The Lectionary Text for today includes the Shepherd’s Psalm (Psalm 23). I am singing and playing on the worship team at my church tonight and we’ll be singing the House of God Forever by Jon Foreman (video below). Here is a prayer based on this season and the Psalm (the prayer is my own and you shouldn’t blame Jon Foreman for it).
Death’s Dark Valley–
If we doubted that’s where we were,
this week’s events have shown us.
We mourn for those in Boston,
for West Texas,
for Syria and other war-torn places,
for the suffering of those we know and love.
We mourn and ask, “How long?”
We wonder where you are.
lead us to quiet waters,
Bring us to green pastures,
restore us and make us whole.
May we know your presence with us
here in Death’s Dark Valley.
Guide our steps and keep us from wandering.
Prepare Your Table for us
though we are surrounded by enemies
We long to taste your goodness and mercy.
May we dwell in your house forever.
The following prayer is based on my reading of James 1:17-27. This is a lectionary text from the book of James, a book with a lot of practical advice about how we as Christians should live. The Christian life is all gift, but as we learn to walk with Jesus, we also submit ourselves to his way and he transforms us. This portion of scripture challenges us to take care with our words, our anger, our actions, and challenges to live holy lives characterized by justice and love for the vulnerable. Lord help us!
Giver of every perfect gift and originator of every generous act,
Father of Lights we give you thanks and praise!
Take us and shape us into your image:
Where we are angry and domineering, turn us into gentle listeners.
We know our anger does not reflect Your righteousness, like Your love does
Cleanse us from our wickedness, our perversions and unholy desires,
That we may, in humility receive your soul-saving-Word.
Transform us into doers–who makes Your ways known in all we do.
Let us not just be a ‘hearers’ who ‘hear’ but then forget
who we are and who You are making us to be.
May we watch our tongues so that ‘our religion’ means something!
And May others know we are Yours because we care for the vulnerable in our midst–the widows and orphans–
those in our neighborhoods and communities who do not have a network of care to uphold them.
Keep us from corruption and let us walk in Your truth.
With your Mercy and in Your Strength,