A Prayer for 2017

Lord of Great Love and Deep Mercy,

You have been and you will always be good. You have always been faithful. You have always been kind. We on the other hand, are so easily swayed by the lies of the enemy. We too often turn away from your Truth and make an idol of our opinions. Above all the noise of pride and politic remind us what is required of us: to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with You, our Great and Kind God. Remind us that the greatest act in all our efforts is love, perfect love that drives out fear and restores brokenness and heals hearts. Remind us that you said you are among the "least of these" when we start sorting and naming who is "us" and who is "them." Remind us that when we don't know what to do or say that love never, ever, ever fails. Remind us that prayer is relief for anxiety and hope is the antidote for despair. You are good and you are God, always and ever. Amen.

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Gracious and Faithful God,

Here we are at this table again--this imperfect assembly of ragamuffins called family--gathered together in the name of gratitude. For some of us, this table means excitement and joyful reunion. For others, this table means anxiety and fear. But we gather together no matter what because it is good to be together, to remember that there is a place we belong and a people who will always take us in.

Considering the year since we last gathered here, God, we thank you for the joys and for the sorrows, for the hellos and the goodbyes, for the new hopes and the lingering fears, for the mountaintops and the valleys, for the sweet and the bitter. We are grateful for it all, God, because you are with us in it. Your faithful presence comforts. You hold our hands and gently lead us. So we circle back to this table to say thank you once again. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

And even as we gather with hearts full of gratitude, God, outside these walls is a messed up world. War, terror, injustice, oppression, division, dissension, and evil threaten on so many levels. Hopelessness attempts a reign in our hearts. But we will not be dismayed, God, because you are on the move. You are good and faithful and working all things together for good, even when we cannot see. Give courage today, God, to those in fear for their lives. Give wisdom today, God, to those who hold the power. Give patience today, God, to those who are quick to judge. And give peace today, God, to all of us. 

Hear our prayers, O God. Receive our gratitude and praise. Make us a blessing. Send us out from this table to announce your good news of hope, healing, and wholeness in Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray, amen.

Pray With Me. . .

Almighty God of our Yesterdays, our Todays, and our Tomorrows,

remembering what happened to this country on September 11, 2001 reminds us that You weren't kidding when You said we'd have trouble in this world. You weren't kidding when You said this life would sometimes feel like a fight. You weren't kidding when You said there is a present darkness at work all around us. But You also weren't kidding when You said that You came to bring peace and justice like a mighty river. You weren't kidding when You said You would never leave us or forsake us. You weren't kidding when You promised to be present with us at all times. You weren't kidding when You told us not to be afraid, for You have overcome the world. 

Today, God we hold in prayer those who lost precious family members and friends to acts of terrorism and the wars against it. We hold in prayer today thousands of refugees, many of whom are families that look a lot like mine. We hold in prayer a world in desperate need of peace, justice, hope, and healing. We ask boldly for unimaginable things--for the undoing of terrorist organizations, oppressive systems, and racism--for your kingdom of peace to come on earth as it is in Heaven.

God of Mercy, show us where we can be a part of Your healing work. Light a fire within us to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with You. You are a master of making beautiful things out of ashes. Keep on making beauty from dust, God, and we'll keep pointing at Your beautiful things and shouting HOPE

Thank you for your promises and your Ever-Present Love and Grace and Mercy.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Thursday Prayer

Lord, you made us to be fully alive in every moment--to rest fully, to work fully, to play fully--to be completely present right where we are. You made us to enjoy you and all that you have made for us. Yet, in our flowing from rest to work to play, and back to rest again, we can get stuck in tasks and distractions and fears that keep us from from the wholeness of the "fully" you intended for us. We end up sort-of resting, sort-of working, and sort-of playing. Remind us this Thursday, that we don't have to hold our breath until the weekend, we don't have to give in to meaningless distractions during the week, we don't have to be afraid of anything. We can be fully alive today--in the here and now, in the deadlines and the laundry and the dinner and the dishes and the "what are we going to do?". You are with us, alive in us, and you can do more than we can ask or imagine. You are greater in us than anything this world can throw at us. So, this Thursday, we stand tall in all our fully-aliveness, proclaiming your goodness and your faithfulness and your promise to walk with us every moment of every day. And we give you thanks, O God. Amen!