Showing posts from June, 2020

How to love: a paraphrase and a prayer

1 Corinthians 13 (MSG)

So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end. Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled. But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly…

Confession of disunity

Lord, God of heaven and earth,

How your heart must grieve over the dissension and hate in the world!

You want unity here on earth, 
among your children,
so the world will know that you are a God of love.
Instead, we manifest selfishness, dissent, criticism, and hatred.

Create unity in me.

I confess my prejudice toward others who don't think like I think.
I confess my jealousy and resentment toward others who have more than me.
I confess my anger toward others who behave differently than I think they should.
I confess my excuses and my blame-shifting of my perspectives and beliefs
because I think other people are worse than me.

That creates disunity.
I want your Spirit to reign in my life,
causing love and unity toward all people,
regardless of politics, religion, race, economics, or anything else.

Create unity in our church.

I confess our selfishness because we care more about what church gives us
than we do about giving ourselves to mission.
I confess our petty bickering about politics,
because we c…

Prayer for law enforcement

Oh, Lord,

I pray for our law enforcement.
I pray for the safety of our officers and elected officials.
I pray for the emotional and mental stamina to endure
and the spiritual awareness to do what's right in every situation,
to trust you and to trust righteousness.
I ask for the safety of their homes and families.
I pray against any more loss of life from any side.

Give our officers and leaders compassion,
and a godly sense of justice.

Convict those who have sinned and change their hearts toward their fellow-man.
Affirm those who have served faithfully and give them favor with everyone.

I pray for healing of their hearts and their spirits,
for the emotional damage that's been done.
May this time of unrest bring awareness rather than hostility,
a desire for fairness rather than revenge.

Lord, end the violence in this country by changing hearts.
Help us to see you,
honor you,
and uplift you in every situation and through every action.
May we stop blaming …

A prayer against hate and for love

Oh, Lord,

You are a God of love.
I want to love you more every day.
I want to extend your love to others,
no matter who they are, what they've done, or how they feel about you and other people.

Help me to love people the way you do.

Keep me from

Oh, Lord, convict us of our hate.
Whether we think it,
speak it,
advocate it,
or act on it.

Lord, eradicate our hatred for one another,
on all sides,
for any reason.
Wreck us with compassion,
and love.

If we feel angry,
help us lean in and give.
If we feel confused,
hell us lean in and learn.
If we feel defeated,
help us lean in and persevere.
If we feel vengeful,
help us lean in and fight with righteousness.
If we feel grieved,
help us to lean in and find comfort.

You alone have the power to
change lives,
make lives matter,
give life,
renew life.

But please, Lord,
humble us so we can love others like you love us.

Comfort for a crisis from Psalm 9

Lord Jesus,

We ask your Spirit to comfort us today.
Whether we suffer with grief,
or hopelessness--

Come meet us.
Speak into our lives and invite us to sit in your presence.
To feel you.
To trust you.
To hear you.

We come and sit.
We wait with expectation and wonder.

We will tell of your wonders.
We will be glad and rejoice in you.
We will sing your praises
because you always uphold your righteous causes.

You will rebuke sin and arrogance.
You will blot out the names of the wicked with your vengeance
and uphold the testimony of the righteous.

You will judge the world for its sin.
You will govern us, your people, with justice.
You are refuge for the the oppressed
and a stronghold in times of trouble.
Because of your power, righteousness will not be defeated.

Those who seek you will know your name--
they will hear you call yourself by the name they most need to understand.
And that will cause them to trust in you.

Jehovah-Jireh: The Lord who provide…

"Heal Our Land" by Kari Jobe: a prayer for all of us

Oh, Lord,

Heal our land.
I don't pray this lightly.
It will require great sacrifice,
especially from us who have never really sacrificed to protect the rights of others.

Lord, convict us of our selfishness.
May we value peace through Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
May we cherish one another and love one another.
I pray for your healing to be powerful and evident to all
to bring you glory, and not to any other individual.

I bow my head and heart in worship and repentance.
Give me grace.
Change me from the inside out.
Do the painful work in me and in all those who love you--
bring about the restoration and transformation we need so desperately!

In Jesus' name,

Below is a prayer of confession, request, and intercession through the song "Heal Our Land" by Kari Jobe. You can sing it and pray it at the same time!

Forgive us, for we have sinned: A unilateral confession of racism

Oh Lord, the God of all peoples-

You tell us to confess our sins,
the sins of our country,
to one another
and for one another.

If we are truly righteous, we will take ownership of the sins of our land.

We have sinned for generations.
We have been arrogant, violent, heartless, and ignorant--for generations upon generations.

And now, our hatred and violence surprises us and devastates us.
Let our confession prompt your forgiveness.
Let forgiveness motivate us to make restitution to those we've sinned against.

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (James 5:17)

We have worshipped our own success,
our own privilege,
our own destiny,
for generations,
to the peril of others.
We are reaping the legacy of that self-absorption and ignorance,
let alone the hatred and violence that preceded it.

"I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the paren…