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Daily Prayers for the OCC

Daily Prayers for the OCC April 2017

325 for our 325th Anniversary Year!

 

Monday September 11, 2017. Prayer 383. Prayer for the Lost

Currently it is listed that 2,996 people perished in the attacks on September 11, 2001. Over 6,000 people were wounded.  It was a day of great loss.  Families were changed forever.  Lives took different courses.  Communities lost great neighbors and friends.  Our military policy directed us towards two wars.  One is still ongoing.  The other set into motion a global conflict with a new fundamentalist terrorist power.  On September 11, 2007 the sun came up on a picture perfect day—blue sky and crisp air.  The day ended in visions of jet fuel explosions, billowing black smoke, a sea of swirling office paper, and concrete dust.  Psalm 122:6 reads, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!  May they be secure who love you!  Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!”

Dear God, for those who loved and lost so much, may they be forever secure in your peace.

 

Tuesday September 12, 2017. Prayer 384. Go to the Lost

In Matthew 10:6 Jesus instructs his disciples, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” This was just the beginning.  The church became a great influence to lost people everywhere.  But first, the group needed to find their own lost loved ones.  If you try to do everything for everyone all the time, you lose your way.  Start with a focus.  Accomplish that task.  Assess. Discern what you’ve learned.  Expand your outreach.  In it all, the lost are to be your big concern.  The church houses not the found, but the lost.

Dear God, bless me to not be afraid of the lost. Let me reach others with a tender loving care that is never lost on anyone.  Amen.

 

Wednesday September 13, 2017. Prayer 385. Lost to You

The Holy Scriptures inform us about loss. Jesus says, “What does it profit us to gain the whole world but forfeit a soul?” In Revelation 18:14 we see a beautiful city full of commerce and the finest goods and services of the world literally go up in smoke.  “The fruit for which your soul longed has gone from you, and all your delicacies and your splendors are lost to you, never to be found again!”  When a great city is lost, great is the fall of it.  If what we long for is a lasting human city, then it is imperative to gain our citizenship in the heavenly one.  Jesus was convinced that the kingdom of the Lord was at hand.  That means God is with us.  We lose sight of that when we only chase after our own accomplishments.

Dear God, direct my life aright. May I seek that which brings out the best in a Godly life here in the midst of our human city.  Amen.

 

Thursday September 14, 2017. Prayer 386. The Loss of All Things

The Apostle Paul had a faith that could create a community in a harsh and uncaring world. That means he was not a softy about his own things.  He had been convinced his faith of origin was undeniably the right one and defended it against perceived enemies and detractors.  Only, his faith changed when he encountered Jesus.  Paul writes in Philippians 3:7 “Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.”  Everything he had acquired up to that point, power, privilege, status, station, was nothing, “just rubbish” he says, “because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”  Faith life gives us confidence to put our own trials and tribulations into divine perspective.  To what end are we working so hard?  Has what we gained in life surpass the authentic way of Christ’s compassion, and submission to serve on the side of life?  These are big questions, and keeping them before us, directs our steps.

Dear God, help me to be so attached to my stuff that I can’t find room in my heart to be attached to you! Amen.

 

 

Friday September 15, 2017. Prayer 387. The Loss of A Blessed Life

When Job suffered terrible losses of loved ones, securities, and health, he then lost the blessing of his friends. One friend named Zophar said to him, “Let’s face it, the wicked will suffer God’s wrath so…” indicating Job deserved his terrible fate for not being faithful enough.  A wicked person “will fly away like a dream and not be found.” Job disagrees.  He says in Job 21:30 “that the evil man is spared in the day of calamity…another dies in the bitterness of soul never having tasted prosperity.”  Wicked people can and do live lives “full of vigor, being wholly at ease and secure.”  Job says to his companions, “some friends you are—you scorn me when I’m unjustly suffering.”  We can be so afraid of the presence of suffering we deny it right while talking to our closest loved ones.

Dear God, convince me that loss and suffering does not keep our friends from being blessed with great love. Amen.

 

Monday September 18, 2017. Prayer 388. Tell Them To Go Forward

A leader leads. Moses pleads to God on behalf of the people who were terrified by the approaching army as they stood looking out into an impassible sea.  Trapped by circumstance in the desire to be free.  God literally says, “Why are you asking me?  Tell the people to go forward.”  In Exodus 14:16 God says to Moses, “March into the midst of the sea on dry ground.”  That can’t be done.  How can you be in the sea and on dry ground?  We saw in the recent hurricane that swirling winds over a hundred miles an hour can take all the water out of the bay before it comes rushing back.  You can’t stay in the sea under the eye of the hurricane for long.  But, you can do it.

Dear God, when my life is under great distress, let me boldly step forward, even into the unknown. Amen.

 

Tuesday September 19, 2017. Prayer 389. A Handful of Quietness

Ecclesiastes has some of the greatest lines of spiritual wisdom that endures the ages. Here is one.  Ecclesiastes 4:6 reads, “Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.”  The big idea is that while we do all this striving under the hot day’s sun, we never seem to be fully satisfied with our riches.  Our culture has a terrific tension with work.  We praise the overworked as responsible.  We curse the underworking as irresponsible.  This gets very confused when we apply that to our own schedules.  When are we ever off?  When do we ever quiet our minds?  Can we find a handful of quietness rather than two hands full with our cell phones and constant chatter?

Dear God, quiet my anxious mind today that my striving includes the quest of quietness in my hands. Amen.

 

Wednesday September 20, 2017. Prayer 390. A Handful of Helpers

When Jesus was teaching his students in the ways of the kingdom of heaven, he says in Matthew 9:37 “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the Lord’s harvest.” Any church person knows the struggle of doing more with less help.  It is comforting to know that Jesus experiences this in his ministry.  If our Lord says to pray for more help, why are we so convinced we are the first ones who have to do all the work ourselves?  Love is not like a bucket of water that runs out when you serve others.  Love, when poured out freely and faithfully returns more love before the end of the day.

Dear God, when I get fed up with having to do everything myself, may that also include the prayers that you send me your helpers! Amen.

 

 

Thursday September 21, 2017. Prayer 391. Seventy Times Seven

Seventy times seven is four hundred and ninety. This number is equal to how many times we are to forgive another who has sinned against us.  Peter asks Jesus, “how many times must I forgive?”  In Matthew 18:22 Jesus’ reply is, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”  Is this even possible?  Does Jesus literally mean 490 times and then at the occasion of 491, your obligation to forgive is over?  In fact, are you not following Jesus by forgiving another of their sin against you more than 490 times?  Of course not.  Context.  The passage clearly indicates we ought to forgive a lot.  Keep forgiving when we grow weary.  Forgive so many times you lose count and it just becomes your way to approach life.  Become a forgiving person.  Why would Jesus be so emphatic about this?  Look at the world today.  Look at your life.  Has there been too much forgiveness in it?

Dear God, lead me in the way of being a forgiving person. Grant me a framework for a safe and compassionate life.  Amen.

 

Friday September 22, 2017. Prayer 392. Stirring Up Strife

Proverbs 9:12 tells us, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” When a group expresses a message of anti-hate but uses speech that stirs up division, there is something missing in the movement.  When a presenter is calling for volunteers for an anti-hate speech project and the audience is being reprimanded for not being mature, there is something missing in the moment.  The hope of a righteous movement brings joy, speaks joy, gives joy, leaves joy behind.  If you have something important to say, ask yourself, “where is the joy in doing this, not just for myself and my cause, but for the people I am speaking to?”

Dear God, make all my messages be clear, compassionate, and lead toward caring community. Amen.