Sunday Evening Prayer

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Imaginative God,

When I was little, I liked to pretend.

Pretend I was a princess, or a ballerina, or a fairy.

Pretend I was a superhero or a Jedi knight.

 

Now that I’m older, I still pretend.

I put on the façade that I’m o.k.,

I pretend I’m in charge, I can handle it, I can keep going, it doesn’t matter.

I wear a mask to hide that I’m hurt and angry.

I’m not anything.

Really, I’m fine.

 

Thing is, it’s time to stop pretending.

I’m so desperate for grace.

I need to be heard, listened to, understood.

I’m broken, I’m not fine.

That’s what you’re here for, God.

Can you please scoop me up and put me back together?

Can you make it o.k. to not be o.k.?

Amen.

 

Run, Baby, Run

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… let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…    ~ Hebrews 12:1-2; NRSV

I like to say I’m a runner-in-training.  I’ll never break any records or win a race.  My version of running is a sluggish, heavy-footed plod.  Then again, although I just started running fairly recently, I need to run.  My emotional and spiritual well-being depends on it.  It’s become my prayer time and my refuge-of-sorts.

I’ve come to appreciate running as a metaphor for life and faith.  I often reflect on this as I trudge along.  Here’s some of what I’ve learned:

  1. You never know what the terrain is like until you actually travel it. It’s an adventure to make your way down a new path to see where it leads.
  2. Hills are tough, no two ways about it. But, just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  One way or another, you’ll make it.
  3. Rain can be oddly refreshing. It smells as delicious as it feels.  If you find yourself caught in a shower, linger there for a while.
  4. All you really need is a good pair of sneakers and some water. Everything else is icing on the cake.
  5. Someone’s always faster or stronger than you. But, in the end, the race is only with yourself.

Let’s pray together:

Running God,

Sometimes we sail through, other times we plod along slowly.  But, in all times and in all places, you’re right beside us.  Give us strength to run the race with perseverance, whatever leg of the journey we’re on.  Amen.

 

 

Sunday Evening Prayer

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God of Abundance,

It doesn’t feel good to hunger or thirst.

Sometimes, we’re hungry for the dinner that smells so irresistible cooking on the stove,

or pancakes for breakfast,

or, if we’re being honest here- for love, acceptance, or a second chance.

We thirst for grace, welcome, redemption.

 

As unpleasant as it may seem,

open our eyes to the extreme hunger and thirst all around us,

and within ourselves.

Let’s be real with each other,

let’s find one another in our brokenness,

let’s stop putting on the façade that it’s all o.k.,

let’s hunger and thirst together.

Let’s be in this thing together.

We can pine after redemption,

we can take our first steps toward wholeness.

Together.

Amen.

 

Stay Hungry

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Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.                    ~ Matthew 5:6

On a spring day in May 1943, at the height of World War II, an aircraft carrying United States bombardier Louis Zamperini crashed into the Pacific Ocean.  For the next 47 days, Zamperini and two others floated on a raft, surrounded by mile after mile of nothing but open sea.  Multiple realities threatened their lives, not the least of which was extreme thirst.  Although surrounded by water, they couldn’t drink any of it because of its extremely high salt content.  Their bodies languished under the stress of dehydration.[1]

Strange as it may sound, I wonder if the Christian life bears some resemblance to those servicemen’s predicament  After all, there’s water all around us, and yet there’s still deep thirst.  There’s an abundance of food, and yet deep hunger.  Following Jesus means we join others in their thirst, that we regard their need as our own.  Our own thirst isn’t quenched until we offer a cup of cold water to satisfy someone else’s thirst.

Frederick Buechner once famously said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”[2]  Where do gladness and hunger meet for you?  How is God summoning you to pick up someone’s else’s heavy bag of need?  Where does God beckon you to join the fold of those who hunger and thirst?

As long as our sisters are hungry, we stay hungry.  As long as our brothers thirst, we also thirst.  We’re all in this together.

Let’s pray together:

God of Abundance,

We’re too content.  We’ve grown complacent.  We believe as long as we have what we need, it’s all o.k.  Give us hearts to join with someone else in her hunger, to see another’s thirst as our own.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] As described in “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” by Laura Hillenbrand.  Published in 2014 by Random House Trade Paperbacks.

[2] From “Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC,” by Frederick Buechner.  Revised and expanded edition published in 1993 by HarperOne.

Sunday Evening Prayer

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God of Blowing Wind and Gushing Water,

The destruction of the hurricane may be great,

but your ability to speak into chaos,

to weave peace into loss,

to fortify those who fear what the future may hold,

is even greater.

 

Work your spirit through those who will rebuild,

who place one foot in front of the other on the road to recovery.

Instill courage and grant perspective.

Comfort those who grieve.

 

Give breath to hope,

give energy to those who help.

We look to you for endurance

and for provision.

Amen.