Advent Daily Prayer Challenge – Day 5

Advent Daily Prayer Challenge – Day 5.

Read Luke 5.  Commentary – Luke chapter 5 if full of random stories. But they aren’t so random after all.  They are stories of Jesus bringing Good News to the poor and the outcast.  They are stories that put Jesus in conflict with those who would keep the poor and outcast as they are.  They are stories of those in charge wanting to maintain the status quo and their positions and rank.  But Jesus has other plans.  He has the Kingdom of God to unveil.  And Good News to be shared with those who are not heard, who are oppressed, who are held captive.

Let us pray.  God of Good News, you come to us and upset the status quo.  You upset our established orders and ways.  You bring healing.  You offer abundance.  You call unlikely people.  In other words, you overturn systems designed to keep people down.  Thank you.

Today I pray for all those who try to keep the poor in poverty, the sick from health, the outcast as outsider.  There are people who push and defend policies and systems to maintain the status quo.  Too often these folks don’t see the poor, the sick, or the outcast as real people.  Too often, they are just abstract ideas.  Soften their hearts to know that there are people who are hurting because of these policies and systems.  Open them to knowing that to follow you means to implement policies and systems that pull the poor out of poverty, that bring wellness to the sick, and that bring the outcast in.  And work within me also so that I do not spend my time judging these maintainers of the status quo.  Instead, guide me in ways that I might offer a voice to those in positions of power on behalf of those whose voice is ignored and silenced.  Amen.

Advent Daily Prayer Challenge – Day 4

Advent Daily Prayer Challenge – Day 4.

Read Luke 4.  Commentary – Luke 4 is full of conflict.  The Devil tempts Jesus, Jesus is run out of his hometown due to his sermon, he confronts demons possessing people and sickness.  And through it all, Jesus proclaims the Good News of God through his words and his actions.  He brings good news to the poor, release to those who are captive, recovery of sight to the blind, and letting the oppressed go free.  In what ways does this still happen in our world today.  The poor still need good news.  Those that are captive to many things need released.  Those that are blind to many things need to have their eyes cleared.  And those that are oppressed by unjust systems need to be freed.

Let us pray.  God of Good News, thank you.  You give us your Good News.  It is very much needed these days.  But that is nothing new.  The names and faces of the poor, the captive, the blind, and the oppressed change over time.  The same is true of those who keep the poor in poverty, who hold others captive, who blind people from the truth, and who oppress others.  We look around us for your Good News.

Today I pray for those who adhere to ideas and beliefs that prevent good news going to the poor, that prevent release to the captive, that keep people blind to the truth, and who continue to oppress.  Soften their hearts Lord.  And open my eyes to see the humanity and fragility of those who do these things.  Help me to see how these individuals are broken and do these things as a form of self-defense, a diversion from their own brokenness.  Help me to be a healer of this brokenness, if it be your will.  Give me the words.  Put me in the places where those that carry out these actions might encounter Jesus through me.  Most of all, give me peace in my heart when I think of these people.  For without peace, I am no better that those that oppress, that blind people, that hold others captive, and that give bad news to the poor.  Amen.

Advent Daily Prayer Challenge – Day 3

Advent Daily Prayer Challenge – Day 3
 
Read Luke 3. Commentary – This chapter starts with the names of important figures who are in charge and in power. It is a long list. It then shifts to John the Baptist, who proclaims a message of Good News from God. Not Good News of Rome or the empire, but of God. Not of Good News from any of the power figures just listed, but of God. The chapter ends with a long listing of other men – Jesus’ ancestors, which trace his heritage to King David and to God. It’s a holy bait and switch.
 
Let us pray. Oh Holy One, you upset the established order of humanity. We think we are in charge, but you send prophets who sound like mad people to declare that your kingdom is at hand and is near. And that a new order is being established. An order that has been in the making since the beginning. It’s not that the Kingdom of God is new. Rather, it’s been unfolding since the beginning of creation. The orders that we establish are the new ones that conflict with your ways. Forgive us and turn us to align our ways with your ways.
 
Today I pray for all elected officials in federal, state, and municipal governments. Give them wisdom to move policies that are in alignment with your kingdom and your ways. Let them act with justice for the poor and outcast. You know what I need in order to look at these officials through a lens of Christ, oh Lord. Dispel any cynicism I have. Help me to pray for these officials in a way that sees their humanity and at the same time prays that they may act with justice. Amen.

Advent Daily Prayer Challenge – Day 2

Read Luke 2.  Commentary – Luke 2 is full of many things.  What strikes me is that the theme of chapter two centers around authority.  Time is measured based on who is in charge – Emperors and governors and kings.  Angels – God’s messengers – announce the birth with explicitly royal overtones.  The religious laws are followed in the Temple with priestly authorities.  And 12 year old Jesus is found conversing with the temple teachers.  Authority permeates this chapter.  And yet, it is subversive.  A new way of being, a new order in the world is being established.  A new kingdom is being unleashed, with new values and most importantly – new authority and authorities.  God encounters the systems that exist and declares that things are changing, the people are being set free.

Let us pray.  King of Kings and Lord of Lords, when you come, the systems that we establish are rattled.  They are shaken to their core.  There is no earthly authority that can stand up to you.  No empire, no nation, no religious institution.  We create these things in order to make order.  Yet, so often it is an unjust order that oppresses some or many.  We look forward to the fulfillment of your kingdom when your justice will reign supreme.

On this day, my prayer is for someone in a position of power.  Why do power, beliefs, ideas, and policies divide people?  Why am I so willing to scapegoat this person?  Cleanse the thoughts of my heart.  Help me to pray for this person in a way that will bring justice and well-being to all who are under this person’s care and authority.  Soften my heart towards this person and give me the courage to speak up for those whose voice are silenced by injustice in such a way as to see how this person is also oppressed by the unjust systems around them.  Lord Jesus, set us all free from the bondage of sin, the bondage of unjust systems, the bondage of oppression.  Set us all free – especially the person I am praying for and myself.  Amen.

Advent Daily Prayer Challenge – Day 1

For Advent, I decided to create a daily prayer challenge – to pray for someone difficult to love, who is different from myself, who I have trouble seeing the image of God in, etc.  I invite you to join in this challenge with me.  You don’t have to reveal any names of who you are praying for.  The only hitch is that you can’t pray to change the other person.  This is about preparing our hearts and minds for Christ – that means we each need to be changed so that we can see the image of God in others, especially those that are challenging to us.  Here is Day 1:

Advent Prayer Challenge – Day 1.

Read Luke 1. Commentary – Unexpected things happen all the time. We have a choice of how we respond. Some will doubt. Some will move forward in faith, not knowing what the consequences are. Regardless, God encounters us and transforms our lives in ways we cannot even imagine. Today, my prayer is for a person who chooses easy over right and my frustration with this choice.

Let us pray. Patient God, Prof. Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is quoted as saying, “Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.” This is certainly true in the movies. But it is also true in reality too. It was true in the past as we read in Scripture, it is true now, and it will still be true again in the future. As we move into Advent, we aren’t just preparing for Christmas. We are being encountered by God. How will we respond when God calls on us to do what is right, rather than what is easy?

On this day, my prayer is for someone I find difficult to love. A person I have trouble seeing the image of God in. I see them choosing the easy path, rather than what is right and if I am honest, I this disturbs me greatly. Yet this person does have the image of God in them. Open my eyes to see it. Cleanse me and wipe away the log in my own eyes so that I may see clearly. Give me the courage to love this person and to know what that kind of love actually means. Amen.

Prayer for November 15, 2019

Prayer for November 15: Please pray with me.  God who is in control, help us to see that we are not in control.  Help us to see that we are the creation, and you are the creator.  Help us to see that when attempt to exert more control, it usually doesn’t go as we hope or plan.  Help us to see that we can not control our way into salvation.  We can not control our way into your loving embrace.  We can not control our way into love at all.  We can only embrace it and be embraced by it.  You are in control, but you are not a control freak.  Help us to imitate you in this.  Amen.

Prayer for November 14

Prayer for November 14: Please pray with me.  God of truth, you come to us with your truth – the only truth that matters.  Truth is an interesting thing.  Too often we think that our beliefs are the truth.  We think that our opinions have the weight of truth.  We think that we can alter reality to match up with our own version of truth.  But that’s not how it works.  Only you can speak something into existence.  Only you can say how reality should change.  We are not you.  Open us to be embraced by your truth.  Amen.