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A birthday prayer for my child

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Oh, Lord,


I ask for your blessing over my child on his birthday,
on this day that you breathed life into him as he entered this broken world.
Cover him with your protection, your conviction, and your direction.

May he always feel your presence.
Speak Scripture to him when he sins.
Speak comfort to him when he is afraid.
Wrap yourself around him when he is alone.
Direct him when he is confused.

Always, bring your words of life--the Holy Word of God--
to his heart and memory,
and may he cling to your truth.
Give his discernment in this confusing world.
Stir unrest and reticence when he hears falsehood,
and help him to turn back to your Word to verify the truth.
Make him a man of spiritual power and authority.

Bring men and women in his path to guide him and model Christian living to him.
Bring friends into his circle who will support and encourage his walk with you.
Bring him a wife at the perfect time for both of them.

Help him to wait on your voice,
to listen for your voice,
and to follow your voice.

You h…

A prayer of joy (and why joy works in a messed-up world)

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Oh, Lord,

I rejoice in your lovingkindness,
your love,
your goodness,
your faithfulness,
your patience,
your forgiveness,
your gentleness,
your justice,
your generosity,
your righteousness,
and your discipline.

Your works and your ways are mysterious,
but I trust them
because you have always shown yourself to be trustworthy.
You are good, and you only do good.

Thank you for the history of the world:
because in the midst of chaos, suffering, and victimization,
you have always shown yourself loving, just, and faithful.
You have always redeemed those who seek you.
You have always blessed those who follow you.

You are father to the fatherless (that's me)!
You defend the widow (that was my mom)!
You put the lonely in families (that's so many of us)!
You free the prisoners (that's justice).
You shake the world with your might and power.
You paint it in brilliant colors,
and you give it to us to enjoy (everybody can see your works!).

Praise be to the Lord who daily bears our burde…

A prayer for my child's wedding day

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Oh, Lord of heaven,
Lover of our souls,
Bridegroom of the Church,
Savior of all who seek you--

I bring you my most earnest request,
my adoration,
my intercession,
my thanksgiving.

Today is my son's wedding day.
I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this life you entrusted to me.
I am so humbled to be his mother.
Thank you for this gift,
for this child I prayed for before his conception
and every day since.
Thank you for his bride,
whom I've prayed for since my son's birth.

You have loved us with an everlasting love. (Jer. 31:3)
You are loving and faithful,
even when we are untrue and unfaithful to you.
I cannot praise you enough.

Hover over our day with your Presence.
Infuse our wedding celebrations with your Spirit.
Fill the bride and groom with gratefulness and praise to you.
Go before them and behind them and beside them through life.
Keep them as the apple of you eye.

May be all reflect your lovingkindness today.
May we rejoice and be glad in the abundance of your blessings

A prayer for space to hear

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Speak to me, Lord.

I'm listening.

I'm preparing the sanctuary of my soul so you can enter and sit with me.

And so I can hear you.

I'm making room in my thoughts and beliefs for you to change me and direct me.

I need you.

So I will sit here and wait to hear from you.

Wait to feel you and know you.

Wait until my heart transforms from cynical to celebrating, from afraid to expectant, from bitter to grateful.

I will wait.

Only through this silent waiting will I find the sense to shut out the noise of this world.

Only in stillness can I can experience your love and wisdom.

Forgive me for my self-focus and my judgment of others.

Direct me toward the work you have for me today.

Give me strength, patience, and courage to do it.

Sustain my spirit, so I don't give up.

Speak to me, Lord.

Oh, please, don't stop speaking to me.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.


For this is what the Lord says—
he who created the heavens,
he is God;
he who fashioned and made the earth,
he founded it;
he did no…

Broaden my path

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Lord God,

I feel hemmed in right now,
Physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually.
In a woods, looking for a clear way out.
The world is overwhelming, isn't it?

I feel exhausted from the hectic pace of running a new schedule while trying to maintain the old one.
I feel drained--completely void of compassion and empathy--when in fact, I do care about so many things.
I have worn myself out caring.
I feel the urgency to educate myself about the crises all around me.
I feel the Holy Spirit prompting me to open my heart to bigger faith--to hope and dream for your will to be done in ways I can't even imagine.

But you are not worried about how I will process all this or if I will fail.
You will broaden my path, if I keep walking in your light.
You will enlarge my territories, if I push out into a dangerous world.
You will strengthen me and do the impossible through me.

I will not stumble.
I will not fall.
I will not fail, if I keep following you.

Lord, keep me on your path, …

Praise for the Lord's justice and mercy

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A prayer of praise and justice from Psalm 98

Shout to the Lord, everyone!
Break out your instruments and singing!
Your worship is a beautiful symphony to God's ears.
Everything on the earth should shout the praises of the Lord.
Even the rivers, the ocean, the hills, and the animals praise the Lord through their creation.

Why do we withhold our faith and our worship?
Because we see the unfairness of this world?
Because we harbor ambition, hate, and envy in our hearts?
We distrust the plans of the Lord.

His way is good, and He does good.
He judges the wickedness of the world in his own time.
He will bring justice and mercy according to his nature.
All the nations will know that he is the Lord, and there is none other.

Praise the Lord, the Savior of the nations!
In Jesus' name,
Amen.


Sorrow awaits us: a lament over injustice from the church

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I was reading in Luke 11 this morning. I was struck by the profound similarities between the Pharisees of Jesus' day and the evangelical church of today. More startling is Jesus' response toward them.

You might know that the Pharisees were the "bad guys" of Jesus' time--at least that's how Bible-readers like to view them, as if we are dissimilar to them in every way.

And yet, they were well-respected and revered, even feared. They were obeyed. They were the experts about what God expected from his people. In modern day vernacular, they were the pastors, the conservative right, the non-profit leaders, the worship leaders, the televangelists, the Christian authors. They were the spiritual voice for their culture.

And Jesus censured their religious rules, pointing out instead their lack of compassion and justice. Read Luke 11:37-53 to get the full effect of Jesus' words (they're harsh!).

Here is a prayer of lament crafted from Jesus' rebuke:

Lord God,