Category Archives: Prayer

Pray for Charlottesville

I’ve been monitoring coverage of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. I don’t think I need to say this, but any rally that includes the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis is not in alignment with the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Please join me in praying that the Gospel might be heard and hearts and minds might be changed.

Arrogance Posing as Humility

I’m re-reading When Spiritual But Not Religious is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church in preparation for the Breakfast Club this coming Saturday. In the chapter on prayer, Lillian Daniel talks about the need not only to pray for the high minded things that we would be happy share with other people but also to pray for the little things that are unique to us, the prayers that we suppress because we feel that they are unworthy.

That kind of thinking, that reluctance to ask God for what we really want, is arrogance posing as humility. It seems humble to not ask God for our own desires, and to put other larger matters first. But doing that seems to imply we have power in all this. As if by asking God to cure diabetes before asking for a raise, we might actually affect God’s priorities. Do we honestly think that if no one asked for anything trivial, and everyone got focused on world peace, God would finally see that we had reached some quota and say, “Right, now that four billion and one people have asked for it, I will make it happen. But don’t anybody ask for a cottage by a lake right now, or I’ll get distracted.” [1]

There is a fail-safe system built into prayer. Prayer is not the monkey’s paw. [2] God’s not going to do something that not in our best interest just because we were stupid enough to ask for it. Lillian continues:

Sorry, but I just don’t think our prayer requests have that kind of power. So why pray then? Prayer is about connecting with God, about having a relationship with our divine creator. God desires that with us, and because God loves us so much, God actually cares about our trivial wants, our big dreams, and our petty grievances. This is humbling news indeed. We can come to God with anything, and God will work with it. [3]

So ask away. Take whatever you have to God in prayer and let God work with it and on you.


[1] Lillian Daniel, When “Spiritual but Not Religious” Is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church (Grand Central Pub, 2013), 39-40.

[2] “The Monkey’s Paw,” Wikipedia, July 22, 2017, accessed July 27, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Monkey%27s_Paw.

[3] Lillian Daniel, 40.

Voice of the Day: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), the German theologian executed by the Nazis for his role in a plot to overthrow Adolf Hitler, prayed the following prayer.

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray,
And to concentrate my thoughts on you:
I cannot do this alone.
In me there is darkness,
but with you there is light;
I am lonely;
but with you there is help;
I am restless,
but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness,
but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
But you know the way for me. …
Restore me to liberty,
And enable me so to live now
that I may answer before you and before me.
Lord, whatever this day may bring
Your name be praised. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer as quoted by Jonathan Aitken, Prayers for People under Pressure (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008), 190.

Amen.

Hat Tip: Rev. Amy Lippoldt

A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition

There is a Wesleyan tradition of “Watchnight” services on New Year’s Eve which often took the form of a Covenant Renewal Service. The United Methodist Hymnal offers the following prayer in that tradition:

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
Amen.

We’re not having a “Watchnight” Covenant Renewal Service, but I would encourage you to reflect on the prayer and the invitation nonetheless. For a New Year’s resolution, one could certainly do worse.

Prayer Vigil for Ellis Johnson

As many of you may know, Ellis Johnson is in the pediatric ICU at the Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas for carbon monoxide poisoning. We are told the next 24 hours will be crucial, and we invite you to pray for Ellis, his family, and his friends. If you desire to pray in the sanctuary it is open and available.

60 Days of Prayer

Received from the conference office:

The Council of Bishops has invited each of the annual conferences [we’re the Great Plains Annual Conference] to host a 24-hour prayer effort on a specific date, with the intent of creating a groundswell of prayer in the days leading up to the General Conference [the global meeting of United Methodists] in May in Portland, Oregon. The Great Plains will conduct its prayer vigil March 1.

Given all that will be before General Conference this year, prayer is going to be very much needed. There’s a sign-up sheet in the Narthex for those who want to participate. Times of prayer are broken down into 20-minute intervals. You can come to the chapel to pray during church office hours or pray on your own at home or work.

The Upper Room has a devotional guide available in pdf format. It looks like it would be good not only for the 60 days before General Conference, but anytime.

Link: http://bit.ly/1QvJxuk

Blue Prayer Request Cards

istockphoto.comDo you have a prayer request you would like the church to pray for? Please help us know your prayer requests by filling out a blue prayer request card, located in the pews or in the church office, or calling the church office to let us know. We can list your name or your loved one’s name in the bulletin insert, put your prayer request in the prayer chapel for the weekly prayer vigil, put out a card for the congregation to sign, assign the person a prayer partner to pray for them or it can be for the pastors only. The blue cards help us know the nature of your prayer request and what information you would like to be shared and how.

In addition, if you know of someone who is in the hospital and would like a visit from a pastor, please let us know (we would rather hear about it from several people than to miss someone).

A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition

Blue CrossThere is a Wesleyan tradition of “Watchnight” services on New Year’s Eve which often took the form of a Covenant Renewal Service. The United Methodist Hymnal offers the following prayer in that tradition:

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
Amen.

We’re not having a “Watchnight” Covenant Renewal Service, but I would encourage you to reflect on the prayer and the invitation nonetheless. For a New Year’s resolution, one could certainly do worse.

I’ve Been Sent Home

I don’t feel all that bad, but I’ve lost most of my voice. This is not a good thing to happen to a preacher the day before Christmas Eve services. I’m trying to get ready for tomorrow while taking it easy. Your prayers would be very much appreciated.