Thursday, March 29, 2018

A prayer against betrayal

Dear Lord Jesus,

Tonight is the night you were betrayed. You had your last dinner with your close friends, and Peter said he'd die for you, and Judas Iscariot slipped out to meet the Pharisees and collect his 30 pieces of silver. Then you took the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray with you and for you; you were headed into the greatest struggle in all of history.

Judas kissed you. Oh, the nerve of him!

Then the soldiers took you away for an illegal trial, built on lies and false accusations, while John watched and Peter cursed out the servants for suggesting that he knew you.

How could they could betray you, they who knew you so well and who served with you for three years. If they could betray you, what hope is there for me?

I am unfaithful, fearful, weak, ungrateful, even doubting. I am so unworthy of your unfailing faithfulness and grace. How can I become more resolute?

Lord Jesus, fill me with the Holy Spirit. May I go into garden and pray to you for strength and courage. May I pray for the whole world. Strengthen me and use me. Give me the boldness to endure persecution and mistreatment. And while that happens, help me look to you instead of at my circumstances.

Help me live in the eternal rather than the temporal.

And thank you for your forgiveness--for the many times I've already betrayed you and for the many times I will again. But I rest in your strength and your faithfulness!

Amen.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

When you hate someone

Have you ever felt disdain for someone? Hatred, even? Guilt that you should forgive an enemy, but you don't know how?
Maybe this will help.

Dear Lord,

You know my heart, so I can't pretend I don't feel this way.
I'm angry.
My pride is hurt.
I feel manipulated, or betrayed, or used
by someone.
I don't like that person at all.
I don't want to say "I hate,"
but I wonder if it's true.
Am I a person who could hate someone?

No,
I just don't trust him.
I just can't forgive her.
I just don't want to be with him.
We're just not friends.

These are the things I tell myself,
but you know they aren't true.
I hate.
I withhold forgiveness.
It makes me feel powerful,
or at least that's what I think.

It's not true.
It's a trap.
There's no freedom in hate and unforgiveness.

Seventy times seven.
That's what you said.
You forgave me,
so I need to forgive everyone else.
No one has sinned against me
like I have sinned against you.

Change my heart
and help me to love others like you love me.
It's hard to believe, but
you love us all the same.

Lord, forgive me, please.
I confess my sin.
Cleanse me of it.
Give me your love
and help me to see people the way you see them.
Show me something today about this person--
some hurt, some fear she has.
Show me his humanity--
the things that make us so similar.
Help that realization to humble me,
instead of it making me proud, judgmental, and defensive.

I worship you in all of my unworthiness.
I'm amazed that you love me at all.

In Jesus' name,
Amen.