Tuesday, January 31, 2017


this week I have been reminded
that prayer need not
be complicated, long, or fancy.
Indeed there may
only be
two prayers:

"Help me! Help me! Help me!"


"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"

Those are my prayers this day.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Be pleasing in God's sight

The below prayer I first read while on retreat at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia. I have often returned to it.

"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."

By Thomas Merton in Thoughts in Solitude

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Beginning Ministry: As I begin this day's new tasks...

The below prayer written by Patricia Leonard-Pasley

May you be the God I serve today.
Let me follow no tempting other.
May I see your face revealed
in each sister and each brother.

Fill my words with wisdom.
Let my mouth sing out your praise.
Let my heart compose this love song:

Lord, be with me all my days.
Surround me with your blessing
as I begin this day's new tasks.
Touch me with your fire.

Love me.
Know me.
Move me.
This, O Lord, is all I ask.



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Beginning Ministry: Jesus proclaims...

Matthew 4:12-17
Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
“Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali,
on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles —
the people who sat in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death
light has dawned.”
From that time Jesus began to proclaim,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

I find it interesting
that you pick up
where John the Baptist left off,
for the kingdom of heaven has come near."

Repent -
literally turn your life around.

Today I do repent.
I turn
from grudges to forgiveness,
from grumpiness to graciousness,
from a lust for power and control to a seeking to be humble,
from thinking I am always right to listening deeply to the ideas of others,
from the shadows into God's marvelous light!

Help me live out
 the kingdom of God
that has come near
in you, Christ Jesus!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Remember your Baptism: I am God's Beloved.

I can't remember my baptism.
I was only 3 months old.
Some would say that's too bad;
some might doubt whether it was a baptism at all.

I have witnessed many baptisms --
adults, youth, infants --
children of God of all ages.

The things that matter
are always the same:
the water -- a gift from your creation,
the words -- I baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
the washing -- You are forgiven and set free to love and to live,
the wonder -- "You are God's beloved; with you God is well pleased."
the welcome -- Child of God, Child of the Covenant, welcome into the family of faith,
the work -- sent to proclaim might acts of God who calls the world out of darkness into marvelous light!

I am baptized alright!
Washed in the Waters.
Drowned in the Deep.
Claimed in the Covenant Waters
Flooded by the Fountain of Life.
Poured into by the power of the Spirit.
I am baptized!

In times of difficulty and hardship,
like the great reformer Martin Luther,
I find myself touching my forehead,
and drawing great comfort in knowing:
"I am baptized!"
Thanks be to God!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Remember your Baptism: What was it like for Jesus?

Mark 1:9-11
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.  And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved;with you I am well pleased.”

Lord Jesus,
what was it like for you
to look up and see the heavens
torn in two?
A cosmic rip --
that which separates
heaven and earth,
the holy and the ordinary,
torn like a cloth
from the top to the bottom...

And the Spirit of God
descending like a dove...
filling you,
possessing you,
inspiring you,
driving you,
blessing you...

And that voice!
"You are my Son,
the Beloved;
with you
I am
well pleased."

How did you feel?
Uncertain you could live up to such words?

What was it like for you?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Remember your baptism: Thaw my frozen heart

thaw my frozen heart.
Over time I have grown cold
to the world,
to the needs of others,
to the pain of others.
Thaw my frozen heart
into flowing waters of compassion.

Some days I am frozen
in inaction;
frozen in not knowing
what is best,
what is your will,
what I should do.
Thaw my frozen will
into living springs of obedience.

Some days I am frozen
in fear,
in worry,
in doubt.
-my fears into flood waters of courage,
-my worries into rivers of trust,
-my doubts into flowing faith...

I pray:
thaw my frozen heart.

The above prayer inspired by the frozen font in the gardens at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC, pictured below.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Beginning the New Year: Pray for your pastor

Jeremiah 1:4-8
Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” 7 But the Lord said to me,
"Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’;
for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and you shall speak whatever I command you.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
says the Lord.”

Dear Lord,
Thank you for calling me to be a pastor.
I heard your call when I was 15.
I've often identified with Jeremiah being "just a boy".

Your call on my life
to be a pastor...
Serving God's people;
Proclaiming the Good News;
Telling the old, old story;
Making a positive difference 
in the lives of others and 
in the life of the community 
for Christ's sake
is all I've ever wanted to do.
It's wonderful calling;

but it's a terrible job...
Jeremiah also said:
O Lord, you have enticed me, and I was enticed;
you have overpowered me, and you have prevailed.
I have become a laughingstock all day long; everyone mocks me.
If I say, “I will not mention God, or speak any more in the Lord's name,”
then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones;I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. -- Jeremiah 20:7,9
I identified wholly with the thoughts 
shared by a church leadership blog: 
My work is often misunderstood:
the joke of working only 1 hour a week stings.
I work many many hours.
Up early and late to pray with and for members.
On call 24/7, even on vacation and now worse with cell phones.
Marrying and burying people is emotionally difficult.
Being a pastor is a lonely position
Daily I hear constant criticism and varying opinions.
I struggle with being a workaholic and perfectionist.
It is challenging for me to keep my identity 
solely rooted in God and not in the success of the church.
I certainly don't have all the answers.
And there are days that I want to quit.

And yet, what else can I do??
I have 12 years of graduate education in theology and Bible...

So Lord,
I depend on you daily,
and I pray for pastors
those who have heard your voice,
those who doubt your presence, 
those who worry and stress,
those who care for others...
I pray for pastors.
Renew your Spirit in us
that we may serve you and your people
with energy,
and love.