prayer

Call to prayer

The sermon yesterday included a call to prayer.  If you missed it (or want to share it or listen again...) you can hear it here or on iTunes.  This is not a comprehensive guide, but a hopeful nudge to remove barriers.  As I suggested yesterday, the Psalms may also give voice to our prayer even as we struggle to find the words.

We cannot wait for legislation, even as we advocate for it.  We cannot wait for others, we must seek God's way, that we might help facilitate meaningful change.  I wanted to provide a little more direction on the "how" to pray, particularly as we seek to change the world.  First, we pray for God's guidance.  

"Lord God, we seek to do your will.  Guide our hearts, our thoughts, our will.  Reveal to us how we can be effective followers of your way and share your truth.  Give us words that encourage sharing, give us words to respond to hatred as you would, rather than as our egos would respond.  Help us relinquish control and our own preconceptions, that your will may be done.  Amen."

Then, we must pay attention (listen).  God will guide us.  It often amazes me how these prayers are answered.  Don't be discouraged if you need to repeat a prayer like this a lot.  In fact, as we truly listen to one another we may need to offer it more frequently.

Next, I believe we are all tempted to pray that the "others" heart may be changed.  This is not unlike prayers for a sports team to win?  Even when we cannot see how the other's thoughts can be reconciled with God, they need to be heard (and God loves them... truly loves the 'other').  

"Lord God, as I seek to do your will I seek change in the world.  This will require change of me and of others.  Lead me to actions that are pleasing to you, guide my listening and my words.  Help me to listen.  Help me to see the good in others, even when we disagree.  I want to be faithful to your plan, even as it requires change of me.  Amen."

May we each remember to rely on God.  May we each remember to pray faithfully.  May we allow God to guide us, in our interactions with others and in our living.  May we be guided by the example of Christ, seeing true power coming from love and grace, rather than sword or throne.

Daily Prayer

The church expects that it's members pray daily.  Indeed, the Book of Common Prayer includes sets of prayers for our use.  I realize that these are not always used as we enter into prayer, often we sigh prayers of need as the needs arise, or for those in our lives as they come to mind.  This may happen as we go about our day.   I wanted to encourage those who have not used a set of prayers to consider a few options.  

The Book of Common Prayer is glorious, but complicated at times.  This blog (https://dailyoffice.wordpress.com/) makes it easy.  It outlines a set of prayers from our prayer book for morning and evening everyday.  It includes the scriptures from the daily lectionary and more.  Bookmark it, use it, let it make this process a bit easier and more accessible.  

Another favorite for me is the book "Common Prayer" which is loosely based upon our liturgy.  Shane Claiborne collaborated with a few others to create this prayer resource.  I have given the actual book to off-going vestry members the last few years, we also have a set in the office if you'd like to see it.  We use it weekly as a staff.  It is also available online!  Find it here (http://commonprayer.net/) - bookmark it, use it.

Whether you use these resources, or some other model, continue to pursue methods of daily prayer.  Doing this will shape your life, your faith and deepen your connection with God and your community.  It's amazing how transformative it can be.