This past weekend brought compound tragedy into our world. The earthquake in Haiti, the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, the ongoing spike in COVID…
It has been sorrow on a magnified scale. How do I pray?
One great help to me over the past few weeks is to pray the Great Litany regularly. It is a helpful prayer that covers so much and guides me when I lack words. It is also helpful to be praying through the psalms.
I lift this before the Lord today:
Give justice to the lowly and the orphan;
maintain the right of the poor and the destitute!
Rescue the lowly and needy,
Deliver them from the power of the wicked!
Lord, have mercy.
I have been walking my way through Genesis reflecting on the subject “walking with God.” I am enjoying my journey into the life of Abraham and have come to the place where Abraham has interceded for Sodom and now Lot has to get out.
My brief thought it s this: Abraham developed a walk with God over the years. Lot had lived in the shadow of that walk rather than forming his own way.
We can live like Lot, living long in the shadow of others who walk with God, or we can develop into Abraham, coming to a place of prayer that is as natural as breathing.
I have been Lot. I desire to be Abraham.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
I have walked with Christ for decades. I am still learning and revisiting ares of my life that need the work of the Spirit. Anxiety is one of those areas. Things I cannot control, I develop anxiety rather than trust. This is why Paul connects it to prayer.
I continue to meander through Eugene Peterson’s biography, A Burning in My Bones. (I think he would have meandered, so I’m trying not to hurry.)
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. (Rom. 8:26)
Prayers for Tuesday of Holy Week:
God of such unwavering love,
how do I “celebrate”
the passion and death of Jesus?
I often want to look the other way
and not watch,
not stay with Jesus in his suffering.
Give me the strength
to see his love with honesty and compassion
and to feel deeply
your own forgiveness and mercy for me.
Help me to understand
how to “celebrate” this week.
I want be able to bring
my weaknesses and imperfections with me
as I journey with Jesus this week,
so aware of his love.
“The reason I can continue watching and waiting, even as the world is shrouded in darkness, is because the things I long for are not rooted in wishful thinking or religious ritual but are as solid as a stone rolled away.” — Tish Harrison Warren, Prayer in the Night
Tish Harrison Warren’s new book, Prayer in the Night is out and you should absolutely get this book. As I think through spiritual rhythms for the last parts of my “Living in Babylon” series on my podcast, her book fits in wonderfully with the need for patterns in our lives.
7 You deceived me, Lord, and I was deceived;
you overpowered me and prevailed.
I am ridiculed all day long;
everyone mocks me.
8 Whenever I speak, I cry out
proclaiming violence and destruction.
So the word of the Lord has brought me
insult and reproach all day long.
9 But if I say, “I will not mention his word
or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot. (Jer. 20:7-9)
Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure conduct. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom, in thy Name, we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP, 2019)