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How to pray for your pastors and the Church as a whole

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Lord Jesus,You have called many people I know into a holy and difficult calling: pastoring.They step into battle week after week against spiritual and physical enemies.They are called by you to lead my local church, which is part of the global church.I pray you will protect and nourish my pastors' souls and spirits today.I pray for their vision, clarity, compassion, and endurance.I pray a hedge around their families and their emotions; be a rear guard against anyone how wants to attack them and to go before them into battle.Because we are in a battle, all of us. But you have placed some special people on the front lines, and they are probably getting tired of it. Church is hard for everybody. I wonder why that is?I guess because we're all human. We're selfish, and we ruin every blessing that God gives us.I pray for my church, and I pray for my pastors. I especially ask you to protect them against attacks from believers because that discourages ministers more than anything …

Teach me to grieve (for myself and others)

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Oh, Lord, 
You are the God of comfort.Teach me to grieve. It makes me uncomfortable, but it's so necessary for healing and perspective.Help me to trust your love and care enough to lean into pain and trauma andthe wild uncertainty of hard times,of personal and collective crisis.
You are a God of compassion.Teach me to grieve for others.give me perspective and empathy and sincerity that other people's experiences are differentand just as traumatic and difficult than my own.Maybe even more!I want to be kind and willing to sit with them in their pain without passing judgment, assuming I have the answers,or teaching them how to feel or act in their pain.
You are a God of forgiveness.Teach me to be forgiving when I feel that someone has wronged me, misunderstood me, or hurt me.You give us chances, over and over--a thousand million chances to change,to repent,to revive,to follow.Help me repent of my own sin and refuse to be the judge and jury for everyone else.I don't want to comp…

Praying about good news in us and through us

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Oh, Lord,

There's not a lot of good news flying around these days.
Not a lot to make us joyful or optimistic.
Not a lot that is attracting the world to the church.

In fact, our news--and our handling of the news--
is probably pushing people away.
If we're going to bite and devour one another,
who wants that kind of religion?
What a terrible misrepresentation of who God is.

God, I'm asking you to change us.
Change me more every day.
I want my life, my words, and my testimony to spread good news about
God's love, Jesus' death, and the Church Jesus started.

And so I pray Colossians 1:3-6 over all of us:

Each time we pray for you, we thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We have heard of your faith in Christ and of your love for all God's people,
because what you hope for [not political victory] is kept safe for you in heaven.
You first heard about this hope when you believed the true message, which is the good news.
The good news is spreading all over the worl…

The Back-to-work prayer

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Wow, Lord,

I'm a little overwhelmed.

I'm back in the old-but-not-normal grind.
It's physical work but virtual, too.
I'm having to get up early,
work all day,
and manage to do everything in person and online.

It's great to wear normal clothes
and see human faces,
even behind masks.

But every day is a new struggle.
Something's different.
Something's changed forever.
Something's harder than before.
So much has changed, sometimes I resent that I can no longer plan or feel secure about my work or my life.

I belong to you.
My work belongs to you.
Why is it so hard for me to be joyful about my situation?
Convict me when I complain about how things used to be.
Remind me that you are a God of transformation--
you don't want anything to stay the same.
Not even me.
Not ever.

When I feel inconvenienced or overlooked,
remind me that I'm here on a global mission,
in your service,
for your glory.

It's not about me.
And you can handle the change.
You may ha…

A Labor Day prayer, for those of us who labor too much to listen

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Dear Lord,

I'm so grateful to sit outside this weekend and marvel at the beauty of your world.
Thank you for this weekend--for the chance to rest and breathe and think.
I labor too much.
My labor keeps me from hearing you speak.

So often, I'm too busy to hear you speak.
I want your wisdom, but I don't sit down long enough to listen.
I don't stop the noise and the activity and wait.
I don't go where I can hear you, some place where the noise is music, and everything reveals your glory.

Speak, Lord.
Speak your love and blessing over me.
Help me hear and remember your promises.
Open my heart to be tender to conviction and correction,
to recognize where I need to change and then to have the courage to do it.

Change me.
Mold me.
Renew me.

I'm leaning into you, Lord.
Speak to me.
Every day that I sit in your presence
is a Sabbath day.
Lord, may I sit and listen every week and every day!

In Jesus' name,
Amen.

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the s…

The back-to-school-in-the-kitchen conversation with God (i.e. FREAK OUT to God)

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Okay, God, now you've really done something to me. You've compelled me to become a teacher to my own children. Do you remember how I fought with them last year over their homework? And now you want me to do this ALL DAY LONG?

Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith in me produces perseverance. (James 1:1-2) 

But we're back to school at the kitchen table, and I'm freaking out! I can't be responsible for my kids' reading, writing, math, science, history, music, PE, drama, socializing, and personal responsibilities ALL DAY LONG! For who-knows-how-long?

I just can't. You should know this about me. You've watched my parenting.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Romans 8:28)

Okay, that's just mean, making this a spiritual decision, when obviously, I was not trained as a teacher.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault…

A prayer about teaching and learning

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Lord Jesus, the Rabbi,

You were a teacher.
You know how hard it is
to present truth and get listeners to hear and understand it.
You were creative and interesting and inviting and challenging.

Make me like that,
whether I'm a parent,
a teacher,
a supervisor,
a manager,
or business owner.

I'm teaching someone about you every day
just by being myself.
And I'm learning from someone every day.
(Or at least I should be.)

I want to seek you and learn from you first and foremost.
I want to long for you and miss you when I avoid you.
Make me a learner first,
and a teacher second.

I want my life to count.
I want to help someone grow
as a person
and as a child of God.

Infuse me with humility,
persistence,
wonder,
patience,
and compassion.

I wait on you and listen to you.
Thank you.

In Jesus' name,
Amen.


"Your hands have formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands." Psalm 119:73