February 27 — war

1. Our prayer for each other in the battle.

We are not at war with people, nor will we succumb to that. But we are at war. As Paul says, we have spiritual enemies. One of our weapons is prayer. Prayer places us squarely on the Lord’s side. It is a place of protection. It is a source of power. It is a means of participating in the spiritual battle.

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms….And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints (Ephesians 6).

Here is a prayer we can use together today to apply Paul’s teaching.

Right now I pray with my brothers and sisters in the Spirit.
These are the prayers and requests I have: (Speak your empathy and hopes here)
I pray for my co-workers in extending the kingdom:
May they fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel as you have moved them to do.
May they declare it fearlessly, as they desire to do.

2. Our prayer about the country at war.

The nation is in perpetual war. ISIS is the threat of the day. There are U.S. troops spread all over the world and still in Iraq and Afghanistan. This prayer came from an ecumenical conference in Canada.

Holy One,
we know that we are not alone, we live in your world.
We know that you call each of us to love and serve others, to seek justice and resist evil.
We know that each of us carries within our self your vision of all creation healed and restored
because we are partners with You in caring for your creation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

* a moment of silence*

We pray now for the lands and peoples consumed with war.

* a moment of silence*

Through your Wisdom and Grace, empower us to work together with people run over by war machines
until they have a place to live where hearts are comforted and gifts, shared for the good of all;
where resistance is strengthened against forces that exploit and marginalize
and fierce love overcomes violence.

* a moment of silence*

We know not only your promise but the price you paid for the world’s brokenness.
Help us own our part in the world’s brokenness by
embracing the present,
embodying hope
loving our enemies,
caring for the earth,
choosing life.
We rightfully place our hope in you to guide places at war 
through us and through your servants there
into wholeness, union and integration.

* a moment of silence*

We know in life, in death and in life beyond death,
You are with us
we are not alone.
New Life is possible where destruction has reigned.
Thank you.

Adapted from a prayer offered by The Right Rev. David Guiliano, Moderator, The United Church of Canada

3. Some stimulation for continued prayer from Mark Twain

If you still have time, check out this dramatic rendition of Mark Twain’s famous short story, “The War Prayer.” His family wouldn’t let him publish it – it was too true to be tolerated.

The War Prayer, pt 1 — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJsZCpp8hR4&feature=related
The War Prayer, pt 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsoJ-WJZGXM&feature=related

February 27 is Fred Rogers Day at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body


February 26 — house

Lord Jesus…

Let us build a house where love can dwell
and all can safely live.
A place where saints and children tell
how hearts learn to forgive.
Built of hopes and dreams and visions,
rock of faith and vault of grace;
here Your love shall end divisions:
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where prophets speak,
and words are strong and true.
Where all God’s children dare to seek
to dream God’s reign anew.
Here the cross shall stand as witness
and as symbol of God’s grace;
here as one we name our faith in You;
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where love is found
in water, wine and wheat;
a banquet hall on holy ground,
where peace and justice meet.
Here the love of God, through You, Jesus,
is revealed in time and space,
as we share in You the feast that frees us;
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where hands will reach
beyond the wood and stone,
to heal and strengthen, serve and teach,
and live the Word they’ve known.
Here the outcast and the stranger
bears the image of God’s face;
let us bring and end to fear and danger:
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where all are named,
their songs and visions heard
and loved and treasured, taught and claimed
as words within the Word.
Built of tears and cries and laughter,
prayers of faith and songs of grace.
Let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:
all are welcome in this place.

Marty Haugen

February 25 — busy

Prayer for a Busy Day (George Miller)

Dear God,

When the day is too busy and the voices too loud,
when there is too much on my mind and too little in my heart,
when I plan too much for tomorrow and explain too much about yesterday,
when faith is a Sunday word and “let’s be practical” my motto through the week,
when I have hidden my true feelings inside and then complained of being lonely and misunderstood,
when I am quite hopelessly lost and don’t even have sense enough to know it —

Be my shepherd and my friend.
Gather up my jangled nerves, my tensed muscles, my anxious and fluttering heart.
Gather up my fearful heart and hold it warmly in your hand.
Send life pulsing through it like an irresistible flood.
Quicken me to a quivering blaze, excited and alive.
But show me how to be quiet, too.
Teach me to be still.
In deep stillness let me rest.

Let silence surround me like a friend, calming me and instructing me with deeper wisdom from within.
When my day is too busy and the voices are all too loud,
be my good shepherd and my friend.

February 24 — great

Monday through Friday, the pastors and staff gather for prayer at 11:45 and invite anyone who can to join in. We have a collection of prayers we end our time with. this is one of them for this week.

After David’s Prayer in 2 Samuel 7

Who are we, LORD, that you have brought us this far?
As if this were not enough, you have promised us the future!
For the sake of your word and according to your will,
you have done great things and made them known to your servants.
How great you are!
There is no one like you, and there is no God but you.

And who are like your people? —
the kingdom you have redeemed for yourself, to make a name for yourself, and to perform great and awesome wonders.
You have established your people as your very own forever, and you have become our God.

Now, LORD, keep forever the promises you have made to us.
You are God!
Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised good things to your servants.
Now be pleased to bless our homes and our church, that we may continue in your sight.

February 23 — martyr

All Christians are called to take up the cross. In the early church it could mean (and in many places in the world today it means) facing persecution. The martyr, the “witness” of Christ, is the clearest reflection of our Lord’s own saving passion.

The earliest eyewitness account of a Christian martyr’s death outside of the New Testament is in a writing called The Martyrdom of Polycarp, ca. 155. The anniversary of Polycarp’s death is today, February 23. He was bishop of Smyrna in Asia Minor and a disciple of John, the disciple of Jesus.

Let’s pray along with Polycarp. Even though he was very old when he died and most of us aren’t, and even though he was considered an atheist by his Roman oppressors and we aren’t, we can relate to being opposed by many people and enduring the disrespect of most as we hold on to our faith.

Here is the prayer Polycarp’s biographer’s have him saying in the arena before his death. Try it on for size. You may not be called to die today. But you can, with Paul, justly say, “I die daily” — “ I die every day — I mean that, brothers–just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord” (1 Cor. 15:31).

O Lord God Almighty, Father of your beloved and blessed Child, Jesus Christ,
through whom we have received full knowledge of you,
the God of angels and powers, and of all creation, and of the whole family of the righteous, who live before you! —

I bless you, that you have hast granted me this day and hour,
that I may share, among the number of the martyrs, in the cup of Christ,
for the resurrection to everlasting life, both of soul and body in the immortality of the Holy Spirit.

And may I, today, be received among them before you, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice,
as you, the God who does not lie and is truth, have prepared beforehand, and shown forth, and fulfilled.

For this reason I also praise you for all things, I bless you,
I glorify you through the everlasting and heavenly high priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Child,
through whom be glory to you with him and the Holy Spirit, both now and for the ages that are to come. Amen.