Category Archives: prayer

Prayer For The Week – Let us be God’s hospitality in the world

I wrote this prayer for the June synchroblog which invited bloggers to write about Christian Hospitality.

Angel

Give us eyes to see the deepest needs of people.

Give us hearts full of love for our neighbors as well as for the strangers we meet.

Help us understand what it means to love others as we love ourselves.

Teach us to care in a way that strengthens those who are sick.

Fill us with generosity so we feed the hungry, clothe the naked and give drink to the thirsty.

Let us be a healing balm to those who are weak and lonely and weary by offering our kindness to them.

May we remember to listen, to smile, to offer a helping hand each time the opportunity presents itself.

Give us hearts of courage that we will be brave enough to risk loving our enemy.

Inspire us to go out of our way to include those in the margins.

Help us to be welcoming and inclusive to all who come to our door.

Let us be God’s hospitality in the world.

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Here is a list of all the links to the other synchroblog posts about hospitality:

A Sacred Rebel – Hospitality

Carol Kuniholme – Violent Unwelcome. Holy Embrace.

Glen Hager – Aunt Berthie

Leah Sophia – welcoming one another

Mary – The Space of Hospitality

Jeremy Myers – Why I Let a “Murderer” Live in My House

Loveday Anyim – Is Christian Hospitality a Dead Way of Life?

Tony Ijeh – Is Hospitality Still a Vital Part of Christianity Today?

Clara Ogwuazor Mbamalu – Have we replaced Hospitality with Hostility?

Liz Dyer – Prayer For The Week – Let us be God’s hospitality in the world

K.W. Leslie – Christian Hospitality

Christine Sine – True Hospitality – What Does It Look Like?

Prayer For The Week – Don’t Put God In A Box

god-in-a-box

A beautiful prayer to guide us through the week:

A Prayer on “Knowing” God and Humbling Ourselves by Mark Sandlin

Good and gracious God,

There are so many understandings of you
and yet there is only one you.
So many faiths.
So many denominations.
So many differences
even in the Gospels we read about you…
even between theological experts…
even between well read followers…
even between me
and the others who read this prayer.

You are so ineffably difficult
to pin down,
to understand,
to describe,
to know fully.

Yet we sometime become
full of ourselves,
acting as if we
know,
hold,
have,
the “Truth” about you —

Believing that we have done
what thousands of years of history
have not been able to do,
we sometimes think
we have the final truth and understanding
about you.

God of all times and all peoples,
humble our hearts.
Silence our sometimes haughty souls
and lend us perspective.
Guide us closer to you.
Teach us how limited our knowledge is.
Give us spirits which seek more of your truth.
Instill in us
a willingness to admit what we don’t know.
Inspire us
to not only share what we have learned
with others,
but to open ourselves
to what we can learn from them.

Plant within us spirits which revel
in the reality
that there is more to learn
about you,
spirits which celebrate
what we don’t know
because it means we can still
grow closer to you,
spirits which are willing
to toss away
what we once knew
for new understandings
which grow us closer to you
and all of your Creation.

We joyfully give thanks
for all of the possibilities
which lie in front of us
to know you more fully
and to share
your love more abundantly.

Amen.

You can follow Rev. Mark Sandlin on Facebook here.

Prayer for the Week – Welcome Everything

welcomeb

The Welcoming Prayer by Father Thomas Keating

Welcome, welcome, welcome.

I welcome everything that comes to me today
because I know it’s for my healing.

I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions, persons,
situations, and conditions.

I let go of my desire for power and control.

I let go of my desire for affection, esteem,
approval and pleasure.

I let go of my desire for survival and security.

I let go of my desire to change any situation,
condition, person or myself.

I open to the love and presence of God and
God’s action within.

Amen.

Pray For Peace by Ellen Bass

There is nothing I like much more than finding a really good poem.  It doesn’t happen that often.  Here’s a really good poem by Ellen Bass.

Pray for Peace  by Ellen Bass
Pray to whomever you kneel down to:
Jesus nailed to his wooden or plastic cross,
his suffering face bent to kiss you,
Buddha still under the bo tree in scorching heat,
Adonai, Allah. Raise your arms to Mary
that she may lay her palm on our brows,
to Shekhina, Queen of Heaven and Earth,
to Inanna in her stripped descent.

Then pray to the bus driver who takes you to work.
On the bus, pray for everyone riding that bus,
for everyone riding buses all over the world.
Drop some silver and pray.

Waiting in line for the movies, for the ATM,
for your latte and croissant, offer your plea.
Make your eating and drinking a supplication.
Make your slicing of carrots a holy act,
each translucent layer of the onion, a deeper prayer.

To Hawk or Wolf, or the Great Whale, pray.
Bow down to terriers and shepherds and Siamese cats.
Fields of artichokes and elegant strawberries.

Make the brushing of your hair
a prayer, every strand its own voice,
singing in the choir on your head.
As you wash your face, the water slipping
through your fingers, a prayer: Water,
softest thing on earth, gentleness
that wears away rock.

Making love, of course, is already prayer.
Skin, and open mouths worshipping that skin,
the fragile cases we are poured into.

If you’re hungry, pray. If you’re tired.
Pray to Gandhi and Dorothy Day.
Shakespeare. Sappho. Sojourner Truth.

When you walk to your car, to the mailbox,
to the video store, let each step
be a prayer that we all keep our legs,
that we do not blow off anyone else’s legs.
Or crush their skulls.
And if you are riding on a bicycle
or a skateboard, in a wheelchair, each revolution
of the wheels a prayer as the earth revolves:
less harm, less harm, less harm.

And as you work, typing with a new manicure,
a tiny palm tree painted on one pearlescent nail
or delivering soda or drawing good blood
into rubber-capped vials, writing on a blackboard
with yellow chalk, twirling pizzas–

With each breath in, take in the faith of those
who have believed when belief seemed foolish,
who persevered. With each breath out, cherish.

Pull weeds for peace, turn over in your sleep for peace,
feed the birds, each shiny seed
that spills onto the earth, another second of peace.
Wash your dishes, call your mother, drink wine.

Shovel leaves or snow or trash from your sidewalk.
Make a path. Fold a photo of a dead child
around your VISA card. Scoop your holy water
from the gutter. Gnaw your crust.
Mumble along like a crazy person, stumbling
your prayer through the streets.

Listening During Lent

Praying

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

~ Mary Oliver ~



It’s lent and I’m focused on prayer a bit more intensely than usual.  I want my time during this season to be transforming and so I am more conscious of my spiritual life….

There is nothing wrong with that, and, yet I find that my “striving” can get in the way of what I desire.

I was thinking about this as I tried to sit in silence before God today when this poem, Praying by Mary Oliver, came to my mind …

And I was reminded that prayer is not a test that I am trying to pass or a contest that I am trying to win.  It doesn’t have to be perfect or eloquent or a particular length.

A few simple words strung together, a grateful heart and some silence make a good doorway to enter through … into a place where I might hear another voice speak.

Divine Seeing

this post is part of february’s synchroblog – a bunch of bloggers writing on the same topic at the same time.  this month’s topic is creativity & christianity.  check out the links at the bottom of this post; they are a great mix of different voices.

 

The Holy Spirit speaks many languages, among them the languages
of art in all its forms. Frank Griswold

Art often speaks to us subliminally: sub-liminally, ‘below the threshold’ of our conscious awareness. It helps us to see the unseeable and know the unknowable, ushering us into the realm of the transcendent. Lucy Shaw

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
ThomasMerton

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Visio Divina is Latin for “Divine Seeing” and is a contemplative prayer practice that is intended to create an openness within us in order to experience God – his presence, his love, his healing – so we may become more fully human – who we were created to be – our real selves, our Christ like selves, our created in the image of God selves.

The ancient Christian practice of Lectio Divina consists of the meditative reading of the Bible which leads to prayer and reflection on the meaning of scripture. Visio Divina is rooted in the sixth-century contemplative Benedictine practice of Lectio Divina (Divine Reading) in which one meditates on a passage of scripture allowing the Spirit to speak through the story. Like Lectio Divina, Visio Divina is a contemplative prayer practice but instead of meditating on words one meditates on images.

Choose an image and find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Take a few moments to open your heart and mind to God. When you are ready slowly look at the image. Take your time to let feelings and thoughts come to you as you take in the forms, figures, colors, lines, textures, and shapes of the image. Think about what it looks like, or what it reminds you of. Ask yourself what you find yourself drawn to. What do you like and not like? Pay attention to thoughts and feelings that emerge as you gaze upon and examine the image.

In this initial stage of your prayer simply notice these responses without judgment or evaluation. If you don’t like the image, or the feelings evoked, simply acknowledge that this is your initial response and continue to stay open to the image and the prayer. If you have an immediate idea as to what the image means, again, simply acknowledge that this is your initial response and stay open to the prayer.

As your prayer expands, return to the image with an open heart and mind. New thoughts, meanings, and feelings may arise; initial impressions may expand and deepen. Take time to explore more fully the meanings that come to you, and the feelings associated with the image and its colors and forms. Be aware of any assumptions or expectations that you bring to the image. No matter what your response is to the image — delight, disgust, indifference, confusion — ponder prayerfully the reason for your various responses and what these responses might mean for you.

As your prayer deepens, open yourself to what the image might reveal to you. What does it and the Spirit want to say, evoke, make known, or express to you as you attend to it in quiet meditation? Become aware of the feelings, thoughts, desires, and meanings evoked by the image and how they are directly connected to your life.
Does it evoke for you important meanings or values, remind you of an important event or season, or suggest a new or different way of being? What desires and longings are evoked in your prayer? How do you find yourself wanting to respond to what you are experiencing?

Take the time to respond to God in ways commensurate with your prayer: gratitude, supplication, wonder, lament, confession, dance, song, praise, etc.

In the remaining few minutes of your prayer with this image, bring to mind or jot down in a journal (whatever way is most helpful for you) the insights you want to remember, actions you are invited to take, wisdom you hope to embody, or any feelings or thoughts you wish to express. Bring your prayer to a close by resting in God’s grace and love.

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This post is part of the February synchroblog: Creativity and Christianity.
Check out the other synchroblog contributors:

Prayer For The Week: For New Beginnings

For New Beginnings

O God,
We thank you for this earth, our home; for the wide sky and the blessed sun, for the ocean and streams, for the towering hills and the whispering wind, for the trees and green grass.

We thank you for our senses by which we hear the songs of birds, and see the splendor of fields of golden wheat, and taste autumn’s fruit, rejoice in the feel of snow, and smell the breath of spring flowers.

Grant us a heart opened wide to all this beauty; and save us from being so blind that we pass unseeing when even the common thorn bush is aflame with your glory.

For each new dawn is filled with infinite possibilities for new beginnings and new discoveries. Life is constantly changing and renewing itself. In this new day of new beginnings with God, all things are possible. We are restored and renewed in a joyous awakening to the wonder that our lives are and, yet, can be.

Amen.

(author unknown)