Monday, August 29, 2016

Trust in the Lord

Psalm 139:1-6
O LORD, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
O LORD, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
In you, O Lord,
I put my trust
for you were there
before my beginning.

In good pleasure,
you fashioned and formed me
gave me gifts and talents
made me unique.

You know all about me!
My life, my words, my passions, my fears,
my strengths, my weaknesses, my hopes,
my successes, my failures...
You know it all,
and you love me.
You guide me.
Your hand leads me
into new adventures.

So I place my trust in you;
there is no other to trust.
You know me,
and you want to best for me.
Thank you!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Grow in Wisdom

Luke 2:51-52
Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.

Lord Jesus,
even you had to grow in wisdom.

As school starts,
give all students an eagerness
to discover and learn.
Give all teachers the gift
to inspire and accompany students
along the jounrey of awe and wonder
that leads to wisdom.

may we all,
no matter our age,
follow your example
and increase in wisdom and in years,
and in divine and human favor.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Praying for Parents

Luke 2:43-48
When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.  Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends.  When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.  After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.  And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.”

I love that even you
gave your parents a tough time.
Boy, was your Mom upset with you?!

Raising children is one of the hardest jobs.
give parents
an extra measure of your wisdom
to know how best to direct our children
to grow in grace and gratitude.
Give parents
an extra measure of your grace
to heal wounds, hold broken hearts, and wipe tears.
Give parents
an extra measure of your love
to love when its hard.

And give ALL your children
moldable hearts
to be shaped more and more
into your likeness and love.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Make Worship Central to Life

Luke 2:41-42
 Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover.  And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival.

your parents were
a key influence in your life
just like they are for every youth.

I am grateful for
their witness to you
of the importance of regular worship.

In addition to their weekly particpation
in synagogue worship,
every year they made
the pilgrimage to Jerusalem;
it was a major undertaking,
but it was central to their faith,
and they made sure you were part of it.

would that parents today
did the same for their children.
Regularly worshiping together as a family.
Making the effort to drive down the street.
Worshiping God, young and old together,
Centering our lives on You.

Thank you, God,
for families who make that commitment.
Help us all make regular worship
central to our lives.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Support of Others

Today's prayer and thoughts are shared from
a daily prayer website written by young adults.

Deuteronomy 1:9-14
At that time I said to you, “I am unable by myself to bear you.  TheLord your God has multiplied you, so that today you are as numerous as the stars of heaven.  May the Lord, the God of your ancestors, increase you a thousand times more and bless you, as he has promised you!  But how can I bear the heavy burden of your disputes all by myself?  Choose for each of your tribes individuals who are wise, discerning, and reputable to be your leaders.”  You answered me, “The plan you have proposed is a good one.”

God has created a world where we support and care for one another so that no one is left by themselves to handle all the troubles, burdens, and disputes of life.

help me remember today 
that I do not have to walk 
through these days alone. 

I can rely on the people around me. 
Help me remember, too, 
that sometimes I am the one 
who helps my friends and neighbors. 

I am so grateful that 
you created a world 
where I can rely on others 
and on you for all 
the love, support, and grace 
that I need. 

This specific thoughts and prayer is written by Wendy Johnson. Read more here:

Monday, August 15, 2016

Who do YOU say that I am?

Mark 8:27-38 (from the Spark Story Bible)
Jesus and the disciples were traveling to Caesarea. As they were walking, Jesus asked, "Who do people that I am?" "Hmmm..." his friends thought. "some people think you are your cousin John or the prophet Elijah!"
Jesus nodded. "Who do YOU think I am?" Peter could hardly wait to answer. "You're the one God sent to save the world!"
Peter was right! Jesus began to talk about how he would die and come alive again. Suddenly Peter became very angry. "That's not how it's supposed to happen!" Peter argued. Jesus knew better and said, "Stop thinking about your own plan. This is God's plan!"
A crowd of people gathered around Jesus. "If you want to follow me," Jesus said, "think about God's plan, not your own ideas."

this is an amazing story.
A reminder of the bold faith of Peter!
and yet how little we understand your ways!

Last night in the car 
my son read this exact story 
from his story Bible.
Then he read 
the sharing prompt below the story:
"Find a partner.
Take turns telling
one thing about Jesus
until you run out of ideas."
As we rode in the car,
we took turns sharing
one thing about who you are!
It was so amazing 
the things he shared.
For 15 minutes, 
back and forth we went.
So simple
and yet so amazing.

Thank you, Jesus, 
for all you are,
all you mean to us,
all you do for us.

make my faith 
as bold as Peter's!
and help me share 
my faith with others.

I challenge you to do the same:
Find a partner.
Take turns telling
one thing about Jesus
until you run out of ideas.

The above story and prompt quoted from The Spark Story Bible. It is my new favorite story Bible for children! It is especially good when read together. Do not miss the questions or activity prompts. Great conversations with children about Christian faith will follow!

Thanks to my friend Rev. Caroline Dennis for pointing me toward this amazing resource!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Back-to-School Blessing

I read this prayer today
and make it mine:

"Back-to-School Blessing"
by the Rev. Marilyn E. Thornton

Bless my paper and my pen.
Guide my spirit deep within.
Help me think and help me play,
This whole school year, day by day.

As I move from class to class,
Guide my footsteps; clear my path.
Keep my tongue to speak your words.
Let your will for me be heard.

In every subject high or low,
May God's excellence be shown!
Keep me strong to reach the prize,
To grow in grace, becoming wise.

Whether far from home or near,
May I hold God's precepts dear.
To do my best at every task;
For this blessing, I do ask.

Help my family be a part
As I lift my mind and heart.
As I study, work, and pray,
Be with them throughout the day.

Of whom much is given, much is required.
May learning be your greatest desire!


The above back to school blessing was written by Rev. Marilyn E. Thornton and shared from:

Monday, August 8, 2016

Praying for Back to School

it's back to school time
in my community.
So today I pray

  • for parents getting supplies, investing money, and hoping for the best this year,
  • for those who cannot afford the supplies, the uniforms, the tools that will boost learning and worry about their children,
  • for teachers getting classrooms ready, looking over the list of student, hopeful and yet knowing there will be a trouble maker,
  • for administrators getting ready, reviewing policies, making new hires, planning bus routes, worrying over budgets,
  • for coaches practicing with students, drilling fundamentals, encouraging, pushing, challenging, wondering if this will be the year,
  • for students anxious about friendships, will the teacher like me, will I be accepted, worried about tests and pressures,
  • for new students who are changing schools, new to the area, no friends yet, wondering how it will all go, scared,
you are the God of wisdom
the God of learning,
the Great Teacher,
move your Spirit of teaching and learning
among our schools
that students will find a gracious welcome,
the teachers will lead students into wonder and wisdom,
the administration will lead with courage,
and the community will be improved 
because of the learning that takes place.

Calm all of our hearts
for the start of a good school year!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

You are in the eye of the storm

this week I've 
been praying
for your presence
in the storms of life.

My sister-in-law 
shared the below song.

It reminds me that
you ARE with us in the storm.
You are right there in the midst,
indeed in the eye of the storm!
Thank you.

The following song is my prayer for today:

"Eye Of The Storm" by Ryan Stevenson 
on the album Fresh Start
When the solid ground is falling out, from underneath my feet,
Between the black skies and my red eyes, I can barely see
And when I’m feeling like I’ve let down by my friends and my family, I can hear the rain reminding me

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm

When my hopes and dreams are far from me, and I’m running out of faith
I see the future I pictured slowly fade away
And when the tears of pain and heartache are pouring down my face
I find my peace in Jesus' name

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm

When they let me go and I just don’t know how I’m gonna make ends meet
I did my best now I’d scared to death that we might lose everything
And when a sickness takes my child away, and there’s nothing I can do
My only hope is to trust You, I trust you Lord

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm

Friday, August 5, 2016

Lord, save me!

Matthew 14:28-33
Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
save me!
I'm drowding
in fear,
in dispair,
in hopelessness,
save me!"

And you do.
Every time
Every time I cry out,
Lord Jesus,
You reach out to me.
You send someone to me.
You help me.
You hold me.
You pull me back into the boat.

help me recognize
your presence
in the voice of another,
in the offer of help,
in the phone call,
in the rest,
in the embrace of family and friends,
in all the ways you reach out
to bring me back
safe with you
in the boat.

the Son of God!
And I worship you.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.

Matthew 14:22-27
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
You call to us and say,
"Take heart,
it is I;
do not be afraid."

What is, Lord,
that I fear?

The storms of life
that threaten to overwhelm.
The winds
that blow against us.
The surprising presence of my Lord
walking on the sea
in the midst the storms.

Lord you say,
"Do not be afraid.
I am here.
I am with you."

Give us eyes
to recognize your presence
with us in the storm.
Give us ears
to hear your voice.
Give us faith
to believe your message:
"Take heart,
it is I;
do not be afraid."

Help me, Lord.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Turn off the light

You know my son's love of poetry.
Recently he read this poem to me.
In light of the recent division and conflict
in my world, today this poem is my prayer:

"No Difference" by Shel Silverstein
Small as a peanut,
Big as a giant,
We're all the same size
When we turn off the light. 
Rich as a sultan,
Poor as a mite,
We're all worth the same
When we turn off the light. 
Red, black, or orange,
Yellow or white,
We all look the same
When we turn off the light. 
So maybe the way
To make everything right
Is for God to reach out
And turn off the light!

Come, Lord, Jesus
help us make everything right.

"No Difference" by Shel Silverstein from Where the Sidewalk Ends