Tag Archives: prayer

Three Sentences

If you’re reading this blog there’s a good chance you read other Episcopal things or have Episcopal friends, in which case you probably know about the current big news in the Episcopal church, which is the strike taking place at General Theological Seminary, which led to then being fired, which leads to a lot of angry and sad clergy and lay people.

A fee weeks ago I marched with 300,000 other people in hopes that some action might be taken by our leaders before we wreck our home, this earth, and it felt almost like a prayer, like a thing you do because the world is broken and you are small and there is hope that someone will hear your voice.

In the end, I don’t know what will happen at General or to our planet or to the church, but I know that a place to start is in prayer, in hopes that God will hear us in the midst of our confusion and that, despite our missteps and all the ways in which we are lost, we will hear each other.

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Thoughts for Thursday

When we pray for another, it is not an attempt to alter God’s mind toward him. In prayer we add our wills to God’s good will… that in fellowship with Him, He and we may minister to those whom both He and we love. (Henry Sloane Coffin, Joy in Believing, 1956)

Almighty God, we entrust all who are dear to us to thy
never-failing care and love, for this life and the life to come,
knowing that thou art doing for them better things than we
can desire or pray for; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP pg 831)

 

A dear friend once commented that during our worship service, the prayers of the people is the closest we come to being Christ like. 

When we gather together to pray for each other and for the world we bring the Kingdom of God ever closer. 

I find myself sometimes struggling in prayer for others. I get specific, praying that this or that will be solved or this job will happen or that thing will be resolved. Sometimes I think I know what the outcome should be, and it ends up not turning out that way but being perfectly alright. Maybe something happens that I hadn’t even thought of.

I like just saying people’s names or being otherwise non-specific. Sure there are outcomes I would prefer for certain situations, and I definitely make that known, but who am I to know what is best? I trust that God is “doing for them better things than we can desire or pray for”. 

So the next time you tell someone, yes I will pray for you, don’t feel like you have to dream up a solution to their problem, or pray for a certain outcome. You can simply lift their name up to God, join your own will to His, and trust that God knows what the best outcome is for that person.

And God hears your prayer anyway, no matter what you end up saying. 

Necessary Work

Sometimes you need crunchy guitars to get you through the day, and some days you need to listen to Bach to drown out the rattle and whirr of the window unit. I know this particular song is turning a bit into a cliché, the piece of music that those of us who know nothing about classical music listen to on repeat, but I don’t really care. You could call anything old and beloved a cliché, except it hasn’t lost its beauty and meaning. Not to me, anyway.

The other day I wrote this note to myself (another necessary cliché, perhaps) as I was wading through a long to-do list:

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Of course, I was in the middle of writing an email and listening to music when I stopped to write this down. I am a hypocrite, sometimes because I know the right thing to do but choose not to do it, and sometimes because I am pulled in so many directions I am often trying to go both ways at once.

Maybe that’s why we pray, to carve out a little space, to find a way. Prayer is simply pointing yourself in a direction.

I haven’t been praying much lately, to be honest, but nonetheless prayers are still answered. The next issue of Trinity news is almost done and St. Lydia’s met its fundraising goal though donations are still needed if you have a few bucks to throw our way (and I feel the need to show you this ridiculous and fantastic meme that Emily Scott, our pastor, made).

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Work doesn’t always feel like a clean and simple checking off of to-do lists (I’m sure you know this). It’s often messier than that because it involves our own fallible hands and minds and, worse, other people. The work of living together and creating something good, whether it’s a magazine or a church, music or a meal, is sometimes a slog, but it’s also necessary and it’s the only way forward.

Thoughts for Thursday

Just this, today. I don’t know about you but I’ve had a rough week! I love Mary Oliver’s poetry and the peace it brings my soul.
Morning Poem

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches —
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead —
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging —

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted —

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
lavishly,
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

from Dream Work (1986) by Mary Oliver
© Mary Oliver

Thousand Word Fridays: #BringBackOurGirls

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Please pray for the 276 girls who were kidnapped in Nigeria on April 14th, for their families and for those involved in the effort to rescue them. #BringBackOurGirls !

Almighty God, we lift up to you the many victims of kidnapping and abduction, that they may be strengthened by your love and protected by your hand. We pray also for their families and their communities, that they may find solace and comfort in you and in one another. We pray especially for  Deborah, Awa, Hauwa, Asabe, Mwa, Patiant, Saraya, Mary, Gloria, ​Hanatu, Gloria, Tabitha, Maifa, Ruth, Esther, Awa, Anthonia, Kume, Aisha, Nguba, Kwanta, Kummai, Esther, Hana, Rifkatu, Rebecca, Blessing, Ladi, Tabitha, Ruth, Safiya, Na’omi, Solomi, Rhoda, Rebecca, Christy, Rebecca, Laraba, Saratu, Mary, Debora, Naomi, Hanatu, Hauwa, Juliana, Suzana, Saraya, Jummai, Mary, Jummai, Yanke, Muli, Fatima, Eli, Saratu, Deborah, Rahila, Luggwa, Kauna, Lydia, Laraba, Hauwa, Comfort, Hauwa, Hauwa, Yana, Laraba, Saraya, Glory, Na’omi, Godiya, Awa, Na’omi, Maryamu, Tabitha, Mary, Ladi, Rejoice, Luggwa, Comfort, Saraya, Sicker, Talata, Rejoice, Deborah, Salomi, Mary, Ruth, Esther, Ether, Maryamu, Zara, Maryamu, Lydia, Laraba, Na’omi, Rahila, Ruth, Ladi, Mary, Esther, Helen, Margret, Deborah, Filo, Febi, Ruth, Rachael, Rifkatu, Mairama, Saratu, Jinkai, Margret, Yana, Grace, Amina, Palmata, Awagana, Pindar, Yana, Saraya, Hauwa, Hauwa, Hauwa, Maryamu, Maimuna, Rebeca, Liyatu, Rifkatu, Naomi, Deborah, Ladi, Asabe, Maryamu, Ruth, Mary, Abigail, Deborah, Saraya, Kauna, Christiana, Yana, Hauwa, Hadiza, Lydia, Ruth, Mary, Lugwa, Muwa, Hanatu, Monica, Margret, Docas, Rhoda, Rifkatu, Saratu, Naomi, Hauwa, Rahap, Deborah, Hauwa, Hauwa, Serah, Aishatu, Aishatu, Hauwa, Hamsatu, Mairama, Hauwa, Ihyi, Hasana, Rakiya, Halima, Aisha, Kabu, Yayi, Falta, Kwadugu.

We pray for the many other girls whose names we do not know.

We pray for their abductors, that they may be convinced to release them to their families, and that your justice be served. And we pray these things in the name of your most precious son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

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Thousand Word Fridays: Til the flooding subside

water lion

Photo by Jason Sierra (2014)

He stood,

and waited,

his back to me.

listening me into stillness

and waiting for the flooding to subside.

Thoughts for Thursday

Psalm 32
32:1 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

32:2 Happy are those to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

32:3 While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.

32:4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

32:5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah

32:6 Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you; at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them.

32:7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. Selah

32:8 I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

32:9 Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you.

32:10 Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the LORD.

32:11 Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

—–

Every Sunday during Lent my church says The Great Litany. At first it seemed kind of tedious, another thing taking up time on my Sunday morning. I didn’t really get it for a while. Why so somber? Do we really have to say this every Sunday?

Then I experienced what it’s like to be truly unburdened, to have it all laid out there. It is humbling. It is scary. It is strangely peaceful.

It happened when I finally admitted to myself that I was not okay. That I was hurting, that I had hurt other people, and that I deeply regretted my actions. The events and decisions that led up to the dissolution of my marriage were, as I’ve said before, crazy, and things happened I’m not exactly proud of. But it wasn’t until I confessed, I admitted, that the true healing could begin.

The Psalmist today gets it. There is joy in confession, in publicly (or not publicly) acknowledging that I am not perfect, I’ve done things that were wrong, I’ve let myself be led astray from the life I’m called to live. But I want to do better. And doing better starts with confessing. Holding back, holding in all that sin and guilt and shame is heavy. It will weigh you down and make you feel like you are sinking, grasping at anything that will help you bear that weight. You get so bogged down in it that you don’t realize you can let it go, because that weight is all you know and what else is there in life besides this weight?

When I finally let go of the weight of my sin, when I admitted to God what I had done (which seems silly, he already knew, but I think the power is in my acknowledgement and not in his awareness of my sins…), and that I was unhappy and that I needed help, I felt such a peace as I have not felt before or since.

So when we kneel together on Sunday and confess our sins together I imagine everyone around me letting go of a heavy weight. God is reaching down to wipe away our sins, our hurts, the pain we have caused ourselves and others. And maybe things won’t totally be resolved; we still have to deal with the consequences of our sins, but we do so a little lighter, a little humbler, and with a lot more love and compassion.

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Thousand Word Fridays: Face to Face with a Thin Place

thin space

Jason Sierra (Digital Collage, February 2014)

The sound that thin places make

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Bless me as I go

a mountain prayer

Never a Dull Moment With The Pope

After saying a prayer for the Ukraine yesterday Pope Francis and some school children released two doves, a symbol of peace for Christians,  in St. Peter’s Square.  The two birds were immediately attacked by a seagull and a black crow. Much to the relief of the tens of thousands of people who had gathered to hear the Pontiff, both doves were able to escape with their lives but not before receiving some pretty serious abuse.  There is always something unexpected going on with His Holiness but this time it wasn’t of his making.

APTOPIX Vatican Pope Doves