Saturday, April 30, 2016

Prayer 1194


Most Merciful God, we lift up our hearts to You in gratitude and praise: fill us with your holy fire to serve You, we pray. We thank You, O God, for the blessing of fellowship: let all who seek You find their way to your incomparable grace. Blessed Savior, lead us through the narrow gate, for all like sheep we scatter at times, and need your guidance always. Accept the offered prayers of your people, O Beloved Jesus, and be our companion along the way. Send your angels to abide with those who mourn, and lighten the spirits of the troubled, we pray, remembering especially those we now name.

Amen.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Prayer 1193- God's steadfast love endures


Loving One, all the round earth sings your praise: let us join in the universal song. The works of your hands are marvelous in our eyes and a delight to our senses: we thank You, O God, for your providence. 

Let us never feel that we are strangers on Earth, for You have made us. All like sheep we wander, and find ourselves far from the path You set us upon, but You are near. Even though we run from You, Your Love is always there, behind and before, if only we lift up our eyes to see beyond ourselves. 

Thank You, O Savior, for answering our uncertainty with steadfastness, and answering our tumults with peace beyond understanding. Make our hearts a good and pleasant land abloom with hope. You are our God; let us be your people. Stretch out your hand to those who call upon You, for you are our portion and our cup, and hold us fast.

Amen.
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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Prayer 1192


Lord God, you bring us light and life: we gather before You in prayer, contemplating your manifold gifts to us with joy. 

For all we have done to cause grief or pain, grant us repentant hearts to amend our lives, we pray. Make us seekers of wisdom and lovers of justice, O Holy One, that we may serve You and each other with love. Give us the faith and strength to work together for the common good, and to protect the weak and oppressed. Renew our hearts to live out your gospel in our lives, and hear your call to new life as disciples. 

Pour out your blessing over all who call upon You, that we may find our rest within your bountiful grace, O God. We ask your healing presence rest with those in any sort of need, especially those we now name.

Amen.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Prayer 1191- a prayer of gratitude


Holy One, we offer You our thanks and praise as we rise from our beds to do your work today. We thank You for making us a part of your glorious creation, for the splendor of earth and sky. 

We thank you for the grace of a new bloom where yesterday there was only green: may we rejoice in the beauty that we too often rush past, slow down and mark your goodness to us in all things. 

We thank You for the people we will meet this day, Lord Jesus, and pray that we will be a blessing to them. May our love and action be a testimony of your eternal truth and lovingkindness in all things. 

Merciful God, you know our joys and concerns: bless and hallow all those for whom lift up to You as we pray.

Amen.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Prayer, day 1190

Morning in the Yosemite Valley, 2011.

Most Merciful God, You spread the canopy of love over us, and we rise rejoicing, praising your Holy Name. We know that our Redeemer lives, and we shout with joy with countless throngs of angels and archangels. To You be honor and glory, O Lord of hosts: You hold all creation within your hand, and unify it with love everlasting. 

Lord Christ, draw within your tender embrace all people in their daily lives and toil: bless and hallow us, and make us blessings to others. Dayspring of Life, bend tenderly over us and draw us into your embrace, for we are your children. Holy One, make your face to shine upon us, and stretch forth your compassionate hand over those we now name.

Amen.
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Monday, April 25, 2016

Prayer 1189

Stone heart embedded in the rock at Point Lobos, California.

Most Merciful God, we thank You for the protection of your holy angels through the watches of the night. O Comforter, shelter and shield all those who are in distress, and grant them strength and perseverence. 

Enfold us like little children in your mercy, Lord Christ, and forgive us our sins and offenses, we humbly beseech you. Make us gentle and faithful caretakers and friends, seeking to serve others as we serve You. 

Grant us wisdom and patience, O Holy One, that we may replace our hearts of stone for hearts of tenderness and grace. Guide us in pathways of peace, and give us the humility and compassion to follow, we pray. 

Send forth your Spirit of healing and comfort over all who call upon You, O God, especially those we now name.

Amen.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Prayer 1188- Fifth Sunday in Easter


Almighty God, blessed be your Name throughout creation: we gather around your altar with thanksgiving and joy! We raise our hearts to the Lord of Life, who is making heaven and earth. Let us offer our lives, heart and soul, as an oblation to the One who breathes love into our marrow. 

Grant us, O Lord, a foretaste of the heavenly banquet when all will be gathered and redeemed as children of light. Let us seek holy fellowship with God and with each other, celebrating the love that makes us one in Christ. Spirit of the Living God, pour out your energy upon us, that we may use our talents for the glory of God. Comfort and shelter all who seek peace and rest, O Holy One, we humbly pray, and place the kiss of your blessing upon them. 

Amen.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Prayer 1187


The sun rises and Earth rings out its joy and praise: come, let us join in the song to our Creator. We rise from our beds with a prayer in our hearts: that this day be holy, and that we live in amity with each other. 

Bless and keep us, Lord Christ, secure in your embrace and strengthened by your gospel of compassion. Blessed Jesus, you know the worries and cares we bear in our hearts: we thank You for walking beside us, your arm around us. 

Ease our fears, that we may be generous to strangers and compassionate to those in need or distress. Pour out thy healing and comfort to all who suffer any grief, pain, or anxiety, O Eternal One, especially those we now name.

Amen.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Prayer 1186- for Earth Day


Let us raise all praise and awe to our Creator, whose glory fills the skies and seas, and this fragile, beautiful Earth, our home! We hear your voice, O God, in the laughing, greening trees whose hands clap in joy before their maker. 

Our voices praise You, our breath made possible by the breath of forests singing hymns of life in all its embodiments. You filled the sea with marvels, Lord; our very blood testifies to its life-giving role as the first thing You touched in creation. Grain testifies from the fields and sweet grapes are gathered; the gifts of earth feed our souls and unite us around thy table, O Christ. 

Let us remember that all our lives are dependent upon your gifts of soil and sunlight, wind and rain, O Merciful Creator. Make us faithful lovers of this Earth that pulses beneath our feet and shelters us beneath its sky. 

All things come from thee, O God; may we act wisdom and grace, honoring all life as images of divine mercy and favor. Heal us and embrace us, O Ground of Our Being, and pour out your blessing upon us, and upon those we now name.

Amen.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prayer, day 1185

Cranes in the window of St. Augustine's chapel on the campus of Vanderbilt University.

Our praises rise before you, O God Most High;
Our prayers rise unto You, O Redeemer, Our Lord Jesus Christ;
Our fears we lay before you, O Holy and Eternal Abba, Father and Mother.
Our hopes we breathe in from your Eternal Love, O Savior;
Our resilience we draw from you, Abiding Holy Spirit, who lifts us and prepares us for our work in your kingdom today.
O Creator we turn into your embrace for solace and strength, and lay before you those needs for whom we pray.


Amen.
820

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Prayer 1184: hope in times of weariness

Carytide, by Rodin, at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Caryatids were carved young female forms used as support pillars in classical Greece; incongrous because they were so delicate, and yet the buildings they supported were so heavy. Temporarily fallen under the weight
she has been asked to carry, she gathers herself to begin again, still attempting to bear it up.


Lord, you have called us and known us since the moment of our birth: we abide in your lovingkindness with grateful hearts. 

Your grace restores our souls, O God: we praise you for the mercy you shower upon us. Forgive us for our hardness of heart: part the clouds of our willfulness with the glorious light of your Son, we pray. Pour out your peace like a shaft of sunlight to dispel the darkness we cling to; grant us courage to serve You and each other. 

Strengthen those who falter, O Lord, and comfort those who ache, for You are our Shelter and our Redeemer. Pour out your blessing like a balm, Lord Christ, and gather into your embrace those we now place before You.

Amen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Prayer, day 1183

New hosta after rain.

O Bountiful Creator, we thank you for the beauty of the Earth. 

The ground is a foundation beneath our feet: may the roots of our love for it grow strong. 
For here is where heaven is right now: in the fleeting glory of budding flowers, in the applause of leafing trees as the warm spring wind sends flocks of birds homeward like an arrow through the sky. 

Let us not be merely stewards but lovers of our Earth and serve it as we seek to serve You. Help us tend to our world, and nurture it and protect it, just as you keep your eye upon the sparrow and clothe the lilies in the field. Extend the shade and shelter of your blessing over those for whom we pray this day.

Amen.
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Monday, April 18, 2016

Prayer, day 1182

A tiny wildflower along the path reminds us of the glory of creation.

We bow before You, O God, as rosy-fingered dawn paints the spring sky, and the whole Earth whispers "Alleluia! The curtain of the night sky is pulled back to reveal your glory: the depths of your love are everlasting. 

Holy One, we praise You for the blessings with which You shower us, awed by your glorious creation. Make us one body and one heart by the power of Your Spirit, O Lord, that we may serve You in unity and peace. Lord Christ, we turn toward You as a child is comforted in her Mother's arms: you are the rock of our salvation. 

Here we place our prayers and songs at your feet: gather in your loving embrace all who call out to You.

Amen.
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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Prayer, day 1181- Shepherd Sunday


Jaclyn Yazzie wears traditional Navajo garb. Photo by Tom Beam for EcoResults (http://www.ecoresults.org/restorations_ram.html)

Inspired by the 23rd Psalm:
O Lord, You are our shepherd; help us to be better sheep.
When You give us green pastures, help us to be grateful and not refuse to eat.
When You lead us beside still waters, help us quiet our souls and be refreshed.
When our cups run over, help us not to obsess about the mess but shout for joy at the abundance you give us always.
When You lead us to right pathways, help us not to be hardheaded and go astray.
When we are in the darkest valley, help us to remember that You are ALWAYS with us.

Help us to stop bleating long enough to hear Your voice calling us to You.

May we remember that your goodness and mercy follow all of us all the days of our lives.

Amen.
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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Prayer 1180: to the shepherd of our souls

Detail from a window at Church of the Good Shepherd, Town and Country, MO.

Dearest Lord Jesus, abide within us always, for we are the sheep of your pasture, and turn our faces to You in hope. We thank you for tenderly caring for us, and for drawing all creation within your embrace. May we listen for your voice when we are in darkness or joy. Gather us into your arms, especially when we cry out in fear or wander too far from thy paths. Be with those who are anxious in the face of upcoming trials, especially those who worry for loved ones. Holy One, we place our cares before You, and ask your blessing over those we now name.

Amen.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Prayer, day 1179: for discernment

Franciscan brothers from Mexico exploring Muir Woods in Marin County, California, 2012.

We awaken with joy, uplifted by the Hand of God, our refuge and our rock. 

May we seek to serve You in unity and truth, using the gifts You have given us to build the kingdom of God. Take our hands and take our hearts, O Source of All Being: all that we have is Yours. 
Let us empty ourselves of everything but your call to love and serve You, and to love and serve all. 

Rest upon the hearts of those we love, and teach us to love each other and treasure their beauty as your child. We treasure your many blessings within our hearts; they spread to the very corners of our lives. We thank you for the voices of friends in the morning, and the companionship of Christ through the day. 

When trials beset us, may we remember that we dwell in the Shadow of the Almighty, who gathers us within Love's embrace. God calms the waters when storms arise, and sets us to rest, secure upon the gentle waves which carry us through each day. With gratefulness for your mercy, we place the needs of our loved ones before You, O God: hear our prayer.

Amen.
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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Prayer 1178- for renewal and restoration

Detail from s table at St. Augustine's Chapel on the campus of Vanderbilt University, Nashville.

Lord Jesus, take us by the hand and lead us this day, that we may walk faithfully with you in holiness and thankfulness, we pray. 

We hunger for justice, shalom, and lovingkindness, O Lord: You are our bread. 
We thirst for wisdom, forgiveness, and renewal, O Lord: You are our cup. 

May all creation and all nations be drawn into the peace of God, and may our hands and tread be gentle upon the earth. May your loving and life-giving Spirit enter the transoms of our hearts and minds, that we may delight in your truth. 

Pour out your blessing, O God, on all who call upon You, especially those we now name.

Amen.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Prayer 1177- for God's blessing and renewal

At the Thistle Stop Cafe in Nashville, each cup of coffee or tea comes with
wisdom from the Circle from Magdalene House.

Almighty One, Earth-maker, Incarnate Love, Wisdom-Giver, we lift our hearts to You in thanksgiving: hear our prayer. 

May God bless us at our rising, that we may dedicate this day to the praise and glory of God's kingdom. 
May God bless us in our meditations, that we may seek wisdom, compassion, and unity with God and each other. 
May God bless us in our travels, that our steps may take us toward reason, justice, and peace through the power of the Spirit. 
May God bless us in our struggles, that we may be strengthened and renewed to persevere in the face of trial. 
May God bless us in our relationships, that we may love and care for each other and embody lovingkindness to all. 
May God bless us at day's end with the peace of Christ, which surpasses all understanding. 

Holy One, let your light of compassion and comfort envelope these, your beloveds, for whom we pray.

Amen.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Hearing the Voice of Love: Speaking to the Soul, April 12. 2016

The Good Shepherd, detail from a window at The Sainte-Chappelle, Paris, 2013.

I had just transferred from the middle school to the high school, and was asked to come up early in the summer to meet with some of my colleagues to discuss some curricular matters. But I had no one to watch my kids, so I brought them with me.

Of course, one of them wandered off while I was in another room for a couple of minutes. And I didn’t know the building. Practically no staff was there. It was a brutally hot day. So after making sure that there was no pool in which my child could drown, I began going all over the building looking high and low for my child, while my one colleague watched my other two kids.

It seemed to go on forever. I went around the building on the outside and on the inside, calling my child’s name. I was finally at the point where I was going to call the police. There was one hallway that I had already been in, and it was hot because the air conditioning was shut off in it. Surely she wouldn’t have gone in there—it was miserable. I called my child’s name… and heard a tiny, reedy noise. But I knew that voice. My child knew my voice—and I knew hers. She had gotten locked in at the end of the hallway and could not get out of the stairwell, and thankfully wasn’t strong enough to open the door to the outside, where there was construction and traffic and a quarry beyond the back fence.

When I finally got to my child, I asked her why she hadn’t answered me, and she said she hadn’t heard me because she was so busy calling my name. My much louder voice had cancelled hers out, but she kept calling me, because she knew I would not give up. And, oh, the relief once I had found her. She was my child. The next morning as I was praying the Daily Office, I was struck by this image in verse 7 of Psalm 95:
For he is our God, 
and we are the people of his pasture, 
and the sheep of his hand. 
O that today you would listen to his voice! 

This Sunday, in our gospel reading of John 10:22-30, we will continue to hear Jesus describe his followers as sheep—last Sunday, Jesus told Peter three times to care for or feed Jesus’s sheep. This coming Sunday, “Shepherd Sunday,” we will be reminded that Jesus’s sheep know him and his voice. But this recognition works both ways. Jesus knows his sheep—and the sheep know Jesus. The joy that Jesus feels when some of his lost sheep are returned to him, as he describes in Luke 15:4-7, always makes me think of that tear-filled little voice echoing down a hot hallway after being lost for what felt like an eternity.

Too often, when we feel we have lost our way, we feel that we have not gotten there under our own power, but instead there is often a profound feeling of abandonment, at least for a moment. We may feel unloved and unlovable, and treat ourselves as disposable- or allow others to treat us that way. But if we still ourselves, if we can stop our tremulous crying out just for a moment, we can hear the voice of the One Who Loves Us calling to us, welcoming us home, assuring us that we can never be snatched out of his hand, not even by our own wandering away, not even by the hurts that the world may inflict upon us. None of that matters. Listen-- the voice of Love calls to us, and holds us fast within his hand.


(This was originally published on the Episcopal Cafe's Speaking to the Soul, April 12, 2016.)

Prayer 1176


We pray to You, O God, our Refuge and our Rock, and ask that your hovering Spirit guard and guide us this day. 

Hearts open like the pages of a book, we place our love and gratitude before You today, O Lord. Inscribe within us songs of beauty and praise, that our entire being may resonate to the tune of creation. Give us new birth in Jesus, our brother and our guide, that we may dwell in peace and wisdom together. 

Grant resolution and blessing to all who have races to run today, or who wait for news at journey's end, O Holy One. Pour out your mercy like a balm of finest oil, that those who are in pain or anxiety may be comforted, we pray. May all who seek You find You, O Sustainer, and may your peace rest upon those we now name.

Amen.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Prayer 1175


Most Merciful God, we lift our souls to You in gratitude and joy: fill our hearts with your grace and compassion, we pray. 

Show us your ways, O God, and give us the strength to walk in them to your glory. Fill us with the fire of the Spirit to sing forth your praise in our lives. Let us put our trust in you, Blessed Jesus, and love each other in fullness of hope. 

Knit us together through your saving gospel, we pray, that our lives may proclaim your saving power. Bless the hands of the healers and the helpers, O Holy One, and grant respite especially to those who are ill. 

Abide within us, O Savior, and draw within your embrace those we now name.

Amen.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Prayer 1174- 3rd Sunday in Easter


Mural from the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Apostles in Capernaum, Galilee.

Almighty God, Ruler of the Universe, we gather before your altar to worship You and sing your praise: hear us, we pray. 

Lord Jesus, you are the way, the truth, and the life: help us to proclaim your truth in all our steps and words today. Give us the faith to cast our nets wide for truth, and the strength to receive the abundance of grace You give to us. Remembering that God's love shows no partiality, may we broadcast your way of compassion to all the corners of the Earth. 

Give us the humility to seek pardon from those we have injured, and the heart to forgive those who have hurt us. In your mercy, O Holy One, reach forth your hand of healing and power over all whose hope is in You.

Amen.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Prayer 1173- in honor of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, shown here with some of his youth group, was martyred on this day, April 9, 1945.

Most Merciful God, strengthen and preserve us throughout this day, we pray, and place your right hand of blessing over us. 

Grant us the courage to speak for right in the face of evil, and to act for good in the face of oppression. Help us proclaim the gospel of the homeless Christ, who had no place to lay his head that was his own. Help us treat the vulnerable among us as the most precious, and treasure creation as your handiwork. 

Give us the grace to amend our lives that we may sing forth your glory forever, we pray. Lord God, send forth your Spirit upon those who are in any need or sorrow, especially for those we now name.

Amen.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Prayer 1172- hope in times of testing

Seminarians thinking long and hard before their exams-- window in the McCarthy Room at Eden Seminary.

Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, You are our good above all others: accept our praises and our prayers in like measure, we pray. We rise with a song of joy engraved on our hearts, stirred by the brush of angel wings as You have protected us in the night. 

Earth-Maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver, your love is written in our bones: may we breathe out your grace, and be a blessing. Help us to sing out your wisdom, O God, and uphold us in your grace that we may testify to your truth and saving power. 

Let us place the Wisdom of God always before us: borne up by your encompassing Love, we shall never fall. Let your loving-kindness enlighten our souls, O Holy One: your gospel, like honey, sustains us and strengthens us always. 

Resting within your embrace, bounded within your mantle of grace, we place our cares before You, and ask your blessing as we pray.

Amen.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Prayer 1171: Love heals


Lord, we are on a journey: guide and direct our hearts to receive your word of grace within our lives. 

Some days we skip along the surface like a stone: help us to embrace those days as blessings from You, O God. Some days we struggle not to sink below the waters of turmoil: help us to reach out to hands of love around us. 

Help us to amend our lives, celebrating that each day is a new page awaiting words of peace and shalom. Let us seek to embody compassion, forgiveness and renewal, forgiving ourselves and forgiving each other. Let us seek to love those whose paths have been paths of pain and whose choices have been constrained. Let us steep ourselves like tea leaves in the warm waters of justice and seek to nourish and comfort those we meet. 

 Holy One, we know that shared prayers are strengthened prayers: accept the petition of our hearts we place before You.

Amen.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Prayer 1170


Blessed Lord Jesus, fairer than the morning, we turn our faces to your rising glory: in your mercy, hear our prayer. Hold us within the bounds of thy grace, that we may bear your truth in every atom in our being. 

Strengthen us in compassion and radical love, remembering the healing power of your love and forgiveness. Let us seek to serve each other and all creation this day, honoring the image of God in ourselves and each other. 

Guard and protect all who call upon you, O Holy One, and shine your light into the darkest recesses of our hearts. Let us place our cares and concerns before the risen Lord, whose love and care is without end.

Amen.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Prayer, day 1169


Merciful God, we thank you for reconciling us by your mighty hand, and from bringing us in peace to this day. 

Your wisdom is without limit, O Mighty One: may we seek to share in it and walk in your ways. Guide us to be loving and patient with each other, and to proclaim the gospel through the way we live our lives. 

Let us comfort the orphan and welcome the stranger, our hearts open to all those in need. Let us spread wide our arms as Christ did to the world, and draw all creation into our embrace. Let us place our cares and concerns before the risen Lord, whose love and care is without end. 

Amen.
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Monday, April 4, 2016

Prayer 1168- The Feast of the Annunciation and Remembrance of MLK

From the Merode Altarpiece by Robert Campin, ca. 1425

The Feast of the Annunciation and Remembrance of MLK
O God, we arise to your call, and offer You our willing hearts, directing our steps to walk in your paths always. Let us proclaim the greatness of God from generation to generation, for God's mercy and justice is never shaken. 

May we pour ourselves out in love like water on thirsty ground, being blessed abundantly by your gospel of truth and grace. Restore your people, O Holy One, and re-establish our foundations on justice, compassion, and mercy. Let your will animate our bodies and souls, Lord Christ, that we may serve each other to the glory of your name. 

Send forth your Spirit to soothe the hearts of the anxious and aching, O Lord, and anoint those we name with peace, as we pray.

Amen.
Kim Ki-chang, Korean, 1952

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Prayer 1167- 2nd Sunday in Easter

Thomas has his questions answered.

Blessed Savior, we gather around your altars to praise you and embody your love in the world. Alleluia! Bless and keep us this day, that we may serve You with our hands and our hearts. Give us the wisdom to live into the questions of our lives, and the strength to examine our convictions. Help us to plant the seeds of faith deeply into the soil of reason, tradition, and witness, that we may grow into a mature faith. Grant peace and encouragement this day, O God, for all whom we remember at this hour.

Amen.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Prayer, day 1166- Easter Saturday


(inspired by Psalm 103) O God, all that is within us blesses you and your holy Name, and we remember your blessings, one by one. Forgive us our sins against You, O Merciful one, and heal all our iniquities. Crown us with your mercy and forgiveness, and help us to likewise open our hearts to our brothers and sisters. Renew our strength to persevere, and lay your hand upon our heads in consecration that we may bear your Name with honor and righteousness. Grant peace and encouragement this day, O God, for all whom we remember at this hour.

 Amen.
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Friday, April 1, 2016

Prayer 1165- for Easter Friday

This plant is known as "Bshop's Hat."

Most Merciful God: hope dawns within us as we meditate on your steadfast love: let our prayer rise to You. The mercy of God endures forever: may our hearts be new every morning, and our praises rise like incense. 

Renew a right spirit within us, O God our Father, that we may serve the cause of justice, compassion, and peace.  Awaken the spirit of mercy and forbearance within our hearts, O Christ our Brother, that we see the light of God in all. Enflame us with the Spirit of wisdom and love, O Spirit our Teacher, and keep our hearts in a Mother's embrace. 

Accept our morning sacrifice of praise, O Holy One, and make your face shine upon those for whom we pray.

Amen.