Prayer for April 11: Please pray with me. God of love, there are some people who we find really difficult to love Lord. I mean really difficult. We’d rather yell profanity at them. It certainly would feel better. But you call us to love even these people. This is not easy Lord. I mean seriously God – you mean I have to love the person I can’t stand?!? The person who drives me up a wall at even the mention of their name? Really? But wait, I wonder how many people think the same thing about us? For how many people are we the person they can’t stand? For how many people are we the one who drives someone else up the wall? For how many people are we the one the causes someone to scream profanities? Ouch. That hurts. Help us to love – especially those we don’t like. Help those that don’t like us to love us too. We need it Lord. Loving someone doesn’t mean we have to like them or like what they do. And sometimes it means that the best way to love someone is to avoid them all together so that we don’t do something that we might regret or something that would cause harm to another. Let us start with that if we must Lord. You know what we need God. Encounter us with your grace, forgiveness, mercy, and love so that we can share these things with others – especially those we don’t care for. Give us huge doses of these things – we need them. And we need to give huge doses away too. Amen.
Prayer for September 13: Please pray with me. God who is love, today we ask that your love would spread over all of creation. Help us to see what that love is really about. And to experience your unending love for your creation. Lord, we were once your enemies because we had been turned away from you due to sin. You radically reorient us back to you. Help us to offer that same kind of love to others knowing that love draws us closer to one another. 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 July 3: Please pray with me. God who loves, today we ask that our hearts and minds are touched by your unconditional love. Open our hearts and minds to seeing the humanity of others, especially those we consider our enemies. Because you offer us grace and mercy, turn our hearts to offer grace and mercy to others. Amen.
Prayer for March 31: Please pray with me. God of all, today we pray for all people. We hear in Amos that you are the God of all, even those that many thought were their enemies. All peoples are yours Lord. You created them all. Forgive us when we separate people into those who are “in” and those who are “out.” Your ways are not our ways, and your thoughts are not our thoughts. Thank you. Amen.
Prayer for February 21: Please pray with me. God of grace, we learn that grace is not getting what we deserve, but rather, getting what we don’t deserve – your love, mercy, and forgiveness. Because you give us these things, turn us to go and love, to show mercy, and to offer forgiveness to all, even our enemies. Amen.
Prayer for February 20: Please pray with me. God of wisdom, today we thank you for crazy sounding things that you tell us in your Gospel. They sound crazy to the world – things like love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Yet, we know that humanity’s history is full of insanity – people killing each over time and time again and expecting a different result. Who’s the crazy one? Seems like we are. Give us the courage to do what the world thinks is crazy – to love our enemies. Amen.
Prayer for January 10: Please pray with me. Patient God, today we pray for our enemies, our opponents, those who annoy the crap out of us, those that we don’t like or trust. We really don’t want to pray for them Lord. We’d rather call them names, fight them, dehumanize them, shame them and so much more. Yet, you call on us to pray for our enemies. This is not easy – in fact, it sucks. But then again, following you was never meant to be easy. We pray that all those opposed to us would have a change of heart. And more importantly Lord, we pray for ourselves – change our hearts towards our enemies and opponents. Silence us before we respond in anger. Hold us back before we respond with violence. Stop us before we type our of frustration. Close our mouths before we say something we will regret. There are frustrating people in the world Lord. Help us to see when we are frustrating someone else so that we might instead offer mercy, forgiveness, patience, and if need be, make us walk away to give space to others. Amen.
Prayer for November 23: Please pray with me. Reconciling God, today we pray a difficult prayer. We pray for our enemies. We don’t pray for their defeat and destruction. Rather we pray that there would be a change of heart – for both them and us. Help them and us to see the humanity of each other. Help them and us to see that violence and anger and division lead to death. You have a different way Lord, a difficult way. Make both them and us unsatisfied in our judgements of each other. Turn us from seeking out what is the worst for one another. Help us to see that our most serious enemy is not anyone out there, no them at all, but rather, the enemy within that wants to claim control over our lives. Help us to see that our real enemy is the sin, the broken relationship with God and with others, the smug attitudes we cling to, the desire to be right no matter the cost, the excessive pride, the destructive envy, the lust for power and attention. Teach us to follow your example – to love our enemies in a most vulnerable way. Amen.
Prayer for July 20: Please pray with me. God of all, today we pray for something that might seem impossible – at least by human standards. We so desperately seek salvation – for ourselves, our family and friends, our communities, and our nation. We look in places that promise to save us from all sorts of evil and from enemies and opponents. We listen attentively to preachers of other gospels that promise that salvation will come when they have dispatched the “enemy.” We attach ourselves to a side in a fight in the hope that the rhetoric will be true. Yet, deep down, we know it is a lie and that the rhetoric is empty and that we will be disappointed yet again. Turn us Lord to you – the only real source of and the embodiment of salvation. The only one who’s words bring peace, forgiveness, love, and mercy. Transform us to be instruments of your peace, forgiveness, love, and mercy. Even, and especially, to those who are our enemies and to those who so desperately need to hear your message of hope. Amen.