Thursday, January 17, 2019

A prayer of blessing over the legislature

Sometimes, we have an opportunity to present God as the author and finisher of all things to a varied group of religious, non-religious, Christian, and atheist audience.

This is always a beautiful opportunity to show love and grace. We may not be alike in theology, but we are all equally pursued by God with relentless love. We all bear His image and are designed to reflect His glory.

I think our prayers and our conversations should celebrate that calling and that likeness. Through our compassion, people come to know who God really is. Judging them actually never works.

Perhaps someday, when these lost souls are in crisis, they will remember the Christians who spoke with love and blessing--perhaps they will ask questions about who we serve and how our God cares for us. That is our hope and our calling.

Here's my husband's prayer which he spoke over the Virginia State Assembly today:

Almighty God and Creator,
We come before you today to praise your name and to ask your blessing on this esteemed assembly. Without your creation, your wisdom, and your lovingkindness, we are incapable of accomplishing any good in this desperate world. We ask for you to empower this great body to champion justice for the oppressed, to administer grace to the fallen, healing to the sick, and restoration to the broken. Give each of us discernment as we interact with one another and wisdom as we handle problems. I ask and pray for a spirit of unity and harmony as it relates to policies that help the Commonwealth of Virginia and respect as it relates to our differences. May this state and this city be a blessing to everyone.
In the powerful name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

Amen.

"To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might win some." 1 Corinthians 9:22


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Prayer about grace, for grace

Oh, Lord God,

You are full of grace for me.
Help me to full of grace for other people--
not so quick to judge and condemn.
Not find it so easy to think ill of someone's motives
and criticize why they do the things they do
or compare myself and be jealous of them.
You give me grace, and yet I am ungracious.

I want to think of myself with "sober judgment,"
in humility, honesty, and transparency.
I am flawed.
I am sinful and selfish,
and yet you call me beautiful, holy, and desired.

That's because of your grace.
I don't deserve your love and mercy.

Give me the eyes to see everyone the way you see them.
I want to see potential,
value,
worth.
I want to see someone full of promise,
who maybe just needs a chance.
Someone full of gifting,
who needs an encourager, not a competitor.

Maybe they need someone to listen,
someone to love,
someone to affirm their value.
Someone who will point out what they're doing well
instead of what they're doing poorly.

My gifts are according to your grace,
and so are everyone else's.
May I be faithful to the gifting!
May I honor you instead of honoring myself
or expecting other people to honor me.

How backwards I get this.
All because I'm proud, entitled, anxious, and insecure.
All because I keep believing the lie that what I do or what people think of me
someone dictates who I am.

I am yours.
I am a reflection of you.
I am your messenger and your mouthpiece.
I am your living legacy.

You overwhelm me.

In the gracious name of Jesus,
Amen.

Romans 12:3-8

Friday, January 11, 2019

Praying to follow when I can't see the way

Lord God, the Way-maker,

Open new pathways for me.
I feel like I'm at a dead end,
like there's no way out of this problem.

I'm trying not to look around me,
not to see the forces of
criticism,
procrastination,
confusion,
fear,
misapprehension,
self-doubt,
and down-right evil
that assault me from all sides.

I'm trying to look ahead,
to follow your voice
and see your face.
To put one foot in front of the other
in terrified obedience.

Are you out there?
Where are we going?
I can't see you.
I can't even see the path.

Remind me of you promises:
You go before me.
You go behind me.
You go with me.
You live inside me.

You feel my pain.
You created me to handle this.
You made me for this purpose.
You use everything for your glory.
You are growing me.

Where you lead me, I will follow.
You make a way, where there is no way.
I believe
you can do it again.

And so I follow you.
That's what you've told me to do.

Amen.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11

When hard-pressed, I cried unto the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 118:5-6

Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.  Psalm 27:11






Monday, January 7, 2019

A parent's prayer


Dear Heavenly Father,

You must know how I feel as a parent.
You must understand my anxiety and my fear
about the choices, beliefs, and actions that my children take.
You understand my frustration at not being good enough as a parent
and my fear that my mistakes will harm, even ruin, my kids.

Take this fear away in the mighty name of Jesus.
Block this anxiety in Jesus' name.
I pray for power and a sound mind for myself and my kids.
I ask you, God, to pour out your Spirit on them,
to surround them during their daily activities,
to re-interpret the messaging they receive through your perspective.

Speak truth to them.
Encourage, challenge, and convict them.
Place mentors and friends around them who will support faith in you.
Remove harmful influences.
Give them compassion for others, and make them the influencers of others.

Change them.
Develop them into your likeness, not mine.

And oh, God, give me patience to let you work in your time and in your way.
Help me to give them grace when they blow it,
help when they need it,
and forgiveness whether they ask for it or not.
Help me to live out your will in front of them,
to be faithful and authentic,
to be filled with the Spirit.

Change me.
Make me like you.

You are enough.
You love them, and you have designed a plan for them.
I have no reason to fear anything.

In Jesus' holy name,
Amen.


Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.--Ephesians 5:1-2

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A New Year's prayer for the discouraged

Dear Lord,

Remember me.
Touch me.

I'm discouraged.
I don't know what to do or where to turn.
I feel like nothing I do turns out right.
I want to give up and crawl in a hole,
but that doesn't feel good, either.

Give me the faith to trust your plan for my life.
Give me the courage to keep moving forward.
Give me vision when I'm overwhelmed.
Give me grace when I'm angry and hurt.
Give me perseverance when I want to quit.

Make me like Jesus.

That's probably what you're doing, because this process is painful.

So maybe you're up to something in my life after all.

I love you, and I'm trying to trust you.

Amen.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Prayer over a miscarriage

Experts guess that between 10-25% of pregnancies end in miscarriages, for various reasons. To a woman who knows she's pregnant--who knows there's a baby forming in her womb--it doesn't matter why the pregnancy fails. She just knows that one day she was a mother, and the next day, she was not.

She feels grief. For all those excited and anticipating the birth of a baby, a miscarriage is a death.

If this is you, here is a prayer to help you grieve and hope:

Dear Abba Father,

You have created all things.
Your work is perfect.
You created me for a purpose, and you created this little life for a purpose,
although it doesn't make sense to me now why a helpless baby's life should be cut short so quickly.

I am so terribly sad--
I feel such a sense of emptiness and loss.
To be honest, I feel robbed.

This is confusing, because I know you aren't a robber.
You have come to give life and give it more abundant.
So why did you bless me, only to remove the blessing?
This pain makes me doubt your love and your will.

I want to trust your plan for me completely.
I must look back on my history with you
and your history with mankind to find the faith I need right now.
You are only love and grace and mercy.
You give and take away from a place of love and protection.
You understand my pain because you've lived it.

Keep my baby safe and secure.
I hope to see him or her one day when I enter your presence.
Thank you for that.

And please make me a mother again, in your timing and for your glory.

I will trust you, even in loss.
You are good,
and you only do good.
I love you.

Amen.

"I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul." Psalm 31:7

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas prayer for you

Merry Christmas, everyone—I pray that your day will be filled with delight, joy, and thanksgiving.


The Hallmark movie kind of moments would be great, for sure, but I hope you have more substantial moments filled with real love, acceptance, and security.

I hope you are humbled by the meaning and spirit of Christmas. Christ with us, the hope of glory. God took on human flesh—and a helpless baby from a poor, unwed mother, at that—and He called Himself “Emmanuel,” God with us.

I pray for God to be with you today and every day, to give your life purpose and meaning. Not just on Christmas so you have warm fuzzy feelings of happiness, but every day when the warm fuzzies are gone and you have to work and pay bills and be kind to difficult people.

God with you, and give you hope, peace, and eternal glory.
Amen.


Merry Christmas!