Friday, April 19, 2019

A Good Friday prayer of praise and thanks

Dear Jesus Christ,

Thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice--
for accepting the call as Savior of the world.

You took on human likeness, when you were God himself,
and subjected yourself to human pain and suffering.
You loved us so much that you took our sins on yourself
and felt them--held-them--
and died in them, after a day and a night of torture, abuse, and abandonment.

It was all wrong--all unjust--
and yet you agreed to it because you loved us.

You did that for me.

Thank you.
I can only feel overwhelmed by your love
and convicted by your grace.
I am so unworthy you.

And you so patiently wait for me,
call me,
and protect me,
even when I don't answer and don't want you.

Oh, Lord Jesus!
I love you more every day,
but I will never understand the depth of your love for me.

I worship you.
Amen.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Second-most popular prayer

What kind of prayer do you pray most often?

Requests, probably. Me, too.

Requests are my website's most-clicked on kind of prayer. It seems we're all looking for the right way to ask God to help us.

Guess what the second-most popular prayer is?

Lamentation.

I love that. I have an audience of grievers and groaners. Praise God.

Learning to lament has been one of the most impactful aspects of my spiritual growth. Instead of crying in sorrow, lamenting teaches you to cry out to God (that's the literal meaning of lament). Lamentation is faith in action, maybe even more than when I make a request.

When I lament, I dump my heavy burdens, my grief, and my hopelessness at God's feet and say something like,

"I don't know what you're doing in my life right now, but help me trust you. I choose to believe you will work all things together for my good. But oh, God, this hurts so much. Cover me with your Spirit!"

When I make a request, I am hoping and believing that God will answer it. When I lament, I do so from a posture of hopelessness and complete despair. I don't request. I just groan.

And the Holy Spirit interprets that groan. And it is sweet music in God's ears. Our groans show our utter dependance on Him.

There is no greater act of faith that to trust in God's goodness when it doesn't feel like He's doing good for us.

Just keep crying out to Jesus. He is, after all, called "the Man of Sorrows." He gets it.

Amen.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Prayer for a sick child

Dear Father-Healer,

Pour out your mercy, grace, comfort, and
miraculous healing over this child
who is sick.
Death and harm are horrible thoughts and horrible possibilities.
Except for you.
Except for your power and your perfect will.

Help me to believe in your goodness and love.

Why must bad things happen to good people?
Why is the world so full of heartache and grief?
Why do you seem to withdraw when grief overwhelms us like an angry ocean?
And most of all--why must terrible things happen to the most innocent of all--
to the unborn, the children, the young, the sweet and kind ones among us?

Illness is heart-wrenching for families of children who suffer--
it's unfair,
tramatizing,
terrifying,
heart-breaking.

You can heal anyone and anything,
so why don't you always do it?
Could you do it here?
Could you please heal this child?
Would you please perform a miracle?

More importantly--
Show us your glory.
Change us and help us feel you close
instead of feeling the pain of your absence and the lack of your loving care for us.
Those things are not true.

You are love.
Help us not to fear.
In the powerful name of Jesus,
Amen.


"Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him." (James 5:13-15)



Thursday, April 4, 2019

Meeting God in the quiet place

Ahh!

Here you are, God.
Waiting for me in this quiet place.

You've been calling to me all week,
whenever I made time to watch the sunset or smelled the freshly-cut grass.
When I took pictures of the cherry blossoms
and admired the beauty of a lake shimmering blue and crystal under a bright sun,
that's where you were.

You were waiting in my moments of wakefulness and sleepiness,
waiting as my first and last thoughts of every day.
There your Spirit whispered prayers for me to the God of heaven.
When I felt fatigue,
you assured me that you would sustain me.
When I felt fear,
you whispered that you would protect me.
When I felt worry,
you promised you would make all things work together for good.

All with your quiet, reassuring presence.

You were waiting here,
on a day I've singled out to meet you.
Out here in the sun and the vastness of a quiet setting
where I've made time to sit with you
and hear what you have to say.

And this is what you said.

Hello, dear one.
I've been waiting for you.
I've been calling your spirit to join mine.
I'm so elated that you came.
I just want to be with you.
I want you to know me like I know you,
completely, fully, and without confusion or judgment,
without fear.
I love you perfectly.

And I know you love me as perfectly as you can.
It's why you came to meet me today,
so I can perfect that love a little more.

It only happens in the quiet moments,
in the silence of vulnerability
and the freedom of worship,
that you feel me,
understand me,
and find me.

Ahh! I'm so pleased you came.
Let's revel in our time together.

Amen.

"My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with  its mother; like a weaned child I am content." Psalm 131:1-2