Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Prayer for Tuesday, January 31, 2012

“War & Peace”

O God,

By your grace, help us to come to terms with the conflict in our spirit that leads us into conflict with other people that can ultimately result in ruptured relationships and, on the grand scale, in wars between nations.

By your grace, help us to grow in peace in our spirits, in the knowledge that while we are all conflicted within ourselves and while we are all prone to have conflict with others, your Spirit of peace is working to heal our fractured spirits and our fractured relationships and, on the grand scale, to bring about the time when nations will know war no more.


Monday, January 30, 2012

A Prayer for Monday, January 30, 2012

“Promise & Peril”


This week, like all weeks, holds much promise and much peril.

In all of it, help us to trust you.

Help us to journey through this week

not with fear but with faith,
not with presumption but with trust,
not with starry eyes but with clear vision,
not with despair but with hope,
not with defenses up but with arms outstretched,
not with dread but with realism, and
not with frivolity but with joy.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Prayer for Sunday, January 29, 2012

“The Lord’s Day”

On this Lord’s Day, may we worship you in Spirit and in truth, O God, so that the present reality of the resurrected Lord will be so evident to us that we will live in light of that reality in each moment of every day.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Prayer for Saturday, January 28, 2012

“Knowledge & Wonder”

We thank you, O God, for these magnificent brains with which you have blessed us. We thank you that we can think, reason, ponder, and understand. We thank you for those who put their brains to work trying to solve the world’s problems and trying to make the world a better place in which to live. We thank you that we can put our brains to work trying to solve our life problems and trying to make our life a better one in which to live.

Help us to see our brains as the great blessing that they are and to use our brains to the greatest extent that we possibly can.

We thank you also, O God, for the awareness that some realities lie beyond the reach of our reasoning abilities. We thank you that you in your grace and love have chosen in the ways that please you to reveal yourself to us that we might know you. We praise you for whatever leaps of faith we have been able to make that have put us in a position to know you better and to experience your love and grace more fully.

We stand in awe of the ways that you empower us to understand.

We stand in awe of the ways in which you enable us to celebrate and to submit to the wonder of it all.

Stunned both by what we know and by what we don't know, we praise you.


Friday, January 27, 2012

A Prayer for Friday, January 27, 2012


Lord God,

Increase our humility that

we will know that you are God and we are not;
we will think of and about others more than we do of and about ourselves;
we will value being loving over being right;

and that

we will live out our humility in humble and not prideful ways.

Lord God,

Increase our humility…


Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Prayer for Thursday, January 26, 2012


O God,

Work on our perspective today.

It is our default setting to think of ourselves as the center of everything; after all, we see the world from inside ourselves and it seems that everything revolves around us.

Remind us that it doesn’t.

Remind us that you alone are the center of the universe.

Remind us that everyone else has the same default setting that we do; they tend to see themselves as the center of it all.

We know that we can’t see the world as you do but we also know that, through your Spirit in us, we can move a lot farther toward such seeing.

Shift our perspective a little bit today that we might become less anxious and more trusting, less selfish and more selfless, less closed and more open, and less frightened and more adventurous.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Prayer for Wednesday, January 25, 2012


We acknowledge the truth, O Lord, that you are with us in every moment of our lives.

We confess the fact, O Lord, that there are many moments when we forget that truth.

Help us to remember in every moment of this day, O Lord, that you are with us in every moment of this day.

Our minds are active all the time; help us today actively and constantly to practice remembering that you are right here.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Prayer for Tuesday, January 24, 2012

“Alone & Lonely”

O God,

This world is filled with people who are alone and lonely—even though many of them are surrounded by people; one such alone and lonely person may even be someone that we see every day.

May some of them have a breakthrough today in which they will realize that you are with them and that you can and will commune with them in a personal and consistent way.

May some of them have a breakthrough today in which they take a step toward someone—and in which someone takes a step toward them—that will lead to a real and meaningful relationship.

May we have a breakthrough today in which we become aware of someone around us who is alone and lonely and in which we become an answer to their prayer for someone to care enough to enter into their life.


Monday, January 23, 2012

A Prayer for Monday, January 23, 2012

"This Week"

Chances are good, O God, that this will be a week like most weeks--a week filled with the routine, the regular, and the expected.

Chances are also good, O God, that this will be a week unlike any other week--a week that includes the unexpected, the surprising, and the life-changing.

Help us to look for you, to experience you, and to grow in our knowledge of you through everything that comes to us in this new week.

We thank you in advance for what this week holds even as we ask for your help in embracing it and living fully in it.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Prayer for Sunday, January 22, 2012

“The Lord’s Day”

May we receive the great gift of this Lord’s Day in hearts and lives that want only to worship you today, our great God.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Prayer for Saturday, January 21, 2012


We live in volatile times, O God—things are volatile socially, economically, religiously, and politically.

In these volatile times we pray for three gifts, God.

First, we pray for the gift of peace. Please give us wholeness and soundness that we will not be threatened or otherwise negatively affected by the volatility all around us.

Second, we pray for the gift of passion. Please give us a genuine enthusiasm that grows out of a genuine faith that will lead us to counter the fire of our culture’s volatility with the backfire of genuine care and concern.

Third, we pray for the gift of steadiness. Please give us the desire and ability to move forward slowly but surely—step by step, day by day, moment by moment—in grace and love that we will experience and demonstrate your stability to those who are tottering.


Friday, January 20, 2012

A Prayer for Friday, January 20, 2012


Today, O God, may we respond

to your commitment with our commitment,
to your faithfulness with our faithfulness,


to your love with our love.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Prayer for Thursday, January 19, 2012

“Your Presence”

Dear God,

Whether we thought about it or not, you were with us through the night and you will be with us in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, and when night comes around again.

Today, cause us to think about your presence.

Today, cause us to celebrate your presence.

Today, cause us to depend on your presence.

Today, cause us to appreciate your presence.

Today, cause us to be influenced by your presence.

Today, cause us to be enlivened by your presence.

Thank you, God, for being with us whether or not we are aware of your presence; cause us today to be aware of it.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Prayer for Wednesday, January 18, 2012

“I Am With You”

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you always have been, always are, and always will be with us.


“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Prayer for Tuesday, January 17, 2012

“Go Therefore”

Give us grace, love, faith, and hope enough, O Lord, that we will live every moment of our lives sharing with others what we have received from you.

Inspire us not to keep these great gifts to ourselves, O Lord, but gladly and willingly to give them away, which gladness and willingness constitute perhaps the greatest evidence that we have received those gifts from you.

They will, after all, know we are Christians by our love.


“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.’” (Matthew 28:18-20a)

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Prayer for Monday, January 16, 2012

“They Worshiped Him, but Some Doubted”

O Lord, may our experience of you be as real to us as was that of those who were privileged to see you in your resurrected state.

O Lord, may our response to our experience of you be to worship you—to serve you by loving you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

O Lord, may our doubts that come to us even in the midst of our experience of you and of our worship of you serve in the long run to strengthen the real faith that we need in living these real lives in this real world.


“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” (Matthew 28:16-17)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Prayer for Sunday, January 15, 2012

“This Story is Still Told”

So fill us with the presence of the resurrected Jesus, so fill us with real life, O God, that our lives will continue the true story of his resurrection.

Protect us from the kind of dead and deadening lives, O God, that would make it hard for anyone to believe that we serve a risen Savior.


“While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, ‘You must say, “His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.” If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.’ So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story is still told among the Jews to this day.” (Matthew 28:11-15)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Prayer for Saturday, January 14, 2012

“He Is Not Here…There They Will See Me”

On the one hand, we need to focus on the crucified Jesus; he did, after all, give his life for us and he did, after all, teach us by his words and by his life that those who lose their lives will find them.

On the other hand, we need to focus on the resurrected Jesus; he is, after all, not in his grave and he is, after all, alive in and among us where we can and do experience him.

Cause us constantly to remember, O God, that Jesus died and that Jesus lives.

Fill us with the appropriate reverence that we will worship him and with the appropriate joy that we will serve him.


“But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’ So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’” (Matthew 28:5-10)

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Prayer for Friday, January 13, 2012

“Like Dead Men”

Grant, O God, that we will apprehend and experience your gracious acts of intervention in our world in ways that will make us alive as you intend us to be and not dead as we tend to be.

Thank you for the real life that can be ours through the resurrection of your Son Jesus; help us not to miss it because we are not looking for it or because when we see it we are afraid of it.

Too many people are among the walking and breathing dead, O God; make us so alive with the life of the resurrected Jesus that they can catch it from us.


“After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.” (Matthew 28:1-4)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Prayer for Thursday, January 12, 2012

“Make It as Secure as You Can”

They used a stone to try to block off the power of the resurrection.

They failed, of course.

Protect us, O God, from the futility of trying to shut ourselves off from the power of the resurrection and from the true life that can be ours in the resurrected Lord.

Protect us from the attempt to secure ourselves from the risk inherent in the resurrected Jesus; lead us instead to secure ourselves in the risk inherent in the resurrected Jesus.

Lead us into the wonderfully dangerous life that is ours through the presence in us of the life of the resurrected Lord.


“The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, ‘Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, “After three days I will rise again.” Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, “He has been raised from the dead,” and the last deception would be worse than the first.’ Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.’ So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.” (Matthew 27:62-66)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Prayer for Wednesday, January 11, 2012

“Went Away…Were There”

Joseph of Arimathea and the two Marys did the best they could do for Jesus after he died; Joseph used his status and his wealth to have Jesus entombed while the two Marys used their compassion and their time to show their respect for Jesus.

Joseph went away from the tomb while the two Marys stayed there; but they all did their best.

Help us to do our best in the face of the reality of the crucifixion of Jesus, O God. As it is appropriate, lead us to go on about our business and about your business; as it is appropriate, lead us to sit, to reflect, and to wait.

Whatever we do, O God, let it be done out of devotion to Jesus; whatever we do, O God, let us live in light of the twin facts that Jesus gave up his life and that Jesus calls us to give up our lives.


“When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.” (Matthew 27:57-61)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Prayer for Tuesday, January 10, 2012

“Many Women Were Also There”

Give us the kind of grace and faith that the women at the Cross had, O God—the kind of grace and faith that endures to the end and that follows Jesus wherever he goes, no matter the risk or the cost.


“Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.” (Matthew 27:55-56)

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Prayer for Monday, January 9, 2012

“Truly This Man Was God’s Son”

Keep us attuned, O God, to the ongoing results of and the ongoing effect of the death on the Cross of your Son Jesus.

Keep us aware, O God, of how things have changed and are changing, both in your vast creation and in the lives of people, because of the death of Jesus.

Keep us amazed, O God, at what the Crucifixion shows us about who Jesus was and who Jesus is.


“Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’” (Matthew 27:50-54)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Prayer for Sunday, January 8, 2012

"My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?"

It was a heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching, and spirit-wrenching prayer that Jesus voiced in the throes of death as he hung on the cross.

It was a prayer that reflected what he was experiencing.

Sometimes, O God, we in our pain cry out in a similar way; may it be an honest prayer when we pray it and not one fueled by our sometimes tendency toward drama and hyperbole.

Sometimes, O God, our pain is so real and our sense of your absence is so real that all we can do is to cry out to you.

Remind us, O God, even as we cry out to you, that joy comes in the morning and that resurrection follows crucifixion.


“From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘This man is calling for Elijah.’ At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.’” (Matthew 27:45-49)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Prayer for Saturday, January 7, 2012

"Come Down from the Cross"

"If you are the Son of God," they said to Jesus, "come down from the cross."

Never let us forget, O God, that he did not come down from the cross precisely because he was the Son of God.

Never let us forget, O God, that we are not to give up our cross precisely because we are the children of God, too.

Continuously teach us how it is in being faithful in bearing the cross that we are faithful in following Jesus; continuously teach us how it is giving up our lives that we find them.


"Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, 'You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.' In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, 'He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, "I am God’s Son."' The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way." (Matthew 27:38-44)

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Prayer for Friday, January 6, 2012

"This Is Jesus"

Grant, O God, that when we think about who Jesus is, we will always think of him hanging on the Cross, giving his all.

Grant, O God, that when we think about what it is to be a follower of Jesus, we will always think of him hanging on the Cross, giving his all.


"And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; then they sat down there and kept watch over him. Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, 'This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.'" (Matthew 27:33-37)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Prayer for Thursday, January 5, 2012

“To Carry His Cross”

Compel us, O God, to carry the cross of Jesus Christ as we live in this day.

Compel us, O God, to take up our cross and follow Jesus.

Compel us, O God, to live lives so filled with the grace and love of Jesus that we gladly give ourselves away day by day and moment by moment for the sake of that grace and love.


“As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross.” (Matthew 27:32)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Prayer for Wednesday, January 4, 2012

“They…Mocked Him”

The soldiers mocked Jesus by hailing him as “King of the Jews” while treating him as if he was anything but a King; indeed, they treated him as if he was subject to whatever insults and abuses they wished to inflict on him.

Give us courage, O God, to face up to whatever ways, be they obvious or subtle, that we mock Jesus by calling him our King while at the same time behaving in ways or by giving in to motivations that dishonor him.

Give us the grace to think thoughts and to carry out actions that reflect our service to and our following of Jesus Christ our King; give us the grace to mean what we say when we call him “King,” to live lives that match our words, to say words that match our lives, and to have spirits that lead us, when it comes to Jesus, to true words and true actions.


“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.” (Matthew 27:27-31)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Prayer for Tuesday, January 3, 2012

“His Blood Be On Us”

What the people meant when they said “His blood be on us and on our children” was that they were willing to accept the responsibility for the crucifixion of Jesus; what Pilate meant when he said “I am innocent of this man’s blood” was that he was not willing to accept responsibility for the crucifixion of Jesus.

It is likely that the people didn’t realize the gravity of what they were saying; it is possible that they were caught up in a mob mentality; it is possible that the many in the middle were swayed by the passions of the extremists.

It is likely that Pilate did realize the absurdity of what he was saying; it is possible that he was caught up in political survival mode; it is possible that he was afraid of the situation in which he found himself.

We would never say such a thing as “His blood be on us and on our children” but, dear God, we bear the responsibility nonetheless; after all, it is for our healing that he suffered.

We would never say such a thing as “I am innocent of this man’s blood” although sometimes we try to ignore or to evade our responsibility but, dear God, we bear the responsibility nonetheless; after all, it is for our sins that he died.

There is another sense in which his blood can be on us, O God—your Book teaches us that our sins can be covered by his blood.

“His blood be on us”—cause us to accept our responsibility, O God.

“His blood be on us”—enable us to know your forgiveness, O God.


“So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.’ Then the people as a whole answered, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’
So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified."
(Matthew 27:24-26)

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Prayer for Monday, January 2, 2012

“Have Nothing to Do with that Innocent Man”

While we acknowledge the concern that prompted the message of Pilate’s wife, we must challenge the value of her advice, O Lord, for having nothing to do with that innocent man Jesus was not an option for her husband and it is not an option for us.

While Pilate’s options were to release Jesus or to have him crucified, our options are to (1) try to live a life that ignores him—which won’t work because he’s always there, (2) try to live a life motivated by our self-interest—which won’t work because down that way lies emptiness and frustration, or (3) try to live a life based on following him—which will work but which is at the same time the easiest and the hardest way of all.

Today—again—we choose.

Give us sufficient wisdom, courage, and faith to choose well—and then to live well, knowing that everything has to do with that Innocent Man.


”Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, ‘Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, ‘Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.’ Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. The governor again said to them, ‘Which of the two do you want me to release for you?’ And they said, ‘Barabbas.’ Pilate said to them, ‘Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?’ All of them said, ‘Let him be crucified!’ Then he asked, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Let him be crucified!’” (Matthew 27:15-23)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Prayer for Sunday, January 1, 2012

“He Gave Him No Answer”

Teach us, O God, that sometimes, no matter what we say, it will make no difference; remind us, O God, that sometimes the minds of people are so made up or so closed or so open that even our truest words will not matter and that the greatest truth will be expressed through silence.

Teach us, O God, of the wisdom of silence; show us, O God, when it is best not to say a thing, even to defend ourselves.


“Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus said, ‘You say so.’ But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. Then Pilate said to him, ‘Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?’ But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.” (Matthew 27:11-14)