And for a more positive look at Ferguson, Missouri …

And for a more positive look at Ferguson, Missouri …

Amidst the chaos of recent events in Ferguson, MO, it is good to remember that this is occurring in a community filled with wonderful people. Please continue to pray that peace will be restored, justice will be served, and that we will come out of this a stronger community.

To join our Facebook prayer group, click here.

If you would like to join us in prayer for St. Louis …

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(image source)

I have started a Facebook page for those would like to join us in prayer for St. Louis, specifically regarding the recent events surrounding the death of Michael Brown. To see more details on this tragic event and the aftermath, see my earlier post or this recent news story. To join the Facebook prayer page, click here. I very much appreciate your prayers for this city that I love.

Justice AND Mercy, Truth AND Love

Justice AND Mercy, Truth AND Love

This video was a perfect backdrop to the prayer I shared earlier in regards to the issues we are facing here in North County, St. Louis in the aftermath of the death of Michael Brown. So often we want only one component of God’s plan. We separate out things that should go together – Justice AND Mercy, Truth AND Love. We also separate ourselves from others based on which end of the spectrum we want to align ourselves with, but the ultimate answer lies in alignment with the fullness of God’s commands. Micah 6:8 follows the instructions to “do justice and love mercy” with “walk humbly with your God.” It is difficult for us to find the balance between extremes. That is why we must humbly acknowledge that God’s ways are better than our ways and seek His guidance in these times. The two sides will only come together when both acknowledge the need for both justice and mercy, both truth and love.

Praying for My City

I live in North County St. Louis, less than six miles from the rioting and looting that has resulted from the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer. My heart has been so grieved as I’ve watched these events unfolding – from the sadness of the shooting itself to the chaos that has surrounded us tonight. I knew I would not be sleeping anyway, so I decided to spend the time in prayer for my city and asked Facebook friends to join me. To help promote even more prayer for this situation, I’m sharing one of my posts here:

Given that the Church is called to continue the ministry of Christ, I offer this prayer based on Luke 4:18-19 …

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me” – Lord, help us to recognize that You are with us. Your Spirit enables Your people to have wisdom and power. Help us to be sensitive to the leading of Your Spirit, act and speak with wisdom, and be confident in Your power to handle this situation.

“Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.” – Help us to remember that the ultimate solution to all societal ills is to lead people to You. I pray that we will be living examples of the power of the gospel to transform lives. May people see hope in this message. I pray we live in a manner worthy of this calling.

“He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives” – Dear God, I pray that people would be freed of the chains that bind them to the sins that lie behind the chaos we see. Hatred, bigotry, judgmentalism, pride, greed, envy, lust for power and possessions – free us from these and all other things that are in opposition to Your truth.

“And recovery of sight to the blind” – In times like these, Lord, it is so easy to put blinders on as to the thoughts, opinions, needs, and feelings of others. In our desire to state our case or make our point, we turn a blind eye to anything that does not fit into our agendas. Help us, Lord, to see clearly. Help us to open our eyes to the needs of those around us and to look at others through Your eyes.

“To set free those who are oppressed” – Help us to remember that it is our mission to speak for the oppressed. Let us not pretend that oppression does not exist. Let us see it for the evil that it is and work towards justice.

“To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” – Help us to have hope in You, Lord.

Jewish Prayer of Mourning

I found this prayer of mourning comforting today. It is my sister’s birthday. She would have been 48.

It is hard to speak of oneness when our world is not complete,
when those who once brought wholeness to our life have gone,
and naught but memory can fill the emptiness their passing leaves behind.

But memory can tell us only what we were, in company with those we loved;
it cannot help us find what each of us, alone, must now become.

Yet no person is really alone;
those who live no more echo still within our thoughts and words,
and what they did has become woven into what we are.

We do best homage to our dead by living our lives fully
even in the shadow of our loss.
For each of our lives is worth the life of the whole world.
In each one is the breath of the Ultimate One.

In affirming the One, we affirm the worth of each one whose life, now ended,
brought us closer to the Source of Life, in whose union no person is alone and every life finds purpose.

Positioning Yourself to Hear

Positioning Yourself to Hear

I went on a prayer walk in a beautiful garden. This particular prayer path (a labyrinth) winds around in a way that brings you past the same spot periodically, but with varying degrees of closeness and different points of view. So, I passed by the same small waterfall fountain several times. I began to notice that while I was on the backside of the fountain, even when I was only a few feet away from it, I could barely hear it at all. But when just a few more steps put me on the front side of the waterfall I could hear its beautiful, refreshing sound very clearly. I wrote the following in my journal: Same fountain at all times; it’s just my positioning which determines if I hear it and receive the peace-bringing, life-renewing sound of it.

I also wrote this prayer: Lord, help me to stay positioned with you in front of me and my face towards you that I might experience the fullness of what you bring to me and have an ear to hear what you might say to me.