Category Archives: Prayer

A Prayer to the Peerless God

See the source imageThis morning, I was afforded the opportunity to provide a prayer for a gathering of faith leaders from Washington, D.C.  We were all invited by current Mayor Bowser and former mayor Anthony Williams.  We joined together in celebration of African American history and heritage as well as to reflect on the strides that this community has made against all odds.  I offered this prayer to attendees:

Peerless God, who is in all and through all and yet, above us all, still You do not look down Your nose to judge whose better or worse.  For better or for worse, You take us all.  Because You created us wonderfully and fearfully, beautifully and equally, intentionally differently, each uniquely Your vision.  You are the familiar in each of our faces.  You created a family— not a bunch of races.

Forgive us for color- coding Your image, painting You into a corner, pushing You to choose sides.  Because You are either with us or them.  Omnipresent, we manage to put You in the middle.

Yes, God, “choose this day whom You will serve.”

Forgive us for appropriating Your power, masquerading in divinity;

The Word made beige, black, brown, red, yellow and white.

Forgive us for our hubris, for subjecting the Imago Dei to our ego, for making You a little lower than us.

Still, You love us all and You love us well, better than we love ourselves, our neighbor, the stranger and the immigrant.  Clearly, You see and sup with those who sacrifice, who rub nickels together and start fires of entrepreneurship, which keeps the family going, keeps the community growing, and spins this cycle of reaping and sowing.

You are the strength of those who built up a land and pulled up a people with calloused hands, with lacerated backs carried cotton and babies, whose voice was not taken, still telling their story and singing our song with voices not shaken, “Swing low, sweet chariot,” who saw a vision through sunset eyes.  Still, they rise again and again.  Because joy comes in the morning.

So, we have gathered to applaud Your work—because You have been with us through it all.  Valleys and mountains, from living water to colored fountains, we taste and still see that the Lord is good.[1]  Because a resurrected people cannot be kept down for long.  Now, help us to live up to all that You see in us.  No competition, one people, one vision.

In the name of the one who raised me up, Jesus the Christ.  Amen.

__________________

[1] Psalm 34.8

A Prayer Request

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Today, I am in Louisville, Kentucky.  I am a planner but I could not have seen this coming, that my words would lead me here.  But, there is certainly a since of arrival.  This is where I should be and better still, this is where I belong.

An x marked this spot on a map that I am not privy to.  I am comforted in knowing that I am going somewhere, that my soul has a destination, that I am being formed and shaped for a great work.  It is starting to make sense now.  All of my problems with race have brought me to this place and time.

Last year, I submitted a proposal to the Louisville Institute to study the social construct of race in the formation of Christian spiritual community.  It was accepted!  The project is a mouthful but the sweet joy of it all is that I have the words.  I can express what my anxiety is with race and the goal that I feel called to work toward.

This morning, I will share in conversations with twenty- four other pastor- scholars.  We will wrestle together and I pray that I walk away stronger and better equipped to tackle the challenges that race presents to Christian identity and community formation.  Now, I ask for your prayers.  Pray for ears to hear, eyes to see and openness to receive what the Spirit of the Lord would have for me.

Thank you for being guides and conversation partners and intercessors.  I am deeply grateful for you and your words, for they have quickened my step and pushed me along.  You are an answer to prayer.

A New Revised Serenity Prayer

See the source imageGod, grant me the serenity to accept that people are not the same,

Courage to change my perspective and to challenge my prejudices,

And the wisdom to celebrate our differences.

Amen.

 

 

A Thanksgiving prayer at Christmastime

See the source imageGod in the flesh, Christ- Child, mysterious majesty, today we remember the wonder of Your birth.   We lower our gaze to look at God face- to- face. The beginning meets our start.  This is the heart of the gospel.

Because God has come to the lowly, to and through the least likely.  What manner of God is this?  What deity would do such a thing?  Thank You for turning our world upside down and turning our idea of power on its head.

It is my prayer that You might give us the peace to make room for You today.  For You are going door to door, heart to heart and head to head.  This is a continual fight against darkness.  Oh, let there be light in us.

And might You find a resting place, a hiding place, a place to come forth in our lives.  Let your manger be our heart this Christmas.  Amen.

Pray en masse

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While there is debate as to whether or not now is the time to talk about gun control, I am sure that the authorities have not recovered all the bullet casings after an excruciating 72 minutes of gunfire.  In fact, we are still learning about the lives lost.    We are now learning names and faces, hearing stories of who they were and could have been.  We know who the alleged shooter is and that he “planned extensively” with cameras.  More guns have been recovered from additional sites associated with him.  And in the wake of the shooting, Paul Ryan doesn’t plan to bring the gun silencer bill to the House floor.

When the shooter suffers from mental illness, we discuss mental health.  When the shooter claims allegiance to terrorism, we want persons to call it what it is.  But, when a shooter target Americans from a hotel room with legally purchased automatic weapons, persons want to talk about increased hotel security and luggage screening.  He used a gun but let’s not talk about that right now.

While there is dispute and discussion about the meaning and potential meaningless of expressions that include “thoughts and prayers,” our hearts are in our throats. Sighs mixed with tears, I am not sure if there are words for such a tragedy. On Sunday, October 1, the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history occurred in Las Vegas. The death count is unbelievable: 59 people dead and more than 500 people injured.

But, we have heard this before: “deadliest mass shooting.” It was in Orlando at a nightclub just sixteen months before. We heard this before that. It was at Virginia Tech, a college campus. We heard it before that. The victims were small children and their teachers. It was Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Mass shootings. The two words should not be found in the same sentence much less together. Let’s put our hands together and pray en masse with the hopes of keeping these two words apart.