Friday, October 31, 2008

It's gettin' churchy up in here, again.

For the All Good Gifts stewardship program at Broadway, we include a devotional reflection (scripture, reflection, prayer) each week in our bulletin.

We've had folks write about the Gift of Presence, the Gift of Conversations, the Gift of Service, and Financial Gifts. This month we're talking about the Gift of Prayer. But somehow November surprised me, and we were without a writer from the congregation for this week's devotional -- so I did it. It appears below. ("The Gift of Prayer: Wrote a devotional about it. Like to hear it? Here it goes...")

Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you've sinned, you'll be forgiven—healed inside and out.

Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.

James 5: 13-16 (The Message)

I come, O God, wondering. As I prepare to approach you, God, I wonder why your presence fills me with both boundless hope and awesome fear. My human mind can’t know how your love for me flows over me without ceasing, but my heart feels the embrace of your warmth and my soul hears the silver lilt of your welcoming laughter.

I come, O God, wandering. The path before me, God – before us, you and me – is not straight, nor narrow, nor smooth, nor flat. It bears twists and turns, hills and valleys, highways and byways. Sometimes I take a shortcut, sometimes the long way ‘round. But we keep finding our way back to each other … although you find me more than I find you.

I come, O God, trembling. Entering into conversation with you, God, can be overwhelming – you, who know and see and create everything. I tremble with the uncertain trepidation of one who does not know. I tremble with the angry heartbreak of a disappointed friend. I tremble with the anxious anticipation of a child on Christmas Eve. I tremble because my whole body knows that something – something big, something beautiful, something challenging, something scary … something! – is about to happen. It always does when we talk.

I come, O God, for you are here. In prayer, my God, I open myself to you so that you can open me even more. I give myself to you – my attention and intention, my hopes and my dreams and my fears – so that you can find even more of me to give to you and to others. I am fully present to you so that you can make me more fully present to myself and to others.

I come wondering, wandering, and trembling, O God, for you are here.

Loving and patient God,
Thank you for the infinitely powerful and eternally renewable gift of prayer. Help me to remember that prayer can take many forms, occur in many places, and happen any time, for you are with me, ready to talk and to listen, wherever I am. Amen.

1 comment:

StaceMc said...

i kind of like when it gets churchy up in here, it's never preachy just uplifting.