A PERSONAL PRAYER
It is time for confession, God – sometimes people bug me. The ongoing give and take of life, negotiating the agendas of other folks, taking the time to listen to different opinions, turning the other cheek and forgiving and peacemaking and all that – it can get exhausting.
God, can’t you make all the people who disagree with me move away?
Can’t you make everyone else change?
It is so hard to work together… in our world, in our country, in the workplace, in the family, even in the church. Sometimes I think I should just move away by myself, a Henry David Thoreau sort of existence… “I will arise now, and go to Innisfree…” as Yeats puts it.
But God, what I would miss! I would love doing without the annoyance and irritation, but I would also miss the love. And when I really think about it, I couldn’t get much accomplished for you by myself. Besides, I recognize that the problem isn’t really them; it is me. And if I went away I would still have to take myself along.
So God, keep me engaged with others. Show me how to be slow to speak and quick to listen. Make me willing to yield when the time is right, and willing to push and lean in when it is necessary. Help me to see the good in others, and seek to learn from them. And open me to change, so that together, we might change the world on your behalf. Amen.
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
This Sunday, we will continue our series, “Show Me: The Letter of James,” and we will talk together about the importance of community, and the challenges of getting along with others. The title is “Better Together.” As the first Sunday in October is World Communion Sunday, we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper together in all of our services.
Scripture + Shared is here! I have been studying the letters of James and 1 and 2 Peter this summer, and am anxious to teach it to you in our eight session study this fall. There are daily Bible readings, commentary and explanation, and reflection and discussion questions on the Scripture + Shared app and St. Luke’s website. The video curriculum (also on the app and website) includes conversational lessons in which I visit with other St. Luke’s pastors and staff about the letters. Find a group and learn how to download the app at stlukesmethodist.org/bible.
Sunday, October 7
Gracious God, you have blessed us with a strong community of faith here at St. Luke’s. Give us strength and self-discipline to develop our Five Habits: We Pray, We Study the Bible, We Make Friends, We Tell Our Stories, and We Give Ourselves Away in Generosity and Service so that we may move forward in our journey of faith. Give us the courage to take the next step to move closer to you. Fill us with your loving, peaceful Holy Spirit. Amen.
Monday, October 8
Lord God, we pray for comfort and peace for those who have lost their spouse over the past few years. Remind them of your presence during the times of loneliness and pain. Help us all to find new joy in your redemption. Amen.
Tuesday, October 9
Heavenly Father, we pray for strength, serenity, and guidance to deal with what weighs heavily on our minds. We will trust in your ways, O Lord. Amen.
Wednesday, October 10
Lord, we pray for those who need reconciliation and healing in their marriage. Please restore relationships, and help them grow close to one another again. Amen.
Thursday, October 11
Heavenly Father, we pray for our children who have wandered away. Put people in their lives who will lovingly draw them back to you. Help us to have the discernment to know when to press and when to pull back our words of encouragement. Amen.
Friday, October 12
Lord, be with those who are taking care of elderly parents. Please give them wisdom and discernment as they make decisions about their parents’ care. Amen.
Saturday, October 13
God, you created a beautiful world for us to live in, but often we are too busy to enjoy your majestic creation. We ask, God, that you would help us to be present in the moment and to enjoy all of the beauty that surrounds us. Help us to see the beauty that we haven’t seen before, and quiet our minds to hear your symphony played out by nature. Thank you, God, for the gift of creation. Amen.