Prayer for June 30th, 2019

the morning prayer written for June 30, 2019 at Oak Grove UMC
God of love and compassion,

We gather this day to celebrate the death and resurrection of your son Jesus the Christ,
Who came and dwelt among us to show us how to live, how to love,
and how to carry out your commandment to love both you and our Neighbor.

We pray this day that you would remind us of your deep compassion and care for the poor, the marginalized, and excluded;

We pray that you would remind us of how you saw no boundary too great to cross–
that you came and transgressed even the boundary of the human and the divine through the incarnation of your son Jesus, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
AND that you invite us to tear down barriers that separate our human family.

Help us remember that you call us to even sometimes, like those faithful people in our gospel story today, to tear a hole in the roof and join in your work
to make a way where there was no way
that those who need to be found might be found in you.

We pray today O God
that you would comfort those who are separated from their families:
for children and migrants at the border,
for parents in Atlanta incarcerated and unable to see their families,
for families separated by divorce and discord.

We pray for those who feel left out by society and the church,
and we pray that through this community of faith they might sense your divine love, which is willing to literally move heaven and earth to be known to us and to know us.

We trust and lift to your divine care
all those who are receiving care and recovering in hospitals,
and those on our prayer lists who await surgery and treatment,
and for our senior pastor Glenn Ethridge and his family.

We pray for all those who have died and for their loved ones— may the families and friends know your peace and love through us.

God of compassion,
we ask that you would help us to be faithful,
to follow your call to be like Jesus,
and to be empowered by your Holy Spirit to be the church here and now.

With Your grace, heal our hearts.
With Your grace, unite us in action.
With Your grace, repair our communities.
With Your grace, help us to find a way to welcome all children everywhere,
That they (and we) may know that Jesus loves them,
Not just because “the Bible tells them so,”
But because they have known Your love in real and tangible ways,
And they (and we) would know that nothing,
absolutely nothing, can separate them from Your love.* 

We ask this prayer in the mighty name of your son Jesus of Nazareth, Amen.

*a portion of this paragraph from the UMC Prayer for Solidarity with Migrant Children, alt.


Prayerful Wandering/Wondering

paying attention reflection of chapelPrayerful Wandering/Wondering

Each week on my walking to and from meetings on campus I try to implement (what I call) an intentional practice of “prayerful wandering/wondering”–on the way back to my office from one place on campus or another, I intentionally look up and pay attention and walk in the direction I feel God’s Spirit leading me. Often, I find myself surprised to see people I haven’t seen in a while, notice people’s emotions and have a sense of their feelings (even if I do not speak with them I might say a quiet prayer for them), and find a way to build in a more Spirit-led practice of awareness into my life. JRR Tolkien reminds us that “not all who wander are lost” and this Holy Wandering and Holy Wondering can be life-giving, empathy-increasing actions that allow us to see the gifts and potentials of our people and communities.

This practice helps me in my work as a campus minister (and in my doctor of ministry research/project) as it helps me to better understand people and their experiences in life as well as giving me a deeper appreciation of the community and spaces around me. Also, I frequently end up wandering a whole lot further than if I would have just walked straight back to my office!
I hope to continue this practice implementing and other practices which help us to see, understand, and respond with God’s loving action.