A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.


Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Prayers for Lent, Day 9: Give Up, Take On, Pray


I do not ask my students at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison about their spirituality—I would not intrude on something so personal. On occasion, however, they do share their views with me. For a number of them, perhaps for all, the class creates a setting where, as one student put it, “For two hours a week, we are no longer prisoners." - Amy-Jill Levine*


                 Are you a prisoner of unexamined faith?  Have you ever asked yourself, "What exactly do I believe about God, Jesus, and the Bible, and perhaps more importantly why do I believe it? What or who has influenced you in your beliefs? Maybe you do have questions but think you don't know enough to ask because the leaders have studied more.  Sometimes it is just easier to go with the flow, follow the crowd, and just believe what someone tells you is correct.  But here's a chance to begin to look more closely.  There are no easy answers but within a trusting community, there are great opportunities to examine your absolutes, your maybes, your confusions, and your questions. Lent is the perfect time for self-examination and discovery of what it means to be "faithful".


We have heard with our own ears, O God,
    our ancestors have told us,
What deeds you performed in their days,
   in the days of old - **
And those stories are so important in our faith journey and yet, there seems to be so much conflicting information, differing opinions - go this way, that's right, that's wrong, don't ask...I get confused. She said/he said/they say, and I like all of them, how can they think so differently?  I think I know what I believe about all the important things but I'm not always sure why or if what I believe is the right thing given all the shouting and controversies. Another moment for a long, slow, deep, breath... Today I will give up going through the motions of believing that I completely understand my faith.  I will take on asking people I trust how to begin to sort out what I really believe and why. I will pray for an open mind and for the opening of the gates of my heart to allow for changes in thought if they should appear; and also for the patience to accept that the journey of examined faith will be as long as my earthly life.  amen.


*Amy-Jill Levine, Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University School of Divinity.  She self-describes as a "Yankee Jewish feminist who teaches in a predominantly Protestant divinity school in the buckle of the Bible Belt," Levine "combines historical-critical rigor, literary-critical sensitivity, and a frequent dash of humor with a commitment to eliminating antisemitic, sexist, and homophobic theologies."

**Psalm 44:1  NRSV


Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.

Prayers for Lent, Day Eight: Give Up, Take On, Pray


Rumi 13th Century Persian
Poet, Teacher, Theologian, Sufi Mystic

     ...gives us much to think about this Lenten season, and every day of our lives.  He was described as America's favorite poet in 2007.  If only we acted on more of his messages than merely enjoying them.

     Teaching unlimited tolerance, goodness, charity, and awareness through love, his message appeals to a wide range of creeds and sects around the world. This Rumi message continues the theme from yesterday.  People ~ whether they are liked, disliked, loved, hated, or as invisible ~ create all sorts of reactions and responses in our lives. Pay attention to the people you meet today - family, friends, co-workers, customers, clients, drivers on the road, fast food workers, store clerks.  What words come to mind with each encounter (be honest with yourself!)...is there a lesson for you to think about?  How will you accept or resist them?


Dear Loving Creator of All Humanity,  
           We, Your people come in all shapes, sizes, colors, temperaments, personalities, beliefs, etc., and we judge them all according to our own sense of right, wrong, or indifferent as us and them. Yes, yes, I know I'm not supposed to do that however it just seems to come naturally - meet, size up (also known as judge), decide, all in a nano-second.  For today, I will give up making a decision about someone based on a snap-judgment. I will take on an attempt to learn from each individual I encounter even if it is only seconds long. I will pray for everyone I see, or as many as I can, even if only with a quick "Bless her/him, Lord", even if the encounter is unpleasant, or perhaps because it is. I'll try to change the ugly words that sometimes come into my head in order to be more charitable, positive, and tolerant. Help me, Lord, to remember, that each one is Yours and to be grateful.  amen.


Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Prayers for Lent, Day Seven: Give Up, Take On, Pray

The rule of love for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you "love" your neighbour; act as if you did...When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you'll find yourself disliking him more. Do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less...   
                            ~ C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity

         Of course, there's a slight catch - Lewis tells us further that doing a good turn to just obey the laws of charity or only to impress God isn't what the rule of love is all about.  We are to treat others as equals in the sight of God. Will we fall head over heels with everyone - no!  But we can care for them anyway and begin to love - or at least like - the doing a little more even if they don't love/like us back or drip gratitude all over our good deeds. It might help if I keep in mind that the only person I can change is me.

*Eternal Spirit, 
Earth-Maker, Pain-Bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all, 
Loving God, in whom is heaven...
      It is always easier to do good things for people I love and like. It is downright difficult and even unpleasant to attempt to do nice things for someone I dislike and all the harder if the dislike is intense!  Sigh....Ok, it's Lent, a time to try on new behaviors, new ways of living into the love of Christ.  SO, for today, I'll take a deep breath and give up looking down on people I have decided for some reason that I don't like.  I'll take on looking at all people through a different lens, seeing them as children of God just as I am.  At the very least a kind word with no desire for or expectation of return would be a start.  I'll pray for the tranquility to leave the details of who is right/wrong/good/bad to God. All I need to do is love others as if they are myself - that is, myself and another as equal in the eyes of You, our Eternal God. I will need some help with this so You and I will be talking. amen.


Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) held the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University in England and is considered a significant Christian writer of his time. An author of more than 30 books, he is probably best known today for The Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters.

*The beginning of an alternative to the Lord's Prayer in A New Zealand Prayer Book


Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Prayers of the People: No Country for Old Moans, 2nd Sunday in Lent

Readings:  Gen 12:1-4a; Ps 121; Romans 4:1-5, 13-17; John 3:1-17 for Sunday, March 16, 2014

Phone rings.  It's your boss.  Time to pack up the spouse and kids, leave the friends and other family behind, and move to a new country, for a new job. You'll be in charge of everything including recruitment.  No time for questions. You'll get all the info you need when you get there and you must be there by Tuesday.  Click... Your head spins.  Don't know the language, the weather, how to get there, who to contact, where to live.  Do you a) just do it because it's the boss and your trust in her is complete, it will work out somehow.  Or, b) ask your spouse, "...Is he crazy, just hangs up, no more info, what does he expect that I'll just drop everything because it's his word?"  Pick up the phone and call three people, "Can you believe this? No way, until I get the details."
       Abram, later to be Abraham, packs up and goes,  we're told, on Faith alone.  Paul tells us it was through Abram's faith, and now our own, through which the Promise of God is fulfilled.  Further proof, God gives us Jesus - coming to preach, teach, and show us the way; and, what real sacrifice is. Can you go to the Country of God without all the moans and groans about the inconveniences, lack of clear information,  and gripes about the cost of Faith?  You do have the option of staying where you are now. If you are anxious about the move, well, at least we have each other. Let's go together...I'm sure there's help in the hills.

                                                LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

LEADER:   ~ O God of Promise and Love, You called Abram to leave home and go to a different country on the strength of his faith alone; and so he went as You told him to do. You show us a different land also; a land that is filled with Your blessings, mercy, and eternal life.  All You require is our steadfast faith.


                        Dear Gracious LORD, Merciful Maker of Heaven and Earth,
RESPONSE:    We come to You now with our penitent hearts and imperfect faith.

~ O God of Promise and Love, we implore You to guide the leaders of our world to the land of reason, justice, and humanity. Give them clarity of judgment and charity of spirit. We pray especially for:  add your own petitions

                         Dear Gracious LORD, Merciful Maker of Heaven and Earth,
                         We come to You now with our penitent hearts and imperfect faith.


~ O God of Promise and Love, we lift our eyes to You and ask relief for those who are ailing in body, mind, or spirit; and respite for those who tend to their needs. Let them all experience Your healing grace and the constancy of Your affection. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                         Dear Gracious LORD, Merciful Maker of Heaven and Earth,
                         We come to You now with our penitent hearts and imperfect faith.


~ O God of Promise and Love, we ache with grief for the loss of those we love who are now at Home with You.  Help us to believe the words we say as we commend their souls to Your life everlasting.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                         Dear Gracious LORD, Merciful Maker of Heaven and Earth,
                         We come to You now with our penitent hearts and imperfect faith.


~ O God of Promise and Love, nourish those who lead Your Church with the unchangeable Truth of Your Presence within and without.  Grant them the fortitude to stand on the side of Your righteousness, and guide us to the Salvation You offer through the gift of Your Only Son and the wisdom of Your Holy Spirit.  We pray especially for:  add your own petitions

                         Dear Gracious LORD, Merciful Maker of Heaven and Earth,
                         We come to You now with our penitent hearts and imperfect faith.



The Celebrant adds:  Living and Eternal God, You promise us life unending and love without limit for the mere price of our enduring faith. Imperfect as we are, we come to You with open hearts and willing souls. Help us to deepen and expand our faith as we use these days of Lent to Your purpose.  We ask this through Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ and Your Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier, who live and reign with You, One God, forever and ever.  Amen.


Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.

Prayers for Lent, Day Six: Give Up, Take On, Pray

      

“It is true that we cannot be free from sin, but at least let our sins not be always the same.” - St. Teresa of Avila  (1515-1582)

Teresa of Avila: Mystic, Nun, Saint, Author, Theologian, Doctor of the Church, also known as Teresa of Jesus.  Along with John of the Cross, Teresa founded the Carmelite order; and her writings, especially The Interior Castle and her autobiography The Life of Teresa of Jesus, as part of the Spanish Renaissance Literature are still widely read and cherished today.  Her ecstatic experiences inform her exercise of meditation and provide us with The Way of Perfection.
Human and Saint, Teresa gives us down-to-earth yet heavenly advice and direction.

God of Heaven, Earth and every Universe, as I wake each morning my mind and heart intend for me to be a better person, live a better life, and be more faithful to You. By the end of the second cup of coffee, I've wandered off the track again. At the end of the day, I've unconsciously thought and acted in ways contrary to Your love and will for me. For today, I will give up unconsciously doing the same things in the same ways, and I will take on living with a conscious mind ~ thinking carefully and acting thoughtfully, keeping You uppermost in my mind.  I pray for the awareness of Your Presence, the memory of the sacrifice of Jesus, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, now and always. amen.  










Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Prayers for Lent, Day Five: Give Up, Take On, Pray

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”   Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)

              Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was an extraordinary human being.  A Jesuit priest born in France and who later lived in New York, he also trained as a paleontologist and geologist and was involved with some spectacular discoveries. Yet, as with others who were ahead of their times, some of his writings were considered contrary to doctrinal teachings in the Catholic church and banned by the Vatican from publication in his lifetime.  Today he is widely praised, including by Catholic hierarchy.  Simply put, one of his beliefs - as with St. Paul - was that our everyday work in secular surroundings is every bit as important in our spiritual development as our religious activity when we offer that work to the service of God. And, furthermore, all that we do in everyday life is a necessary part of Creation. Are you ready to experience some spiritual growth in your human life?

        Creator God, I'm slowly recognizing that I am truly part of Your Holy Creation. I have had the thought that I had to give days off to a soup kitchen, spend every possible moment in Church, and be hours on my knees in prayer daily to truly be doing Your work. Today, I will give up feeling spiritually inadequate and take on my everyday activities with a new spirit of dedication - each morning when I wake, I will offer all that I do to Your service. I will pray for continuing confidence in my growing relationship with You, through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as my Guides. Thank You, Lord, for this season of Lent, a purposeful time as a spiritual being to explore my human experience.  amen. 



Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Prayers of the People: Resistance is Fertile ~ 1st Sunday in Lent

Readings:  Gen 2:15-17, 3:1-7; Ps 32; Rom 5:12-19; Mt 4:1-11

    Many Episcopal/Anglican parishes will open this Sunday's Liturgy (worship service) with the very formal Great Litany (a prayer in a Christian church service in which the people at the service respond to lines spoken by the person who is leading the service), most likely in Procession.  You can read it here: http://www.bcponline.org/GreatLitany/Litany2.html  Other parishes will use one of the six different forms of the Prayers of the People (PotP) from the Book of Common Prayer:  http://bcponline.org/HE/pop.htm.  Still other parishes will use their own format for the PotP such as those specifically composed below. And, as in previously posted PotP in this space, they are based on the appointed Scripture readings from the Revised Common Lectionary, that is, a listing of readings chosen for each Sunday for each season in the Church Year.  Many Christian denominations in the US, Canada, Great Britain and elsewhere use the same readings on the same Sunday - for example: Episcopal, United Methodist, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and Lutheran - although there may be differences here and there.

     For this Sunday, in the Old Testament reading we are confronted with a small slice of the Adam, Eve, and the Serpent story.  God says "Don't Eat THAT" and, the serpent says, "Go ahead" and so ..., then Paul tells us in the Epistle, in effect, that it isn't all bad news. Yes, many died because of the sins of Adam and Eve, but many many more are saved because of one man's act of righteousness - Jesus, of course, is the one who has provided us with the free gift of grace.

     The Gospel reminds us of the 40 days of Jesus' temptation in the desert and his confrontation with the Devil.  How many of us would be able to resist all that was offered?  But, resistance is fertile. When we summon the strength through the grace of God to resist temptation and follow the right path, we invite the spiritual growth that gives us ever increasing strength and grace to resist more, and so, to grow into the Life in Christ that we are called.  Lent is the perfect time to examine the temptations in our lives and discover, through prayer and reflection, how we can bolster our ability to resist evils big and small.  One small step after another starts the walk...    

Let Us, God’s People, Pray

LEADER:         ~  Most Holy Creator, You give us clear instructions in Your Law that we, Your unruly children, willfully and continually disregard; yet You always forgive us when we confess our sins with true hearts.

                     Divine Ruler of the Universe,
RESPONSE:  Fortify our hearts to thwart temptation, repent, and return to You.

~ Most Holy Creator, please chasten the hearts of those who lead this world.  Give them the strength to forsake the allure and vanity of the power of power, and govern with integrity and truth.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                    Divine Ruler of the Universe,
                    Fortify our hearts to thwart temptation, repent, and return to You.

~ Most Holy Creator, sustain those who are seriously ill, filled with fear and anxiety, and for those who give them care.  Keep them from drifting into despair and turning away from Your healing mercy.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                    Divine Ruler of the Universe,
                    Fortify our hearts to thwart temptation, repent, and return to You.

~ Most Holy Creator, in the depths of grief from the loss of those we love, we more easily slide into the chilling shadows and fall away from the warmth of Your Love and Grace.  Grant us the courage to live with the living and relinquish the care of our loved ones to You.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                     Divine Ruler of the Universe,
                     Fortify our hearts to thwart temptation, repent, and return to You.

~ Most Holy Creator, we ask that those who are chosen to lead Your Church also cast off their own fears and vanities to guide us by faithful word and example as we walk together toward wholeness in You.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                      Divine Ruler of the Universe,
                      Fortify our hearts to thwart temptation, repent, and return to You

The Celebrant adds:  Most Holy Creator, You sent Jesus into our world of temptation, trial, and travesty.  Accepting the free gift of Your grace, he triumphed over all the enticements, seductions, and illusions of glamour we each face every day.  As we begin our own 40 days of reflection and repentance, purify our hearts and open our minds that we also might remember to accept Your grace and turn our lives always toward You.  We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Great High Priest, and the Spirit, our Holy Sanctifier, who reign with You, one God, forever and ever.  AMEN.











Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.