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Daily Prayers for the OCC

Daily Prayers for the OCC  2018

 

Monday January 1, 2018. Prayer 459. New Year’s Day

The start of a new year is always a daunting day. What will happen?  Where will we find ourselves next year?  Are we ready to let go of last year?  Is it time to make resolutions for a better life?  New Year’s Day has a mind of its own.  Best to not worry too much about tomorrow.  As Jesus says in Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Dear God, even my troubles are as possible solutions for you, show me the way to the newness in each day!

 

Tuesday January 2, 2018. Prayer 460. A Time to Weep

Ecclesiastes, the word for “Preacher” is a book that affirms that there is a season for everything in its time. That is surely to bring tears.  In Ecclesiastes 3:4 we acknowledge there is, “a time to weep and a time to laugh.”  It’s very tricky to do both at the same time but it can be done.  When a loved one passes suddenly, we cry.  When we think of how much they loved us and went to such great lengths to make us laugh, we smile again.  The ultimate wisdom is that tears of sorrow come from the longing to experience tears of joy and laughter.  Both are God’s gift to us.

Dear God, when I cry, when I laugh, hold me close to love and never let me go. Amen.

 

Wednesday January 3, 2018. Prayer 461. A Time to Cast Away

With a new year, it is good to be thoughtful about what ought to be cast away in life. You can’t hold onto everything.  In order for your bowl to be filled with something good, what it held previously needs to be emptied.  Ecclesiastes 3:5 says there is “a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together.”  What do we do with all the stones we gather?  Build a foundation for a house and a hearth?  Create a community garden or building?  Prepare for an attack that we are afraid is inevitable?  If we are gathering or casting away, may it always be for peace.

Dear God, when I am uncertain about my future, let me gather up what is needed, and cast away what is not. Amen.

 

Thursday January 4, 2018. Prayer 462. A Time for War

Ecclesiastes makes no bones about the reality of human history. There is always a time for war.  We wish that were not a true statement.  Nations stockpile weapons and test fire them to wave uncertainty, threaten violence, and show off their power to their neighbors.  It is best to cling to the second part of the wisdom of Ecclesiastes 3:8 there is “a time for war, and a time for peace.”  In war time we work towards peace.  In peace-time we work towards preventing war and keeping the peace.

Dear God, why do the nations so furiously rage together? Let there be peace between all the peoples of the earth. Amen.

 

Friday January 5, 2018. Prayer 463. Nothing Better!

The Preacher in Ecclesiastes does come up with something that holds true in a universe that holds everything good and bad. In Ecclesiastes 3:12 the preacher says that there is nothing better for us to do than to, “Be joyful, and to do good, as long as you live, also, eat, drink, and take pleasure in all your toil.”  This is God’s gift to us.  The greatest gift is to be given a life where your work is your play and your pleasure is in the simple gifts of a good meal with family, friends and neighbors and strangers!  There is nothing better than to have a season to enjoy your life especially because some seasons can become so difficult.

Dear God, bless my loved ones, my neighbors, and all with health, that they may experience joy in each day. Amen.

Monday January 8, 2018. Prayer 464. You Know It

For most of us, when we see a lie or we see a truth, we know it. There are many clues to telling the truth.  Education, experience, facial expressions, tone of voice, style of writing, these all can inform us what another is telling us rings true or hollow based on the situation at hand.  Psalm 139 convinces us that God knows everything.  In Psalm 139:4 we hear this prayer, “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.”  If we are guilty of speaking an untruth, we are guilty before it is even uttered.  If we are convicted of telling our truth that speaks of our soul’s struggle, we are at one with the truth before we say a word.  God knows what is on our mind.  God likes to hear us pray out loud because the sound of our voice is so sweet when we say something kind, and mean it!

Dear God, if ever I am confronted by a false statement this year, let me know it, and know the right thing to do! Amen.

 

Tuesday January 9, 2018. Prayer 465. Where Can I Go?

One of the most vital of all truths expressed in the Bible is found in Psalm 139:7 “Where shall I go from your Spirit?” We all get very good at getting busy with our work, our life, our family demands, our distractions, and we fool ourselves into thinking “this is my life over here,” and that “God’s life is over there.”  The Psalmist is convinced whether we are in the most heavenly of places or the exact opposite, God is there.

Dear God, help me to not doubt your presence in the best and worst of times. Be my constant companion.  Amen.

 

Wednesday January 10, 2018. Prayer 466. The Wings of the Morning

Psalm 139:9 reads, “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, your right hand shall hold me.” Penguins flap their wings in Antarctica. Tropical birds show off their colors at the equator.  Eagles soar across the surface of lakes warm and cold, near and far.  Each day invites us to take flight.  Yet while we are set free, we are held tight by the hand of God.  Even the most common bird uses a wing to give their little ones a shove out of the nest when it’s time to soar into their own life.

Dear God, if I am afraid, if I am unsure, if I am not ready to go, let me take flight in the shadow of your wing. Amen.

 

Thursday January 11, 2018. Prayer 467. Cover Me in Darkness

Being covered in darkness can be both good and bad. In Psalm 139:11 we read, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me be night.”  At night we sleep.  Our bodies and minds are restored.  Under a blanket we hide from the world, we get our rest, we get prepared to do it all over again.  Darkness brings protection in a war zone.  But darkness also gives cover to those hunting prey.  Darkness keeps us afraid of going out, of doing what we need to do.  Our inner darkness can hurt our loved ones even more than ourselves.  And so, we pray to God to cover us with darkness as a blanket that secures us, until we may emerge renewed.  Darkness is always the occasion to pray hard to God.

Dear God, the world seems to be in darkness. Cover us all as in a blanket of security, love, warmth, and peace.  Amen.

 

Friday  January 12, 2018. Prayer 468. As Bright As Day

Psalm 139:12 reads, “Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.” God is not afraid of the dark. We are.  God separated dark and light at the beginning.  God is accustomed to all the ways dark and light interact to create and foster life.  There is a little bit of lightness in the dark.  There is a little bit of darkness in the light.  Otherwise they would simply be the same thing.  Which, they are not.

Dear God, watch over me at night. Watch over me during the day.  Grant my soul to always be bright!  Amen.

 

Monday January 15, 2018. Prayer 469. Dreams Delayed

On the 4th of July in 1965, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.  It was two years after his pivotal “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C.  In this sermon he lifts up many examples of harm, hurt, hate and killing that had occurred in the recent months.  He speaks eloquently of a dream shattered by the in-breaking of violence.  And yet he concludes with a big dream that while it may be delayed and deferred, rejected and held off, he dreams just the same.  “So yes, the dream has been shattered, and I have had my nightmarish experiences, but I tell you this morning once more that I haven’t lost the faith.  I still have a dream that one day all of God’s children will have food and clothing and material well-being for their bodies, culture and education for their minds, and freedom for their spirits.”  This is a big dream.  Big dreams outlast our time to make them happen.  Never give up on making our daily dreams, our small dreams, be a little reflection of the biggest dream of them all.

Dear God, we are so grateful for those whose dreams include everyone’s well-being. Let it be so!  Amen.

 

Tuesday January 16, 2018. Prayer 470. God’s News

The news media have many pressures, demands, and agendas. One could say, “Wouldn’t “the news” be better referred to as “the opinions?”  We receive news in big and small ways throughout each day.  How does one decide which news report is more valuable?  In Mark 1:14 we see Jesus beginning his ministry in this way, “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.”  Jesus’ first day on the job was after a public scandal, arrest and humiliation.  In the face of troubling news during a period of great uncertainty, Jesus’ message is one of good news.  He speaks of God’s news in a world needing to hear something good.  Good news is a scandal these days!  Good news tends to appear at the end of the broadcast or in an article away from the front page.  Bad news sells interest and gets attention.  Good news can be hard to hear because, in fact, it asks of a response in us that can require hard work.

Dear God, help me to not be thrown off by bad news today. Let good news inspire me to bold action!  Amen.

 

Wednesday January 17, 2018. Prayer 471. At Hand

Jesus is convinced that what makes the gospel the good news of God is that it comes daily, first thing every morning, and is continually sending out updated editions throughout the day. In Mark 1:15 he says, “The kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”  With God’s news, the time is always near.  The moment is always here.  The gifts of heaven are always at hand.  Our question is: which report grabs our attention more?  Is it the news that leaves us convinced nothing will ever change so why even begin?  Or is it the report that because God is here, we have all we need to begin?  The kingdom of God is at hand, not to scare us into acting, but to strengthen and support us in all we do.  Repent means to turn.  Does God’s news make us turn away, or turn to what the world needs most?

Dear God, you say that it is always about love. Love me into this day that I may carry your good news with me.  Amen.

 

Thursday January 18, 2018. Prayer 472. Fishing for Dreams

In Mark 1:17 we hear Jesus calling the first disciples who were employed in the local fishing economy. “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of people.”  In order to attract fish you need the right bait and the right sized net.  In order to attract people you need the right words and the right sized dream.  God’s dream is big.  Our dreams are much smaller.  In order to fish for people we use God’s words and God’s dreams.  We speak big, we dream big.  What we catch hold of is huge!

Dear God, I remember the times I caught a fish and how excited I was. Let that be how I am with others!  Amen.

 

Friday January 19, 2018. Prayer 473. Mending the Nets

Jesus calls students for ministry from the fishing fleet. When he comes along James and John he sees that they “were in their boat mending the nets.” Mark 1:19.  Ministry begins with mending.  Knowing how to strengthen the bonds between people, to repair gaps in the group, to hold things together tightly despite missing pieces—this is the stuff of ministry.  Jesus calls a group of menders to mend a society that has been torn to shreds with bad news.  That’s love.

Dear God, help me to be a repairer of the breach. Whatever room I enter, let peace begin with my work.  Amen.