Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Prayer for Saturday, April 30, 2011

“Did We Not?”

It is possible, Jesus here affirms—and Paul confirms when he said “If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3)—to do the right things for the wrong reasons with the result that, while our actions may help someone else, they say nothing good about us and may in fact say something very bad about us, namely that we are willing to (mis)use the name of Jesus to call attention to ourselves and to gain acclaim for ourselves.

We do know, though, based on the teachings of Jesus, that if our hearts have been touched, changed, and influenced by the grace and love of God, we will be led to do good things, especially to touch the lives of others for good by giving ourselves away with no thought of what we’ll get out of it.

We also know, on the other hand, based on the teachings of Jesus, that it is possible to do good things, even the kinds of things that will help other people, but not have those acts motivated by hearts that are full of grace and love.

O God, help us to examine our hearts and our actions to see if what is true of us externally is also true of us internally and vice-versa.

May everything about us be the result of your grace and love working in and through us.

May we, in other words, be blessed with integrity.


“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’” (Matthew 7:22-23)

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Prayer for Friday, April 29, 2011

“Not Everyone Who Says ‘Lord, Lord’”

O God, we acknowledge that right words are not enough; we furthermore acknowledge that the evidence that we belong in the kingdom of heaven is found in our actions and in the motives and attitudes that drive our actions.

Help us, O God, to do your will—to live lives that are fueled by your grace, that are inspired by your love, and that are dedicated to following the teachings and the example of Jesus.

And cause us to know, O God, that to call your name in the right ways and in the right places and with the right people is not enough.


“’Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Prayer for Thursday, April 28, 2011

“Beware of False Prophets”

Lead us, O Lord, to prophets—to preachers and teachers—who bear fruit that befits leaders who lead in the ways of Jesus because they follow the ways of Jesus.

Help us, O Lord, to look for the right kind of fruit in our preachers and teachers—fruit like grace, faith, mercy, forgiveness, humility, service, sacrifice, peace, and love; help us to follow leaders who show such fruit in their own lives and who help other people produce it in theirs.

Protect us, O Lord, from whatever it is in us that will allow us and even cause us to follow leaders who do not lead in the ways of Jesus, who do not produce the fruit that comes from following Jesus, and who lead in ways that are more for their gain than for the good of the Kingdom.

As for those of us who are prophets, who are teachers and preachers—Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy.


“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:15-20)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Prayer for Wednesday, April 27, 2011

“Enter Through the Narrow Gate”

The way that passes through the narrow gate and that follows the hard road is the way of Jesus which is the way of grace, of trust, of humility, of service, of sacrifice and of simplicity. It is the way that few take but it is the way that leads to real life…to a life worth living.

The way that passes through the wide gate and that follows the easy road is the way of the world which is the way of demand, of anxiety, of pride, of greed, of selfishness and of complication. It is the way that many take but it is the way that leads to destruction…to a life of futility.

O God, help us to take the way of the narrow gate and the hard road rather than the way of the wide gate and the easy road.

And having taken the narrow gate and the hard road, help us not to commit the error of expecting our choice to somehow turn into a wide gate and an easy road; constantly remind us that the way that leads to life is narrow and hard all the way.


“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”(Matthew 7:13-14)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Prayer for Tuesday, April 26, 2011

“As You Would Have Them Do to You”

Dear God,

I want--

--to be treated fairly,
--to be taken seriously,
--to be permitted to make mistakes,
--to be forgiven,
--to be appreciated,
--to be encouraged,
--to be given credit for what I get right,
--to be given some room,
--to be accepted,
--to be affirmed, and
--to be loved.

Help me to remember what I want when I am dealing with someone else.


“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Prayer for Monday, April 25, 2011

“Good Things”

We are unfortunately aware of parents who give bad gifts rather than good gifts and hurtful things rather than helpful things to their children. Lord, work in the hearts, minds, and spirits of such troubled people—both parents and children—that they might find healing and wholeness.

Such awareness notwithstanding, we know that the vast majority of parents are like the ones of whom Jesus speaks; while we are sinners who are too often driven by greed, by pride, by selfishness, or by fear we would nonetheless never dream of purposely giving our children anything that is not for their good and their help.

Our heavenly Father, Jesus said, is absolutely willing and able to give good things to his children when they ask for them.

So God, help us to ask for truly good gifts, starting with grace, love, and mercy and including the ability to follow the instructions for being disciples of Jesus that we find in the Sermon on the Mount.

And help us to live in utter trust that you will give us those things that we really need.


“Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Prayer for Sunday, April 24, 2011

“Ask, and It Will Be Given You”

Lord, give us the kinds of hearts that will humbly and honestly ask, search, and knock.

Lord, give us the kinds of hearts that will lead us to ask for good things.

Lord, give us the kinds of hearts that will recognize good things when you give them to us.


“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Prayer for Saturday, April 23, 2011

“Pearls before Swine”

Forgive us, O Lord, for our sometimes judgmental attitude that causes us to be overly critical of others and for our sometimes hypocrisy that causes us to hold others to a higher standard than that to which we hold ourselves.

Help us, O Lord, to be so filled with integrity and perspective that we can see our own faults clearly and deal with them appropriately; help us to be so filled with grace and love that when we see a fault in a sister or brother our response is one of compassion and sacrifice with nothing but their good in our hearts.

But there are people—and guard us from concluding this too quickly or too reflexively about any individual or about any group—who are evil, cruel, abusive, or manipulative and we need the discernment to recognize them and not to pretend that they are other than they are. Give us, O Lord, such discernment.

If we have to reach such a conclusion about someone, though, O Lord, remind and motivate us to pray for them; help us to love them—even if such love has to be given from a great distance.


“Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you.” (Matthew 7:6)

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Prayer for Friday, April 22, 2011

“Then You Will See Clearly”

Jesus teaches that it is possible for followers of him to get to a point of genuine spiritual maturity, a maturity marked by a determined willingness to become aware of so as to get rid of their own blatant sin, hypocrisy, and self-deception, so that they can legitimately approach a sister or brother with the goal of helping them to deal with some sin that he or she is facing.

O God, keep us from trying to approach someone else to “help” them with their sin when we have not yet faced up to ours.

O God, if we cannot approach a sister or brother with genuine love and grace and with great humility, cause us to keep our “help” to ourselves.

O God, if we can truly see our way clear to try to help someone else, give us the courageous love required to do so.

And O God, if we are the ones with a speck in our eye and if we get a real offer of real help from a real friend, give us the courageous grace to accept it.


O God,

“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Prayer for Thursday, April 21, 2011

“The Log in Your Own Eye”

You would think that a log in your own eye would get in the way of seeing a speck in your neighbor’s eye—but no.

Human nature, complicated by our sinfulness, allows and even causes us to perform the amazing feat of ignoring a glaring sin, problem, discrepancy, or contradiction in our own lives while simultaneously noticing the smallest sin, problem, discrepancy, or contradiction in someone else’s life.

Forgive us, Lord, for justifying ourselves while we condemn others.

Give us, Lord, the integrity to take a good hard look at who and how we really are so that we can seek and accept your grace that will do something about us.


“Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Prayer for Wednesday, April 20, 2011

“Do Not Judge”

First, O God, please help us not to be so frightened by this teaching of your Son that we are paralyzed into an inaction that keeps us from making appropriate progress. After all, who among us would want to be judged by you in the ways that we have judged others and would want to receive from you the measure we have given to others?

Second, O God, please help us to grow in grace so that we will not evaluate others by our standards that are so limited by our narrow experiences, our narrow spirits, and our narrow vision.

Third, O God, please help us not to be so arrogant as to think that we have enough access to and insight into your standards that we can actually judge others by them.

Fourth and finally, O God, please help us to see others and to love others with eyes and hearts that are brimming with grace, mercy, understanding, and compassion—with what your eyes and hearts brim when you look at us, in other words.


“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” (Matthew 7:1-2)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Prayer for Tuesday, April 19, 2011

“So Do Not Worry

Tomorrow may or may not come for you and tomorrow may or may not come for me; to worry about tomorrow, then, is a waste of good effort and energy that could better be used to deal with what the day that has actually arrived, namely, today, is bringing to us.

In fact, the next hour, the next minute, and the next second may or may not come for you or for me; to worry about even the next moment is a waste of good effort and energy that could better be used to deal with the only reality that we have, namely, the second in which we are alive right now.

Help us, God, not to miss the deep joy or to evade the deep sorrow of this, the only moment in which we are alive, by looking anxiously toward times and events that may or may not arrive.

Give us grace and strength to trust all our moments to you.


“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:34)

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Prayer for Monday, April 18, 2011

“Strive First for the Kingdom of God”

Grant, O God, that we strive first for the kingdom of God in a way similar to that in which we strive for the air we breathe; grant that we realize instinctively our need for it and that we receive naturally the gift of it.

Show us, O God, that just as going without air will leave us gasping for it so will going without your kingdom leave us gasping for the peace, the wholeness, the soundness, the relationships, and the meaning that constitute real life.

Remind us, O God, that in the same way that as long as we have air all other things pertaining to our physical lives are possible so as long as we are in your kingdom all other things pertaining not only to our physical lives but also to our spiritual lives will be ours to the degree that and in the proportion that we really need them.


“But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Prayer for Sunday, April 17, 2011

“Your Heavenly Father Knows”

If a person has, as many people in this world do have, a legitimate lack of decent food to eat or decent water to drink or decent clothes to wear, then it is perfectly understandable and right that they would ask “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?”

The truth is that their heavenly Father has provided enough for them, too, but the truth also is that we who have plenty—and many if not most of those who have plenty profess to be Christians—choose to hoard, keep and grab rather than choosing to offer, give and share.

Forgive us, Lord, for abusing the grace that gives us enough by not serving as a conduit of your grace to those who don’t have enough.

The truth furthermore is that too many of us spend way too much time and energy asking “What more can I eat?” and “What new variety of drink can I drink?” and “When can I go buy some more clothes for my already over-crowded closet?”

Forgive us, Lord, for committing not the sin of being anxious over having enough but rather for committing the gross sin of being anxious over acquiring more and more and more.

Give us the proper perspective, Lord—the perspective that sees all of our needs, all of our wants, all of our relationships, and all of our responsibilities in the light of the privilege of being your children and in light of being everyone else’s brother or sister.


“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” (Matthew 6:31-32)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Prayer for Saturday, April 16, 2011

“Consider the Lilies”

Human beings cannot just sit around and expect God to drop clothes on their bodies in the same way that God drops beautiful garb on the lilies of the field because, from the very beginning, human beings have been meant to work—Adam was put in the garden to till and keep it, after all. He probably took care of some lilies.

Still, God means for us to trust in God; we are to do the best we can do and to leave the rest to God.

Since we are of a different character than lilies—we have spirits, minds, consciences and relationships—life is going to be more complicated for us than it is for them but still—we are so much better off if we direct our spirits, minds, consciences, and relationships toward trust in God and away from worry.

O God, help us to grow toward having a simple yet mature trust in you that will allow us to at the same time take our lives with utmost seriousness and yet leave them in your hands.

Thank you for caring about us. Help us to care about each other, too, since if we spend our time and energy helping those who really struggle to have clothes we’ll spend less time thinking about getting some new ones for ourselves.


“And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?”(Matthew 6:28-30)

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Prayer for Friday, April 15, 2011

“By Worrying”

Jesus said that we cannot by worrying add any time to our lives; modern medical science suggests that by worrying we can actually deduct time from our lives.

Here is one of many cases where the wise thing to do is to listen both to Jesus and to science.

Lord, we do not pray that you will take away our worrying; to pray that way is only to set ourselves up to worry about why we are still worrying when we have prayed not to worry.

We ask instead, O Lord, that you would fill us with so much trust in you that over time worry gets crowded out of our lives.


“And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?” (Matthew 6:27)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Prayer for Thursday, April 14, 2011

“Look at the Birds of the Air”

Help us, Lord, to pay attention to the world around us and to learn from it. Help us to look at the birds of the air and to see that you take care of them.

Help us to notice too, Lord, that while “they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,” the birds nevertheless do what they’re supposed to do within the context of what you made them to do; they build nests and find bugs or worms to eat. In other words, they flourish by living in the environment in which you made them to live.

Help us, Lord, to live in the environment in which you made us to live, namely, the kingdom of God, so that we can thrive, too.

Thank you for feeding us in our bodies but thank you even more for feeding us in our spirits; thank you for feeding us in the ways that have temporal value but thank you even more for feeding us in ways that have eternal value.

Thank you, Lord, that we are of such high value to you that you take such care of us.


“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Prayer for Wednesday, April 13, 2011

“Is Not Life More Than…?”

If we trust God to meet our needs (“Give us this day our daily bread”), if we have the right priorities (“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven”), and if we serve the right master and don’t serve the wrong one (“You cannot serve God and money”), then our anxiety about this life and having adequate provision for it will be considerably lessened.

O God, give us a proper perspective on life and on our physical needs; help us to know and to live in light of our knowledge that to live in relationship with you is to have our deepest needs already met.

Lead us to strive for that which is “more than” our need to be provided for physically and not for that which is “less than” your grace and love which are the only human needs the fulfillment of which actually brings a sense of peace, security, and well-being.


“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25).

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Prayer for Tuesday, April 12, 2011

“Two Masters”

O God, we confess our sin of limping between two opinions, of trying to have it both ways, and of trying to serve two masters.

Forgive us for how we so often try to have you serve our money.

Prod, push, shove, and drive us to have our money serve you.

If we really want to know how we regard you, O God, perhaps we need to look at how we regard our money in comparison to how we regard you; give us the courage to do so honestly.

And then, O God, form and shape our hearts and our lives so that it is you that we serve—you and you only.


“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:24)

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Prayer for Monday, April 11, 2011

“If Your Eye is Healthy”

Cause us, O God, to be careful about what we let get into our lives through our eyes.

Cause us, O God, to be careful about what we set our sights on, about what we make the goal of our lives.

Cause us, O God, to be careful about what we concentrate on, about what we let our eyes dwell on.

Cause us, O God, to be careful about what we look for, about what we make the object of our life’s quest.

May what we set our sights on, what we concentrate on, and what we look for lead to our lives being flooded with your light rather than with the world’s darkness.


“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”(Matthew 6:22-23)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Prayer for Sunday, April 10, 2011

“Where Your Treasure Is”

Help us, O Lord, to store up our treasures in the right place; help us to store them up in heaven and not on earth.

Forgive us when we give in to self-centeredness and greed that cause us to give our best effort and our greatest energy to building an earthly legacy and to hoarding earthly possessions.

Empower us instead to make you and your will the center of our lives and as an outgrowth of that proper prioritizing to put the needs of others ahead of our needs, not to mention our wants.

Take away our pride that causes to care about how impressed others are with us and with our success and give us instead humility that causes us to care only about how our thoughts, motives, attitudes, and actions appear in your eyes.

Cause us to have our hearts in the right place. Give us the courage to take a good hard look at where we really store up our treasure so that we will know--and if necessary do something about--where our hearts in fact are.


“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Prayer for Saturday, April 9, 2011

“Treasures in Heaven

Grant, O God, that we will, empowered by your grace and guided by your Spirit, give our constant attention to developing lifestyles that are built on the motives, principles, and relationships that come from you so that we will here and now begin to experience the experiences and to be blessed by the blessings that come from you.

Cause us to live even now with an awareness of the experience of the eternal life that is ours in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thank you, God, for the ability to major on majors, for the capability of seeing and living our lives in the context of your kingdom.


“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:20)

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Prayer for Friday, April 8, 2011

“Treasures on Earth”

On the one hand, there is a sense in which possessions—basic, necessary possessions—can help to define who we are and can thus be very important to us; that is why one of the Ten Commandments says we should not steal.

On the other hand, thanks to our tendency to turn good things bad, we too often let our possessions, and especially the pursuit of more and more possessions, rule our lives and determine our priorities.

Jesus teaches us that grasping and hoarding do not befit the character and lifestyle of a disciple; we should have a sound perspective on the gaining and using of possessions because we are not bound by a temporal perspective.

God, help us not to place ultimate value on temporary things; help us not to assign primary significance to secondary things. Show us the lines between saving and hoarding and between having and grasping—and then help us not to cross those lines.


“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal….” (Matthew 6:19)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Prayer for Thursday, April 7, 2011

“Seen…by Your Father”

The point of spiritual disciplines such as fasting is that they put us in a better position to experience the presence of God; they are, then, between God and us.

Give us grace, O God, to take our relationship with you so seriously that we will be proactive in developing it from our side, inspired by the knowledge that you are always doing so from your side.

Give us faith, O God, to know that you do in fact see and honor our efforts to do what we can to open our lives up to you.

Give us peace, O God, with the knowledge that knowing and being known by you is life’s greatest reward.


“But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:17).

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Prayer for Wednesday, April 6, 2011

“Whenever You Fast”

O God, give us enough grace that we will want to practice basic spiritual disciplines such as fasting and that we will exercise the discipline to do so.

But when we do practice spiritual disciplines such as fasting help us not to be hypocrites; help us neither to pretend to be other than we in fact are nor to use the disciplines as a way to demonstrate to others how “holy” we are.

Rescue us from a shallowness that would believe that the pats on the back or the pitying glances or the jealous looks that we would get from others as a result of our “suffering for Jesus” actually mean anything at all.


“And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.” (Matthew 6:16)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Prayer for Tuesday, April 5, 2011

“If You Forgive Others Their Trespasses”

Having been forgiven, we must forgive—and the more we forgive the more forgiveness we are able to receive.

It is how grace works—the more grace we really receive the more grace we will offer and the more grace we offer the more grace we will receive.

Rescue us, O God, from a legalism that causes us to think we can earn your forgiveness by forgiving others, for if we think that way we will spend our lives wondering if the forgiveness we have given is legitimate enough or abundant enough.

But rescue us also, O God, from a shallowness that causes us to think we can receive your free and abundant forgiveness without it causing us, inspiring us, and enabling us to offer our free and abundant forgiveness to others.

Thank you for forgiving us.

Help us to develop hearts that by nature dispense so much forgiveness that they open up room in them to receive more and more forgiveness.


“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”(Matthew 6:14-15)

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Prayer for Monday, April 4, 2011

“Do Not Bring Us to the Time of Trial”

On the one hand, it is best for us to stay out of situations that would test or tempt us and so we pray, “God, keep us out of situations that test or tempt us.”

On the other hand, no matter how much we pray to stay out of such situations and no matter how hard we try to stay out of them, sometimes we will find ourselves in them anyway, and so we pray, “God, rescue us from the traps of the evil one.”

Jesus seems to indicate that sometimes God leads us into testing while sometimes the devil ambushes us with temptation. It is hard to escape the thought, though, that quite often we have quite a lot to do with getting ourselves into the situations that test or tempt us.

That thought seems especially pertinent since Jesus offered this petition between the petition that has to do with forgiving others (v. 12) and his further statement about forgiving others (vv. 14-15), the implication being that our greatest tests and temptations have to do with relationships, something at which we are all so flawed.

Beneath the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray lurks another implied prayer, then: “God, deliver us from ourselves.”


“And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Prayer for Sunday, April 3, 2011

“Forgive Us Our Debts”

Challenge us, O God, with the parables that Jesus told (1) about the Pharisee and the tax collector and (2) about the servant who was forgiven an impossible to pay back debt by his master but who would not forgive a small debt owed to him by a peer.

Challenge us through those parables and through this line of the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray with the challenging truth that there is a vital connection between the forgiveness that we receive from you and the forgiveness that we offer to others as well as between the forgiveness that we do not offer to others and the forgiveness that we do not receive from you.

Perhaps it all comes down, like so many truths do, to grace; in this case, perhaps the grace we are able to give is a direct reflection on the grace that we are able to receive—and vice-versa.

Give us, O God, the humility of the tax collector, who would not lift his eyes to heaven but who would only beat his breast and pray, “God, be merciful to me a sinner,” that we might truly know and receive your grace.

Give us, O God, an acceptance, appreciation, apprehension, and assimilation of your great grace that grants us such great forgiveness that we can’t help but be the opposite of the servant who, despite the great forgiveness he had experienced from his master, still did not have enough grace to share.


“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Prayer for Saturday, April 2, 2011

“Give Us This Day our Daily Bread”

Thank you, God, for this good earth and for the bounty it produces.

Thank you, God, for all of those who do the work needed to provide our food.

Thank you, God for the ability to labor so that we can earn the money we need to purchase food for our families.

And God, help those who get little or no share of that bounty, who have little or no access to the food that is produced, and who do not have the ability or the opportunity to earn what they need to feed themselves and their families.

Help us all to do what we can to help those in need.

Help us all to do what we can to change the structures that function in ways that make the distribution of food so inequitable.

Thank you, God, for giving us our daily bread.

Help us, God, to be driven by our thanksgiving to share out of our bounty with others.


“Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Prayer for Friday, April 1, 2011

“On Earth as It Is in Heaven”

To pray that the Father’s will be done on earth at it is in heaven raises some interesting—and mind-boggling—possibilities.

After all, don’t we assume that the Father’s will is done perfectly in heaven? Don’t we assume that the residents of heaven do what God wants them to do?

So if we dare to pray that the Father’s will be done on earth as it is done in heaven, aren’t we assuming that such doing is actually possible?

O God, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven—and we know that one day, when Jesus returns, it will be.

But God, may it be done a little more each day right here and right now in those of us who follow your Son and who call on your Name and who know your grace.

Please open our minds, hearts, spirits, and bodies to the possibilities for our lives, our worship, our witness, our relationships, and our service.


“On earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10c)