Our Father, Prayer for Today

Our Father

Not my Father, Our Father. Creating Parent of children, women and men of all races, nationalities, ethnicities, skin colors, voices. Our Father.

Who is in heaven

You are in heaven and in every dark cranny and lit nook on earth. You are present in every prison cell, playground, mountain top, valley, gathering, hospital, demonstration, and at every table.

Hallowed, holy, is your name.

You who gave humans the ability to create languages; You who allowed humans to use their languages to name you. Holy is your name. El Roi, the One Who Sees Me.

El Roi, the first name given you by a human. Hagar named you that because you saw and responded to her cries of desperation for her and her unborn son. You saw Hagar, an African, pregnant, abused, run away slave. You spoke to her and made her a promise. Her story is recorded in the holy texts of Muslims, Jews, and Christians. El Roi, holy is your name.

Your kingdom come.

Your kingdom, not humanity’s democracy, nor our monarchy, nor our republic, nor our dictatorship, nor our fiefdom. Your kingdom come to earth.

Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit; of such is the kingdom of God. Your kingdom for all people. Equally available for all. No exclusions.

Your will be done.

Justice, mercy, compassion; attention to the cries of the oppressed; provision for the widows and orphans; welcome to strangers and aliens; food and drink to those who hunger and thirst; salvation to all who seek.

Turning away from sin. Humility. Seeking to understand. Peacemaking.

On earth as it is in heaven.

In heaven people from every race and nation gather to worship You: side by side, in every language, singing, praying, mingled together. In heaven, where we sit at the heavenly banquet table and pass the bread to the person that we thought was our enemy on earth.

Give us today our daily bread.

There is enough of the earth’s resources for every child, woman and man to eat, to have their needs met. There is enough bread, pita, naan, tortilla, ghost bread, gluten containing and gluten free bread for everyone. There is enough clean water. There is enough rice and beans.

Open our minds and hearts to see the people with whom we need to share our bread.

Forgive us our sins.

We name our sins to repent of them; we name our sins in order to turn away from them. Greed, self-centeredness, judging others, racism.

Open our minds and hearts to recognize the plank in our own eye instead of judging the speck in our neighbor’s eye.

As we forgive those who sin against us.

We seek to love with your love and not take offense at the behavior of others. Forgive us for keeping score cards of offenses and sins.

Lead us not into temptation.

We have asked for forgiveness. We have forgiven. We are forgiven. Now we ask to not be drawn back into those sinful thoughts, words, and actions as old habits, ways of living and believing are tempting to return to.

This is a time to weep for the injustices our sisters and brothers who are people of color have endured; a time to refrain from justifying ourselves. This is a time to listen; a time to refrain from assigning motives to the behaviors of others.

For yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory.

The supremacy and rule, the power and authority, the glory and praise do not belong to humanity but to You. Help us to remember that today.

Now and forever.

This moment, this ‘now’ around the globe, is created by You. Time is yours. The next moment is yours. You are timeless yet You created time as a gift to humanity to order our lives. May we use it wisely to accomplish your will.

Amen.

Photo from Pexel free images.

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How are you?

Glory to you, Creator God,

As it was in the beginning, and now is, and forever will be,

World without end.

Creator God,

Abba,

Loving Parent:

Around here we have the custom of asking,

“How are you?”

But we do not expect an answer,

We ask the question with not enough time available to hear an honest answer.

We know that when we are asked that question that the asker does not want the truth.

You, Abba God, ask humanity the questions,

     “Where are you?”

     “What do you want?”

“How are you?”

You have the time to listen,

You want to know our answers.

And you listen to our answers.

Today we have people in our physical and on-line lives who need us to ask,

“How are you?”

Then they need us

     to wait for a real answer,

     to have focused time to hear how they truly are,

     to be a safe place for them to be honest,

     to listen.

Afraid,

Confused,

Angry,

Tired.

God, please

      A crying or angry emoji is not sufficient.

     Open my heart if I am tempted walk or scroll away from their pain.

Open my mind to hear the the depth of their words and experience.

     I pray for a mind and heart that seeks to understand.

May my prayer humbly be the words of the Psalm, (Psalm 139:23-24)

     Search me, O God, and know my heart;
     Try me and know my thoughts;

     And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
     And lead me in the everlasting way.

May I authentically ask, “How are you?”

I really want to know.

Amen.

Note- featured image from Google Pexel Photos.

In Praise of Music

Music.

What more can I say?

This one word stirs imagination, memory, and soul,

Dear God and Creator of all that is good.

God, creator of music.

 

Music,

Our ability to make it,

The ways it impacts brain, soul, and spirit,

The global variety of musical expression,

The messages it carries,

Love, hope, grief, friendship, peace, justice.

The rhythms of dance.

 

All of creation makes music,

Rustling leaves, rhythm of a pecking woodpecker, beat of a bird’s wings, trumpet of an elephant’s call, rain, wind,

Foot steps,

Breathing lungs and beating hearts,

Drum, cymbal, guitar, piano, pan flute, trombone, bag pipes, rain stick, gong,

Marimba, cello, balalalika, sitar, tambourine, kalimba, gamelan, dulcimer, kazoo,

Clap, whistle, stomp, hum,

Vibrations.

 

Our souls,

Our world,

Needs hopeful music,

Lyrics that inspire,

Melodies that unite,

Riffs that challenge,

Harmonies to join,

Rhythms of our common humanity, the common good,

Beats that move our feet, that make us sway,

Grand arias,

Quiet lullabies,

Hymns of praise,

Psalms of lament,

Raps of justice.

 

Creator God,

In pandemic and quarantine, in loneliness and separation,

In hope and relief, in connection and friendship,

We praise you for the gift of music.

May we listen to, make, and sing music of hope and love,

Music that glorifies You.

Amen.

Note- image from Google Free Photos, Pexels; words by Lida Merrill

Prayer to God, Loving Parent, Abba

You, loving Creator who has many names,

God Who Sees,

God Who is Present,

God Who is All Knowing,

God Who Heals,

God Who Provides,

Alpha and Omega,

the Beginning and the End.

This morning I, we, need You to be Abba.

Abba, Parent, who is all wise and all love.

A Parent unlike any earthly mother or father.

The Creating Parent, who knows the final outcome,

The honorable decision,

The just direction,

The kind answer,

The merciful response,

The compassionate solution,

The righteous action,

The generous provision.

Abba, tender Creating Parent,

My prayers go to You this morning.

I pray for those who are

Chafing at isolation from loved ones,

Lonely,

Mourning,

Afraid,

Anxious,

Sick,

In financial need,

Bored,

Hungry,

Unsafe in their homes,

Incarcerated,

Angry,

Depressed.

Creating Parent, please be a loving presence in their day.

Please:

Give them encouraging words,

Give them dreams of being loved,

Send angels to give them gentle touches and hugs,

Prompt someone to contact them,

Open the eyes of neighbors to see unsafe children and families, and how they can wisely intervene,

Open storehouses of food and resources.

If You, as the Loving, Creating, All Knowing Parent have made me/us to be the answer of anyone’s prayers than please

Nudge us,

Whisper to us,

Point the way for us,

Open our hearts and minds to see,

Make us restless,

Cause us to be uncomfortable

Until we respond,

Kind, generous, courageous, merciful and just responses.

Tiny or grand responses,

Whatever response is needed.

And, Abba, Loving Parent, if we are the ones in need, please hear our prayers.

To You be the power, and the glory now and forever,

Amen.

 

Note- image used is a sunset on Lake Erie, photographed by author

 

 

Prayer for God’s Steadfast Presence

Father, who art in heaven and on earth,

Creator of All that is Good, who is here and attentive to us.

Your steadfast love never wavers.

Your mercies are new every morning.

Every. Morning.

Without fail.

 

You are a rock fortress to whom we can go,

You are a mountain cave we can hide in when the storm comes,

You are the cherry picker platform on the end of the firetruck ladder,

Coming to rescue us.

You are the one in the mask, face shield, and PPE,

Saying, “I will not leave you.”

 

You are our stability,

You never change.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow,

You are Love.

Your love does not falter.

Your mercy and justice never tremble.

Your compassion does not hesitate.

Your wisdom is not indecisive.

Your ways are higher than our ways.

 

Creator of all that is good,

The word for the day is stability.

Our stability is You.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.

 

To You be the glory.

 

Amen

Note- image is a mountain near Purulha, Guatemala, taken by this writer in August 2019.

Dear Pastor,

Dear Congregational Leader,

Peace be with you. May you find a peace that surpasses all understanding in this current time of virus, restrictions, social distancing, and technology for communication.

Only a few weeks ago we each were fairly confident in our ability to connect with the people in our congregations and communities. This change was thrust upon us so quickly that the time to think intentionally about communicating in different ways has mainly been reactionary.

Well, we reacted and are now determining how to make the connections and communications proactive, more meaningful, more inclusive. I have a request to make of you, as you prayerfully consider your options and explore various platforms for electronic communication:

  • Please do not forget to include the people in your congregations and communities who do not have access to technology.
  • Please remember to include those who communicate in non-traditional ways.
  • Please include those who are shut-ins, such as residents of nursing homes, supported living, homeless shelters, psychiatric facilities, and prisons.
  • Don’t leave out those who have disabilities or are elderly and do not understand the technology.
  • Please include the people who live in poverty and cannot afford the technology;  many of them no longer have access to computers in libraries to connect via e-mail.

How can you and your communications team intentionally include people who are often forgotten or who seem too difficult to include?

  • A direct telephone call to those with telephones.
  • A telephone call to the front desk of a facility with a request to be connected to the person.
  • An email to the last known email address.
  • Put pen to paper and write them a note to post in the mail.
  • Search for them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
  • Contact the chaplain’s office at their facility.
  • Send them a card addressed to them at the shelter they usually frequent.
  • Contact the person who usually gives them a ride to your weekly services to find out if  they have connected recently and how they did so.
  • Print out sermons and mail them to shut ins.
  • Make CDs of the service, or portions of it, and mail or drop them off at people’s homes, using safe social distancing practices.
  • If you know their address than drop off a book, puzzle, game, flowers from the garden, etc., using safe social distancing practices.
  • Ask congregants to call and share the audio of Live Stream and other gatherings over their telephone with those who cannot access them.
  • Ask a volunteer to verbally describe images used in PowerPoint presentations that are part of the on-line service experience for those who are visually impaired or who cannot view the screen. Google how to do this.
  • Provide ASL interpretation, transcription service or closed captioning.

Friends, thank you. In my Christian tradition the inclusion of all members of your community is part of being sent out as Jesus was sent by his Father; He included those on the fringes. Indeed, he often deliberately sought them out for relationship.

Thank you for embracing technology as a means of serving your congregations and for sharing the good news of your faith.  Thank you for all that you are learning and implementing. I ask only, sister and brother, that you consider and include all of your people.

Are there things that I did not include in my suggestions that you have done to reach out to people that you would like to share with us? Please, do so in the comments. I would love to hear your ideas. Thank you!

Peace be with you.

 

 

A Monday Morning Thought & Prayer

When random thoughts pop into my mind I pause.

I have found that often the thought leads to deeper thoughts and ideas.

This morning’s thought was in a conversation with my dog:

“We don’t make the sunshine.”

 

We do not make the sunshine,

But we know Who does.

 

We did not conjure compassion,

But we know Who gave it to us.

 

We discover medicines and cures,

But we know who is the true Healer.

 

We did not create the healing salve of nature,

But we know the Creator.

 

We dance, sometimes to the beat of a different drummer,

But You created the beat.

 

We make music but it did not originate in us,

But we know the First Composer.

 

We can not make fix grieving hearts,

But we know Who does.

 

We did not create love,

But we know the One Who is Love.

 

To the Creator, Healer, Composer, Artist, Comforter, Love, be the glory.

Amen.

TGIF Covid 19 Prayer

Creator God,

We have an expression,

TGIF,

Thank God It’s Friday.

You have probably heard it a lot.

 

I don’t know if you hear it as often lately.

For so many it is difficult to keep track of the days of the week.

Familiar work and school patterns have shifted.

Familiar responsibilities and routines have changed.

 

Please, Creator God,

Remind us that what has not changed is

Your constant love for humanity,

Your presence in the world,

Your compassion and mercy.

 

What has not changed is your words

To bear one another’s burdens,

To forgive and ask for forgiveness,

To be generous,

To be childlike.

 

Thank God it is Friday.

Thank God for giving us the gift of Sabbath rest.

 

TGIF.

Amen

Prayer for Living in the Tension

God, who is present here at this moment, … and who was present in the past and will be in the future;

Jesus, the King whose Kingdom is on earth… and whose Kingdom is still to come;

Holy Spirit, who was with the Creator at the beginning of time… and who empower us now … and in the future;

God, who created the tulip bulb… and who makes it grow only after a cold winter buried in the ground;

Jesus, who died… but did  not stay dead;

Spirit, who has macro presence in all of creation… and micro presence in our lives;

Life, that is so beautifully precious… and so devastatingly painful when it ends;

Grief that tears apart our lives…. and hope that death never has the final word;

Distance, that separates family and friends… and protects family and friends;

Sadness that we cannot be with people we love… and relief that staying away keeps loved ones safe;

Isolation… and solidarity;

Death…. and life;

Life … and eternal life;

Love… and God is love.

Amen.

 

 

 

Eastertide Day 2 Prayer

Good God, Creator of all that is Good, Giver of Life
We embrace today,
Day 6 of Passover,
Day 2 of Eastertide season.
Day 2 following the celebration of the resurrection of your Son.
Day 2 of remembering that everything is different because of the life of Jesus.

Today, with open eyes and hearts we see the goodness of creation.
Birds, sunshine, flowers,
Rocks, water, sky,
Laughter, song, silence.

Today, with open minds and hearts we see your goodness.
Attentiveness, sacrifice, compassion,
Creativity, patience, faith.

Today, with open spirits and souls we see your love.
Family, strangers, givers,
Smilers, encouragers, listeners.

Today we see You.
We see the results of your life and resurrection.
We see You.

To your glory,
Amen