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Showing posts from March, 2021

Lament for a homicide: when a child kills a child

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Dear God, You understand heartbreak.  You know what it is to lose a child to senseless violence . Lord, fall on us and blanket our misery! Bring vengeance on the perpetrators of injustice. This latest act of violence against a child sickens and saddens me. No parent should lose a child because someone else's child is angry, confused, or traumatized. Or just a sinner, committing a sin. And now another child has died. Sometimes the killed child is an unborn baby. Sometimes it's a neglected child. Sometimes it's a teenager, caught up in drugs or theft  or just being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes a child's death is caused by someone's trauma , someone's desperation, someone's mental illness someone's cruelty. It's shocking what we humans are capable of doing. It's all so horrible, and I know it grieves you. You desire hope, healing, peace, love, forgiveness, restitution, belonging. May my heart always break when your heart break

How to Pray (a lesson from Jesus)

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How should you pray? What if Jesus could show you how to pray a prayer that works? Most of us have probably prayed the Lord's Prayer. We've sung it or recited it in unison in church, at a large event, at the dinner table. It's fast, simple, and maybe a little high-church in its feel. But it's not really a dinner prayer or a convocation prayer. It's not designed for cathedrals. It's merely a sample of how to communicate with God Almighty about both big and little things. Jesus formed this prayer himself, so I'd say this is a reliable template for your prayers, too. You can use this for a model. Here's little breakdown of the topics:  1) worship 2) faith 3) obedience 4) mission 5) request 6) confession 7)    praise (It's always a good idea to start and end with adoration of God--it straightens out our perspectives.)  In other words, I can't ask God for something when my heart is still hiding selfishness or pride. I can't ask for his will w

Relief for the marginalized

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Lord Jesus, Bring relief to the marginalized people in this country. Comfort the grieving families of this recent attack in Georgia. Bring awareness, empathy, and compassion to all of us-- but particularly your children-- so that we reach out to those who wander, suffer with those who hurt,  and offer belonging to everyone. I pray your special blessing on Asian-Americans, on immigrant children separated from their parents, on single parent-families living in poverty, on inner-city kids without the resources to reach their dreams. Fill each with the assurance of your love and a desire to know you. Comfort and protect them. And God, change us into your image before them! Stir our hearts to break down stereotypes, partisanship, and elitism and embrace the diverse world you created. You love us all. You offer salvation freely to everyone. You call us to reach the world. Now convict us to reach the world you've brought to us, to think of safety for all instead of safety for ourselves. H

What you should pray against

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What are you praying against? Today I read Ephesians 5-6. Although the words are very familiar--I have a lot of it memorized--one section jumped out at me. It's where I've been living and struggling. It's time to face the music. The passage introduces a reason and a strategy for defeating everything that's wrong in the world and everything that's wrong inside me. All my anxiety and stress. All my misguided competitiveness. All my pride and confusion. All my "righteous" indignation. I'm reminded who and what I fight against. What I've forgotten to fight against. Reading this liberates and challenges me in my focus. Perhaps it will help you as well... Ephesians 6:10-13 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world

Praying to the God Who Sees Me

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THE GOD WHO SEES ME.  Lahai Roi, This amazing name which Hagar used to describe you has changed me forever.  You see me. You see me when I can't see myself. You see me when I rejoice, when I despair, when I feel lonely , inadequate , afraid , angry . You see me when I'm lost. You see me when I think I'm not. When I want you and when I don't. You see me and you love me. You welcome me always. I belong to you and with you. Thank you for seeing me. In Jesus' name, Amen. Watch this incredible music video by Nicole C. Mullen and Kathie Lee Gifford. The other video is an interview of them describing the spiritual process of writing, recording, and filming this piece. The Song & Film: "The God Who Sees" The making of "The God Who Sees"

A prayer for resilience

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Oh, Lord Jesus, I worship you. You alone are what I need,  what I depend on for life and joy. Forgive me for looking anywhere else. I need resilience. I want to recover,  rebound , overcome all the fears that attack me, from the habits that bind me, from the voices that poison my heart and my mind. Only you can do this work in me. Only you can filter the lies from the truth. Holy Spirit, reveal yourself to me. Take control of my mind. Instruct my heart with understanding and obedience to your prompting. Fill me with all the knowledge of you so I can attain the resurrection of life, the purpose for which I was born. Resurrect my faith in you and your process of completing me. Resurrect my shortcomings and my failures. Breathe life into all the dead spaces inside me. I need you. You have formed me, called me, empowered me. I am yours. Always and forever. You can do anything you want with me. You can take the dead places inside me and resurrect them. You can take the broken pieces

A prayer for power

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  Lord Jesus, I want your power . I'm in the darkness without it. I need it to live, to obey, to love. Without your power, I can't read the news or interact well with anybody. I can't view my life through an eternal lens. I can't make decisions that honor you. I can't love those who offend me. I can't forgive those who hurt me. I can't make a difference anywhere. Without your power, I'm just noise. But with your power at work in me, I am light , I am music, I am love , I am forgiveness, I am justice . I am Jesus, a little Christ. That's miraculous, and that's what I want today. I submit to your power over every aspect of my life. I hold nothing back. I won't measure the power of my light with anyone else's. That's your call because it's your power in me to do the work you have called me to do. I do not fear what you will do-- I wait for it! I choose to see you,  follow you,  obey you. All glory, honor and power be to Jesus C

8 Things God wants us to know when life is hard (A paraphrase of Psalm 66)

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  Psalm 66 tells us 8 things God wants us to know when life is hard. When my world is melting, sliding out of my control, sometimes I wonder what he's doing. So I usually go to Psalms. God always reminds me that he is busy, and he is triumphant already.  So stop panicking. Here's my paraphrase and prayer of  Psalm 66 , bullet-pointed for clarity: 1. Praise God first, regardless of what's happening Shout for joy, everyone! Give  God credit for his miraculous works! 2. God is in control because he is the Creator Oh, Lord, You fill me with awe. Your enemies cringe at your name. They rebel and slander and revolt, yet the earth itself follows your commands and bows itself in reverent obedience. The orbits rotate, the earth shakes and spews, the animal kingdom continues its circle of life, the wind and waves take their predictable paths. 3. God directs and uses the world for his glory You can alter the world's state at any moment. You can send fire, part waters, stop uprisi