Tag Archive | prayer

Prayer Is Not a Tool

Bertram Mackennal [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Bertram Mackennal [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Forgive me for the lapse in blog posts.  My husband came home from his two-week intensive training program on Sunday night.  As he was away for our anniversary, we took yesterday as a mini-vacation together while the kids were at camp.  We were able to go out for a whole day, without anyone else in tow, for the first time since before we had children.  Today’s post won’t be long or deep, as I’m too tired to think critically about much of anything.

On Sunday, I attended a church to which we don’t belong.  We were visiting because it was a special church service for my kids’ camp.

During the time of prayer, the pastor offered a simple, sincere, gentle prayer for the victims of the Colorado shooting and their families.  He prayed that those who had died would be welcomed into the Father’s arms, and that those who lived and the families of the victims would be comforted.  It wasn’t long, elaborate, or complex.

Some things the prayer wasn’t:  It wasn’t a speculation about the eternal fate of those who had died.  It wasn’t an opportunity to remind everyone that we need to extend grace to the shooter, even as we pray for the victims.  It wasn’t an evangelistic tool, despite the greater than usual number of visiting families.  It wasn’t a fervent request that God “use” the tragedy to create more disciples.

For that, I am grateful.

It isn’t that I have any problem with extending grace and forgiveness, thinking deeply about what happens after this life, sharing our faith with others, or looking for blessings amidst trials.  Those are all good things.  But they are not good a) immediately following a significant, tragic event when people are most in need of comfort; b) without a significant amount of careful consideration and a heavy dose of humility; and c) during prayer, pretty much ever.

It’s that last one I’m most concerned with.  Prayer is not a time in which we are supposed to be working the room for Jesus.  Prayer isn’t an outreach to others.  If it is, or it becomes so, then you’re not doing it right.  Prayer is between us and God.  Nothing more, nothing less.  It’s not something that should be carefully crafted so as to maximize its outreach potential.

Using prayer, especially after something so devastating, as a method of evangelism is a lot more common that people realize.  Strangely, the same people who think that we need to craft our words to God in order to have the greatest impact are usually the same ones who believe scripted prayer is insincere.  I fail to see how delivering a sermon in a prayer is more sincere than meditating on the words found in the Book of Common Prayer.

I’d like to see Christians stop using prayer in the wake of disaster as a “witness.”  You want to reach out to others, even present the Gospel, that’s fine.  But don’t use your time of communion with God to do that.

Let’s let prayer be our words to God, not to humans.

Taking off the Next Two Days

Hey, faithful blog readers!  Just wanted to let you know, I’m not going to post again until Monday.  I’m taking tonight and tomorrow off so I can participate in an event at church.

For those of you not members of my church, we’re raising money for a couple of great charities.  The teens in our student ministries, along with some of our high school graduates and the adult leaders, are fasting for the next day and a half.  This event is similar to World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine, but we will be donating the money to other initiatives.  The money raised at what our church has named Hunger for Hope will go to Children’s Relief International and the Ugandan Water Project.  I hope you will consider doing something similar, either with your family or your faith community.

In the meantime, please pray for us.  Pray that we will be able to give generously to these charities; pray that the youth at our church will be touched by their experience; and pray that this is not an isolated event, but merely one way that we can reach out in hope to our world.

Thanks all, and see you Monday!

Prayer: When Will It Change?

Lord, I want to know when it will be different.  When will we stop…

…judging others by their job or income

…teaching children what the “right” kind of man or woman is based on external things

…blaming people for their circumstances even though we’ve never walked in their shoes

…equating being driven with being godly

…believing it’s our job to give advice to people who haven’t asked

Prayer: Help them!

Too many people are hurting today, Lord.  Comfort them and send help.  If it is I you want, then send me.  May I be a blessing to someone today, not for my glory but for yours and for the sake of someone who is in need.

Sunlight

Sometimes, we hide in the shadows.  There are parts of ourselves we never want anyone to see.  Not just our sin, but whatever about ourselves we see as unacceptable.  Beliefs, values and opinions that we hold dear, but worry might bring trouble.  Things we fear others will see and judge.  Scars.

The shadows feel safe.  And really, it’s ok to keep some things between ourselves and God.  Not every part of my life needs to be on public display. Some things are meant to be shared only with those closest to us.  Our friends bear our burdens with us, and that brings healing.

But those shadows can cripple us, too.  They keep others from seeing us, yes, but that can mean we keep others from knowing us at all.  When we have to hide who we really are, hide it from everyone in order to feel safe, then it crushes us.  Each new lie we tell ourselves or others becomes another part of the wall holding us in.  And when the truth about ourselves comes out, everyone is hurt in the explosion.

Will people judge us, belittle us, and hurt us?  Maybe.  But they might also accept us and welcome us, too.  We won’t know unless we try.  I know some of my dear friends are still in the shadows, afraid to be who God made them to be.  My friends, you won’t find any judgment here.  My prayer for you is that you will find the strength to fully become everything God created you to be, to have life to the full as God desires for you.  I stand with you.

It’s time to step into the sunlight.

Prayer: Help Me!

Lord, I need Your help today.  I simply can’t do this all by myself.  I struggle to manage my time wisely and get everything done that I need to do.  Be here with me as I learn this lesson.

Prayer: Forgiveness

Lord, I am sorry.  I am sorry for being prideful.  I’m sorry for judging others by a higher standard than I do myself.  I’m sorry for wanting my own way.

Please forgive me.

Prayer: A Thankful Heart

Ingratitude

That’s mine

It’s not enough

I deserve it

I worked hard for this

In Gratitude

Thank You, Lord

I am so blessed

It’s more than I deserve

I am full to overflowing

I want to share it

Amen.

Prayer: I AM

Who are You, Lord?

Who do you say I am?

Sometimes I’m afraid I don’t know You at all.

It’s alright.  I know you.

Help me know You, too, Lord.

Amen.