Friday, May 26, 2017

Prayer 1582

The Caribbean sea, Santiago de Cuba, last February.

Merciful One, we bless your Holy Name,
and offer You our praise and thanksgiving.
Make us worthy to serve you, Lord Christ,
renouncing the ways of hatred or contempt.
Restore us for service in your sanctuary;
consecrate us with the Holy Spirit that all may be one.
Let us make a home for you in our hearts, Blessed Jesus,
that we embody your compassion and peace.
Raise your hand of blessing over us, O God,
and give your angels charge over those we now name.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Prayer, Day 1581-- Ascension Day

The Ascension of Christ, Salvador Dali, 1958.

(For Ascension Day)
Blessed Lord Jesus,

you are our Shepherd and Savior:
remember all those for whom
you lived and died and rose again.
Help us to spread your message
of love, service, sanctity, and compassion
throughout the world
by our words and our deeds.
Help us to be a testimony to justice and peace,
and bind us together
in the name of love, amity, and charity.
Send the Holy Spirit to empower us
to serve the weak and outcast
and to make disciples of all who seek you.
Through your example, let us unfailingly act
with love and mercy,
even to those who set themselves against us.
Let us always be witnesses to your truth,
and servants of your truth.
Lifting our eyes to heaven,
where you are enthroned in glory,
we lift our prayers and petitions before You, Lord Christ,
especially for those we now name.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Prayer 1580: For Rogation Day

Mother Pamela asperges Shepherd Farm garden, whose produce is donated to the hungry.

O Holy One of Blessing,
who spreads this day before us in glory and beauty,
we praise and bless You:
hear our prayer.

Bless, O God,
the fields and gardens
that bring forth your bounty to a hungry world:
may all who hunger be fed.

Bless, O God,
all those who labor to plant, tend, and harvest:
may we honor their work
and our dependence upon it.

Bless, O God,
all those who protect this fragile Earth:
awaken in us a love of creation,
that we may preserve its integrity.

Almighty One, with the ravens and the lilies of the field,
may we testify to your goodness and providence
with grateful hearts.
As all creation works together in Spring,
may we also in unity sing out your praise
in our green song of joy and rebirth.

Lord Jesus,
plant within us new hope and faith,
and place your hand of blessing over those we now name.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Prayer 1579: Inviting Christ into our hearts

I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

Most Merciful Jesus,
Love Incarnate,
may we open our hearts to you today,
that we may be guided by your truth.

Lord, enter into our own woundedness,
our carelessness,
our arrogance,
our anger.
Give us strength
to break the cycles of exploitation and pain we encounter,
and instead sow grace,
and healing.
May we seek to walk in your way of service,
and welcome for all,
embodying love and kindness.
Give us healing hands and hearts,
and the will to walk into the darkest places
by the light of compassion and hope.

Holy One, in the Spirit of Love lead us today,
and give your angels charge over those for whom we now pray.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Prayer, day 1578

Some of my friends at Eden, many of whom graduated with me last Friday.

O God we come before You in prayer, for by prayer You turn our hearts, minds, and spirits to You. 

Blessed Christ, you are our anchor and our wings: in Your love we are confident to act in love to others. May we live this day as witnesses to the healing Spirit of the grace of God. May we receive that grace, regardless of our unworthiness, and the let the love of God restore our souls and refresh our hearts. 

Let all we do be blameless in your sight, O Holy One, and be an offering of love in thanksgiving for all our blessings. Heal the hurting and soothe the suffering, and let your peace fill the hearts of all for whom we pray.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Prayer 1577: Sixth Sunday of Easter (Rogation Sunday observance)

From last year's Rogation Sunday service at Church of the Good Shepherd.
O God, we rejoice to come into your courts today,
for you are our portion and our cup, our good above all others.
Accept the offered prayers and praises of your all creation
as we sing out in joy before You.
Let us live in such a way that testifies
that Christ is in us, and we are in Christ,
with holiness and mercy.
Fill us with your wisdom, hope, and compassion,
that we may serve You and each other, O Spirit of Truth and Faithfulness.
Make us forces for reconciliation and healing,
honoring your call to service, Lord Christ.
Make your face to shine upon us, O God, and this good Earth,
and pour out your blessing on those for whom we pray.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Prayer 1574: New every morning

Detail from a window in the McCarthy Room, Eden Theological Seminary.

New every morning is the blessing of our God:
let us sing our thanks and praise from our first waking thought.
Order our minds and wills for your service, O Lord,
and open our hearts to share the love of Christ.
Inspire us in the Spirit of Truth, Righteousness, and Peace
to follow Jesus in every step.
Let us see the holiness of God
reflected in each bloom and branch
and in each face we see today.

Almighty One, your mercies are unceasing:
fill us through thy grace with compassion and charity.
Lord Christ, heal us and guide us to abide in You,
and bless especially those we now name.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Prayer 1573

Gate at Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis.

Holy One, your lovingkindness is everlasting:
accept our prayers and praises as we seek your will.
Make us holy and humble before each other,
for we are sustained by your grace in all things.
Lead us to acknowledge our faults
and reconcile with those we have treated with contempt.
Guide and direct our steps in the paths of peace of compassion,
trusting in Love Incarnate to lead us.
Fill us with your compassionate Spirit of Wisdom, O God,
and make us healers of the Earth.
Press the kiss of your blessing
upon those whose needs weigh upon our hearts.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Prayer 1572: Inspired by the Parable of the Sower

A field ready for harvest.

On the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:1-15)

Most Merciful God,
we thank you for the gift of the day that lies before us.
You have sown your gospel of love in our hearts:
make us rich, fertile soil for your truth and justice.
May we bear your witness abundantly, Lord Christ,
and embody your healing compassion.
May we be fields of grace and mercy,
sources of nourishment for hungry souls
who seek deeper knowledge of You.
Spirit of God, fill us with the light of your wisdom,
and grant your peace to those we now name.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Prayer 1571

We thought this clematis was dead, but she has roared back to life this spring.
May resurrection be always in our hearts.

Holy One, we praise You with joyful hearts,
as the dawn comes singing into being
uplifted by your hand.
You have held us fast upon your breast, O God,
through the night which is past,
and we rise to serve You today.
Make us steadfast in faith,
a living testimony to your love and grace,
proclaiming your gospel with joy.
Make us forces for reconciliation and forgiveness
in the face of strife and turmoil,
and in the hearts of all who are troubled.
Send forth your healing love, Lord Jesus,
on all whose needs we lay at your feet.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Prayer, day 1570: On Mothers' Day

Two summers ago, Mom and I took a road trip on the *original* Route 66 from Tulsa to Oklahoma City. We found this quirky little museum of Americana along the way, run by this amazing gentleman. Every inch of this place was filled with oddities. Here is his homage to the aliens who landed in Roswell, NM: and my Mother hams it up. As usual.

Blessed Lord Jesus, we rise to gather in your courts, to give honor and praise to your holy name! 

Holy One, we thank You for all who have guided us with a mother's hand in our lives. O God, bless all mothers: 
birth mothers, 
mothers-in-law, and 
mothers of the heart. 

Open our eyes to see your presence in those who have adopted us, loved us, taught us, and nurtured us, drawn to us in love. 

Help us to ourselves be loving signs of grace and acceptance in the world, that we may spread motherly love throughout our lives. 

Bless those mothers who are gone from us, or are far away, as we remember them and honor them in love. 

With your arms stretched wide, Lord Christ, envelop us in your truth, and give us a new birth of hope and faith, we pray. Gather to your heart, sweet Jesus, those whose needs we lay before you.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Prayer 1659: inspired by Frances Perkins

Frances Perkins was also an Episcopaliam who lived an intentional life of service.
She is remembered as a saint today in the Episcopal Calendar.

God came among us to sing out truth and compassion,
with compassionate hands the lowly were healed.
Let us therefore bow in gratitude before our God,
and be nurtured and strengthened in wisdom and grace.
Let us carry ourselves and each other in paths of peace,
acting in love, in honor, and in humility.
Let our hearts be ruled by the peace of Christ,
acting for good and justice wherever we can.
Holy One, breathe your spirit into us
and bless us to do the work of reconciliation you have given us.
Press your blessing upon those who call upon You,
especially those whose needs we now offer.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Prayer 1568: inspired by Psalm 40

Detail from a table at St. Augustine's Chapel, Nashville.

Place a new song in our mouths and our hearts, O Lord:
let us sing our praises from the deeps of our souls.
Give us a joy in doing your will:
to act justly,
to love mercy,
and walk humbly with You in love, O God.
You have lifted us out of the pit we ourselves have dug;
You have delivered us to abide in your light.
Take us by the hand and lead us for joy;
may your healing radiance shine through us.
Knit us together in justice, reconciliation, and peace,
loving each other as ourselves.

Spirit of Peace, spread the wings of your redemption and grace over all who call upon You as we pray.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Prayer 1567: on the path of wisdom, grace, and compassion

Labyrinth at the Cathdral during Holy Week

Most Merciful God, who was watched over us during the night storm:
we bless and praise You, now and always.

You have laid a path before us
of wisdom, of grace, of compassion,
grounded in love.
Give us the spirits of little children
filled with wonder at your creation,
hearts open to each other.
Teach us to walk gently upon the Earth
and with each other,
breathing alleluias with each step.
Make us bold and joyful in our witness
to your saving help and steadfast love
that never fails.
May we demand justice for the oppressed,
mercy for the fallen,
and release for the poor.
Draw all who suffer under the wings of your sheltering love, Lord Christ,
that they may be refreshed and restored in You.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Safe on the Rock: Speaking to the Soul, May 10. 2017

One of the first sights that greeted me as I entered Eden Theological Seminary

 If you ever pray the service of compline from the Book of Common Prayer, then some of these words, from Psalm 31, are familiar to you.

In you, O LORD, have I taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
Incline your ear to me;
make haste to deliver me.
Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe,
for you are my crag and my stronghold;
for the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me.
Take me out of the net that they have secretly set for me,
for you are my tower of strength.
Into your hands I commend my spirit,
for you have redeemed me,
O LORD, O God of truth.
My times are in your hand;
rescue me from the hand of my enemies,
and from those who persecute me.
Make your face to shine upon your servant,
and in your loving-kindness save me.

The first five verses are an option for the psalm reading in that service. I think that’s a beautiful choice.

When I was a little child, I went through a period where I was afraid to go to sleep. It may have had something to do with that terrible prayer that is taught to so many children. You know the one:

Now I lay me down to sleep;
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

I’m sure that whoever wrote that had the best intentions. . Really. This prayer was written at a time when a perfectly healthy person could go to sleep, and by morning be afflicted by terrible diseases and never wake up. I know the history of that—NOW. Then it just scared the bejabbers out of me. When I was little, all I could think about was that some people referred to dying by the euphemism of “sleeping.” Therefore, I resisted sleep with every fiber of my being. And my being, even then (who am I kidding—even now), had a lot of fiber when it came to stubbornness.

Yet the excerpts from Psalm 31 we will see on Sunday provides a n prayer of trust that uses imagery that, then and now, appealed to me as being much more comforting by referring to God as our “rock.” When I was a kid, I was fascinated by rocks. I had a neighbor who lived across the street, a retired teacher named Myron. He was a “rock hound,” and had a tumbler that polished rocks in his cellar. It amazed me how ugly gray rocks put into the tumbler could come out a day later, still intact, yet revealing a myriad of colors with a glossy sheen. Rocks were solid. Rocks last for millennia. No wonder the psalmist refers to God as a rock and a crag. Myron showed me that rocks can withstand water, erosion, and even tumbling only knocked off the sharp edges. They share their timelessness and trust-worthiness with the Almighty One.

As a child, I was too innocent to think about people setting nets to trap me, as the central verses note. But, as an adult, I find those situations of betrayal to be the thing that hurts the most, which also means that that verse brings me comfort as I attempt to relax into sleep now. The words excerpted from Psalm 31 here are comforting words to focus on as we attempt to quiet our minds, still our souls, and relax into rest for the night, because they are based on the everyday erosions on our heart that can rob us of the peace we need to rest.

When we pray, sometimes we can feel God’s presence as if we could touch it; at other times, we try to reassure ourselves that God indeed hears us. This part of Psalm 31 starts out with admitting that the psalmist, and all of us, are in need of refuge and deliverance. Yet these first 5 verses are at the same time a prayer of confidence. At the end of our reading, we are reminded that God is with us always.

The psalmist does not express doubt in the verses we see, of God’s never-failing love. There is confidence here even in the very start, for one does not take refuge in a God who has not already proven to be trustworthy and righteous. The demonstration of God’s saving power will also be a testimony to the world, as pointed out in the third verse. God’s leadership of the psalmist will glorify God’s Name before all who witness God’s saving work.

At the end, the psalmist states that he knows that every moment one has, in the past, present, and future, all belong to God, and God will provide protection. “Make your face to shine upon your servant” is similar to praying for “the light of God’s countenance.” We have all felt the physical force of being in the beam of a smiling, loving face turned toward us. Thus, our psalm selection for Sunday ends with a resounding image of trust in God’s love.

Our times are in your hand, O God, who has made us, known us, and loved us anyway. Your promises of love and mercy are never-failing. With that knowledge, we can lie down in peace, come what may.

Prayer 1566: inspired by Luke 6:27-38

Mindful walking with my Greening the Bible class

(on Luke 6:27-38)
O God, our help and our rock,
we join in creation's morning hymn of praise
and offer you our hearts: hear our prayer.
Teach us to love as You love, O Holy One,
who forgives all our sin,
and whose mercy endures forever.
Teach us to love even those who oppose us,
and pray for those who hurt us,
that their hearts
and ours
may be turned to amity.
Lead us to do good for the sake of good,
as a testimony to your truth, Lord Christ.
Plant our feet in the way of justice and mercy,
upholding each other in love in your Holy Name.
Spirit of God, breathe your love into us,
and shelter those we lift before You in hope.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Prayer, day 1565

Dutch iris

Holy One, we praise you: guide us as we seek to do your will today.
Give us strength to carry your light into places of darkness.
Give us hope for those who are in despair or sadness.
Give us endurance for those who are ill and facing a long path to healing.
Give us gentle compassion for those who are angry and hurting.
Give us wisdom for those who are filled with rejection and denial.

Help us to love God and each other in the way of Christ:
fiercely, patiently, and completely.
Consecrate the hands and minds of doctors and nurses as they seek to use the gifts given by you, O God, to bring healing to the hurting.
Blessed Savior, shine the light of your countenance upon us, and bless especially those for whom we pray.


Monday, May 8, 2017

Prayer 1564: for Dame Julian of Norwich

Dame Julian of Norwich, whose feast day is today.

Holy One, your love makes all things new:
creation lifts its voice in praise,
and we rise to give you thanks: alleluia!
In tenderness and sweetness You have created us, O God:
may we live gladly this day to bring You honor.
O God, let us know well your meaning, your perfect wisdom incarnate,
that Christ is love, and we are in Christ.
May we trust in God forever,
assured that we will never be overcome,
though tempests rage about us and travails ensnare us.
For we begin and end in the love in which You bore us, Lord Christ:
as our Mother you bear us for joy and life unending.
Holy Spirit, confirm us in love and hope
as we pray for mercy and compassion
to guide us this day,
and grant us peace.