a prayer for my own city today, with another – Ferguson, MO – in mind

Baytown-water-tower-2014As I pray today for all who live in Ferguson, MO, I’m moved to also pray for all who live in my own community. Won’t you join me?

You, Father God, are the Giver of all that is good. You are the perfect Understander of all things, even every human heart. You are the only wise, holy, and just Judge of all people and situations everywhere. Blessed be your name!

And so, I confess to you that I all too often take for granted the measure of your peace that you have granted to the community in which I live. I would do well to put my hand over my mouth more often than I do, rather than speak as if I have perfect understanding of people and events in my town. I sometimes make judgment calls on others that are hasty and unhelpful. Please, forgive me.

I thank you for every mind in my locale that is open, willing and active to learn how to best love others; this is from you. I’m grateful for all the hearts here in which the walls that separate them from others are crumbling; this is your work. And I’m appreciative for every pair of eyes that see past the outward appearance of people and see, in their neighbor’s eyes, the eyes of Christ; this is your grace.

And so, in the name of your Son Jesus, I ask you, Father God, that you shield and deliver my city from all the hatred, violence, and every other evil, that is welling up elsewhere. I request that you give me great wisdom as to how I should conduct myself when things do not appear to go the way I think they should and deep humility when they go the way I think they should. I pray your forgiveness and mercy on me for all the times I have judged others and have spoken ill of them for I know that such only tears community apart.

Deliver us from evil, Father, and lead in the ways that are good. Bring in your kingdom and use me in that good process, I pray.

Amen.

for these I’ll vote today

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I plan to vote today.

I will vote:

  • for all the people who are either too feeble of body or too troubled in mind to let their voice be heard today;
  • for the spirit and demeanor of all who cast ballots;
  • for every person who supervises today’s elections;
  • for all who are elected … and those who are not;
  • for all people alive today who will soon find their lives significantly affected by the views of those elected;
  • for those who live to rightfully regret the choices they made today, as well as for those who will rejoice;
  • for all in future generations who will have to live with the consequences of the choices we make for them today;
  • and in it all for God, that in all my doings today I might be used by him to usher in his kingdom a wee bit more.

For all of these, I will cast my lot today.

By means of prayer.

Do vote with me, won’t you?

the temple: a prayer

Stained-glass-window

Thank you, Father, for your temple. For bringing to this earth a place to reside with your human creation.

A place of worship. A place of prayer. A place of revival, refreshment, rejuvenation and great celebrations.

A fortress for your people. A safe place where your light always shines.

Indeed, a wonder for all of the world to see the true love of the true God of this earth.

The place where heaven meets earth. The place where you now reside. In our human hearts.

Thank you for living in me. For the blood of Jesus that made me pure enough to receive you.

Thank you for entrusting me with your Spirit. Forgive me Father for not using your Spirit to the best of my ability. Forgive me Lord for letting your light dim. Please help me Lord to revive your Spirit in me so that your light, your love, is fully displayed in me. You promised to always be with me. To be with us in your holy temples.

And now in this place look upon us with your favor. Bolster your Spirit in our worship. Prepare our hearts to remember your great sacrifice as we share in the feast of the body and the blood of your Son.

Prepare our hearts to receive your word and send us on our way refreshed, and revived with the light of your Spirit, so that we may with great joy bring your blessings to the poor, the sick, the aged and infirm and those imprisoned …

Until the end when we will hear you say, “Well done.”

(by John Jacobson)

a prayer amidst the killing

 

Father God, my mind is flooded tonight with words and my heart is heavy with them.

ISIS. Massacre. Genocide. Air strikes. War.

In the name of Jesus, I ask that you give wisdom to all this world’s leaders who seek peace.

Confound and confuse, divide and defeat, all who seek the death of innocents.

Shield and deliver the harassed and oppressed, the abused and persecuted.

Protect all who seek to bring relief.

Intervene in this lost world’s ways and stop this cancer of killing. Deliver us from evil.

Amen.

LIFE group guide: steady prayer – how to make it a reality (2)

 

NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use tomorrow (May 25) in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning. To find previous group discussion guides, look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous issues.

Reason

Stated in a single sentence, this is the purpose of this morning’s sermon.

To offer practical guidance in the reasons for, and development of, daily prayers.

Revelation

These Scriptures form some of the foundation of this sermon.

•  … the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. (Luke 18.1 NAB)

•  … be patient in suffering; give constant energy to prayer. (Romans 12.12b KNT)

•  … to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever … (Ephesians 3.20-21 NRSV)

•  … be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6.18b NIV)

•  Keep on praying and guard your prayers with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4.2 CEB)

•  Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5.17-18 NAB)

•  You do not get what you want, because you do not pray for it. Or, if you do, your requests are not granted, because you pray with wrong motives, in order to squander what you get on your pleasures. (James 4.2-3 REB)

•  This is the bold confidence that we have before him: if we ask for something according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we already possess the requests we have asked from him. (1 John 5.14-15 KNT)

Relation

Use one of the following icebreaker questions to prime the pump, to help the conversation begin. Choose one to discuss.

1. “Given the opportunity, I would love to be able to talk with ____, often and at length.”

2. “It seems to me that this attitude – ________ – is crucial to prayer.”

Research

These exercises/questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture(s) related to this sermon.

1. Read Rom. 12.9-18. What actions keep steady company with steady prayer (vs.12b)?

2. Read 1 Thes. 5.12-22 (vs.17b-18’s context). In the midst of what specific sort of circumstances was Paul telling the Christians in the Thessalonian church to pray?

Reflection

These questions assist our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us in our encounter with God’s word.

1. Think of prayer as a “thing.” What are some of the essential components of this thing?

2. Aside from time, how might, or how does, spontaneous and scheduled prayer differ?

3. We’re called to “guard” our prayers (Col. 4.2). Guard against what?

4. Can prayer ever be “dangerous?” Should it be? Explain.

Response

These ideas/suggestions are for your use beyond the group meeting; to aid in living out today’s message in the coming days.

1. Keep a log for one month of when and what you pray in your scheduled prayers.

2. Work hard to make prayer the very first thing you do when you wake up every day.