Saturday, January 31, 2015

Prayer 740

My Dad and I sleeping on the floor when I was a baby.

Merciful God, let us still our hearts and breathe deep your love. Holy One, give us healing hands and compassionate hearts for all today. Let us join together to praise your Name and proclaim your good news throughout the world. Almighty One, we give You thanks for the love of family and friends, especially those who are gone from us. We thank You for being with us in sunshine and in shadow, for Your Love never fails. Give us the wisdom to follow your paths as we seek to love each other as your children. Give rest to all who are heavy laden with regret or sorrow, and reconciliation for all who seek forgiveness. Loving God, we ask that the hand of your blessing rest especially upon those we now name.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Prayer 739

Holy One, we thank You for watching over us through the night and bringing us to the undiscovered land of this day. In each step we take, may we be mindful of our God beside us. May we hear You call our names, lovingly and tenderly, whenever we feel lost or adrift. Make us bold to call upon You, O God, and accept the joys of discipleship. Let us treat this Earth with love and reverence, that we may honor your creation as gift and blessing. May we heed your call to justice for all people, and tear down the walls of fear that divide us. We thank you for preserving us through the trials we encounter, for You are with us always. Send your Holy Spirit as a source of respite, healing, and comfort, especially to these for whom we now pray.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Prayer 738

Holy, holy, holy Lord, we ask you into our hearts. Let us make each breath a prayer of thanksgiving to You. Let us never forget today whose children we are, and praise You for your steadfast love. Let us take your hand in gratitude for all You have done for us. Keep us upon your paths of wisdom and healing, Most Merciful One. Help us to give up fretting over the wounds of the past; let us embrace the joy of fellowship with You through your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Let us then extend that hand of fellowship to all who call upon You, and all who do not know You, loving each other as we love ourselves. Make of us one joyful throng, glorying in the light of our Creator and Shepherd. Send forth your Spirit upon those whose prayers rise before You like incense, and to those whose needs we bring before You.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Prayer 737

Lord God, we praise You, lifting our voices to the heavens, to the blue sky that smiles down upon us, blessed by your creation. 

We thank You for watching over us during our rest, and for walking beside us through this day. We thank You for the love of those in our lives, and for the opportunity to praise You. Help us to shine forth with your love, that our joy in being your children fills us with compassion and peace. 

Holy One, watch over those today who are ill; guide the hands and the hearts of doctors, nurses, and caregivers. Send your angels to watch over those who are recovering from pain or suffering.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Prayer 736

O God, make speed to save us, O Christ make haste to help us. From my rising from my bed to my laying down to rest, make my life a prayer to You today, O Holy One. 

Where there is disagreement, bitterness, or strife, let us see You, O Reconciler. Where there are the lost, the ones who have estranged themselves from those who love them, let us see You, O Merciful One. Where there is love, amity, and compassion, let us see You, O God of Peace. Where there is pain, sorrow, or suffering, let us see You, O Healer. 

O God, You are always in the midst of us, in our joys and our trials: open our hearts to receive your blessing.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Prayer 735

Most Merciful God, You have called us to be your daughters and your sons, illumined by the light of Heaven: hear our prayer. 

Help us to pray through our brother Christ, to be reconciled to You and to each other, for that is the greatest prayer of all. 

Let all we do today be a prayer and a praise to You, for You are our true home, our Lover and our Creator. 

Holy One, unite our hearts in hope, and through your grace bring them as one before your altars, offered to you as our humble gift. 

Burnish our souls with your grace and compassion, and mend them where they have been battered, O Great Physician. 

Gather us up within a cloud of your blessing, and grant your peace especially to those whom we now name.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Prayer 734

For Annual Meetings
Most Merciful God, watch over your people today, and uplift them in your service. From the shadow of your wings, we will rejoice, O Loving One, and dwell within your embrace forever! 

You are our Savior: save us from hardness of heart and from our stubborn clinging to all that separates us from each other. You are our Preserver: give us the strength not just to tread water but to strike out into the seas of life. You are our Shepherd: guide us into paths of wisdom as your people gather to discern your will. You are our God: dwell in our hearts, and send us out into the world to serve You and those who do not know You. 

Today, where there is wisdom, where this is charity, where there is service, let us praise it and help it to flourish. Help us to examine our priorities, and place them squarely upon building your kingdom for the life of the world. Hear the prayers that we raise up to You today, O Holy One, and draw close to You those for whom we pray.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Prayer 733

Lord Christ, give us a song of praise to enshrine in our hearts, and let us draw close to You in all our ways. In humble prayer we ask your forgiveness for all the wrongs we have done, and ask You to set us again upon the path of hope. 

Help us to treasure and celebrate the worth of every person, despite their and our own flaws, as You love us, O Creator. Bind up the hearts of those who mourn, and dry the tear of those who weep, O Healer. 

Pour your blessing like a balm over the heads of those who seek your help, O Sustainer. May the Spirit of Healing move over the turbulent waters of our lives as the Spirit moved over the deep at the dawn of time.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Prayer 732

Creator God, come shine your light through us, that we may be enlightened and strengthened in our path through this day. Drive far from us all hardness of heart, and guide us to seek reconciliation and amity. 

Come, Lord, place your hand of peace upon those who are in strained relationships, or are alienated from those who love them. 

Come, Jesus, place your hand of power among us, that we may work in fellowship with the oppressed. 

Come, Holy Spirit, and place your hand of healing upon all who are needful, in mind, body, or spirit.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Prayer 731- for peace

Most Holy God, we long for your peace; be with us, we pray, throughout the day. Loving One, we long for your peace: let peace begin with each of us. 

Merciful God, You call us to be merciful ourselves: remind us of the mercies we have received, and do likewise. 

Holy One, help us choose the gentle way in responding to others, that we may walk in paths of righteousness. 

Lord Christ, help us to see your face in each face before us, even under the mask of disagreement and anger. 

Holy Spirit, come rest like a cooling breeze upon those souls who are troubled, and dry the tears of the sorrowing. 

Almighty God, bend near to those whose needs we bring before You.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Prayer 730

Today is the two year anniversary of writing daily prayers!

Almighty God, we gather together in thanksgiving, blessed by the gift of community. We thank You that each day we can gather together to worship You and draw closer to You. Holy One, rise within the firmament of our hearts like the rising sun, and warm us with your Spirit. Anoint us with your Truth, and empower us with your Love, that we may serve You, and in serving You, praise You as our God. Lord Christ, we invite you into our hearts today, seeking to make them tabernacles of your wisdom. Extend the shade of your blessing over those for whom we pray, and give them that peace which surpasses understanding.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Prayer 729

In the courts of our hearts may songs of praise arise to our God, and guide us throughout the day. Give ear to our prayers, O Holy One, and fill our hearts with your Word. Give us the grace to see your beauty throughout creation, O Lord, that we may always marvel at your love for us. O God, you are our portion and our cup; may we overflow with thanksgiving for your abundant grace in our lives. Draw us together, O Holy Spirit, and unite us in a spirit of compassion and faithfulness. Spread the comfort of your wings over all who weep or mourn, Most Merciful God, and give rest to the weary. Remember especially those for whom we now pray.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Prayer on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 2015

Lord God, we thank You for guiding us and correcting us through the voices of prophets throughout the ages. We thank You especially for your servant Martin Luther King, Jr., and for all who resound with his message today. May we allow our hearts and minds to be turned by their calls of repentance; may we open our eyes to the suffering around us. Let the rivers of equality and empathy pour down the mountains of our prejudices to water the broad plain of brotherhood and peace. Fill our hearts with love to strengthen us to work for the Beloved Community. Let us remember that our freedom stops when that freedom leads to the suffering or oppression of others. Help us form a more perfect union, establish justice, and secure the blessings of liberty for all, all in Your Name, Mighty God.

Prayer 728

Holy, holy, God, merciful and just, may we breathe in your justice and your peace, and be filled with the light of your wisdom. May we seek to serve You in serving each other, blessed Redeemer. May we root out the weeds of war and hatred in our hearts, and seek to see the face of your Son in every one. Lord God, You know our hearts, and yet you love us anyway. Help us strive to be worthy of your name, O God of Peace, and be true disciples to your calling. Lord, we come to You today, longing for your embrace, hungry for your hand of healing in our spirits. Soothe the ache of those who mourn and give light to those who have lost their way. Merciful One, we lift up our prayers to You, and ask that your blessing warm the hearts of those we now name.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Prayer 727

The Lord of Hosts calls to the people, let us answer God with a shout of joy! 

Holy One, You call us to come before your altars, may we worship You with all our heart, mind, and soul. 

We bring before You all that we are, and ask that You hallow, bless, and purify us, to center our hearts upon Your Word. We bring before You our repentance for the times we have strayed from the path of love faithfulness; forgive us, we pray. We bring before You our joys and thanksgivings, for we know all good things come from You, who loves us completely. We bring before You our hopes and our fears, asking You to strengthen us that we may persevere. 

We bring before You our sorrows and our pain, remembering those whom we love who have left us: let your light shine upon them. We bring before You the needs and concerns of those who call upon You.


Known and Loved Despite Ourselves: Speaking to the Soul, January 18, 2015

One of the things I liked to do when I was a kid was to make models. When I saved up my money from babysitting or mowing lawns, if I could be dissuaded from buying a book, I would sometimes buy a model kit to build. Being a complete history buff and science fiction nerd, the completed models I made are somewhat eclectic: a 1950s era Willys drag racer; a P- 51 Mustang airplane; a bi-plane; the Space Shuttle Enterprise with jet airplane to carry it; a Star Trek USS Enterprise; an X-wing and a TIE fighter from Star Wars. And one thing I learned about making these models: putting them together, piece by piece, made you much more intimately acquainted with these machines than simply looking at them or reading about them, even through a simple plastic model kit.

Yet the knowledge I gained from building a model of those machines is really scant knowledge, indeed. I really only learned about the outward appearance of those models—what was on the inside, what made them work, was still a mystery to me. To really know those machines, one would have to make a complete, working version—even better would be making one from scratch. Our psalm expands upon the idea we’ve heard throughout Epiphany of being known intimately by God who is our Mother, Father, and Creator. Psalm 139 reminds us that God’s knowledge of us is complete, even as we cannot possibly presume to know God in the same way.

Sadly, some of the most beautiful and humbling verses of this psalm are among those omitted today, and I think they make a vital point, so I want to include them here:

6 Where can I go then from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
7 If I climb up to heaven, you were there;
    If I make the grave my bed, you were there also.
8 If I take the wings of the morning
    And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
9 Even there your hand will lead me
    And your right hand hold me fast.
10 If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me,
    And the lights around the turn to night,”
11 Darkness is not dark to you;
    The night is as bright as the day;
    Darkness and light to you are both alike.

These omitted verses make a valuable point about human nature. We want to believe that we can bury our flaws and our faults, our sins and trespasses, so deep they can never be found. When we find out how deeply we are known by the One who loves us, our response may be to flee. It’s often that way. We feel the blessing of God’s presence with us, and know that God is “our portion and our cup.” We radiate with that blessing. And yet, the minute we think we have God all figured out, that’s when we get off track. Deep down, we think God is like us, and that God can only love the best versions of ourselves.

Yet the second we think we can hide from God, we are lying to ourselves. God is with us always—not just in good times, and certainly not just in bad times. And God is not only with us, but God KNOWS us. In fact some form of the word “know” is used four times in the first five verses, if you count the word “knowledge,”- and I do. Three times it is stated that God knows us intimately—and the knowledge of that simply boggles the mind of the psalmist. In the last part of the psalm that we read today, we are reminded that God not only knows us, but has made us, each and every one, which implies an even more intimate level of knowing.

God knows us, and since most of us can be honest with ourselves, that also means that God knows all of our flaws. If you look back at the story of Adam and Eve, you may remember that once they really knew THEMSELVES to be naked, their first impulse was to hide from God, although the assumption is that they had been walking around talking to God in their altogether all the while before their disobedience. Yet it was not their disobedience that made them want to hide—they had already justified that to themselves. It was their nakedness before God that made them dive into the bushes when they heard God coming. 

As the Episcopal Church is forced by recent tragic events in Maryland to confront our own nakedness, and some feel compelled to point out the nakedness of the person responsible for the tragedy, I see this psalm being sent to us at this time as a true sign of God’s grace. God KNOWS us—and yet loves and treasures us anyway. Even when part of what makes us who we are includes our anger, our spite, our recklessness, and the very real damage we inflict upon others. Even then, when the thought of that love is overwhelming, and we just “know” in our hearts that we don’t deserve such love, that love nonetheless remains. God is with us throughout our fallible, messy lives. God’s love penetrates whatever veils we try to draw around our present or around our past. We sometimes pray, “God have mercy upon me, a sinner.” Yet, the promise is there within those words: God DOES have mercy on us, sinners as we all are, because we are known and loved with a fierce, unending love that is beyond our imagination.

We are all naked before God. Yet God is with us, loving us, knowing us in all our victories as well as in our darkest, meanest actions. God is with us, loving us, from our first breath to our last. God’s hand is upon us, pressing upon us and at the same time bearing us up with a love that cannot be denied, not even by sin or by death.

(This was first publish on the Episcopal Cafe's Speaking to the Soul on January 18, 2015.)

Photo: Adam and Eve eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, facade of Sainte Chappelle, Paris.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Prayer 726

Come Holy Spirit, and heal our hearts. Bring us together, unified in body, heart, and soul, to soothe the sorrowing and comfort the afflicted. Give us hands and hearts and will to do your work, O God, that justice rolls down to restore the land. May we seek reconciliation as the foundation for true peace in both our relationships and in the world. May we stand with brothers and sisters in time of mourning or in time of trial: we pray for your peace and grace to bear them up. We rest and renew our spirits in the loving arms of God: Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. Bless us with holy wisdom, O Loving One, and hear the prayers of your people.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Prayer 725

Let us enter into the courts of the Holy, and sit with thanksgiving in the presence of the Spirit. Lord God, You have sought us with an unceasing love; You are our constant companion. May we turn to You and fasten our souls upon your holy ways, Lord God. May we open our hearts to heed your call to us, resting safely in your embrace, Lord Christ. May we turn to You and give You praise for all our blessings, O Holy Spirit. Hear the prayers of those whose hope is not in our own worthiness but in You alone, and your Love.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Prayer 724

Blessed Lord, we come before You, breathing in your peace. Holy One, stretch out your hand to those who founder, and set them upon the broad plain of your mercy. Help us approach each other with humility and gentleness, serving each other as we serve You. Help us to be still and know that You are with us always, calling us each by name as your beloveds. May we be inspired to embrace each other as one people, united by Christ, who calls us to love each other. Lord God, we ask that You place your hand of blessing upon those we now name.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Prayer 723

Blessed are You, Lord God of hosts, and blessed is this day which You have made! Holy One, we thank You for protecting us thru our rest, and watching over us as we sleep. 

May we draw our strength from your love and truth, O God, to meet the day and proclaim your goodness in the world. May we be eager disciples of Jesus Christ, and carry his banner into the world through our joy and holiness. May we seek to serve the suffering and comfort the sick, and to reach out to those who are lost. Help us to be faithful stewards of your message of hope, Lord Christ, in all that we do and say. 

Spirit of Wonder and Healing, we ask that You descend upon those who are in our hearts today.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Prayer 722

Let us come into the courts of the Holy One, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, and give thanks and praise to our God!

Almighty God, may we be worthy of your blessing today, with our hearts firmly fixed upon You through your Holy Spirit. Help us embody all that is gentle, patient, loving, and true, that we may shine forth under the banner of Your Name. Open the eyes of our hearts, that we may see beyond our selves to seek what is good and right in your wisdom. 

Lift up the weary and the faltering, Lord Christ, and give respite to those who suffer any sort of trouble or need. Envelop those who call upon You under your wings of mercy, especially those we hold within our hearts today.


Prayer 721

O God, look with favor upon your servants today. Let us turn our hearts toward those who, in the midst of plenty, are in want in body or soul. Let us hunger for justice and redemption as much as we hunger for food. Let us remember how love has blessed us in our lives, and let go of discontent and rancor. Help us to stop building a mountain of our resentments, and dwell instead within the mansion of our blessings. Give your protection to those who are in danger from the cold this day, and let us work to give them shelter as our own. Comfort those whose needs we bring before You.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Prayer 719

We rest under the shadow of the Almighty; let us rise and take up our work with joy. Let us call upon the Name of the Lord, who surrounds us in the light of His embrace. O blessed Jesus, our Wonderful Counselor, guide us in each step we take today. May we seek to open ourselves to the will of God in our lives and center ourselves within God's love. May we make of ourselves a living sacrifice, our hearts a tabernacle for the Almighty. Watch over us, O Lord, as you watch over the sparrow and the lark: let us sing our praise to you for all your lovingkindness. Lord Jesus, you know our pains and afflictions; send your healing power into the hands of those who care for us. We pray especially for those who are facing surgery or treatment this day, and give thanks for how they have touched our lives and blessed us. Give ear, O God, we pray you: we place the needs of these loved ones within the stronghold of Your love.


Friday, January 9, 2015

Prayer 718

Let us rise up and shine forth the glory of God: New every morning, all of your creation praises thee, O Lord of hosts! Let us be knit together in mission, love, and faithfulness as You are One, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As celestial bodies are moved under mutual attraction, draw us into your orbit, O King of Heaven. All power and glory are Yours, yet You have given us freedom: let us freely choose to serve You in all things. Make us worthy to claim your Name, that our obedience and compassion may sing out our place within your household. Incline your ear to our prayers for those we name, O Most Merciful God, as we bear them up in tenderness.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Prayer 717

O God, Your everlasting love revives me: I raise my heart before your altar in prayer, and I am filled with peace. You are the God who paints the sunrise: the glory of the Lord fills the skies. 

You set your hand before me and behind me; You set me upon your way, and my heart is full of joy. One thing I seek today: to do the will of my God, and to work for justice and peace for my brothers and sisters. Make me a friend to the downtrodden and a help to the weary. 

You have mercy on all who call upon You; let your light shine forth to those who have lost their way. 

Soothe the ache of sadness and sorrow in those who mourn, O Loving One: we trust in You, and our hearts are uplifted. Hear the cares and concerns of your people, O God, and be with those we now name.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Prayer 716

Gracious Lord, our times are in your hand: uphold us and bless us as we seek your will this day. 

Help us to acknowledge the times we have failed our God and each other, that we may seek reconciliation. Kindle a fire of empathy within us, O Holy Spirit, and drive us to seek justice and equality for all. Help us to walk in love, speak in gentleness, and pray in humility, that we may serve You night and day, O Holy One. Shelter us from the blast of indifference that blows like a winter wind, and help us radiate warmth and compassion. Lord Jesus, may we seek You and your wisdom in each breath, rejoicing in your unending love for us even as we stumble. 

Place your hand of protection and mercy, O Loving One, upon all who call upon You.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Prayer 715- Feast of the Epiphany

Holy God, who revealed your wisdom to us through your Son our Savior Jesus Christ: hear our prayers, we pray. Help us to seek out and welcome Christ into our hearts and minds. Help us to follow the light of your love, O God, to walk in holiness with each other. Make us more faithful to your word, and more true and loving to our brothers and sisters. Forgive us for the times we have failed to honor You and each other, and set us back upon the solid ground of faith. Thank You, O Spirit of Hope and Healing, for bending near to us: comfort these, beloved and precious, who cry to You.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Prayer 714

Blessed Redeemer, bring us under the awning of your mercy today, we pray. Uplift our hearts and spirits, that they may fasten upon your holy wisdom from the center of our being. Lord Christ, we are mindful of our faults and of not doing what we ought to do: forgive us and restore us, in your mercy. Help us to value each other despite our differences, and to build amity, empathy, and justice for all. Preserve us in the face of trials, and strengthen us to do your will, O God, that we may be true disciples. May your abiding peace envelop all who are troubled in body, mind, or spirit, Holy One. Watch over those for whom we pray, O God, and grant them rest.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Prayer 713

Holy, holy, holy Lord, in humble gratitude we come before your altar today. Open our eyes to be guided by the light of your Word, and open our hearts to obedience to your Truth. Let us celebrate the many loving hearts that surround us, & rejoice in the holy company of saints & true companions. Uplift us by your Holy Spirit, that we may shine forth with your love and compassion. Be with those who are sick or weighed down with anxiety or pain, Lord Christ, and give them respite and peace. Holy One, we commend to You the needs & concerns esp. of these beloved children of God: bless them, we pray.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Prayer 712

Holy God, draw us to You this day. Awaken in us a new understanding of all our blessings, and drive far from us all fear and anxiety. Help us work for justice and peace, and open our hearts and souls to You and to each other. Holy One, help us recall that we are made in your image, each of us, and help us never give up on ourselves. Merciful God, help us cultivate mercy and forbearance in our hearts; that we may see and know fully. Through faith, O God, help us remove the cataracts of suspicion and hatred from our eyes. Lord Christ, may we remember your unfailing love for us, and hold fast to your guiding and healing hand. Holy Spirit, we invite You into our hearts, and ask that you comfort those whom we now name.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Prayer 711

Almighty God, surround us in a cloud of rejoicing as we rise to take up our place in the throngs who praise You. Let us join hands in a circle of brotherhood and lift up our hearts to You, O Mighty Redeemer. You are our shield and our breastplate, the wind at our backs to send us forth in the power of your Name. We thank you for endowing us with reason and skill: let us use all your gifts in your service. Abide with those who are ill today, and guide the minds and the hands of those who treat them. Remember us, O Lord, in our sorrows and afflictions, in our cares and concerns. Hear the deepest longings of our hearts, drawing us to You, for we long for your comfort and counsel. In your tender love and care, Lord Christ, lift up the hearts of those for whom we now pray.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Prayer 710: New Year's Day/ Feast of the Holy Name

New Year's Day/ Feast of the Holy Name
O God, our times are in your hand, and we thank You for your continued blessings and mercy. As we remember the dedication of your Son in the Temple, may we rededicate ourselves anew to being true disciples of your Way. We praise You, O Holy One, for You are the source and ground of all our being: thank You, O God. There is not one moment that we have that was not first given to us by You and imbued with your care for us: thank You, O God. You have called us each by name, and given us a Savior whose love never fails: thank You, O God. You have named us as your beloved children and called us to be a holy, loving people: thank You, O God. Give us grace to do your will in all we undertake, O Loving One, that your Name may be glorified before the eyes of the world. Give us the courage to act in justice, mercy, wisdom, empathy, and peace throughout the coming year. Bless and keep those who put their hope in You, O Holy One, especially those we now name.