Saturday, November 24, 2018

Praying for those in prison

art by Rodney Manley,
a friend of Westminster Presbyterian Church
currently serving time in jail.

Gracious God,
Hope-filled lover of incarcerated souls
Who cares for each life, each history, each person
Grant daily wisdom and encouragement to every prisoner, parolee, probationer,
And to those who love them
That we might all be free indeed,
For the sake of the one who paid every note, with his own life's work,
Jesus Christ the Redeemer.

This poem was written by Susan Huizenga.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving Psalm

Psalm 100 King James Version (KJV)

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord,
all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the Lord he is God:
it is he that hath made us,
and not we ourselves;
we are his people,
and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him,
and bless his name.
For the Lord is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.

thank you for family.
Thank you for faith.
Thank you for traditions that bind the two together.

Every year for as long as I can remember
on Thanksgiving day,
my mother has put one verse of 
Psalm 100 
at each person's place at the table;
then we read it aloud.

Every year this simple act
reminds me 
that my thanksgiving
and my giving thanks are rooted
in both family and faith.

May it be so this year
and in every year to come
for generations.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Thank you God.

Sunday's sermon was a celebration of gratitude.
As I reflect over the past day,
I am grateful.
Grateful to you for so many things.

For family
- sometimes messy,
- sometimes hard
- always an opportunity to serve and live out grace and love.

For watching my son in awe
- as he reads and completes book after book for fun
- as he plays on the piano in front of church from memory what he has learned in just 2 months
- as he dances with unabashed joy at a recent wedding reception

For a dinner conversation with a long time member of my church
- for his honesty
- for his love for the church
- for his insights

For the people I have met this past year
- a homeless man now in jail, but pursuing recovery and praying for a new life
- a leader in my presbytery and her deep passion for the future of the church
- a mentor, wise caring, prayerful, listening, encouraging

Thank you for all the opportunities I have
- to pray with and for others
- to teach Christan faith
- to encourage others
- to embody your love
- to celebrate baptisms
- to offer to others the Body of Christ broken
- to accompany with singing the faithful who die in the Lord

Thank you, God, for your gifts of grace.
Thank you for claiming me as your own.
Thank you.
Thanks be to you.

Friday, November 16, 2018

On Sleepless nights

God of peace and rest,
Dare we even talk about 
how we lay there at night 
unable to find the rest we long for?

Our minds race 
about what has been or 
what could be or 
what we can’t imagine will happen. 

Or our minds are quiet 
and the silence is deafening.

In the silence of the night 
everything that we’ve held back 
comes crashing through.
Instead of sleep 
we find anxiety.
The darkness feels like
it’s overtaking us.

Bring sleep, dear God, bring rest.
Calm our minds and our spirits.
Hold our burdens.
We give the past, present, and future for you to hold.
May your loving embrace warm and 
comfort us as we wait for rest.

This prayer was written by Chris Klein.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Rainy Day Prayer

Isaiah 55:10-11
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

the last few days
have been dreary grey
rainy days --
Days that make me feel
Days that can lead to being
down, blue, sad.

But then, Lord,
by your grace,
I remembered Isaiah's vision
of rainy days --
Days that water the earth;
Days that nourish the ground;
Days that can lead to
growth, beauty, and fruit;

Days that model for us
how the Word of God can
water, nourish, grow,
and produce fruit in our lives.

Days that accomplish God's purpose,
Days that bring about God's success.

So Lord,
let it rain,
and let your Word
rain down on my life too.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

God is here, even in the loneliness

God of those who wander in the wilderness
Alone, afraid, feeling forsaken,
God of those who feel excluded,

Remind us that even in the wilderness
You are there.
Even in the fear of being forsaken
You are there.

You pursue us everywhere we go

And there is nothing that can separate us from your love.
You are here.


This prayer was written by Rev. Trent Elders