Category Archives: Prayer

Celebrating Labor Day

The Bible is deeply concerned about justice for those who labor. This Labor Day, I would invite you to remember in your prayers both those who strove and those who still strive for justice for all who labor. The world more closely resembles God’s original intent and eventual promise because of their efforts.

Photo Credit: Lewis Hine/Library of Congress via PINGnews. Additional photo information: TITLE: 488 Macon, Ga. Lewis W. Hine 1-19-1909. Bibb Mill No. 1 Many youngsters here. Some boys were so small they had to climb up on the spinning frame to mend the broken threads and put back the empty bobbins. Location: Macon, Georgia. More.

Please note that a version of this post originally appeared in 2011.

Bishop’s Statement on Events at the Capital

Bishop Saenz has written a letter addressing the shocking events that took place in the national capital last Wednesday (January 6, 2020). You can read it here. One of the things he is asking is for United Methodists in Kansas and Nebraska to pray together from this coming Sunday until Easter Sunday. Here’s the prayer from The Book of Worship that he’s asking us to use:

God of all the ages, in your sight nations rise and fall and pass-through times of peril. Now when our land is troubled, be near to judge and save. May leaders be led by your wisdom; may they search your will and see it clearly. If we have turned from your way, reverse our ways and help us to repent. Give us your light and your truth, let them guide us; through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of this world, and our Savior. Amen. [1]


After what happened last week, I plan to start praying today.

[1] “A Prayer in a Time of National Crisis,” The United Methodist Book of Worship (Nashville, TN: United Methodist Publishing House, 1992), 517.

Pray and Stay Safe

Pastor Mark Demas, who was serving Coffeyville First United Methodist Church, has contracted Covid-19 and died. I’m praying for his family, his friends, and his congregation, many of whom I know. Stay safe folks. Wear a mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands.

Protect Your Sanity

Good advice from Emmanuel Acho:

Log off if you need to, but join us for Communion on Zoom at 6 p.m. I don’t know what I’m going to say, but I’m trusting that the Holy Spirit will show up.

Please Pray

Here in Abilene, we are not under any physical threat, so I do not want to respond to the events in the capitol today in haste or anger. And right now, I am grieving the sad state of American democracy, and my grief is producing a lot of anger. All I know to do is to pray. Please join me. We’ll pray together at the communion service tonight at 6 p.m. Visit abilenefirstumc.org/zoom-meetings/ for more information.

Pray for the President

Following the injunction of 1 Timothy 2:1-4, we list those in authority on our prayer list in the bulletin every week. This week it seems appropriate to pray for Donald Trump not only as one who is in authority but also as someone who has fallen ill. I encourage you to pray regardless of your political persuasion—there is nothing that says that praying for someone indicates affection or approval. Pray for the President; pray for all those sick with COVID-19; pray for all those who have lost loved ones to this pandemic. Pray that God’s mercy and justice might roll down like waters over our afflicted country.

Prayer for NAACP Prayer Vigil

PRAYER FOR NAACP PRAYER VIGIL — Last Saturday (May 30, 2020) Jenny, Liz, and I went to a NAACP Prayer Vigil in Salina. The vigil was in response to the death of George Floyd and countless others. I was invited to give a prayer. Here is what I prayed:

Gracious God, you created humanity as a multi-racial, multi-ethnic family, intending that we live in peace with you and harmony with one another. We have fallen short of that vision.

Today we remember those who have suffered the most because we have fallen short of that vision. Those who have suffered even unto death. George Floyd is only the most recent in a very long list. We will name only some of them here tonight. Yet you have known them all, you have called them by name, and you will never forget them

Lord, for my black and brown siblings I pray your presence, your power, your comfort, and your consolation. Help them as they continue their journey on a long and difficult road.

Lord, help those of us who are white to choose to walk beside them. Not to turn away, but to face the truth. The hard truth that racism and prejudice are still alive and well and killing your beloved children today. Help us to face the even harder truth that things aren’t going to get better on their own.

Lord, help those of us who are privileged by the color of our skin to realize that the racism that continues to surround and dwell within us is corroding our souls, stunting our discipleship, and keeping us from you.

We know that no one can truly, fully flourish until everyone can flourish. Lord Jesus help those of us born to a place of privilege, to remain silent no longer, help us to find the strength to speak up—even to our family and our friends. Help us to act—even when doing so is unpopular. Guide us, prod us, push us to work for your justice, to strive for your righteousness, and to build for your kingdom. Amen.

Note: When I say “privileged by the color of our skin” I don’t mean that all of those of us who are white have it easy, or that our lives are a cakewalk. What I do mean is that our lives are easier than they would be if we were African American.

The Upper Room Available Online

The need for a new issue of The Upper Room will be here along with the first day of May. If you would like a copy mailed to you, please call the church office at 785-263-2623 and leave a message or email office@abilenefirstumc.org and specify whether you need regular or large print. You can also read The Upper Room online or download a pdf copy for free at upperroom.org.

Prayer for a Pandemic

May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.

May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.

May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.

May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.

May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those that have no safe place to go.

May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.

May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.

As fear grips our country,
let us choose love.

During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.

Amen.

— by Cameron Bellm

Link: https://bit.ly/3adUcLw

 

When the World Falls Apart

I’ve made Psalm 46 part of my regimen for daily devotions. I’ve found that for this Psalm, and for many parts of the Bible, I prefer the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) to the Common English Bible (CEB). However, for the second verse of this Psalm, I’ve found the CEB invaluable. I’ll get to that in a minute. Here’s Psalm 46 from the NRSV:

1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
Selah [1]

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Selah

8 Come, behold the works of the Lord;
see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Selah

This Psalm has a lot to say to my heart in the midst of a crisis, but even more when I consider the meaning of the first part of the second verse. As the CEB puts it: “That’s why we won’t be afraid when the world falls apart.” This phase isn’t meant literally (although that would also apply), but figuratively, the way we usually use it. We need not be afraid even when the world falls apart. “In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.” [2] Psalm 46 has offered me a great deal of solace; I hope and pray that the same might be true for you.


[1] The exact meaning of Selah (which has been left untranslated in Hebrew) is not known, but a bit of instruction as to how the Psalm was to be sung in ancient Israel.
[2] From A Statement of Faith of the United Church of Canada.