Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Prayer 1761

Most Merciful God,
be our strength and our shield today,
and send your angels to guard us
behind and before.
We lift our hearts to you in joy
grateful for your steadfast love
that warms us and leads us in hope.

May we open our hearts to be reconciled
to each other,
to creation, and
to You,
united through Christ who strengthens us
and leads us in the path of life.
Grant us the faith of a mustard seed,
that we may remember the power of your love, Lord Jesus,
and work for the healing of the wounded world.
Have mercy, Lord Jesus, upon all who seek you;
in your Name may we carry the banner of peace and justice,
that our hands and hearts be turned to healing and love.

Come, Holy Spirit, and burnish our souls,
that we may shine with the light of wisdom and grace.
Bless and keep all those
who watch, or wait, or weep, or worry, O Holy God;
shelter and strengthen those for whom we pray.


Photo: My friend and colleague, Diocesan Youth Missioner Loren Lasch, and my son and one of our friends from my former parish present in front of the Diocesan Convention last weekend on the ministry our youth are engaged in within the diocese and beyond.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Prayer, day 1760: Hope in each moment

Lord, we lift up our hearts to You in glory and wonder,
astonished at your imprint in the world around us. 
The love of God is my portion and my cup;
the Almighty is my all in all:
how can I fear any evil?
Today we place our hands in the hand of our Savior;
today we seek the path of peace and mercy. 

Lord Jesus, help us to put aside
our fearful grip on resentment and strife,
on all that blinds us and binds us. 
May our fears fall from us like autumn leaves;
they will dance away from us,
carried by the warm wind of hope.

Let us walk in love and compassion,
seeking reconciliation,
opening our hearts in gentleness.
Merciful One, we know your love never fails:
may the healing wave of love cool our fevered brows.
Send forth your Spirit of Peace, we pray;
shield and comfort all those whom we remember before You.


Photo: an angel at the bottom of the altar screen at Christ Church Cathedral.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Prayer 1759: The 24th Sunday After Pentecost

Almighty God,
we rise to pray before You
grateful for the joy of fellowship in your courts.

Awaken our hearts to see
the face of Christ in every person
and to live into his reconciling gospel.
Make us witnesses of your mercy,
proclaimers of the gospel of grace
that sustains us in hope and joy.
May we embody the healing love you give us
to work for justice and liberation,
for healing and concord within your creation.

Astounded by your grace,
let us go forth from your altar
into the world rejoicing.
Consecrate us for your use, Beloved Savior,
our hearts overflowing with gratitude
and aflame with the Holy Spirit.
Lord Jesus, stretch out your hand of blessing
over those whom we remember before You.


Photo: Today, Christ Church Cathedral celebrates the 150th anniversary of its building and faithful witness in the heart of downtown St. Louis.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Prayer 1758: Inspired by Psalm 90 (Diocesan Convention day 2)

Almighty One,
your steadfast love endures forever:
as the curtain of night is lifted,
we see the glory of all your works,
and rejoice!

Your loving-kindness satisfies us
and sustains us all our lives:
we know our times are in your merciful hand,
and You, O God, are with us.

Forgive us for chasing after fleeting pleasures,
for closing our hearts to You and each other,
and failing to care for creation.
Make us mindful of your abundant grace;
and make us generous and compassionate
that our actions may testify to your love.

Teach us instead to number our hours as your gift,
and dedicate our days to seek wisdom and embody mercy,
walking in justice and reconciliation.

Set us aflame by the power of the Holy Spirit,
and make us one Body,
rejoicing in the mighty waters of hope.

Spread the canopy of your blessing, Lord Jesus,
over all who seek you, and especially those we now name.


Photo: The Rev. Loren Lasch, my friend and colleague in youth ministry, addresses the 178th convention of the Diocese of Missouri, with my son and other youth behind her.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Prayer, Day 1757: For the opening of the 178th Diocesan Convention

We raise our voices in praise and song to You,
O God, our Creator and Light.

For our manifold blessings--

community, hope, faith, and love--
we give thanks to You, O Lord.
For all who are gathered as disciples,

seeking to discern your will in our lives,
we give thanks to You, O Lord.
For the Light of Christ,

which uplifts our hearts and minds,
bringing us into communion with You,
we give thanks to You, O Lord.

For all who seek You,

or a deeper knowledge of You,
that your kingdom may be glorified
on Earth as in heaven,
we pray to You, O Lord.
For all who travel this day,

for traveling mercies,
that they be returned to their homes safely,
we pray to You, O Lord.
For wisdom and justice

to be strengthened and restored in our land,
we pray to You, O Lord.
For all who are in danger, sorrow, or any kind of trouble,

that the awning of your mercy shield and shade them,
we pray to You, O Lord.
For those struggling against illness or pain,

that your healing hand may uplift them,
we pray to You O Lord.

Holy One, we pray especially for these, your servants we now name.



Thursday, November 16, 2017

Prayer 1756

Enfold us,
Almighty God,
as we still our hearts
to abide within your Spirit.

We worship You and give You thanks,
for You surround us in abundant grace and mercy.
Forgive us our sins,
that we may return to the Way of Life and Love.

Drive far from us all anxiety or fear, Blessed Jesus,
that we may remember the unity of all things in You.
Let us use the freedom you have given us,
O Creator,
for the peace and the welfare of all,
for the protection of your luminous creation,
and magnification of your glory.

Consecrate us to your service today, O God,
that we may walk as your companions and children
in gentleness, compassion, and mercy.

Lord, give your angels charge
over those who watch, wait, or wonder,
and over those whose needs we now name.


Photo: Kilkenny High Cross at Ullard, by Jim Dempsey. as I cannot find my own copy.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Prayer 1755: hope in times of trial

Almighty Creator,
we bow before you in hope,
grateful for our many blessings.

Open our hears to hear the praise-song of creation,
the stars and winds singing their joy,
that we may join in their tune.
May your Word soak into us
like rain on a grateful autumn field,
refreshing us in abundance.

We repent of all our sins,
and our silences in the face of wrong,
our casual acceptance of suffering and want.
Remembering all that we have been forgiven,
help us to find our way to forgiveness.

Unify us in faith, O Savior,
and by your loving hand uphold us in adversity or trial.
Awaken us, O Spirit,
to walk gently with each other,
and call us to holy love
as we remember before You these beloveds.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Prayer 1754

Most Merciful God,
your enfolding arms have held us
through the long hours of the night.
May we continues to feel your embrace
throughout this day, Lord Jesus,
and be glad for its gift from You.
Place us high upon a promontory, O Holy One,
when clouds gather so that we may see our way,
ever trusting in your guidance.
Keep us within your sheltering hand
and strengthen us in grace and hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Uplift those for whom we pray, Blessed Savior,
and shield them with your mercy and love as we pray.


Photo: My Dad, who would have been 95 years old today, in his uniform as a Seabee at the end of World War II.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Prayer, day 1753: covered by God's hand

Most Merciful God,
You are our fortress and stronghold,
and we thank you for lifting us up into wisdom and truth. 

You abide with us always;
You cover us with the strength of your almighty hand,
O Most High. 
You walk beside us
from the dawning to the dimming of the day, and lift us up
when the waters of fear rise up to our necks. 

Let your truth blossom and flourish within us,
that our hearts be good soil
to bear the fruit of justice and peace. 
Give us a spirit of forbearance and mercy, Lord Christ,
honoring your gospel of love and healing. 
Preserve us from the battering winds of enmity and discord,
and guide us into fellowship with all creation. 

Spirit of Peace, rest upon us 
and envelop with gossamer wings 
all those whose hope is in You.


Photo: A quote by Dame Julian of Norwich that is a prayer in times of peace or in trouble, found on Pinterest.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Prayer 1752: The Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost

Light of Light, Blessed Lord,
we gather in your courts
to worship and praise you today.

May we offer You, O God,
all that we have and are,
living in love, hope, and faithfulness
with You and each other.
May we reflect your light of wisdom and healing into the world,
tending to the flame of faith
that calls us to your table.
May we join hands with each other
in your great heavenly feast, O God,
and rejoice and give thanks.
May we lift each other up in prayer,
united as your children,
healed and empowered by your Spirit of Love.
With hands and hearts joined,
may we remember our common home in you, Lord Christ,
as we ask your blessing upon these beloveds.


Photo: light through the stained glass at the Marianist Retreat Center in Wildwood, MO, taken during a discernment retreat.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans' Day Prayer for Peace

Creator of All Light,
Giver of Wisdom,
Protector of the Helpless:
give to us peace in our time, O God.

We remember today the men and women
who have served in the armed forces of our country,
on this day the guns stilled
ending a terrible war.
May we bring those guns to silence again;
may our lasting tribute to them
be a renewed dedication to peace.

May we consider the human costs
of our decision to battle
that endure long after combat ends.

May we remember the wounds of war
that linger in the memories of all who witness
the red rage of conflict,
and find no refuge from its grip.

May we honor our veterans' offering
of toil, time, and safety
by embracing them in all their needs.

May we never ask more of them
than we are willing to offer of ourselves,
and seek to serve them
as they have served our country.

May the rattle of the saber
be confined to the parade ground;
may those who have slept in tent, billet, or trench
never lack a roof of their own at home.

May we bear any burden
for those who have offered their lives in sacrifice,
and do all in our power
to heal any wounds they have borne.

Give us the wisdom and will
to hunger for peace
that the guns again cease
and red fields of battle
become golden fields of abundant grain.

May we revere our veterans,
and be willing to sacrifice at home
as they have in foreign fields,
dedicating ourselves to equality and fellowship
in whose name they have served.

May we serve the causes of peace and justice
as devotedly
as they have offered their lives in warfare.

Give to us peace in our time, O God.


Photos, from the top:
1) Paul Cummins's installation for Remembrance Day, 2014, "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red," consisting of 889,000 glass popppies installed at the Tower of London, from NPR.
2) Another view of that installation from Reuters.
3) A child in terror from the War in Afghanistan (known as Operation Enduring Freedom from 2001-2014 and Operation Freedom's Sentinel from 2014 onward), our longest-running conflict ever, from archives.
4) Lt. Col., now Senator, Tammy Duckworth, who was wounded while serving as a helicopter pilot in Iraq in 2004, from DailyKos.
5) A tank and burning oil fields from Operation Desert Storm, 1991, from CNN.
6) Marine Cpl. Catherine Broussard in Afghanistan's Helmand Province in 2010, by Paula Bronstein for Getty Images.
7) The 688th Postal Battalion, the first African American unit in the Women's Army Corps, 1945, from military archives.
8) Vietnam Women's Memorial, Washington DC.
9) Korean War Memorial, Washington, DC.
10) Corpsman Richard Barnett holding an Iraqi child, 2003, from Damir Sagol for Reuters.
11) Crossing the dividing line between North and South Korea, Korean Conflict, from military archives.
12) Quote by Admiral Chester Nimitz, World War II Memorial, Washington DC.

Prayer 1751: On Veterans' Day

Creator of All Light,
Giver of Wisdom,
Protector of the Helpless,
bring us to peace in our time, O God.

Bring us to unity and justice
in fulfillment of your will for our common life:
bring us to peace in our time, O God.

Turn us from the embrace of violence and strife,
and move us instead to embrace light and love.
Bring us to peace in our time, O God.

For You, O God, are our rock and stronghold:
our very present help and hope.
Bring us to peace in our time, O God.

Extend the shield of your mercy and comfort
over all who cry out to you, Lord Christ.


Photo: In honor of Veterans' Day in 2002, my father, who dropped out of high school in his senior year in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor, was presented with his diploma from high school, at a ceremony in which the entire school district met and paid tribute to all their veterans. He served in the Navy in the Seabees for the duration of World War II.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Prayer 1750: Fed and Strengthened for Discipleship

God of All Mercy,
abide within our hearts today,
that we may be led to holiness and joy.
Beneath your protecting hand,
we lie down in safety and arise in peace,
eager to do your will.

You spread a table before us in the wilderness,
and call us to fellowship in your Name:
we are filled,
and overflow with thankfulness.
You, Lord, have called us to walk the good road
of grace and gratitude,
witnessing to your Love through our words and deeds.
Cleanse us of our resentments, fears, and jealousies,
we humbly pray,
and clothe us in generosity and abundant hope.
In all things may we work to build community,
enlightened by the Spirit of truth, kindness, and charity,
as our Savior taught us.

We turn to You, Lord Christ, in all our joys,
and give You thanks for all our blessings:
make us a blessing for others.
Comfort and heal us, O Savior,
in all our afflictions and sorrows:
we abide securely within your embrace.
Anoint us now to your service, O God,
and strengthen those for whom we pray.


Photo: Icon of Jesus feeding the multitudes. The version from Matthew was this morning's gospel reading in the daily office.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Prayer, Day 1749: Reliance upon God

Let me sit in stillness,
and open my heart to the presence of God,
to mend the cracks,
to fill the corners and crevices.
Infuse my spirit to overflowing, O Holy One,
for in silence I wait upon Thee. 

Like cool water over dry and thirsty ground,
let your wisdom and peace wash over me. 
In the face of storms within and without,
You have made this space within me
one of sure reliance upon your goodness. 
Let me drink deeply of your wisdom, O Christ,
and may I go forth in the name of justice and mercy today. 

May I carry a Spirit of Loving-kindness within me,
and walk humbly with my God
and my fellow-beings.
May I be a voice of compassion,
love, comfort, and healing to those I meet.  

May I attend to your truth in all my ways, O God:
let my prayer come to Thee as I pray.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Prayer 1748: Embracing the Sacred within us

Most Merciful God,
we praise and bless You with our first thought,
for You have led us through the night in safety.
Your strong and saving hand holds us fast, O Creator:
You brood over us as a mother cares for her children.

May we ground ourselves in the embrace of the sacred today,
radiating mercy and compassion
that was planted in us at creation.
May our deeds tell out the love of Christ,
and testify to our Savior's call for healing and justice.
May the grace of God rest upon us,
and lead us to embrace true paths of peace.

Kindle within us a spiritual fire, O Breath of God,
that we may persevere in love and faithfulness.
Enter into our hearts, Blessed Jesus,
and place the seal of your help and healing
upon those we lift before You.


Photo: detail of the Holy Family from an Emil Frei window at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Ferguson, Missouri.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Prayer 1747: rejoicing in the sacramental universe

The sparrows rejoice in the dawn,
and call us from our slumbers to likewise give praise:
Loving Savior, hear our prayer.

Help us, Blessed Jesus,
to make this day one of peace and healing.
Forgive us our disregard of others' dignity, O God,
our contempt toward those we are called to love.
Forgive us for failing to see the beauty in simple things,
in the voice of a friend
and the touch of a loved one.

Open our eyes to delight as a child does
in the wonders of this Earth,
and in the faces of those we meet.
Let us rejoice in this sacramental universe
made holy by your sustaining love and grace.

Lord, strengthen us to demonstrate our faith
in a time of doubt and faithlessness.
Holy One, let us arise from our prayers before You
determined to persevere in mercy and truth.

Spirit of Compassion,
bend near to those who suffer
in body, mind or spirit.
Guide us, O Shepherd, in the paths of peace,
and rest your blessing upon those we now name.


Photo: Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple's feast day was yesterday. He wrote beautfully about the concept of a sacramental universe- that all of the material world was shot through with signs of God's grace and sustaining love in creation and for creation.