Category Archives: Prayers

Forever and ever or Over and over?


beddingI’m not really sure why, but lately as I curl up with God I begin my prayers with the Lord’s Prayer.  I expect that it is the easiest way to get my mind to stop spinning with all my thoughts from the day.  Last night was no exception, so there I lay mentally saying;

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our debts
as we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into  temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory forever.
Amen

Last night when I reached the word forever my mind took a twist.  My dad and I had been talking about the ‘ever’ vs. ‘ever and ever’ issue that had been around in our churches for years now.  As he would say, “If ever is infinity, why do we need two?”  Long ago one of my former ministers made this basic point and at that church we dropped the extra ever.  In the congregation I am in now we similarly don’t double our infinity.

In many churches (RC and Orthodox for example) this is a non issue because they don’t use the extended ending to the prayer, stopping after deliver us from evil.  This version is from a different transcript of Matthew.

What if in the first ever we refer directly to the acknowledgement of God’s power, and glory as eternal and the other to the other parts of the prayer?  What if we ended with over and over instead of ever and ever?  The fact of the eternal nature of God is, to most of us praying, a given.  Over and over reflect rather than on God’s nature but on our imperfection.  I don’t just need God to forgive me today for the things I messed up today but will also need him tomorrow and the next day.  While his power is always there and certain it is in my slightly dense nature that I need to hear it over and over.

How many times have I wandered off in the direction of temptation and been pulled back from the brink?  How many times have I had far more than I needed and still complained and wanted more?  How often have I needed God’s help to forgive others and to recognize the ways in which I have wronged others? How often have I felt discouraged by the seemingly overwhelming power of evil in our world and needed to be reminded that God is stronger?

So, for the next little while as I repeat the Lord’s prayer I will end it this way;

For thine is the kingdom
the power, and the glory
I need to help me, over and over.
Amen

20 Days Until Easter/ A Prayer of Thanksgiving and Intercession


Father God, you sent your son into the world, not to condemn the world but so that the world may be saved.  We thank you for this good news, the center of our faith.  We thank you for the freedom to meet here to worship you.

Jesus, life of all the world, source and sum of all creation, we give you thanks and praise for your work in this broken world.  Where there is hatred and devastation, even there we see signs of the new world to come.  We see pockets of beauty amidst devastation; hear of miraculous escapes from certain death.  We see people giving of what little they have to help others.  We see people risking their lives to fight against tyranny and even natural disasters as they work to put out fires, hold back floods.  We pray that we may continue to see signs of this hope in all the coverage of despair.  We pray that you strengthen us to be, in some small way, one of those agents of hope to others.

Jesus, living word we give thanks that you who know our every need, give us life.  We give you thanks for all the seemingly ordinary ways in which you bless us every day; for waking up each morning with a whole new day to explore, for our jobs, for an unexpected smile, for chances to get together with friends and loved ones, for the signs of spring after a long winter.  We pray that you may help us to be more aware of what we have than what we lack, and give us the strength we need to hold out that focus of hope to those who may have lost sight of spring.  While despair can be contagious, so can hope be contagious.  Help us to hold on to our hope and spread to those we meet in our daily lives.

We thank you for the freedom, gladness, and truth which allow us to let go of our fears and guilt.  Help us to remember that, through Jesus, we have already been forgiven. Help us to forgive ourselves, to let go of all those feelings of not being worthy, of failure, and bask in the freedom that brings.  Help us also to extend this forgiveness to anyone who has hurt us or wronged us in any way.  Make us open to all people, even those we might normally avoid.

Jesus, life of all the world, you are Lord of every nation; by your Holy Spirit’s power make your Church your incarnation till our lives of truth and grace show our world your human face! Amen

 

this prayer uses parts of Margaret Clarkson’s hymn Jesus, life of all the world which can be found at 776 in the Book of Praise of the Presbyterian Church in Canada

35 Days Until Easter: One World, One Prayer


This past Friday evening I was at the annual World Day of Prayer service with the theme Let Justice Prevail.  Given all the differences in circumstance around the globe, it is hard to think of everyone praying the same thing at any given time, other than the Lord’s Prayer.  I thought that I would include the prayer for intercession from the service.  This was written by the World Day f Prayer Committee of Malaysia.

Almighty God, we thank you that through Jesus Christ, you have opened a new and living way whereby we can come with confidence in prayer.

Lord we pray for the leaders of our countries.  Grant them wisdom to know and do what is right and just.  Grant them the compassion and willpower to do your will.  Fill them with a love for truth and righteousness and fill them with the fear of God that they may work for the justice of all people.

God from whom all justice flows, hear our prayer.

O Lord, thank you for creating us in your image – uniquely gifted to contribute positively to home, society and church.  While many of us are comfortable in our setting, there are those who are oppressed and abused, isolated and silenced.  We pray for those who are voiceless victims of oppression and violence; victims of inequality and abuse; victims of unjust and biased cultural practices, victims of religious practices of law.

Jesus, who suffered injustice for us, hear our prayer.

Gracious Lord, we pray for migrant workers, the weak, the poor and the marginalized , that their cries for help and elevation from discrimination, deprivation of rights and dignity be heard and be acted upon by those in power over them.

Holy Spirit, empower us to work for justice and peace.

O God, we pray that you will strengthen your church with power and revelation that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith.  Let us be rooted and established in love.  Grant us the boldness and wisdom to reach out to the community in a holistic manner.

God from whom all justice flows, hear our prayer.

O God, we ask a vision of your justice and for the strength of the persistent widow to work for it.  You have called us to be instruments of justice in a world of strife and false justice.  We pray that you will make strong our hands and make clear our voices.  Give us humility with firmness and insight with passion, that we may fight not to conquer, but to release.

Jesus, who suffered injustice for us, hear our prayer.  Holy Spirit, empower us to work for justice and peace. Through the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, we pray.  Amen.

 

prepared and adapted for use in Canada by the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada

The To Do List As Stress Reliever?


When you think of things you can do to relieve the effects of stress in your life you probably focus on things like hot baths, long walks, calming music etc.  I don’t think many people would think of making a to-do-list as having the potential to relieve their stress.

We are familiar with the seemingly endless list of things that we need to get done.  Even kids in middle school begin to feel the stress of being time-bound.  So much to do and so little time!

If you were to make a list of all that has to be done in the next week it could easily cause more stress.  The idea of the To-Do-List stress reliever is that you start at the beginning of the day you are already in.  Perhaps at 10AM you will sit down and make a list that starts with; get up, shower, get dressed etc.  Having completed the list that takes you to bedtime for that day, you then check off all the things you have already done.  Now looking at the list you are likely to see that you are almost half-way finished with the must-dos and have most of the day left to get to them.  A weight lifts!

Obviously this does not work for everyone, nor on all days.  When it helps, that is great, and when it doesn’t that may give you the encouragement to say no to a few of the things which are adding to your list.  Eliminate some of the things that are priorities for other people, rather than yours.

What else can you do about your stress?  You can pray.  You can pray for help to finish all your tasks or you can pray for help in discerning what is truly vital and what can be left to wait. 

Come to the Water, You Who Thirst and You’ll Thirst No More


What is at the bottom of your well?  When you are at your lowest and need refreshment, into what does that bucket drop?

We go to friends and family for help, but what if they aren’t available?  What if they have left us?  What if they have died?

There are lots of people out there to whom, for a fee, we can go for help. There are social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors etc.  What if that doesn’t help?

If you believe that there is no God that is where you hit the bottom.  If you rely on your own strength for everything what happens when it turns out your strength has limits?  Then not only do you not get help, you actually add self-blame for your failure to recover.

If you believe in God, the Triune God, there is no bottom to your well at all.  No matter how far you may fall God will reach down to pull you out.  No matter how parched you become, there is no end to the availability of water.

Come to the waters, you who thirst and you’ll thirst no more.
Come to the Father, you who work and you’ll work no more.
And all you who labor in vain and to the broken and shamed:Love is here.
Love is now.
Love is pouring from
His hands, from His brows.
Love is near, it satisfies.
Streams of mercy flowing from His side.
Cuz love is here.

Come to the treasure, you who search and you’ll search no more.
Come to the lover you who want and you’ll want no more, no.
And all you who labor in vain to the broken and shamed,

Yeah:

Love is here.
Love is now.
Love is pouring from
His hands, from His brows.
Love is near, it satisfies.
Streams of mercy flowing from His side.

Yeah

And to the bruised and fallen,
Captives, bound, and broken-hearted.

He is the Lord,
He is the Lord,
Yeah

By His stripes He’s paid our ransom
From His wounds we drink salvation

He is the Lord,
He is the Lord.

Love is here.
Love is now.
Love is pouring from
His hands, from His brows.
Love is near, it satisfies.
Streams of mercy flowing from His side.
Streams of mercy flowing from His side.
Cuz love is here.
Love is here.

these lyrics are submitted by OarSmaN
these lyrics are last corrected by threedaysgracefan9431

Day by Day, O Dear Lord, Three Things I Pray


Last night I had occasion to watch the movie Godspell.  The movie came out in 1972 when I was eight, but what I remember are the multiple musical theatre productions of the show which I saw as a teen and young adult.  I was, last night just as when I was a teen, held transfixed as the character of Jesus led his little group of misfits through the parables.  When the partner songs begin at the end of the show with “Long live God” as they carry him away from the cross, being joined with “Prepare ye the way of the Lord,”  from the opening of the show I was  taken to that thin place!  I felt lifted up, I was closer to heaven!

I realize this sounds rather flakey or esoteric, but somehow the combination of the real stories of Jesus, the foolish antics of the disciples as they act them out and misunderstand their meanings, and the music is very affecting!  We are led to praise God and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, but not just that.  At the same time as we shout, “Long live God!” we need to be preparing the way for the coming of Jesus!

For Praying Out Loud! How are we meant to keep our prayers on track?


Have you ever settled to pray in the evening and had trouble keeping your focus? Most of the time I pray in my head, that is to say that I don’t actually use my voice. Somehow, even in my own bedroom at home, praying out loud makes me self-conscious. This isn’t an issue for me in worship or anytime I’m praying with others.

Worry about seeming silly if my kids or husband come along and hear me is only a part of my problem. It seems that when I voice my private prayers they hit me more deeply. I almost always end up crying at some point. Similarly potentially embarrassing, this is an emotionally exhausting experience. I suspect that the tears etc actually are some indication of the value or efficacy of the prayer.

In the end I don’t know if it matters whether we pray in silence or aloud, but if you find yourself wandering off to plans and worries about the next day try switching. Maybe the sound of your voice will keep you on track.

repost of Mary’s Angels: “I Am Not Alone”


tonight the moon is a mirror-ballA while back I went out for coffee with a good friend.  During the course of the conversation we touched on many subjects.  She was sharing with me that she had been going for Reike treatments (is that the correct term?) for a while and she said she had an amazing experience at her last session.  She shared the following story with me, and asked as well that I share it with you;

My wish is to have peace and taking part in a Reiki experience has given me this sense of peace and serenity.

My last two experiences have been quite different from my earlier sessions. During these session I encountered my angel. Initially, I saw two glowing lights moving around each other as if they were playing joyfully with one another. I  felt happiness and an immense sense of joy, an almost childlike sense that only the present moment mattered. From the lights, a presence developed as an outline.  The outline gradually became more visible until I could see a hooded figure there with me.  I could not see his/her face. During this time I could see part of a wing that was a vibrant white in color. The energy that was present was very strong and real.

I can’t remember much else regarding this encounter but the feeling that I wasn’t alone. It was as if I was at another level compared to the earthly one. The message that came from this was to enjoy life, have fun and laugh. And more importantly, that I am not alone because my angel that is a very strong one at that is with me at all times. This in turn gives me strength during my spiritual journey called life. Is it possible that this other level is the spiritual parallel place of holiness?

Angels, are they real?  I’ll look into this in a future post with help/reference to Calvin’s Institutes.

Photo credit to Miemo Penttinenmiemo.net

Walking the Labyrinth With Mosquitos


Before I get to the actual story today I think some back-story is necessary. There are two things you need to know about me to truly appreciate this. First, I hate flies! Second, I am a fly magnet! When I was in my early teens I was camping with my parents at Kedji National park in nova Scotia. Almost every day we went for hikes. One early evening we were out for a hike and I saw my first deer fly ever. In fact, I saw many, many deer flies! I have to say I was totally freaking out about the flies; swatting and jumping and begging to go back to the car. My father, in his wisdom, told me to stop complaining and that I was making a big deal out of just a few flies. I did survive the evening and we finally turned around and went back to the car and home to tent-sweet-tent. Years later Dad told me that it was a good thing I couldn’t see my back, as I was totally covered!

After supper tonight I walked the Labyrinth at the Tatamagouche Center. As I began the walk I was greeted by a few late season mosquitos. The idea of the walk is as meditation so I took a moment, while brushing off the flies, to decide if I would go ahead even knowing that where there are a few mosquitos there will soon be many more. I persevered. Hands in the pockets of my hooded sweater and the hood up to protect the back of my neck I set out.

I am happy to say that, other than not spending any time sitting on the bench at the center, I completed the walk at a good leisurely pace with my mind focused on questions of wanting things I don’t need. What I noticed was that the structure of labyrinth freed my mind from thinking about where I was going. The focus was on that next step God had laid out for me without looking longingly at the goal ahead. This is something I have not done enough in my life, and I suspect this is the case for many of you as well. If we can ignore the buzzing and biting flies and keep our focus on God’s path as it lights up ahead of us imagine the barriers we won’t even notice.

Waiting For The Light To Change


http://www.flickr.com/photos/horiavarlan/4747872021I am sitting in the library at my school waiting for the machine to warm up so that I may laminate some posters,  and it has me thinking about all the time in our lives we spend waiting for lights to change.

 

The most obvious is waiting for traffic lights. The red light interrupts our journey and sometimes seems to go on for ever. I expect we would find a direct correlation between how much of a hurry we are in and the slow change. Of course there are people who don’t wait, they just rush heedlessly through that red, or speed up for the yellow. Many times, more due to the alertness of the other drivers, this works out for them, but it can often lead to crashes which, in the end, make them far later than they would have been.

 

We wait for the light on coffee makers to let us know that our caffeine is ready. Again, when in a hurry, people often sneak their cups in the flow. This is so common that many manufacturers have designed pots that sense when the pot is removed and pause in the brew cycle. Those sneaked cups have two effects; they are much stronger than a regular cup from the pot, and they make the rest of the pot weaker for everyone else.

 

When picking up my daughter at closing time at her work, I wait for the lights to turn off. When I want to go to a store I wait for the open sign to light up. On New Year’s Eve people wait for the lights to come on in the Big Apple to announce that the new year has begun. At the end of a long sleepless night we may watch for the sunrise. And we Christians watch for the Son-rise on a whole new earth and heaven.

 

And so we wait. Given how often we have to wait for things, you might think that we would have gotten really good at it! Infants and young children, in Freud’s Id stage, don’t yet understand that they may have to wait for gratification. As adults we are much better at waiting than when we were young, and yet…

 

I guess the way we handle waiting depends on what we do in the meantime. Drumming fingers, constantly checking the clock, or pacing will do nothing but build stress and waste time. If we take the time to do something els the time may pass without us really noticing. We could use the time for a prayer for those people in our lives who need God’s special help.

 

There is really no way to cheat on waiting for Christ to return. We aren’t supposed to just stand still looking up at the sky, we are meant to make use of the time to make the present earth as much like the kingdom of heaven as possible. As we wait for this light to change, let us pray as Jesus taught us.

 

Our father in heaven
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done
On earth as in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory
Forever!

Amen