All posts tagged: prayer

We-Stand-Generic

Tonight I had the privilege of participating in a worship concert benefit for Newtown, CT. hosted by my church in partnership with many local churches & organizations. It was a great night of worship and unity in our community. My part was the prayer of “lament” at the front of the event. This is what I prepared – and are really my thoughts and prayer for those in Newtown and for our community:

When Tim began the conversation of putting together this evening, I immediately felt that this wasn’t just a good idea – it was the right idea. This is what the Church is for – we are a light in a dark place, a constant in an ever-changing world, and a place that stands together when things are seemingly falling apart. Tonight we stand together in the face of darkness and doubt and hopelessness – and in standing, together, we help one another – we help our community – we help our world…

Sometimes I think in a fast-paced world overloaded with media and communication we can move too quickly past the pain, the doubt and the uncertainty that we experience when a tragedy such as what happened on the morning of December 14th at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Where 20 children and 6 adults lost their lives and the cause of it all took his own life. We can’t help but ask questions like: “where was God in all this?”, “how could He allow this to happen?”, “how can any good possibly come from this?”

I’m not here to try and answer those questions. But I do want to in a very real way – give us all permission to ask those questions tonight. Part of tonight is just for that. It is to grieve: to allow our hearts to be soft and open. To think of those innocent children, those teachers and administrators and weep. To imagine the lives of parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, friends, and first responders whose lives are now forever changed. To look at ourselves, our families and our own community and reflect on how this event has changed us. To take time to reflect on all this and look to God.

Let’s pray:

Psalm 130 begins, “From the depths of despair, O Lord, I call for your help. Hear my cry, O Lord. Pay attention to my prayer”.

Father – that’s where many of us find ourselves tonight when we reflect on the recent event in Newtown, CT. We grieve together. Our hearts break when we think of the lives lost – the lives of the truly innocent. Our minds wrestle with the evil that visited that school and the darkness that persists in this world. Sometimes we just don’t understand, or have the answers – we find ourselves not even knowing what or how to pray.

We ask for comfort tonight.
For comfort that only your Spirit can offer for the families of those who were at Sandy Hook that day. For lives lost, for lives laid down willingly, for lives that are now forever changed. You are the great comforter and ask believing that you are already at work in Newtown and surrounding communities.

We ask for healing.
So many lives have been torn apart. So much sadness and anger. Only you can bring true healing to Newtown and to our world. We pray that families will stay strong through their grieving. We pray that the community will come out of this tragedy with more love for one another and a love for You. We look with anticipation to the day when you right every wrong, when you’re Kindom truly comes on Earth as it is in Heaven.

We ask for faith.
We know that through Christ, we have been given all things – and that our faith is very real and secure. But in times like these when our faith is challenged, we feel weak and sometimes far from you. Even though we may be weak tonight, remind us that it is when we are weak that You are strong. Remind us tonight of your faithfulness and our position in Christ: redeemed, forgiven, righteous, sons and daughters of your Kingdom.

As we stand together tonight, may we have the strength to grieve together, to sing together, to hope together, and to be encouraged in the face of darkness to be the light – that by your Spirit we would be a stronghold of faith, justice and mercy.

Amen.

Here’s some photos from tonight…

So it’s been quite a while since I’ve fired up the old blog. It’s amazing how much time I used to invest in this place. I really don’t know why I’m not consistently blogging lately – maybe it has something to do with the fact that I just don’t have Internet at home. But here I am writing “unplugged”, not sure why I don’t do this more often.
Anyway, this is a quick one – just an idea that we came up with that I thought I’d share with other families. We’re always thinking about simple things we can do to incorporate Christ in our lives since we’re so easily distracted by the hustle and bustle of life.

Every night we pray together as a family, right before bed – it just works for us. To make it a little more interactive, we started the “Prayer Box”. It’s just a little box that we filled with little papers. On each paper is written something to pray about. Right now we’ve got about 12 or so right now and we’ll keep adding to the box as thing come up – things like:

  • Our own family
  • Our kids teachers & school
  • Our church & our pastors and families
  • Extended family
  • Friends

You get the idea. Each one of gets to pick from the box, and each paper is a “surprise” for us – then we all take turns praying for whatever thing was on our paper. It’s fun watching the kids get excited as they read their slips and so encouraging to hear them pray for others. It’s a habit that we want to instill in them now.
Of course we don’t always do it – some nights we just say a quick prayer, but we’re really trying to get into the habit of doing this every night. I’m looking forward to adding things to our prayer box as our kids grow, things like:

  • Global events (disasters, missions, etc. – we want our kids to think bigger than themselves)
  • Their future spouses (I know, crazy to think about but it’ll be here soon)
  • The Kingdom (We want to teach them that this life is about advancing God’s Kingdom and spreading the Gospel)

So there it is, the “Prayer Box”. What do you do to help your family spend quality time in prayer?

Whenever I think that life is rough or I’m facing tough days, I can look forward to our evenings together as a family. We have a little routine that we go through every night. It’s baths/showers, hang out for a little bit, playing or reading books, and then we pray together, then kids to bed. Macy just started saying her own prayers, so now it’s even more fun. Check it out (video embedded):

Macy cracks us up every night. I can’t imagine a better way to spend each evening.

I’ve been inspired by people such as Billy, Los, & Ann, to do this and today is the day when I move from thinking about it to doing it. I’ll probably get into a habit of doing this and pick a better day than Saturday to post. I’m going to spend about an hour today just praying for you. Yeah, you, whoever you are.

Two ways to participate:

  1. Leave a comment and I will pray for you specifially.
  2. Pray with me for the requests that come in.

Here’s a few things I’m already going to focus on that you might want to be praying for as well:

  1. Steve Eller’s family in Louisianna
  2. Billy Chia & his church
  3. The Joy twins
  4. The Vanderberg’s adoption journey

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

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