Tag Archives: prayer

Ash Wednesday Prayer Requests

Image

Lord, bring us to our knees. Quiet our hearts.

Away from the onslaught of screens and tweets and texts, focus our eyes on you.

Abide in our perceptions, as we taste and see and hear that you are good.

In the stillness of dusk, on ever lengthening days; serenaded by car horns, engines, buzzing iPhones, birds, distant planes, and the mystical fugues of February vespers… speak to us oh God.

Remove us from ourselves. Help us to dismiss our notions of grandeur and relinquish our litany of self-appointed rights: that we deserve jobs, freedom and low gas prices; that our social updates deserve to be paid attention to; that the world revolves around us; that we can do with our bodies what we fancy; that the chief end of life is our own individual happiness.

Remove us from ourselves Lord, and draw us closer to You. Bring us to a distance–a desert, a depth, a hunger, Sehnsucht–so that what we see of ourselves isn’t glamour and greatness, but only your grace. Only your righteousness.

Only you, in fact, for it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

Ashes to ashes, let us deny ourselves. Let us give ourselves away rather than grab what’s ours. Let us be crucified with Christ. Let us seek the cinders, Oh God, to be crushed as you were, refined to a new fragrance.

In the darkness, in the desert, in the endless debates, let us look to resurrection. The morning is coming.

Into debt we further go. Under avalanches of paperwork, tasks, and to-dos we further sink. Against our arthritic, cancerous, flaking-away bodies we further fight. The nations wage war and the blizzards take their toll.

But Easter looms.

(Originally published in 2012)

Advertisements

Christmas Eve Prayer Requests

Oh Jesus-
You who took on flesh-
Becoming one of us,
Knowing our aches and pains,
Feeling our pangs and longings,
Suffering and lamenting like we do.
You didn’t have to do that.
But you did.
In our dark night you are the light that dawns.
In our sin and shame you are the arms open wide.
Guilty and damned we were,
Hopeless and driftless and weary,
Until you came.
Gloria in Excelsis Deo

Oh Immanuel-
You who are with us-
Help us to feel your presence,
Even as the darkness oppresses:
Plaguing our bodies with cancer,
Riddling our children with bullets,
Flooding our homes with seawater,
Filling our minds with despair.
Kindle the fire within us
that longs to burn for you.
When we feel you are most distant,
Let our pining affirm you are there.

Oh Prince of Peace-
You who rule over all-
Return in the flesh again soon.
Rebuild this broken city.
Repair the breach of Eden.
Restore the blossoms in our Paradise lost.
Come right all wrongs, oh King.
In furious, fiery fanfare,
Let the world see the fullness of justice for the first time.
And perfect peace.
The end of hospitals.
Unpolluted air.
Rivers of life that never run dry.

Oh giver of all-
You who shower us with grace-
Help us to receive your love
And come when you call.
Help us to never stop singing the praises of your name.
In our paintings, stories, business pursuits,
May we reflect your glory and contribute to the epic.
Telling of the tabernacle, the manger, the cross.
Spreading your light as you lead us,
Making inroads in the dark.

November Prayer

Lord, we are exhausted and spent. This election has been a long, hard slog.

We ask that you would grant our nation peace, hope, direction, recovery. That you would heal the anger, bitterness, animosity and hate that characterizes so many on all sides. That you would help all of us to move on together, charitably disagreeing but bound by a commitment to a more civil discourse–perhaps even those in Washington D.C.

We ask that you would inspire President Obama with renewed humility, vision, and discipline. Strengthen him and his family, fortify them for the next four years of what is sure to be a rocky road. Help him to strive to protect the innocent both at home and abroad, to seek to end wars and avoid violence wherever possible, and to work to strengthen the economy so that millions across the country (and world) might be able to work their way out of poverty.

Forgive us for the deceptive ads, the rhetoric, the endless bickering and the fact that $6 billion has been spent on this election when it could have been spent to help real people with real problems. Forgive us for obsessing so much about one election, or, on the other extreme, for being so cynical and apathetic about it. Help us to recognize politics as an important, valid process of change, even when it seems so pointless and frustrating.

Help us to put everything in perspective. May we recognize that the U.S. President is just a man, a failure and screwed-up sinner just like any of us. That the United States is just a country, one of many on earth, not the hope for the earth or a messianic institution in any sense of the word.

May we shift our attention, as we always should, to you and your majestic work in the world–humbly desiring your kingdom and seeking to serve it in whatever way we can.

Help your people–the worldwide church–to forge a unity and common objective that transcends nationalism and politics. Help American Christians especially to find their identity first and foremost in you, not in their political affiliations. Help the church to work as one body, your body, to proclaim the Good News through word and deed to a world that is fractured, weather-battered, war-weary, and without a center of stabilizing gravity or hope.

Help Christians to be the bearers of hope, encouragement, love and truth to everyone--to the suffering New Jersey homeowner who lost everything in Sandy, to the impoverished teenage girl unsure if she can afford to carry a pregnancy to term, to the Libyan terrorists and illegal aliens and looters and cheaters and liars we might otherwise despise.

Help us to examine ourselves daily and check our self-righteousness at the door, recognizing that we are as failed and broken as anyone, in need of redemption like all the rest.

Help us to wake up each day and, above all, be thankful. That we are still breathing, that we have things to strive for, love to give, and wonders to behold for at least one more day. Help us to recognize the unbelievable grace that overwhelms us in every moment: the grace of a heart that somehow keeps beating; the grace of lungs that miraculously keep breathing; the grace of making it down the highway without dying (in L.A. especially!) and turning on lights and appliances powered with electricity. The grace that is democracy–being able to vote.

Oh the things we take for granted!

Help us to remember that everything is a gift–that even our very life is a miracle, precious and put here for a reason. Guide each of us as we seek our place in this world, recognizing that we are but a part of a much bigger plan, a grain of sand in the William Blake sense: minute and yet majestic, revelatory even in our weakness of the complex universe to which we all belong.

Holy Week Prayer Requests

We praise you for the wait, oh Lord.

For the now: the darkness building all around, the tornadoes, the hoodies, the fear.

For the not yet: the reconciliations to come, the healing, the sunrise, the joy.

We praise you for the tension of light meeting dark, valley meeting mountain, weariness meeting rest.

In the midst of our political malaise, economic hardship, cultural degradation and existential funk, give us hope.

Grant us patience for Sunday, even as the blows of Friday take their toll.

Quiet our hearts this week, Oh Lord, and help us to remember your passion.

Help us to remember it on the stressful days, when we’re sitting in traffic, doing our taxes, staring bloodshot into a screen, locking ourselves out of this and that.

Help us to remember it on the lonely days, when we want to see someone but can’t and want to be somewhere other than where we are.

Help us to remember it on our prideful days, which is every day. Remind us constantly of your sacrifice, and of our calling to pour ourselves out for others, as you did.  Help us to love one another, to lay our lives down for our friends.

Knowing that you defeated death–that you made a way–let us go forth with courage, saying the things we struggle to say, embracing the pain we so ardently avoid, pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call.

Let the morning we celebrate–the morning you rose–be the morning ever on our minds, even through the long nights.

Lenten Prayer Requests

Lord, bring us to our knees. Quiet our hearts.

Away from the onslaught of screens and tweets and texts, focus our eyes on you.

Abide in our perceptions, as we taste and see and hear that you are good.

In the stillness of dusk, on ever lengthening days; serenaded by car horns, engines, buzzing iPhones, birds, distant planes, and the mystical fugues of February vespers… speak to us oh God.

Remove us from ourselves. Help us to dismiss our notions of grandeur and relinquish our litany of self-appointed rights: that we deserve jobs, freedom and low gas prices; that our social updates deserve to be paid attention to; that the world revolves around us; that we can do with our bodies what we fancy; that the chief end of life is our own individual happiness.

Remove us from ourselves Lord, and draw us closer to You. Bring us to a distance–a desert, a depth, a hunger, Sehnsucht–so that what we see of ourselves isn’t glamour and greatness, but only your grace. Only your righteousness.

Only you, in fact, for it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

Ashes to ashes, let us deny ourselves. Let us give ourselves away rather than grab what’s ours. Let us be crucified with Christ. Let us seek the cinders, Oh God, to be crushed as you were, refined to a new fragrance.

In the darkness, in the desert, in the endless debates, let us look to resurrection. The morning is coming.

Into debt we further go. Under avalanches of paperwork, tasks, and to-dos we further sink. Against our arthritic, cancerous, flaking-away bodies we further fight. The nations wage war and the blizzards take their toll. The groundhog saw his shadow.

But Easter looms.