Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Prayer, day 1458

Dry grasses rustle with the wind, reminding us of the Breath of God breathing new life everywhere.

You are near, O God. We seek to draw close as well. Through the night watches we have sought You between dreams. We thank You, Loving One, for your word in which we trust. We meditate upon your promises, for You are always at our right hand when we need You. With our whole heart we call to You, for you redeem us and give us strength. Give aid, we pray for these whom we now name, that they may be comforted and praise your Name.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Prayer, day 1457

This Cooper's Hawk has been hanging out at our house lately, a beautiful reminder of God's creation.

Loving One, we ask that your kingdom come on Earth,
and peace and equity reign throughout this land and all lands.
Help us to lay willing hands to the plow of justice
as we seek to turn the soil of suffering into a field of hope.
Help us to plant seeds of compassion with each step,
and make our hearts the fertile ground
to bring the common good to life.
Help us to tend
the tender shoots of faith in You and in each other
to create a verdant field of witness
to the love we bear each other without distinction.
And lift up those who struggle,
comfort those who mourn,
soothe those who are anxious.



Monday, January 16, 2017

Prayer, Day 1456: Martin Luther King Jr.'s holiday

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. challenged many unjust laws.

Almighty God, You created us in freedom, and called us to live in truth: may all that we do bring glory to your Name. You sent us martyrs and prophets, such as the Rev. Dr. King, to call us again to live in covenant and mutuality with each other. 

Prosper the work of those who seek to heal the divides among us, and forgive us for when we have failed to honor each other. May we never forget that to love each other is to love You, and join hands and hearts in brotherhood with all your children. Let us remember that the kingdom of God is our neighborhood, and build our foundations on justice and equality. Let us sit together at the table of fellowship, and share each other's joys and hardships. 

Bind the hearts of those who sorrow, and build the strength of those who are bowed down, O Holy One. Look with favor upon those who call upon You, especially those we now name.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Prayer 1455: Second Sunday After the Epiphany

The descent of the Holy Spirit. Detail from a window at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Ferguson, MO.
Lord Jesus, we acclaim you and worship you,
and give you thanks for your healing love in our lives.
Save us from the presumption of confessing your Name
without transformation of our hearts and minds
for Love's sake.

May we sing out your glory and grace
to all the world,
to witness to opponents as well as friends.
May we open ourselves to your Holy Spirit,
that our overflowing hearts
may lead us to stand for justice
and walk in compassion.

Guide us to live lives of grace and mercy,
and never inflict suffering by action or inaction.
Let us love our God
and each other
with our whole heart,
and walk humbly and reverently upon the earth.

Bless us and shape us,
O Merciful One,
and renew the spirits of those
who call to You.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Prayer, Day 1454: Praying through Christ

Christus Pantokrator.

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.


Friday, January 13, 2017

Prayer, day 1453

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 12, 2017

Prayer 1452: For discernment

Winter sunset.

Through the depths of the night,
You have watched over me,
O Lover of Souls;
may your Spirit guide me
in love and justice.

May I walk in the Way of Jesus this day,
and set my heart upon your Law of Love and Healing.
May I open my heart fully
to receive your grace,
and remember and give praise
for your saving help.

Lord, when I stumble,
pick me up
and set me back on your path:
let your Wisdom
be a lamp for my feet.

Animate me
by a spirit of humility,
and compassion,
guided by love and charity,
to fulfil your will.

Our hope is in You, O Holy One:
place your mantle of healing
over those we now name, as we pray.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Prayer 1451: Called to Love

Some of my beloved friends from Eden who braved the weather at my ordination to the diaconate;
Barbara is taking the photo.

Blessed Savior, we sit in peace before You, worshipping You in the beauty of holiness, praising you for all your blessings. 

Forgive us our callous disregard for the lives of others, for our infliction of pain, for our apathy and silence before evil. 

You have called us to live in integrity and shalom: may we follow in the Way of Jesus, the way of healing and mercy. 
Awaken and renew our determination to love others as ourselves, and to respect the dignity of every person. 
Give us wise and empathetic hearts, that we never look on the suffering of others without compassion and a will to help. 
With an open and generous hand You guide us: accept our prayers as we seek to serve You, each other, and all creation. 

Lord Christ, place the mantle of your protection, we pray, over those we remember before You now.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Prayer 1450- in Trust and Hope

My first Sunday as deacon at Good Shepherd was Christmas Day, with beloved friends
The Rev. Susan Naylor and the Rev. Dr. Pamela Dolan.

Most Merciful One, we thank You for watching us through the night, and bringing us in safety to this new day. 
From dawn to midday to the depths of the night, our trust is in You, Lord Christ, our Shepherd and Redeemer. 

Keep us as the apple of your eye, and guide us into wisdom that we may follow your paths with righteousness and hope. 
Help us to follow the Way of Jesus, and live lives of empathy, mercy, and healing for all we encounter. 
Send your Holy Spirit, O God, to renew our souls and refresh our reverence for all your creation. 

Hear the whispered prayers which we offer from the depths of our hearts, and gather to your embrace those we now name.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Prayer, day 1449

Morning Light at First Presbyterian Church of St. Louis as we wait to remember a friend's father.

O Mighty One, we call upon You with our whole heart, for we put our trust in You.

Throughout the night watches we have meditated upon your mercy and praised You between dreams: hear our prayer.
You have placed your seal upon our hearts, and we have been transformed by your grace.
Let us pour out your love like a balm to soothe the poor, the anxious, and the suffering.
Let us be conduits of your saving help and act with justice for those who have no voice.
Let us live this day according to your wisdom, and walk the pilgrim path.

Bend near to those who call upon You, and grant your blessing to those we now name.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Prayer 1448: The First Sunday After the Epiphany: The Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Russian icon of the Baptism of Jesus, 18th century.

Most Merciful One, Lover of Our Souls, guide and guard us as we seek to follow your light in our lives. 

Baptize us into your truth, and embolden us to share in your work of healing and reconciliation in the world. 

Make us worthy by the power of the Spirit to bear the Name of Jesus into the places that most need repair and mercy. 

Send your angels to comfort those who watch, or wait, or weep, and rescue those in pain or illness.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Prayer, day 1447: Epiphany Prayer

The Magi present their gifts.

Eternal God, source of all light, guide us by love as the Wise Men were guided by the star to honor your Son as King of All. 

Grant us wisdom to discern your saving love for us in all the blessings we receive. In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, may we share the light of salvation to all the world, and strive to be a holy people. May we listen for your voice in all we do, and be strengthened in faith to follow the path you have set before us. Guide us to walk in humility and compassion, O Lord, for we always remember your forbearance to us. 

Protect those who confront the cold today, and shield them in your infinite mercy. Proclaiming your wondrous gift of salvation, grateful for your infinite grace, we lift up our concerns before you.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Prayer 1446- The Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ

The Wise Men before the Holy Family
Merciful God, who led the world to your Son by the light of a star, lead us by the light of Christ to serve the world in your Name. Grant us wisdom and compassion to heal those hurting in body, mind or spirit. Help us to embody peace and serenity that that welcomed little children into the embrace of our Savior. Make us Christ-bearers into the world, and devoted disciples of justice and righteousness for your Love's sake. Fill us with your Holy Spirit, that we may speak truth to power and stand with the oppressed. Resting upon your mercy, O Eternal One, we ask that you bless and keep those whose needs we raise before You.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Prayer 1445- under the shadow of God's wings

Eternal One, in peace and gratitude we rise to praise You, giving thanks for your manifold blessings. 
You are our home and our strength, Lord Christ: May we ever behold the beauty of your creation, and sing out our wonder and joy.

May we see the works of your hands made manifest in the loving hearts we encounter, and be glad.
May we root ourselves in faith and hopefulness, praising your love throughout each day, uplifted by your Spirit.
May we be guided by compassion for all living things, and walk gently upon the earth and with each other.

Guide us and sanctify us, keeping us close under the shadow of your wings, reveling in the embrace of the Almighty. 
Pour out your comfort and strength over those who call upon You, especially those we now name.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Named and Claimed: Speaking to the Soul, January 4, 2017

The Baptism of Jesus, Russian, 1780.

Last Sunday was New Year’s Day, a day in which the old year is gone, and we turn to hopes and promises for the year to come. Two years, the old and the new, touch for an instant, and then one recedes into the hazy shades of memory even as the other flickers to life and begins to wax bright. What’s done is done. A new year lies before us. Even if we think we know what may happen in that year, it remains true that there will be blessings we cannot possibly foresee. And so, it’s a time of hopefulness. The days imperceptibly lengthen, and for that we are grateful, even if winter has only just begun.

This year, New Year’s Day coincided with the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. We heard the story of how Jesus was brought by his parents to be circumcised and named in the Temple, according to the traditions of his ancestors going back to Abraham. In this scene, the baby is taken by his parents, named and claimed, the first-born son, given the name of Jesus: “God saves.”

The giving of the name is an important landmark: it is the accepting of the child as a member of the family. Even today, we still believe that the meaning of a name given to a child has power. Why else do expectant parents spend hours poring over baby name websites and books, if they’re old school? Certainly, the sound of the name is important, but the meaning carries weight, as well. When Mary and Joseph took the infant Jesus to the Temple, they were naming and claiming the child as a member of their household.

And then we come to this week’s gospel. In a mere blink of the eye, we see Jesus now this Sunday, a grown man approaching his kinsman John, asking to be baptized. John is scandalized by the request, yet Jesus insists. Down into the water he goes, and when he comes up, he is once again claimed and named, but this time by his Heavenly Father as the Spirit of God descends upon Jesus and alights upon him. “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” Jesus is revealed as God, what our Orthodox brothers and sisters call “theophany.” He is Jesus. And he is the Son of God. Both at the same time.

These two names reflect the two natures, the human and divine, that are themselves made manifest to us through two signs: the water and the Spirit. By these same two signs we ourselves have been baptized, named and claimed as beloved children of God as well. Hearing the story of Jesus’s baptism, I am drawn to marvel at the miracle of that grace which calls us and claims us, too, as beloved children of God. Just as Jesus did, we go down into the waters of baptism and then come up a new person, with a new, wonderful name: Christian. Christ-bearer. One who has been called to carry Christ and his light into the world, rejoicing. Come what will, we are named and claimed as children of Light, before which the darkness flees.

“Love comes down at Christmas,” the old carol proclaims. Love comes down at Christmas, and claims and names us as his own.

(This was first published on Episcopal Cafe's Speaking to the Soul on January 4, 2017.)

Prayer, day 1441

Leaves suspended in ice.

O God, our times are in your hand: may we use this day to build your kingdom and strengthen the hearts of those we meet.

May we be sources of contentment and peace rather than discord and sorrow. 

May we place your love always before our eyes, and seek to be worthy of claiming a place within your household. 

May we be disciples of your Son in deed and action, rather than through claims and empty words that turn to ash and smoke. 

May we not only enter into your temple as visitors, but invite you into our hearts, to dwell with you always. 

For You are our companion and guide and Source of All; we long for your embrace as a field longs for the caress of rain. With upraised hearts we lift our prayers to You, in hope and in faith, trusting in your limitless care and mercy.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Prayer, day 1443: On the start of the General Ordination Exams

Always look for the light that guides us in the darkness.

O God, there is a race before us to run today. Make us quick to love and encourage those we meet. Help us be swift to praise you for all your blessings. Hold us fast in the hollow of your hand. Strengthen us to hasten to do your will. And we ask your blessing upon those whom we raise up in our prayers, especially those we now name.



Monday, January 2, 2017

Prayer 1442: for renewal and reconciliation

Blessed Redeemer,
Loving One, we thank You for welcoming us into this day, and keeping watch over us by night.
Renew a right spirit within us, that we may be reconciled with all creation, we pray.
Soothe our souls within your embrace, Lord Jesus: we rest upon your breast, and are content.
Take us by the hand, O Savior, and let us place our hearts within yours, abiding in grace and peace for ever.

May we walk the way of compassion and healing, for we know that goodness and mercy follow in your wake, Lord Christ.
Place your hand of blessing and power, O Holy One, upon us, and on those whom we now remember before You.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Prayer 1441: The Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ

The Holy Family. Source unknown.
Holy God, 
Father of All Mercies, 
Mother of All Kindness, 
we give You thanks for the Holy Name of Jesus.

Teach us to live and love
under the banner of your Beloved Son,
working to restore creation
from the hurt we have inflicted on it.

Lead us into unity
as we face forward into the New Year,
and turn to You, Lord Christ,
as our exemplar and guide.
Gather us
within the shelter of your arms
as we bear the name of Christ,
that we be holy and compassionate people.

Strengthen us in prayer and praise,
and receive our intercessions
which we lay before You
in hope and love.