peace is about trust. Peace is about seeing the Imago Dei in others. Peace is about finding win-win situations. Peace is about forgiveness and mercy. It’s already here – if only we would clear our eyes to see it. It’s already here – if only we would open our ears to hear it. You are here. Let us see you and encounter you. Change us. Make us instruments of your peace. Amen.
Prayer for January 8, 2020: Please pray with me. God of love, come to us. Wait! Scratch that. You are already here. Why is it so difficult for us to see that and know that? What is it that we expect you to look like? The world seems to be drowning in violence and we think that you are absent. How foolish. You don’t abandon the world when violence rears it head. No, you come and stand in the midst of it, without fear. You come and mourn with those who suffer loss as a result of violence. You come and walk with those who make the costly choice of love over violence. You come and die with us because you love us so very much. You come and stir up life, just to spite violence and death and let them know that they are not in charge and do not have the final say. Open our eyes to see you and your love in action in the world. Open our ears that we may hear you, your Word, and your love around us. Open our hearts that they may be filled with your love so that we may share that love with all around us. Empty us of fear and hatred and the desire to cling to violence. Cleanse us of wanting to kill and destroy our enemies. Force us to see the humanity of our enemies and how they are created in your image too. Amen.
Prayer for January 7, 2020: Please pray with me. God of new beginnings, we have just entered the time after Epiphany. It is a season in which you are made manifest. Who you are is revealed to us in many ways. It is also a time in which we are revealed for who we are too. Namely, we aren’t you. Rather, we are sinful creatures who struggle with our egos. We think we are better – better than others, better than you. We think we know – know more than others, know more than you. Our reality is far different. We don’t like to hear this. That’s just too bad though, isn’t it? Cleanse us from our sinfulness. Open our eyes to see our sinfulness and also to see your love, grace, and mercy. You shower us with these things not because we deserve it, but rather, because it is who you are. It is a part of your very nature. Thank you. Transform us to see your love, grace, and mercy in our lives and to share these with others – all others, whether those others are our family and friends or if they are our enemies and those that we would rather not see at all. Amen.
Daily Advent Prayer Challenge – Day 24.
Read Luke 24. Commentary – A chapter unlike any of the previous ones. After we spent chapter after chapter in conflict with authorities, with those who exploit and oppress, with those who find ways to go against Jesus, this chapter takes on a different tone. It is a pivot chapter. Yes, the last chapter pivots us from what happened in the first 23 chapters. And with the conclusion of the Gospel of Luke, we pivot to what happens after the Gospel – life, history, callings of so many unnamed disciples who follow Jesus. In short, you and I.
Let us pray. God of holy pivots, your story doesn’t end. It merely pivots in ways that we don’t suspect. But should we really be surprised? Maybe. Why should we be surprised that your ways are not our ways. They are better. More hopeful. Encounter us and set our hearts on fire, like you did with the disciples. The beauty of this chapter is that the conflict ended. Not by avoiding conflict in favor of some false peace. Rather, you present a different reality – a reality that is outside of the realm of those seeking power and wielding it to oppress and exploit. They are not legitimate and have no role in the story – no role in the unfolding of the kingdom of God. Thank you.
Today I pray for the faithful remnant. Good news lifts up the faithful. Oh how the faithful need good news. The faith need an alternate to the powers that be and their systems that exploit and oppress, kill and destroy. Those have no place in your kingdom Lord. We look forward to the time in which your kingdom is fully unfolded, when justice is restored, when the oppressed are set free, when the exploited experience shalom. In short we look forward to your coming and encountering us and changing the world for good. Use us as your instruments to bring about this change in instituting a new reality. A better reality. A reality that is hopeful. A reality that is no longer seen as an alternative, but as the norm. Amen.
Daily Advent Prayer Challenge – Day 23.
Read Luke 23. Commentary – This is a chapter that goes from bad to worse. Jesus appears before Pilate and has no defense. He doesn’t even try. What’s the point? He is sent to Herod. Herod mocks him. Jesus is silent. And in a peculiar line, we hear “That same day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other; before this they had been enemies.” Evil men getting together in friendship. Jesus has this tendency to make evil obvious. The chapter goes on with the sentence of death by Pilate, but really it is the angry crowd. Pilate is just as a afraid as everyone else and he yields to the hatred to save his own skin. The thief on the cross resorts to insult. And finally Jesus dies. But things are changing. Darkness covers the earth. The curtain in the temple is torn. Things are about to change dramatically. In ways the world is not prepared for. If it was, the world would find a way to spoil it. But the world is about to be surprised.
Let us pray. God of surprises, when all bets are off, you step up in ways we don’t expect. When the darkness seems to be in control, you flicker a small light, which pierces the darkness. When all the odds seem to be against you, you make it appear that you have lost. But you haven’t. You give evil space to gloat, so that evil will fall on its own weight. And fall it does.
Today I pray for people who actively support evil systems because they benefit from them. They appear to win. They gloat. They cheer over their exploitation of the vulnerable. But you call on us to have patience. Why? Because ruin lays ahead for these people. That is the inevitable conclusion that always happens to evil systems. They end in ruin. Give me the courage to face evil systems. Give me the pathway on how to move forward with the Gospel when roadblocks and walls are put up against the Gospel. Give me faith that I need to go forward in spite of opposition. Amen.