Friday, July 6, 2018

Prayer for July 8-14, 2018
Sermon Text: Mark 6:1-13

That we may move beyond our settled assumptions to receive your gifts and carry on your ministry

Jesus, we rejoice in your wise instruction. We rejoice that You proclaim God’s nearness and call us to repentance so that we may enter into the life of freedom and joy that God intends for us. We rejoice that You are able to heal and liberate from the dominating power of impure spirits.

But we are saddened and sorry that in our easy familiarity with You and our lack of trust in You, we often limit your ability to do works of healing and liberation among us.

Forgive us for our settled assumptions about what You are able to do. Forgive us for closing and hardening our hearts to your life-giving works.

Forgive us! Transform us! Energize us!  

Send us to neighbors near and far in order to tell about what You have done among us, and to act as your agents of healing and liberation. As we act as agents of your reign, help us not to be overly concerned about the provisions we are able to assemble, but to trust You to energize us, help us, and fill us with your own courage and compassion. Amen.

Prayer for July 1-7, 2018
Sermon Text: Mark 5:21-43

That we may trust You for healing and be agents of your healing

Christ Jesus, we cry to You for healing. We stretch our hands to touch even the hem of your garment. We plead for healing on behalf of our loved ones.

We easily reach the limit of our ability. We frequently exhaust the best of our resources. So we turn to You. We often wait until there is nowhere else to turn, but we turn to You with at least a glimmer of hope.

We rejoice in your healing ability. We rejoice that You are able to restore wholeness when all resources have been exhausted and all hope seems to be gone. We rejoice that You are able to recognize the tiny shred of faith that we exercise in desperation.  

Thank You for your healing presence and your healing touch. Let us become agents of your healing for those around us who are sick, injured and disabled. Amen.

Prayer for June 24-30, 2018 
Sermon Text: Mark 4:35-41

That we may trust You fully when chaos threatens

Jesus, we often face chaotic storms that threaten to swamp our lives or capsize us. Sometimes we remain calm and trust You fully during the threat. At other times we panic and wonder if You really care about our fate.

You do not panic as You respond to our cries. You calm us by your alert presence and by your word that is able to bring order out of chaos.

Some days, however, your powerful presence is even more terrifying to us than the chaos that threatens us.  Then, it becomes clear that we do not fully understand who You are and what You are able to do among us.

Forgive us when our faith is weak. Forgive us when panic overwhelms trust. Forgive us when we are terrified by your presence. Forgive us when we underestimate your ability.  

Calm us. Instruct us. Free us from our fears. Fill us with trust and hope. Amen.

Prayer for June 17-23. 2018 
Sermon Text: Mark 4:26-34

That we may do the right work at the right time and trust You for harvest

Sovereign, we know that the presence and extension of your reign among us is not under our control. We know that your reign moves and grows in mystery, but in the end will provide shelter for a vast multitude who draw near You in hope.

We know that the tasks You give us to complete in faith do not cause growth or force a harvest of life. Still, we ask that You will enable us to scatter seed with generosity, await abundant growth with patience, and reap with eagerness what You have caused to grow ripe and ready for harvest.  

Do not let us grow weary or apathetic about the possibilities for new life and harvest. Give us energy to do the right work at the right time. We leave the rest to You! Amen.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Prayer for June 10-16, 2018 
Sermon Text: Mark 3:20-35

Open our hearts wide to the new vitality You bring

Jesus, You stood out among the prophets in so many ways, but not in this: those who were fully invested in and fully certain of their theology or politics resisted your odd teaching that offered new life.

They assumed You were crazy. They assumed You were possessed by a destructive evil spirit. Your instruction and action challenged religious control that condemned and excluded those who were on the margins of society. You challenged the common politics of power and wealth.

So . . . You were demonized. And since You posed a threat to the standard religion and politics of your day, You had to live your life under threat.

Even now, You challenge the religion of certainty and control and exclusion. Even now, You challenge the politics of power and wealth. Even now, diligent following of your way is perceived as a threat to the powers that be. Even now, we resist You.  

Soften our hearts and open them wide to receive the new vitality that You would bring among us. Amen.

Prayer for June 3-9, 2018 
Sermon Text: Mark 2:23-3:6

That we may find unity and peace together as we rest in You

God, our Creator, we rejoice that You set the Sabbath aside as a day of rest, a day to trust You for our provisions and to trust that the world will run true without our labor.

God our Savior, we rejoice that You have given us Sabbath as a day of remembrance, a day to recall your great deliverance of Israel from slavery, a day to practice equality and allow it to shape the other days of our lives.

Forgive us when we fail to see the great gift that Sabbath is to us. Forgive us when we ignore it or turn it into a slavish practice. Forgive us when we fail to see Sabbath as an opportunity for healing and renewal and when we resist the healing, life-giving word that You would speak into our lives and into the lives of our neighbors and enemies. 

Teach us to trust You enough to set aside our labor. Teach us to trust You enough to allow others to have their rest. Enable us to find unity and peace together as we rest in You and remember your mighty acts of mercy. Amen.

Note: I was unhappy with this prayer, after using it in worship, so I wasn't sure I would post it. Problem: most Christians do not actually keep Sabbath, but worship on the Lord's day. The principle of Sabbath, as rest and trust in God, as well as a practice and impetus to equality are valid for us, but the prayer makes it sound as if we are required to keep the traditional Sabbath day as a communal practice. Here is the prayer for you to make what use you can of it. - dka 6/10/2018

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Prayer for May 27-June 2, 2018 
Sermon Text: John 3:1-17

That your Spirit will blow a new life of freedom into us

God, so often when we come to You, we do not know how to form either our questions or our requests.

We come in need, and encounter You in mystery, and, at times, have no greater clarity when we finish than when we started.

But You know us! You know our deepest concerns before we are able to voice them. You know the yearning of our hearts. You know the obstacles to faith that have grown up within us.

You are not stymied by our confusion or lack of faith. So we ask that You send your Spirit to blow through us and liberate us for new life.  

Enable us to focus on Jesus. Enable us to trust. Let the life of your eternal realm course through us now.  

We rejoice that You act for our salvation and are slow to condemn. We rejoice in You! Day after day we rejoice in You! Amen.