Friday, August 17, 2018

Praying for a friend

Dear Lord,

I lift up my friend to you.
She's going through a rough time,
making hard decisions,
doubting your love,
doubting herself.
Angry, discouraged, and hurt by this complicated thing called life,
hating the feeling of being a victim,
doubting she'll ever be a champion,
not feeling much like she's your daughter
and your her Abba Father.

Please, Holy Spirit,
remind her today
of who you are and what you will do.
Flood over her with unexplainable peace,
hope,
and love.
Surround, envelop, and calm her.
Take her little hand in yours and give it a reassuring squeeze.

You are God Almighty.
You love her
with an everlasting love
and an eternal plan to prosper her,
grow her,
and protect her.

Help her to feel your protection and love today
through the love of your other children.
Through me.
Give her wisdom to cling to
through the words in your Word.
Open her heart and mind to trust you once again.

Use me and use other people
to remind her how much you care
and how much she has to hope for.

You are God.
You never forget our troubles
or downplay our struggles.
In fact, you are always at work behind the scenes,
preparing for our victories.

Thank you.
I love you.
I trust you with my life and with hers.

Amen.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

You make me shake my head

Oh, Lord,

You astound me and make me feel grateful.

When I look around my world--my house and work and family--or when I behold your natural creation of mountains and oceans and fields, I just shake my head with wonder.

Wow.

Thank you.

Thank you for my family, my home, my church, all which sometimes frustrate me.
Thank you for my freedom, which I take for granted.
Thank you for life and health, which I really take for granted.
Thank you for my mind, which isn't as quick as it used to be, but it's a blessing nevertheless.
Thank you for the beauty of the world, for all its variety:
for the marvelous expanse of nature
and also for the cities and countries filled with people, who I misunderstand or don't think about at all.
Thank you for your living Word, which I don't read as much as I should, although it inspires and changes me.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you through the church, which I often make about fulfilling me instead of about honoring you.

Thank you for your love, grace, patience, and encouragement while I wrestle with my humanity, my self-centeredness, and my fear.

You make me shake my head.
Why do you love me?
Why do you even bother?
I must be so aggravating to watch.
I keep struggling with the same lessons, the same problems, the same habits.
And yet you wait, you love, you remind, you cheer.

Thank you.

Amen.

"Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep . . . How priceless is your unfailing love!" (Psalm 36:5-7)



Friday, July 27, 2018

A prayer for tired people

Lord,

I'm tired, and it's early.
I'm not sure if it's the Holy Spirit,
common sense,
or my mother's voice inside my head,
but I'm hearing "Get more sleep."

Another voice says "Take a nap,"
but that might be my college self crying out from the past.

I'm wondering if you could sprinkle me with a little holy adrenaline?
I just drank some caffeine
and took my vitamins.
I would go for a quick walk, but I've just eaten.
I'll take my shower now.

But all of that will wear off,
and the tiredness will return.

You know how I feel?
Of course you do.
You even napped in a boat--during a storm!--
which I could never do because I have motion-sickness.

Okay, I'll try to go to bed early.
Thanks for the conversation.

Amen.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

A daily prayer for your children

Dear Heavenly Father,

I give you my children into your hands to protect, guide, convict, and grow. I pray over my children the words you gave the Israelites when you instructed them to impress your commands on their children's hearts. I need your help to do this well.

Help me to impress on my children:
  • to love you with all their heart, soul, and mind
  • to carefully obey all your commands
  • to think about you and understand you during their daily tasks and their journey through life
  • to memorize your holy Word, so it will grow in their hearts and produce godly attitudes
  • to fear (respect) you; to be in awe of your majesty
  • to keep their hearts from idolizing people and things
  • to take your authority seriously--not to test you or ridicule you or disregard you
  • to do right and good, whether they are alone or with others
  • to recognize your hand of blessing throughout their lives and to remember your interactions on their behalf
  • to discern your voice and your expectations from the world's, and to distance themselves from accepting falsehood and fallacies
If you are able to impress your heart and mind on theirs, then they will bring you glory, and you will prosper them. May they always seek the prosperity that can be measured in eternity, rather than prosperity on earth! May they live lives worthy of your sacrifice.

Thank you for my children. I give them to you, today and every day. Make me strong enough and faith-filled enough to let you keep them in your care!

Amen.




Friday, July 6, 2018

Prayer over a child's opportunity

Dear Lord God and Holy Spirit,

My child has an opportunity today--
one of those many milestones we parents feel are so important.
And they are, for succeeding in this world's system
and for maturing into an adult.

I give him once again into your hands.
You have his future in mind.
You created him for this moment
and for the million moments
before and after today.
You know how each part fits together.

Thank you for the thousand times you protected him,
the thousand times you comforted, encouraged, convicted.
May he feel your presence around him and before him today.

Give him courage to be honest about himself.
Give him confidence to see what you're already doing in him and for him.
Give him wisdom beyond his years.
Give him optimism and boldness--
enough to propel him toward your will
and enough to steer him through the trials that will come.

You crafted him.
You called him
You saved him.
And you gave him to me for a little while.

Thank you for the blessing of being his mother
and the challenge of being his compass.

I humbly ask you to guide and direct him,
to pour out your blessings on his life,
to fill him with your spirit.

In Jesus' name,
Amen.

Monday, July 2, 2018

What to pray when you're angry

Lord,

Set a watch over my mouth.
Help me not to sin when I'm angry.
I mean, right now.
Clamp me down.
You can take care of this problem
if I just wait and listen
and behave like Jesus would.

(Wow, this is going to be hard.)
Once again, help me!

Amen.

“'In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry." (Eph. 4:26)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A confession of injustice

Dear Lord God,

You forgive us when we confess our sins,
and you give grace when we confess the sins of our ancestors--
of our family and our city and our country.

So I confess the great wickedness of our nation
at oppressing the poor,
marginalizing women, minorities, the elderly, and the ill,
enslaving the African-Americans,
red-lining poor communities,
indenturing and imprisoning the uneducated and underprivileged.

I confess our systemic white privilege,
even as I want to believe I am not a benefactor of it.
I confess our sins of racism and segregation,
even as I say that I have not overtly participated in any of it.
It is our heritage, and we are wrong to minimize its legacy.

I confess the church's sins of politicizing moral issues,
of drawing party lines through issues of compassion, grace, and mercy--
of using topics of mass incarceration, death penalty, immigration, life, and welfare
to divide party lines and provide ease and security for the privileged.
I confess these sins on behalf of the countless Christians who claim your name but do not behave like you did.

We do not touch the diseased,
help the prostitute,
protect the children,
shelter the foreigner,
or befriend the poor.

You condemned the religious rule-followers.
You called them serpents, dirty dishes, tombs.
You hated their sacrifices and their charitable donations and their prayers.
They made you angry.

We are them.
Oh, too often, we are them.
How angry do we make you
when we cry, "Lock him up!"
"Kill them all!"
"Take her children away!"

We do your name such injustice
when we prevent your creation from experiencing justice.

I confess it all.
I bear the blame.
May we all bear it,
and then, may we change.

Change us, oh God!
It's what you do best.
Instead of praying "Change them," change us!
and it's how the world will see that you are a God of love and justice.

Amen.

"Oh, Lord, we acknowledge our wickedness and the guilt of our fathers; we have indeed sinned against you. For the sake of your name, do not despise us; do not dishonor your glorious throne. Remember the covenant with us and do not break it. Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? Therefore, our hope is in you, for you are the one who does all this." (Jeremiah 14:20-22)