Learning to Be with God
From Daily Grace Mar 31, 2017 01:00 am (Women of the ELCA)
Prayer is an ancient language between God and God’s people: spoken, written, sung and dreamed. In prayer we lift up our hearts to God in longing and lament, fear and unknowing, trust and trepidation, hope and joy. Prayer connects us to one another and calls us to be a part of God’s re-imagining for the world.
I struggle with prayer. I can’t find the time or the words or the energy. I have so much to say and have little patience for listening.
But this is the journey. For me, it is a constant learning and re-learning of how to be with God. It is God’s grace that draws me, us, in. It is God’s deep longing for us, God’s unquenchable desire to be connected with us, that gives my heart courage and my life hope.
This message is adapted from “Faith reflections: Prayers for the first job” written by Megan Jane Jones that first appeared in the June 2010 issue of Cafe magazine.
Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise …
Spiritual Practice: A Breath Prayer
- Pick a word or phrase from your belief system (for example: Lord have mercy, Praise to you, O Christ, love, peace, patience, kindness, joy, forgiveness, hope).
- Choose a comfortable position.
- Close your eyes.
- Relax your muscles.
- Become aware of your breathing, and silently repeat your focus word or phrase as you connect it to your breath.
- Continue for at least one minute.
Repeat this exercise throughout your day, when you need a sense of calm, focus and rejuvenation.
In the name of the Father,
and of the ☩ Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
God of heaven and earth,
you come in close and make us yours.
Equip us by your Spirit to confess our sin,
embrace your forgiveness,
and seek the way you set before us in your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
As Jesus calls us to love one another, I/we pray for the church, the world, and all who are in need.
I/We pray for the church: Gather us together through your love. Heal the divisions holding us apart, especially at your table. Unite us in our common mission to be your servants in the world. Lord, in your mercy, hear my/our prayer.
For the earth: Sustain all living creatures with seasonable weather and suitable environments. Protect fragile habitats from harm. Bless farmers, ranchers, and gardeners whose labors bring food to our tables. Lord, in your mercy, hear my/our prayer.
For the nations: Lead all in authority to work for peace and justice. Bring an end to oppression. Heal nations, communities and families torn apart by violence and fear (especially ______). Lord, in your mercy, hear my/our prayer.
For those in need: Fill the tables of the hungry. Comfort those who know the pain of betrayal, and all who suffer from grief or illness (especially____). Lord, in your mercy, hear my/our prayer.
For the worshiping assembly: Bless those who guide us in worship and those who lead us into the world to serve in your name. Lord, in your mercy, hear my/our prayer.
(Here other intercessions may be offered.)
With thanksgiving, help us remember those who have died (especially___). Bring us to the fullness of your promise of resurrection and eternal life in you. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Into your hands, gracious God, I/we commend all for whom we pray, in the name of the one who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord.
God of glory,
receive the offering of my/our lives.
As Jesus was lifted up from the earth,
draw me/us to your heart in the midst of this world,
that all creation may be brought from bondage to freedom,
from darkness to light, and from death to life;
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
On Good Friday we hear the story of a man who was unjustly put to death after an unfair trial. How can Jesus’ arrest, trial, and execution inform the ways we respond to people who are on trial or imprisoned in our society? If you have a congregation member who has been imprisoned, who works in the court system, or who is a member of law enforcement, this would be a good opportunity to invite them to share their story. How is Jesus found today among people who are criminals, accused, or imprisoned? When we consider our Lord’s execution, does that influence the way we legislate and administer capital punishment? How does Jesus’ experience with the criminal justice system of his day encourage us to advocate for a just and fair system in our day?