Category Archives: Prayers & Blessings
Servant or Soldier –
In worship this morning the phrase servant not soldier was used when describing those who follow the Master, Jesus. These words have stuck with me all day. Too often I hear colloquialisms; “fighting the good fight or fight for your personal rights, soldiers for in God’s army, fighting for those who cannot fend for themselves, fighting for your political party, fighting for (sometimes with) your family, fighting sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, racism, fighting for equality. The list could go on but I noticed there aren’t too many servant phraseologies we use.
I think we are more comfortable with the idea of fighting, exerting power, pushing back against something we feel is invading our worlds. Fighting comes from a place of strength. Being a servant make us more uneasy. We don’t like the possibility of being taken advantage, of someone being over us, of putting down our fists instead of raising them. We live in a time where standing up for what we believe in seems the correct and just path. I wonder where/if there is a balance between soldiering and serving? Is there a side which needs choosing, we should choose?
Today has been a quiet day, save a few thunderclouds which have threatened rain. The word “Sabbath” is defined as; “a weekly religious observance by Jews and Christians. A day of abstinence from work” and since I’ve done nothing today I think I’ve met the requirement of this command.
It’s amazing how many days we work. I’m not referring to just our “normal” jobs but also the additional duties we take on, extra curricula activities we participate in, chores, responsibilities and the mundane tasks required of everyday living.
To have a day in which nothing is attempted let alone accomplished is a rare joy in our busy world. We can almost feel guilty for not breaking one of the ten commandments, for following the (religious) law. However, this is what we are supposed to do; rest, sleep, breathe, receive the blessing of the Sabbath and be thankful.
grace and peace,
Today is Holy Saturday. The Master is dead. Hope is gone. Failures are many. All that’s left is silence and the stench of death in a dark tomb.
I went to the dump today and had to take some cardboard to a special container. The big enclosed metal holder was almost empty and dark. I had to take the pieces of cardboard to the back of the container and when I came out of the dark, smelly thing I thought of Jesus leaving the tomb.
On my way home from the refuse and recycling center, which takes me down a long isolated road, a man signaled me to stop and stated that he needed a “jump-start” to his truck. He had been working since early and had forgotten to turn his lights off. We hooked up the cables, waited a while, tried a few times that didn’t work and finally, his battery was charged with enough power to bring his engine back to life.
I thought of Jesus, the Light of all lights and how he had given all his light to those who would extinguish it.I wondered what happened in the empty tomb. Did God the Father have some sort of spiritual “jumper cables” and shock his Son back to life? Or did he gently breathe new life into him like he did with Adam and Eve in the Garden?
Holy Saturday. A day of disappointment. A day of fear. A day after and a day before.
What is Prayer? –
Last week someone asked me to pray for them. They explained what they were going through and I told them I certainly would remember them when seeking wisdom, peace and grace for those on my prayer list. Yesterday, someone told me they were praying for me. I know this person and many others pray for me regularly and it brings me a sense of hope.
The best definition of prayer I’ve ever come across is from Eugene Peterson; “Prayer isn’t getting God to do something but getting in on what God is already doing.” This to me is a powerful reminder that we’re not the catalyst to God acting. It’s also reflects the thought that God is present, knows our circumstances, is on our side and nothing escapes his attention.
Prayer comes in many forms and folks have countless views of how prayer works. I think what’s important is that prayer puts us in the position of humility, admitting we’re not in charge, have little, if any, real power. Pure prayer, for ourselves and others, is to want, desire the best but at the same time realizing we don’t know what’s best but trusting that God does.
(brianloging on Instagram)
“God our Father,
you conquer the darkness of ignorance
by the light of your Word.
Strengthen within our hearts
the faith you have given us;
let not temptation ever quench the fire
that your love has kindled within us.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
from the Divine Office, morning prayer, July 4.
An amazing quote by Julian of Norwich…
Too often prayer, having a conversation with God, is like most other conversations we have in our lives, lots of talking, very little listening.
People frequently ask me to pray for their special needs. It can be emotional, physical or spiritual, for the person requesting or someone they love.
I am blessed to be asked to share these burdens but there are so many variables and unknowns. To try and figure out exactly how to pray, what to pray for, when I don’t see the full picture seems silly, arrogant, unwise.
What I can do, what I do, is pray for those who are hurting to be comforted, those who are struggling to trust, those who are dying to be assured, those who are searching to be found, those who are running to be at rest, and for all to find the deep stillness where the answer to every need is found in the voice which whispers, “I love you, forever.”
Most often prayer is hearing not speaking, being centered not certain, seeking assurance not answers.
“O God, every breath I take is one closer to my last. All my plans, aspirations, hopes and dreams, will turn to vapor as that last gasp escapes my lungs. Why would I, who cannot save myself, put my trust in one so temporary?
If I dare to hope, risk trusting in someone or something, it has to be greater than that which is so easily destroyed discarded, or disintegrates.
My heart should only be given to one who will satisfy my deepest hunger, right the gravest wrongs, break my chains of slavery, heal my spirit’s wounds, put back together my brokenness.
I long for one who can love even me, a lost, wicked, scared child. O God, please tell me you’re the one I’m looking for.”
a reflection based on Psalm 146
“O God, I cannot find the words.
Only sighs and moans burst forth when I open my lips. I have no goodness to give, no worth to speak of, nothing to offer you but brokenness.
I am stumbling around in the dark. I grasp for light but it evades me. I am lost, hopeless, and my soul aches for you.
Remind me, God, who you are, what you do, how you love me. Call to the deep places of my spirit with your words of life. I lift up tired arms, I close bloodshot eyes, I still stretched vocal chords, and in the silence, the darkness, I wait.
O God, please don’t ignore me, don’t look past me. I can’t hold out much longer. Death is beating down the door of my spirit. Come to my rescue.
Like the dawn, light up my life with your presence. Chase away the sadness, the defeat, the night. Show me the path that you walk. Take me by the hand and hold me close.
You are so good and I am so incredibly not. Please, save me anyway for I have nothing, and no chance, without you.”
a reflection based on Psalm, 143v1-11
“O Lord, I have nothing to offer you but my tears. I pour them out before you as my offering.
It is hard to be pure when my desire is to roll around in the mud. My lips too often speak insults, judgements, lies, when they should be used to help, heal, and comfort. They reveal the muck which clings to my heart and soul.
O Lord, let me not run from your correction. May I be willing to see how wicked I am. Show me you can love and discipline at the same time. Protect me from evil, especially from within.
Keep my eyes focused on you, not on momentary pleasures which leave me empty and desperate for something lasting. Keep my feet on your path so I might not fall never to rise up again.”
a reflection based on Psalm 141
“You wrote the book on me God, every page, chapter and verse. You are intimately familiar with each dotted ‘i’ and crossed ‘t’.
When I am a couch potato not doing anything, you are there. When I am so busy there’s barely time to breathe, you are right beside me. Whether I say a word of kindness or cuss under my breath, you know every syllable. My first word spoken and my last utterance before I die, you can recall every one.
You are my creator. Nothing is hidden from you. You crafted, fashioned, molded me with care and love. I am special to you.
You never let me out of your sight. In my deepest hell, highest peak, brightest day, darkest night, you are the same. You hold me close and tell me I am yours.
You possess my life, my heart, my soul, and I am forever grateful.”
a reflection based on Psalm 139v1-12
“O Lord, I’m worried.
My heart is so fickled. I chase after shiny trinkets and fading glory. Things which never satisfy, objects which possess me.
Why do earthly items have such a hold on me? Why do I desire them so? They are temporary, cheap and replaceable. They come from factories and sweat shops. They are made to wear out, to keep me wanting more.
O Lord, buying the latest model isn’t worth my soul. I long for something which speaks to and meets my deepest need. One that sees the poverty of my soul, hears the cries of my heart, senses my desire to belong, becomes my safe place to stand, never wears out, is always there.
What I need, O Lord, is you.”
a reflection based on Psalm 135v15-18
“Hello? Is this prayer on? Is anybody up there? It’s me again, the unfaithful one, begging for a scrap of attention, a crumb of mercy.
You tell me Lord, you don’t keep a list of my mistakes, mishaps, missteps. You tell me they are long since forgiven and forgotten. I hope so because I am neck deep in trouble and don’t see a way out.
You said when I get to the end of me this is where I find you. Here I am and here I will wait. I long to see you more than catching a glimpse of the dawn after a sleepless night.
So I wait, yes wait and hope.”
a reflection based on Psalm 130
“As a stranded climber searches the skies for help from above, my gaze never stops looking for you, my Lord. I cast my eyes up and down, side to side, hoping for a glimpse of the one who will rescue me.
When you come I will be safe. With you I am secure. My feet will not slip, my hands will not lose their grip, for you are my toe hold, you grab me tight and won’t let go.
You never get tired of being there for me, never need a break.
You are my shelter in the storm, my shade from the burning sun, my safe place to rest at night.
You are the keeper of me and I could not ask for more.”
a reflection based on Psalm 121
“You watch over me as a mom does her first born child. You save me from countless mishaps, miseries, and stupid mistakes.
I breathe a sigh of relief, my soul exhales, my spirit settles, for you, my Lord of kindness, care for me.
You walk with me each day, upon the road of life, holding my hand, steadying my feet, drying my tears, and whispering; “I’ll love you to eternity and beyond.”
a reflection based on Psalm 116v6-9
“O God, I come to you for guidance. How do I live a good life? A worthy life? A life which reveals you, not puts the spotlight on me? Show me the this path, let me walk the way of wisdom and purity.
O God, let my deepest desire be for you, not tangible trinkets that melt away. I long to be your light in dark places, to bring tenderness in a hard world, to do good for those who suffer.
O God, speak to my soul. Close my too often open mouth and open the ears of my spirit. Let me embrace silence so your voice in the stillness might be heard.
You comfort me in times of calamity. You are my hope in the most difficult of days. Even when the onslaught of evil is overwhelming you steady my heart and my spirit.”
a reflection based on Psalm 112v1-9
“You, my Good Lord, always treat me better than I deserve. Even when I am neck deep in the mess of my sin and stubbornness you pluck me out, clean me up and call me your child.
I probe my mind, search my heart, for something to give you in return for this wonderful love, but I have nothing. You love me just the same. It’s what you do, it’s who you are.
My days dissolve like smoke, as a shadow fades at sundown, so my life slips away. Why you take my prayers, my cares, to heart I do not know. You are tender and kind. You give me mercy in my troubles, patience in my persecutions, strength in my weakness.
Even when I feel my life is cursed, the blessing of your presence is enough to bring gladness to my soul.
a reflection on Psalm 109v21-28
“O Lord, when my soul is starving, and I crave life in the deepest part of me, you are my food. When I am stumbling around in the dark and cannot find my way, you are my light. When I have nothing but poverty of spirit and life, realize I am nothing, you become my treasure.
You humble me and lift me up. I am powerless, you are powerful. I am afflicted, you are mercy. I am trapped, you are my liberator. I am troubled, you are my peace. I am dead, you are life.
I am thankful, you are my reason.”
a reflection based on Psalm 107v9-15
“O Lord, can you hear me? Please listen and don’t turn your back to me. I am loaded with troubles, they wear me down. If you’re listening, I need help, now!
My strength, my mind, my spirit, my life are wasting away, worn out by worry and struggle. I don’t sleep, I don’t eat, I just exist in this constant state of stress and sickness.
What hurts the most is you are the one who shattered my dreams and scattered my hopes.
My life is but a mist evaporating. Do you know my pain? Can you relate to me? You are everlasting, I am quickly fading.”
a reflection based on Psalm 102v1-13