Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 7/2

Once again, Lord, we're celebrating our independence
- and that's a good thing for which I'm grateful -
but keep us mindful of those de-pendencies
which are just as good and,
in many ways and many times,
even more important than our independence...

Keep us dependent on you, Lord,
the source of our life
and every good gift that's ours:
keep us dependent on you,
our only reason for being...

Keep us dependent on your wisdom, Lord,
especially when our own folly and foolishness
tempt us to think that we know more than you do...

Keep us dependent on your love for us:
the purest, gentlest, kindest, most merciful love
we shall ever know and have...

Keep us dependent on your word, Lord,
the word of your truth:
keep us dependent on a truth so much greater
than our own assumptions and delusions...

Keep us dependent on your voice, Lord,
always calling us to love with no strings attached,
to forgive one another as freely as you forgive us,
to welcome the stranger and to care for the helpless...

Keep us dependent on your grace, Lord,
your Spirit alive within us
without whom we can do nothing
and with whom we become all you made us to be...

Keep us dependent on your promise, Lord,
your pledge of life forever, especially when we prefer
things to people,
ourselves to others,
and death to life...

Keep us dependent on your generous mercy, Lord,
and help us be generously merciful to all,
mindful that are in debt to you and to many
for pardon and forgiveness... 

And keep us dependent on one another, Lord,
always remembering our need for our neighbors
and our neighbors' need for us:
keep us interdependent, all your people,
and together, dependent on you...






NIGHT PRAYER: Friday 7/1

My friend, John Hudson, pastor of Pilgrim Church in Sherborn, MA, created the video below for his congregation's prayer. I'm pleased to share it here as our Night Prayer as this holiday weekend begins.  (Note that our usual order of prayer is reversed this evening: the song comes first and then the prayer!)

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Oh beautiful, for heroes proved
In liberating strife
Who more than self, our country loved
And mercy more than life
America, America, may God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine
And you know when I was in school
We used to sing it something like this, listen here
Oh beautiful, for spacious skies
For amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain
But now wait a minute, I'm talking about
America, sweet America
You know, God done shed his grace on thee
He crowned thy good, yes he did, in a brotherhood
From sea to shining sea
You know, I wish I had somebody to help me sing this
(America, America, God shed his grace on thee)
America, I love you America, you see
My God he done shed his grace on thee
And you oughta love him for it
Because he, he, he, he, crowned thy good
He told me he would, with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea
Oh Lord, oh Lord, I thank you Lord
(Shining sea)

Protect our nation day by day
    and guide us to your truth, Lord;
set our hearts to work for justice
    for the poor and all in need...
Guide this independent nation, Lord,
    with wisdom, strength and purpose;
keep us mindful of your law of love
    and all that it demands...  

Keep vigil while while we sleep, Lord: 
    be our sentry through the night;
be the night light in our darkness
   and sweet blessing in our dreams...

Give us rest, sleep and peace, Lord, 
    'til the the light of day breaks through
and prepare us for tomorrow's course
    of sorrows, joys and grace...






Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 7/1

After more than half a year, Lord,
my Methodist friends down the road
have changed the scripture on their front lawn!

For months they challenged me every day
to rejoice in you, to rejoice in you - all the time!
And a challenge that was
because some days, Lord,  
rejoicing (in you or anyone!)
is really hard to do...

And the sign still bears a challenge:
    to trust in you and have no fear...
To trust in you... and have no fear...
Another hard saying, Lord,
and yet I'm grateful for the challenge
and its claim upon my heart:
    to turn to you with all my fears,
        my worries and anxieties;
    to turn to you when times are tough,
        when I'm not sure how I'll get by;
    to turn to you in trust and hope,
        to let go all my fears...

I'll need faith for all this, Lord,
more faith than the faith I have right now:
    faith in you to take my side,
    faith in you to have my back,
    faith in you to hold me close,
    faith in you to care for me,
    faith in you to rescue me
        from anything or anyone 
            threatening my well-being...

I want that faith,
I need that faith,
I pray for faith to trust in you:
    to trust in you and have no fear,
    to trust that you are always there,
    to trust and to believe, Lord,
    that you will never fail me,
        my strength, my rock, my peace...

If a video doesn't appear below, click here!




NIGHT PRAYER: Thursday 6/30

Most nights, Lord,
I'd love to lean my head on your shoulder
and just listen 
while you tell me a story
or sing me or song - or even just hum softly -
until I fall fast asleep...
That would help me leave behind
the worries and the burdens of the day
and save me from tossing and turning
over troubles yet to come...

Let my night prayer find your shoulder, Lord,
my heart lean close to yours,
help me hear your voice, your story:
sing a song to calm my soul...

As you've brought me through this day, Lord,
stay with me through my dreams
and be there in the morning
when I greet the new day's light...

Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake,
keep vigil while I sleep
that awake, I keep the watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace...


Lord of All Hopefulness by
St. Alban Cathedral Choir

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1 Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy:
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.

2 Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe:
Be there at our labors, and give us, we pray,
your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.

3 Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace:
Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.

4 Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm:
Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.




Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 6/30

Stopped at a red light yesterday, Lord,
I watched a mom with two kids cross the street...
The girls, maybe 7 and 9 years old,
skipped ahead of mom, hand in happy hand...
They'd not a care in the world - of if they did - 
their joy had overcome it...
I wonder, Lord...

Will they recall - some years from now -
their crosswalk cheer one sunny afternoon?

What becomes of all the joys they knew
but lost to memory long ago?
Once joy anoints us with your grace,
are those memories stored forever in your heart?

Do you save them, Lord, along with us,
'til one day we'll rejoice in them again?
Is part of heaven's glory found 
in rediscovering all the joys we've known?

Then lead me through my sorrows, Lord,
with hope of what's to come;
prepare my soul to meet the joys
through which I first met you... 






NIGHT PRAYER: Wednesday 6/29

Ukraine's colors 'round my night prayer candle:
    a paltry nod to the bloodshed and the damage
    suffered by my family, 5,000 miles away...

My family? Yes, my family!
We're brothers, sisters, one and all:
    we share a common bloodline
        flowing from the cross of Jesus;
    our DNA and ancestry are royal and divine;
    we're children born of water 
        and the Spirit who unites us,
    who makes of us a family,
        the whole of humankind...

Don't let the distance shield me, Lord,
    from what my brothers suffer,
    from the loss my sisters bear,
    from the nightmares of my grandkids,
    from the bombing and the shelling,
    from the ruins and the rubble
        that were once my family's home...
My family's not that far away, Lord,
    ten, twelve hours on a plane
        - and faster still with just a click -
    to reach and offer needed help
        from this side of the world 
    'neath Ukraine's colors, blue and gold 
    and my prayer's flickering flame... 
Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake
and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace...

We Are One by Emu Music
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Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 6/29





NIGHT PRAYER: Tuesday 6/28

For months now, Lord,
I've carefully watered my African violet
- from the bottom up and not top down -
as friends with greener thumbs have taught me...
The leaves flourished lush and green,
but no sweet blooms appeared 
to grace and crown my patient plant 
in glory well deserved...
Until last week, Lord,
when I'd nearly given up my hope 
for flowers delicate and elegant, 
simple and exquisite...
                                         Photo by CP
Until last week when you coaxed forth
the beauty I'd been waiting for, 
the color I had hoped for,
the gift that you'd been waiting to bestow...

I pray now, Lord, for one more gift,
the gift of waiting patiently
to see what you'll bring forth
to crown my days with grace
and all creation with your glory...

Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake
and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
and asleep rest in your peace...

Patience, People by John Foley
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Patience, people, till the Lord is come

You have seen the purpose of the Lord.
You know of His compassion and His mercy

Patience, people, for the Lord is coming
Patience, people, till the Lord is come

Steady your hearts, for the Lord is close at hand
And do not grumble, one against the other
Patience, people, for the Lord is coming





Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 6/28

Thanks, Lord, for your patience with me,
even when I'm impatient with you:
    when I want (and demand!)
        that you do what I want, 
    that you follow my plan
    that you work on my schedule
    - instead of yours...
Thanks, Lord, for your attentiveness to my prayer,
especially when, for long periods of time,
    I pay you little attention
    - except when I want to ask you for a favor... 
Thanks, Lord,
for giving me so many second chances
    after I've blown so many before
    and don't really deserve yet another opportunity
    and the grace of a new beginning...

Thanks, Lord,
for loving me, especially when I fail to love 
    my neighbor,
    my colleagues at work
    and even members of my own family;
thanks for loving me, Lord,
    when I fail to love myself
    and, most of all,
    when I fail to love and trust in you...

And thanks, Lord,
for bearing with me on that one thing
that bothers me so much:
    - be patient with me as I try to let go;
    - hear and answer my prayer in my struggle;
    - be faithful in helping me work through this;
    - and give me, again and again,
         the grace to be free of that one thing
        that troubles me so much...

And thanks, Lord, for loving me:
with the love that's yours alone to give:
    the love from which I came to be,
    the love that keeps me going, day to day,
    the love for which I am most truly grateful...

Love me, Lord,      
    with love enough to spare,
    with love enough to share with everyone 
    I know and meet today...





NIGHT PRAYER: Monday 6/27

Where I live, the heat of these past few days has matched the heat of the political climate all around us.  Then this afternoon there came the grace of a God-given summer shower, drenching us and the lush green foliage and shrubbery above and around us.  The rain was welcomed by thirsty gardens...it refreshed everything and everyone in its path... it changed the air we breathe, its light breezes brushing gently on bare arms...  Perhaps our world, our nation, need a deluge - as in the days of Noah! - flooding and cleansing and recreating what God has entrusted to our care...  Well, the heat of the political climate won't be cooled in 40 days and 40 nights but perhaps a shower of God's grace might, at least for a time, remind us of his grace and refresh us with hope...

let your healing soak us
    like the rain:
your mercy,
    a heavy downpour,
your reign, 
    a summer shower...
Soak us, drench and 
    all but drown us!

Leave us dripping
with moist anointings of your touch:
    our toes and every inch of us
    refreshed and cleansed
        in healing showers of grace...

Lift our faces to rejoice
    in the rain of your love:
let us drink it in
    and drink it down,

Give us a thirst
    that only you can quench
and lead us, gently
    to rivers of your mercy...

Rain, rain,
    oh, come oh rain of God;
rain of Jesus come,
    come and never, ever, go away...

Protect us, Lord while we're awake
and watch over us while we sleep
that awake, we might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace...

Rain Down by Jaime Cortez
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Rain down, Rain down
Rain down your love on your people
Rain down, Rain down
Rain down your love, God of life

Faithful and true is the Word of our God
All of God's works are so worthy of trust
God's mercy falls on the just and the right
Full of God's love is the earth

We who revere and find hope in our God
Live in the kindness and joy of God's wing
God will protect us from darkness and death
God will not leave us to starve

God of creation, we long for Your truth
You are the water of life that we thirst
Grant that Your love and peace touch our hearts
All of our hope lies in You. 

Photo: Joseph Dannels