Category: Prayer (page 1 of 23)

Ash Wednesday Confession

A few of us attended the Ash Wednesday service today with our brothers and sisters at First Presbyterian. This is the prayer of confession we prayed together near the beginning. You know, every day as a Christian is a dying and a rising, a dying to self and a resurrection with Christ, a putting down and a taking up. I trust this will bless you as you begin or continue your own journey with Jesus to the cross.

Holy and merciful God, we confess to you and to one another and to the whole communion of saints in heaven and on earth that we have sinned by our own fault in thought, word, and deed by what we have done and what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart, mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others as we have been forgiven. Have mercy on us, O God.

We confess to you, O God, all our past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy, and impatience in our lives.

We confess to you, O God, our self-indulgent appetites and ways and our exploitation of others.

We confess to you, O God, our anger at our own frustration and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves.

We confess to you, O God, our negligence in prayer and worship and our failure to commend the faith that is in us.

Have mercy on us, O God. And in your mercy, cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Make Me Blessable

You might be asking God to bless you in 2021. That may be what you’re praying right now. Lord, bless me in this new year. Bless my health, bless my finances, bless my relationships. God, please bless me.

I’ve been thinking over the past few weeks that it might be good to pray, “Lord, please make me blessable.” Maybe something like this.

Lord, please make me blessable.
Move me to the place where I am able to receive your blessings.
Draw me closer to you; push me closer to your people;
bring me to your Word; bring me to your worship.
I want to be with you in the place where you are.
Father, give me the strength and the resolve to move to you
and to the place of your blessings.

Peace,

Allan

When the Night Comes

The invocation for my daily time with our Lord this week comes from The Book of Worship. This prayer is mine every morning this week. I share it here hoping you can find something in these words that resonates with you and brings you peace today.

O God, the King Eternal, who divides the day from the darkness and turns the shadow of death into the morning:

Drive far off from us all wrong desires;

incline our hearts to keep your law;

and guide our feet into the way of peace;

that having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, we may, when the night comes, rejoice to give you thanks.

Through Jesus our Lord.

Amen.

Father, Forgive

The Hatred which divides nation from nation,
race from race,
class from class;
Father, forgive.

The Greed which exploits the labors of men
and lays waste to earth;
Father, forgive.

Our Envy of the welfare and happiness
of others;
Father, forgive.

Our Indifference to the plight of the
homeless and the refugee;
Father, forgive.

The Lust which uses for ignoble ends
the bodies of men and women;
Father, forgive.

The Pride which leads us to trust in
ourselves and not in God;
Father, forgive.

Peace,
Allan

Invocation

Loving Father,

My heart is open to you, my desires are known by you, my secrets are wide open to you.

Cleanse the thoughts of my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, so I can better love you and more adequately magnify your holy name.

Through Christ our Lord.

Amen

Prayer of Our Lord

It’s striking to me that in the very last recorded conversation between Jesus and his Father in the Gospel of John, just hours before his hands and feet would be nailed to the tree, Jesus is talking about our unity as his followers. These are some of the very last words of our Lord. And they carry so much weight.

“I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All the ones I have are yours, and all the ones you have are mine. And glory has come to me through them… Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name — the name you gave me — so that they may be one as we are one… My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world… I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe… May they be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me.” ~John 17:9-23

This prayer of Jesus is very familiar to us. Maybe a bit too familiar, like maybe we’ve heard it so often and read it so much and NOT made it the priority that Christ does, we’ve NOT pursued it and practiced it or been willing to die for it like Christ is. Maybe it’s lost its punch. Verse ten has really jumped out at me the past couple of weeks. Maybe the message of verse ten can revive the punch in our Lord’s prayer.

“All the ones I have are yours and all the ones you have are mine.”

All those who belong to God belong to Christ and all those who belong to Christ belong to God, which means all those who confess Jesus as Lord — “all who will believe in me” — all belong to each other. We’re not promoting Christian unity here, we’re practicing it. Christian unity is not something we chase or pursue, it’s not something we must generate or create; it’s already the reality! Christian unity is the gift we’ve all been given by God in Christ.

Scripture tells us we all form one body, that this is the way it is in Christ.

“For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink… In fact, God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be… Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” ~1 Corinthians 12:13, 18, 27

We don’t try hard to be a part of the body. We don’t do our best to share in the blessings of belonging to God’s one universal and united people. No! Listen to the Bible! You. It’s plural, actually, so, you all. Y’all ARE the body of Christ. So act like it.

“You are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” ~Galatians 3:26-28

Because of our fallen, sinful nature as humans and because of the broken systems and structures of the fallen, sinful world, we don’t see each other enough. We don’t listen enough to each other’s stories. We don’t know each other well enough to practice and live this unity that’s already there if we’ll just pay attention to it. If we’ll just look each other in the eye. If we’ll really listen to each other well. If we’ll commit to loving all believers in Jesus as the brothers and sisters in Christ they are.

“In Christ, we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” ~Romans 12:5

What does it mean for all Christians to belong to each other? It means we love each other. We forgive each other. We help carry each other’s burdens. We look out for each other and take care of each other. It means offering grace to people we’d rather punch in the throat. It means standing alongside those whose politics we might detest.

This is what Jesus prayed. This is who Jesus is. The way Jesus lived his life, the things he taught and the stories he told — he erase all the labels we attach to others. He obliterated the ways we draw lines and build walls between us and others. He lived and taught the complete unity of all God’s people.

When you see the hungry and thirsty — listen to the words of Jesus — when you see the alien, the naked and the sick, when you see the prisoner, you’re looking at me.

The Samaritan? Yeah, he’s your neighbor. That’s right, the guy who doesn’t look like you, his skin’s a different color than yours, he lives in a different part of the city, he doesn’t smell like you, he doesn’t vote like you, he believes and practices his Christianity a little differently than you — he’s yours. You are responsible for each other.

Jesus completely turned upside down the whole economy of the way the world operates. The first are last! The poor are blessed! The oppressed are kings! We love our enemies and pray for those who treat us wrong! Why would we ever stand by and ignore or go along with the world’s status quo when our Lord Jesus prayed that it would all be changed?

Each member belongs to all the others. All the ones I have are yours and all the ones you have are mine. Taking care of each other. Uniting as one. That’s the prayer of our Lord. It’s what he asked for the night before he died.

Peace,

Allan

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