Prayer for Peace

Life Giving God
Erase all the things
That Rob us of life
Open the ears
Of those who can’t hear
Break apart the bad policies
And politics


Breath Giving God
You know how to
Get us to become a culture
Of seed planting
Instead of death dealers

Help us to slough off
All the skins
That we think
“Protect” is
Lay us bare before you
So that can finally heal
And find peace

Please
God of Respite
Melt our hearts
And resurrect us
Into tranquility
We pray
Amen

Feel free to adapt/share/use with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Mara: A Bitter Prayer

Call me Mara Today, God
Because I am bitter,
and the back of my throat aches
from too much crying,
as the grief hits me again, and again

And the place I call home
is a nation that likes to “protects” the unborn,
but locks up immigrants & Black and Brown kids, cannot feed thousands of children,
Corners the the market on formula and then doesn’t regulate it properly,
stops the payments for vulnerable families, destroys queer families,
and totally reopens the nation before any babies can receive vaccinations.

Call me Mara, God, Embittered
that people want “young families” don’t come to church
in a culture where parents, especially mothers, are expected to do every single thing on their own, and are judged for every imperfection.

Call me Mara, God,
For I am broken;
When there is a market for bulletproof backpacks,
when the news is about the latest, and which of the massive shootings–
where domestic violence and white supremacy is acceptable
to the degree that no warning signals are put out for terrorism
and armoring up, Lord God Almighty, Seems to be the only way us humans seem to be able to respond to any kind of violence.

Call me Mara, God.
Because despite voting, and letters, and marching and the sobs of countless families…

not

one

thing

has changed.

Call
us Mara
God.

Because, these too are our Children
And tomorrow, my throat will still be sore from crying
and I will still taste the bitterness of tears–that’s what home tastes like now.

I bet you want to be called Mara too, God.
Because they are your children too!

Selah! Mara, Selah!

Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

#rejectedsermontitles Really Your Thoughts and #Prayers? That’s all you got?

Context:

At the beginning of the week, and saw that the passage was about prayer. Thank God, because no matter what happens this week, I know that it will apply.

Then the African-American caretaker of an autistic man was shot……

I am the mother of an autistic child. Right now he is small and cute. When he flaps his hands giving “exclamatory hands” to excitement or frustration, its not very threatening, and if he does throw a tantrum he is still small enough that I can pick him up in a worse-case-scenario.

As the mother of an autistic child I can say, I don’t care who this police officer was aiming for, this was a terrible action.

So what am I supposed to do, pray?

What can others do for me and my son, pray for us?

Sermon:

Prayer is often used as a comforting action–but that is not its only purpose.

When you pray for someone, you are placing them in God’s hands. You are enacting love. You are opening yourself to be in relationship with them.

Whenever there is a harsh disagreement in the church congregation, session (board of leaders) or the Presbytery (our higher governing board). I will be the first to raise my hand and call for prayer.

And I’ll tell you what it is difficult to immediately stop and pray, the temptation is to continue arguing, the temptation is to prove that I am right, and that you should be listening to me!

This is exactly when prayer is needed, though, because you are trying to focus on God, to change your own individual perspective. Prayer is an act of Holy Imagination, where the world is viewed as the beginning of what God wants for us. God’s priorities and love are given voice and precedent over our own perspective. True prayer, opens oneself to actively love others, and that love is changing. That action is one in which we practice persistence to build a practice and discipline of prayer.

Time after time the most effective antidote to bigotry and prejudice is not education or knowledge. Its not about who is on the “right side of history.” Its having a relationship with someone who is different than you. Its knowing and loving a queer person or a person of color or one who is trans, female in leadership, or living in poverty.

Love is dangerous, because love changes your perspective.

Praying for someone is looking at them and loving them. Praying for another person an act of loving God, one where you recognize the other person as a child of God.

Just as Jesus looked at Martha, and then loved her, and then spoke to her last week.

So too are we called to love each other. Prayer is a discipline by which you practice seeing the world as God wants it to be, so we are more equipped and enabled to bring that world into being. Praying for one another is loving them through all the joys and hardships and struggling to find community with them, especially when we disagree.

Prayers are so much more than a comforting platitude, prayer is one of many disciplines by which we are able to get things done.

Lord teach us to pray….

 

Shannon A Thompson

Author. Speaker. Librarian.

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