March 20, 2020: A Prayer While Sheltering In Place

God of Grace,

We are a people who are being stressed and stretched to our limits…

even if all we are doing is staying in the shelter of our own homes–our imaginations can run wild. 

We gather virtually because we long for community,

A sense of normalcy,

And a sense of your presence.

We trust you when you say that wherever two or three are gathered, even virtually, 

you are with us.

Open our hearts to be sensitive to your presence with and among us. 

Our fears and concerns are not unfounded.
Our reliance upon you allows us to face them responsibly

With a kind and generous spirit.
Remind us of that when we need it…

When we are tempted to panic

Or act out of fear.

As we live in isolation from some, we live in close quarters with others.
Remind us to be forgiving.

And don’t let us forget those who don’t have the luxury of physical companionship in our isolation.

Inspire us to reach out creatively.

Convict us of our tendency to hoard resources.
Teach us to hold with a loose grip those items we should share
And a tight embrace those who are truly precious.

You commanded us to love our neighbors.

Teach us how to best love one another.

And remind us that new every morning is your Love,

Oh great God of Light.
All day long you are working for Good in the World.
Let us not forget this.
Stir up in us a desire to serve creatively (even in this strange time)

And to devote our days to walking in the living traditions of Jesus
Who sought out the poor, the disenfranchised, the lonely…

And remembered them, and tended to their needs.

Inspire us to live faithfully in Light of the Resurrection, even in this Lenten season.
We withdraw for the sake of being able to gather Later.


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May 14, 2017– Mothers Day

Holy Mother,

We gather today as a congregation to honor the source of our being–
the One in Whom we live and move and have our existence.

And while we celebrate motherhood in its various forms, we remember that the church (as Your body) is our mother too: a womb of contemplation and action.

She is a mother who teaches, rebukes, corrects and trains us in righteousness.

From her we learn to speak the truth in love.

And part of speaking the truth in love is the sharing of our joys and concerns with one another, as we lift them up to you.

Hear the prayers of your children!

[prayer cards are read aloud]

And we know that it takes courage to write these prayers–to even put them on paper–knowing a whole host will hear them.

And sometimes we lack courage.
Sometimes our prayers are too hidden or to painful to be spoken aloud.
Sometimes our joys are inexpressible, and can only be pondered in our hearts.
And we remain silent.

And sometimes we feel abandoned by You.
But the prophet Isaiah reminds us of Your presence.
He asks “Has God forgotten us?” and answers the question with incredulity:
“Can a nursing mother forget her child?”

We trust you to hear us in our silence!

[pause for a few moments of silent prayer]

Lord, hear our prayers!

And remind us that new every morning is Your love,
Oh great God of Light
And all day long, you are working for good in this world.

Stir up in us the desire to serve
To live peaceable

To devote our days to walking in the living traditions of Jesus
who welcomed the disenfranchised
cared for the sick
was generous with the poor
and loved the unlovable.

Blessed Be!

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Third Week of Advent: Generosity

Gracious God,

We’re feeling particularly generous this time of year, Lord.
It is a time of giving.

You demonstrated to us what it means
to give Yourself wholly in Jesus.
He is wholly Divine: nothing held in reserve.
You gave yourself to us.
To be with us; to be one of us.

Teach us to imitate you.
To not be miserly with our most precious possessions—
our kindness,
our forgiveness,
our peace.
Teach us to live in the freedom of your abundance.

Remind us whose we are
So that the question shifts from
asking ourselves what we should give
to what we should keep.

Because You gave yourself so freely,
we live out of the abundance of your generosity–
a life with an open palm and a loose hand
instead of a tightly gripped fist.
Your generosity is our grace.

And it is out of this generous grace
that we open our hearts to one another
and hear each other’s concerns
and celebrate each other’s joy.
Let us hear the prayers of this congregation!

[read aloud prayer cards]

And we acknowledge that we all have concerns
or moments of joy
which really aren’t fit for public consumption.
So we hold these quietly, to ourselves.
But have confidence that you hear us, even in our silence.

[pause for silent prayer]

Your unreserved generosity holds us in grace.

And the new fallen snow refreshes and reminds us
that new every morning is your love
Great God of Light
and all day long you are working for Good in the world.
Stir up in us a desire to serve
To live peaceably with our neighbors
and to devote each day to walking in the living tradition of Jesus
who lived without reservation
and welcomed those who were isolated
and cared for the poor
and tended to those in need.

Blessed Be!

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January 31, 2016–Breaking the barriers

Gracious God,

Surely you have a wry sense of humor!
50 degree weather in Chicago in January…
Talk about breaking barriers
and disrupting false notions of the boundaries we hold!

And we do hold them tightly, don’t we?
Some subconsciously;
Some quite consciously.
Often out of nostalgia.

Whether it be documented or undocumented;
Black or White;
orthodox or heretic;
rich or poor;
Ohio State or Michigan…

We love our boundaries!

But this weekend you remind us,
even in something as simple as surprisingly warm weather,
of the joy of boundaries broken.

And our prayer time functions to remind us further that boundaries are fluid–

And our act of lifting our prayers up to you
disrupts the notion of a separation of me/you… of I/Thou.

We hold these prayers up together, collectively,
as OURS–shared in a radical act of hospitality.
We shoulder each other’s joys and concerns.

[read aloud the prayer cards]

And we acknowledge that even in our most hospitable moments
some things feel too heavy a burden to share,
or too private a thought to voice aloud.
To these we trust in your unfailing ability to hear us in our silence.

[pause for silent prayer]

We trust you to hear us in our silence!

The same trust helps us see your love, renewed each morning.
We trust that you are working for good in the world.

Stir up in us a desire to serve
and to live peaceably.

Help us to devote ourselves to the traditions of Jesus–who broke barriers;
cared for those in need;
reached out to the disenfranchised;
who taught us to see each other.

Teach us how to best love one another!

Blessed Be!


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February 28, 2015– A prayer for ISIS (part 1)

Love your enemy, you say.

Pray for those who persecute you, you say.


A theological exertion of the will–
To wish change upon the Other.
A prodding of your Spirit to move ‘them’ towards the right ends.

She must be lazy: in need of a prompt or invocation.
At any rate, the Divine Will is certain;
The Direction clear.
And my intercession will get Her moving.

So I pray.

She gets up and stretches
and turns towards me.
Amused, She laughs–
Carbonated holiness.

With a yawn of boredom
She points to a new interpretation–
instead of intercession
how about empathy?

To pray as your enemy would–
on their behalf.

And Divine Judgment shifts
its gaze back to me
and mirrors

The prayer for intercession
is a prayer of confession.
This is what it means to pray for my enemies.

And now I don’t know who they are.

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December 14, 2014 – Third Sunday of Advent: Joy

Gracious God,

We gather together
in celebration of the Divine–
in, around, and among us.

Your presence overwhelms us
and instills us with a deep and abiding joy.
In you we find our peace and comfort.

Open our hearts
so that the still waters of peace get stirred.
Move us out of complacency
so that we bubble over with joy and passion.
For your joy dispels all fear.

Open our hearts to hear the prayers of this congregation–
both our concerns and our hope.

[read aloud the prayer cards]

We talk of joy
but we also have to acknowledge
that joy can be elusive for some
especially during the holiday season.
Some concerns run so deep
we cannot find words to express them.
Hear us in our silence too.

[pause for silent prayer]

Thank you for hearing us!

Teach us to also hear each other
in those gaps– in the silences.

Open our hearts
and stir up in us
a desire to serve
and live peacefully
and joyfully–
without fear
and without the need to grasp
or lay hold of answers or quick fixes.

Open our hearts
to the joy of your presence
which sustains us
regardless of circumstance
and frees us
to love one another.


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November 23, 2014– Enough!

Gracious God,

This is the season of gratitude.
And we gather together in a spirit of Thanksgiving–
aware of our giftedness
and the source of all things given.

As we celebrate your overflowing
grace and love for us,
help us to also remember
when we’ve had enough.

that your grace is sufficient…
that we don’t, under your grace,
live out of an economy of scarcity;
that your grace teaches us
how to be satisfied.
And our satisfaction results in divine generosity.

Teach us to rejoice in the divine “Enough!”.

And open our hearts
to those who aren’t experiencing “enough”–
those in need of divine generosity.
Both our expressions of satisfaction and need
can be heard through our congregational prayers.

So we lift them up to you:
[read aloud the prayers of the congregation]

We lift them up to you.

And we acknowledge the unspoken prayers which linger in our hearts.
[pause for silent prayer]

Hear us in our silence, too–
in those gaps which express need and satisfaction.

We are reminded of your abundance
renewed each morning with the light of day.
All day long you are working for good in the world.

Let your abundance spark within us
the divine “enough” so that we’ll have
the desire to serve and live peaceably.

Devote our ways to the living traditions of Jesus
to welcome the excluded
and care for those in need;
to allow your grace to be sufficient
to live out of divine generosity.

Blessed Be!

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