Thursday, March 31, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #23

John 18:37-38 Therefore Pilate said to Him, "So, you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice." Pilate said to him, "What is truth?"

May the leaders of our land love truth more than power. Reveal the important purpose they serve in Your world. Call them to be lovers and leaders of truth. Confront both the cynical and the searching, reveal your kingdom, and show yourself as King Eternal. Amen

Seek God Today for: Business People Pray that God will bless those who base their business practices in good principles. Pray for creative entrepreneurs and new opportunities for employment. Pray that God will frustrate plans which escalate injustice.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #22

Psalm 74:14,20-23 How long will the enemy mock you, God? Will the foe revile your name forever? Have regard for your covenant, because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land. Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name. Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long. Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries, the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually.

We pray today for those who live in our cities where some areas have become war zones. Innocent ones are caught in the crossfire of violence and crime. Many good people have left these settings, and many more would flee if they could. We come before you, God, on their behalf. We ask you to intervene. Rise up, O God, judge of the earth. Restrain the evil that has darkened our land. Enable those who love you to be agents of truth, love and light. Release those enslaved to powers of darkness, even those who have suffered for years. Amen Seek God Today for: University Students Pray for campus ministries and those who serve there. Pray for the truth to radiate from a setting often hostile and cynical toward matters of faith. Pray for students to make wise decisions, for healthy lifestyles, and that their education will be shared in making our world a place for God's purposes to be fulfilled.

The Real Men of God

After all the attention given to making church "man friendly," the fear of the so-called "feminized church," the arrogance of some Christians who serve in public places (including politicians, CEOs and well-known ministers), it was refreshing to read this today. "There is a new move of God stirring among men in this country — but it is not about “taking charge” or throwing their testosterone around. It is about reflecting the full nature of Christ—humility, compassion, integrity, gentleness and strength—and passing it on, as fathers, to those we are called to mentor and disciple." So says, J. Lee Grady. Read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Half the Church

Watch for my review of the book, "Half the Church" next week. Here's a video trailer.

Forty Days Till Palm Sunday #21

Habakkuk 2:4
Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.

Come, Mighty Savior, we ask you to do the impossible: Save the self-reliant. Keep calling out to the rich and the religious who often have difficulty trusting you. In your great patience, wait for the time when they will entrust themselves to you. Amen

Seek God Today for: Fathers
Pray that fathers will look to God as the true head of their homes, serving and caring for their families. Pray that they will want to be good fathers, that they will change their lifestyle when it is necessary to putting their famil
ies first. Pray that children will see the character of the Heavenly Father in their earthly one.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Forty Days Till Palm Sunday #20

Daniel 9:7,9,18-19 Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him. Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”

Matthew 9:2 And they brought to Him a paralytic, lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, "Take courage, son, your sins are forgiven."

Jesus, the displayed faith of a few moved you to forgive the sins of another and to heal him. Look our our towns and cities now, Lord Jesus. We are bringing our community to you, one friend at a time. Give courage to those who fear they cannot be forgiven and healing for those paralyzed by wrong doing. We long for those we care about to know the peace only you can bring. Amen

Seek God Today for: Unborn Children
Pray that unborn children will be acknowledged and honored, for each one to find a sheltering home, for parents of unborn babies to find hope and resources.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #19

Isaiah 42:1-4 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.” God, we know you delight in justice, yet everywhere we look we see examples of injustice, of cruelty, of seemingly hopeless situations. Evil seens to triumph. Bring forth justice, Lord. Establish safety and bring hope for those who suffer. Help those of us who believe in you to pray and work and lobor in consistant faith. Amen Seek God Today for: International Visitors Pray for students, workers and business people from other lands to be treated with honor and respect, that they will enjo new friendships, that those who are your followers will demonstrate it with their attitutes and actions.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #18

Psalm 72:17-19 May his name endure forever;
may it continue as long as the sun.
Then all nations will be blessed through him,

and they will call him blessed.
Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel,

who alone does marvelous deeds.
Praise be to his glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Amen and Amen.

John 12:27,28,30 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine.

Father God, no prayer is more sure to be answered than our desire that You will be glorified. As the Gospel is declared, as prayers are answered, and as you are worshipped, fill our dwelling places with your glory. Amen

Seek God Today for: Single People
Pray that single people wll encounter the love of God, that they may find the satisfaction that is found only there, that friendships will bring fullness in relationships, for grace to deal with sexual temptations, for simplicity of life, for marvellous marriages for those who desire them. Pray for those single by choice, by divorce, by death.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #17

Zecheriah 8:20-22 This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, 'Let us go at once to entreat the LORD and seek the LORD Almighty. I myself am going.' And many peoples and powerful nations will seek the LORD Almighty and to entreat him.

Mark 9:15 When the entire crowd saw Him, they were amazed and began running up to greet him.

It is right for many to be astonished when the see You for who You really are. Open the eyes of those who long for You. May they be astounded at what you do, but even more, Lord, for who you are. Amen

Seek God Today for: Health Care Workers
Pray that God will equip health care workers of every kind to serve others with loving hearts and skilled hands. Pray that God will bless them with patience, perseverence, and joy, that the pressure of their professions will not crush their families and friendships.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #16

Micah 5:4 And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God. And they will remain because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth.

As it has been written, so shall you be known at the last. You, Jesus, are the long-expected Shepherd King. Find scattered, terrified lambs where no one has thought to look. Make these new-found ones to be part of the flock with many gatherings throughout our city. Be with each flock, making them as gentle and as strong as you are. Amen

Seek God Today for: Marriages

Thank God for strong, healthy marriages that refect the love and care God has for each of us. Pray for marriages that are strained to the breaking point or are failing, that God will bring help and hope. Pray that the people in those marriages will have wisdom as to how to proceed. Pray for healing of broken hearts and restoration of intimacy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Forthy Days to Palm Sunday #15

Isaiah 35:2-6
Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers
and singing and joy!
The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon,
as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon.
There the Lord will display his glory,
the splendor of our God.
With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands,
and encourage those who have weak knees.
Say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, and do not fear,
for your God is coming to destroy your enemies.
He is coming to save you.”

And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind
and unplug the ears of the deaf.
The lame will leap like a deer,
and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!
Springs will gush forth in the wilderness,
and streams will water the wasteland.

Matthew 4:23-25
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

Healing God, we pray together today for those who are feeling hopeless, who are afraid of what the future holds, who have been battered into a place of cautious subsistence. Reach to those who are broken in body and spirit and heal them. We pray that those who believe in you will pray with compassion, as Jesus did, and we pray that, once again, the Good News will be accompanied by demonstrations of your loving power. Amen

Seek God Today for: Laborers
Pray that the dignity and honor of doing all sorts of work well will be revealed. Pray that workplaces will be places of respect, safety and friendship, for workers to be treated with justice and dignity, for continued employment in the changing economy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #14

Isaiah 42: 5-7 This is what God the LORD says—
the Creator of the heavens,
who stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:
“I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the nations,
to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

John 12:35
Jesus said to them, 'For a little while longer you Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light so that darkness will not overtake you."

Come Lord Jesus, light of the word. Send your light, brilliant and burstig with healing power. Free those held in bonds of darkness. Illumine their darkened minds. Wrench open their prison doors. Cut the bonds that bind their spiritual hearts. Call each one to flee what has kept them enslaved. Amen

Seek God Today for: News Media
Pray for those throughout the industries of broacast and print media. Pray for wisdom, and a passion for what is true.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #13

Ps. 145:11-12 They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

Luke 9:60 As for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.

Lord, please forgive us for the way we often defer the proclamation of your Good News to "professionals." Even expert preachers will never gain access to people in every social setting of our communities. Commission every willing servant who loves you. To whom are you sending us? We pray for the gospel to be proclaimed everywhere and we pray for you, the King, to be central in our talk of the kingdom. Amen

Seek God Today for: Native Peoples
Pray God's richest blessings on Native Americans (or if you are from somewhere with another indiginous population, pray for those people). Pray for those who live in or near your city or town to be honored for who they are and for all that God intends them to be. Pray that God will heal the wounds that have resulted to cultures and our county by broken treaties, mistreatment, predjudice, and scorn. Pray that the tribes will be treated justly and find their destiny and highest dignity.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #12

Matthew 24:14 This gospel of the kingdom shall be reached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Continue to send your people to every part of the earth. May those who love you show that love to others in tangible ways that reveal your heart of compassion, O Lord. May the light of the glorious love of Christ shine like a beacon of hope in dark places. As Corrie ten Boom said, even from a concentration camp during the Holocaust, "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still." Establish tangible signs of your love and goodness, we pray. Amen

Seek God Today for: Educators

Pray for the means for educators to have needed tools and proper facilities. Pray for wise and loving teachers and mentors. Pray for schools to be safe places where learning happens.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #11

I apologize for the lateness of this posting.

Psalm 89:15-16
How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Lord, they walk in the light of Your countenance. In your name they rejoice all the day long!

God, please forgive us for so often walking through our days unaware of you. Surprise us by disclosing how near you have been all along. We pray for those who do not know you to be found. Help us to be more aware of your presence in those around us. Open the eyes of our hearts, Lord. We want to see you. Amen

Seek God Today for: Men
That men will stand for what is right, be strong and courageous, and that the vision of their lives will be to serve God and advance God's purposes in this world and the next.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #10

Isa. 44:3-5 The Message

For I will pour water on the thirsty ground
and send streams coursing through the parched earth.
I will pour my Spirit into your descendants
and my blessing on your children.
They shall sprout like grass on the prairie,
like willows alongside creeks.
This one will say, 'I am God's,'
and another will go by the name Jacob;
That one will write on his hand 'God's property'—
and be proud to be called Israel.

Joel 6:28-29
And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
And also on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
And it shall come to pass...
That whoever calls on the name of the LORD
Shall be saved.
For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance,
As the LORD has said,
Among the remnant whom the LORD calls.

John 7:37-39
On the last day...of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit...

Today we seek for an outpouring of your Holy Spirit. We wait for those days in which young and old, male and female worship and praise and proclaim your holiness together throughout the earth. We particularly pray for our "sons and daughters" -- young people. Give them exuberant loyalty so that they find joy in the very idea of belonging to you. May they find no shame in the fact of loving you and proclaiming your goodness and grace to those around them. Amen

Seek God Today for: Agricultural Workers
Pray for individuals and families who farm, ranch, or have jobs that support agricultural industries. Pray especially for migrant workers who often face injustice and hardship.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #9

2 Chronicles 20:2-4,12

Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting. So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the Lord’s help..."'O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.”

God, we ask for a greater unity, one that grows from sharing a common love and hope. In these days of trauma, we seek you. Like your people long ago, we don't know what to do. We see no solutions. We don't offer you suggestions. We simply seek you, keeping our eyes on you. We remember your deeds in the past. We savor your promise for days ahead. We will stand united as long as we look to you. We wait with open eyes, humbled and hopeful, for your glory. Amen

Seek God Today for: Pastors
Pray that pastors and church leaders will be filled with wisdom, that they be appropriately honored by those they serve, and that God will pour the Holy Spirit upon them in power and humility. Pray for their families, their friendships, and their relationships with other pastors.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #8

You have left your first love. Therefore, remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first... Rev. 24:5

Seek God Today for: Homeless People
Pray for relief, shelter, food and health care. Pray for renewed hope for the future, for wise counsel and trustworthy friendships, for protection from the risks of life on the street, for employment, housing, restored family life.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #7

Matthew 18:4
So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

II Chronicles 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

So many times, Lord, we have found routines to manage our "little sins" and make ourselves feel as if they do not matter, quickly confessing to minor infractions and moving on as if we were dealing with a parking ticket. But if we say we carry your name, we not only bring you sorrow, we bring you shame. Our sin is greater than we like to admit. Only your Spirit can grant us humility--not to berate ourselves but to return to you. We confess that it is not really all about us and our feelings of guilt. It is all about you, the grief of your heart and the glory You alone deserve. Reveal to us, once more, how great you are and yet (amazing mystery!) how precious we, your children, are to you. Amen

Seek God Today for: the Poor
Pray that physical and spiritual needs will be met with dignity and stability, that they will be released from cycles of oppression and despair, that God will reverse every curse and multiply blessing. Ask God to give you his compassion so that you can pray with hope and not pity.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #6

Psalm 63:1-3 You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. Some things which lead us away from you, Lord, seem so desirable, almost drinkable, like a shimmering mirage in a desert. But it's an illusion, and we taste only sand. We still thirst with deep loneliness; the longing at the center of our souls is a yearning for you. And so we come to you during these days of prayer, seeking your face and knowing that nothing else can really satisfy. We make a choice together, God. We will seek you each day.
Luke 10:41-42 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Arrest our attention. Expose shallow and useless things that distract us from what truly matters. Align our scattered desires and hopes into one focused intention to bring glory to you and your Kingdom.
Seek God Today for: the Military
Pray for courage and protection in the danger of battle. For wisdom and the fear of the Lord as military personnel are sometimes called upon to do the work of governing and enforcing. Pray for grace and strength for military chaplains and other spiritual leaders. Pray for families who are stretched by numerous moves, seperation, financial issues and more. Remember to pray for specific individuals and families that are known to you. Pray that God's will is done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #5

Psalm 24:5-6 They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their savior. Such people may seek you and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob.

God, Jacob sometimes lacked integrity and was devious in his dealings. Yet he refused to let go--he was even born grasping the heel of his twin. We want to seek you with tenacity and boldness, to refuse to give up or let go. We come to you in this season of remembering what Jesus did for us with an awareness that he allows us to share in his righteousness. Add to that, Lord, the zeal that Jacob had. May we seek you and never let go. May young and old together seek your face with lasting fervor. May we seek you "in spirit and in truth." May casual inquirers become passionate worshippers.

Today Seek God for: Families
Pray for solid, healthy relationships. Pray that parents would be gracious and loving while being bold in instructing their children in what is right. Pray for families torn by abuse, by divorce, by death...that God will restore and heal and that forgiveness will dissolve long-held anger.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #4

Psalm 24:3-4 Who may ascend to the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has been false nor sworn deceitfully.

Lord, to gain other's approval we have sometimes spoken or acted falsely. We grow weary sustaining a masquerade in front of others. But it is impossible to come to you in disguise. Holy God, we approach you with full disclosure. We confess that we have relied on systems, people and powers instead of on you. Set us free from past entanglements caused by our duplicity. We entrust ourselves entirely to you. Amen

Today: Seek God for Sick People
Pray that God will touch those who are sick with divine healing and comfort. Pray that they will grow in depth and character as God walks with them throughout their ordeal. Pray that God will provide for financial needs, for their caregivers and families. Think of people you may know, or know of, and pray for them by name. Consider those in nursing homes. Who can you encourage today?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #3

Psalm 24:3-4 Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.

Today, Lord, we are seeking you as we ask for pure hearts. You have called us to come to you in your courts of splendor--as if we hold in our hands engraved invitations. We check the date again. You want us to come now, while we live on this earth so that we might begin to taste the love of Heaven. We may fear the motives deep within us, but Your love is greater than our sin. If you have called us, surely you will cleanse us. We have reason to doubt our hearts, but we refuse to doubt your heart. You have promised that as we confess our sin you will forgive us. In the joy of that promise, we boldly come to you! We pray today for truth to prevail and for those things that are false to be revealed for what they are--in our homes, communities, countries and around the world. We pray for those with selfish agendas to be less powerful, and that those with intentions to bless and bring good--those with clean hands and pure hearts-- will be strengthened.

Today: Seek God for Ethnic Communities

Pray that God will bring racial harmony, that longstanding offenses may be healed, that Christians show honor to others and act in accordance with God's heart for reconcilliation and peace. Pray that the beauty of distinctive languages and cultures will be evident in local churches and communities.

Friday Five: All About Cars!

Maybe it's just me, but I often remember how long ago someting occured or something about it by recalling the car we had at the time. For today's Friday Five, tell us about the cars in your life. Maybe we can even tempt some of the guys of the ring to join us. Specifically, tell us about:

1. The earliest recollection you have of a family car
This makes me feel old to recall, but then again, I guess I am getting there. We had a 1944 Nash Rambler. It was, of course, black. It had a cord across the back of the front seat to pull yourself forward to exit the car, a floorboard as big as a house, and was more comfortable than our couch at home. It looked a little like this one.

2. The first car you drove when you could (legally) get behind the wheel yourself.
I learned to drive in a car that was another '40s model, a big old tank of a Pontiac. I was embarrassed to be seen in it, but my dad probably figured it was safe to get in the car with me--I mean it was SOLID. In fact, I knocked down a STOP sign and left nary a scratch on the car.

3. A memorable road trip
Road trips were special times. Our family was not particularly a happy one, but when we took trips it seemed to bring out the best in all of us. My parents enjoyed the drive, we listened to stations from "strange" places like Indiana, we ate lemon drops, my two sisters and I played card games like Old Maid and Authors in the back seat. We watched the sun rise over the California desert....I could go on and on. Still love a road trip.

4. The car you drive now. Love it? Hate it?
Here is a link about my current vehicle. You could say my Uncle Sam gave it to me.

5. An interesting story that involves you and a vehicle.
Well, there was the time I finally had my first (and the only one of my life) new car. I loved it. I had a long commute and needed something small and economical. It was a 1995 Dodge Neon. Strawberry colored. It was a great little car, only going to the junk yard after reading 3000,000 miles. But about a week after purchase I was driving in the country and without warning....screeeee.....thump....dead stop. The transmission had literally fallen off the car and was sitting in the middle of the road. After being towed back to town, they replaced the transmission and all was well for a very long time.

Bonus: What's your idea of good car music? Depends on the day, the purpose of the drive, and who I am with. Sometimes it is classical music or jazz, or whatever CD I happen to have. But if I'm all alone and it's a bit of a road trip that is designed for fun it is impossible to beat something like Creedence Clearwater Revival, and it must be cranked. Ken can't be with me. He makes me turn the music down. Here's a sample.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #2

Psalm 24:3-4 Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? The one who has clean hands...

God, your Son did not die merely to send our sins away. He died to bring us near to you. We have turned from you, deterred by our memories of our sin and our failure. Despite your complete forgiveness, we sometimes avoid you. No longer! Today we set aside every foolish thought that we are not wanted or that you cannot bear our presence. We will not give in to fears and misgivings that hold us back from You. By the cleansing power of Jesus' death, we come to you and we lift these clean hands to you in gratitude and praise. We pray for others we are afraid to come to you. May your love overwhelm them so that their guilt and fear are washed away and they can serve and love you with joy.

Today: Seek God for YOUTH
Pray for people in their teens to turn to God. Pray that their lives will bring glory to God. Pray for good mentors, and teachers for them, for solid and healthy friendships, for protection, for strength and renewed hope, for communication with parents, for God's intentions for their generation to come to pass completely.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Forty Days to Palm Sunday #1

Today is called "Ash Wednesday" and begins the Lenten season, an very important part of the church calendar for some traditions and an ignored one for others. When I was a pastor (in one of those latter church world's) I tried to fall somewhere in between. I've posted about some of those things (including celebrating Ash Wednesday with a nearby Presbyterian congregation) in years past, so won't bother explaining the reasons why I believe that Easter should not just spring out of no where.

Instead, I'm going to use this blog to share something that our church family is doing this year. We are using a booklet supplied by WayMakers to pray in some focused ways during the 40 days that begin today and end with Palm Sunday. I'll use the booklet as a guide too--with some changes (of course). I invite you on this virtual prayer walk with me. Please feel free to leave specific requests or prayers in the comments.

Between today and March 19 we will focus our prayers on seeking God's face. We will follow Psalm 24, which asks, "Who can ascend to the hill of the Lord?" Let's consider this an invitation to come to a place of God's presence.

Loving God, we sometimes think that nearness to You is only for special people, deeply-spiritual mystics. Help us to come to you just as we are. Help us to sense your immense love Help us to abandon our attempts to please you by our performance and instead rely on your grace and mercy. Teach us to number our days as we remember that our time here is limited. For those who will participate in Ash Wednesday observances, we ask that they will be meaningful and a reminder that we need to make each day count. Thank you for Jesus, and for his willingness to be "emptied and poured out" for us, your creation.

Today: Seek God for WOMEN
Pray that women will by honored as created by God and, along with their brothers, in the image of God. I am reminded of a Native American sign posted on the prison chapel where my husband works, "Women are sacred." Pray that injustice of every kind toward women will cease, that pornography to be no longer regarded as "normal" and for protection from sexual violence. Pray that hope will be renewed, that marriage and children will be seen as beautiful, that single women will find joy in their ability to fulfill God's purpose in their lives. Pray for specific women by name, asking God's blessings to be upon them this day.