A Prayer about Prayer

The following prayer was inspired by the sermon I prepared for today on James 5:13-20. The video of the sermon should be posted within a couple days at http://www.livingwordlutheranchurch.com. To God be the glory.


Holy God, You command us to pray, not in order to satisfy some narcissistic desire of Yours, but that Your glory would be be proclaimed through us. But we too often limit our interaction with You and thus we miss those holy moments. We procrastinate our prayers to a more convenient and safe time. We utter idle pastoral care type words in order to satisfy some Christian obligation to pray for one another. We miss moments of ministry because of our fear of failure. Give us faith and courage, oh God, to make much of You through unceasing prayer with one another. Open our eyes that we may see Your glory manifest itself in the everydayness of our lives. May we not miss a single moment to pray with and for our brothers and sisters in Christ. To You be all glory, honor, praise and worship through Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.

Love Not Hate

There are many people with whom I disagree, but it doesn’t mean I hate them. Even if they hate what I stand for and call me names, I do not hate them. Satan would like it if I were to hate them but I will not. I confess that it is hard at times but that’s why I commend this to God and ask Him for help. Only God can give me the strength and fortitude to stand strong in the face of opposition. Only God can love me with a love that spills out for others to see that glorifies Him.

In the past, I didn’t always think this way (not that I am perfect now) and for that I confess my sins and repent of my behavior. Not that I necessarily hated the people with whom I was disagreeing, but I can see now how some of my statements would come off that way. You see, I have often taken to social media to express my beliefs and run to the defense of like-minded people/organizations. As if those who oppose them are going to be swayed by anything I say or write. At times, I have been downright feisty – sometimes to the point of my heart racing with emotions and crossing the line at times. Once again, I repent.

As Christians, we are never going to lead people to the Truth – Jesus Christ – through hatred, but only through love. You can’t hate someone and then proclaim Christ to them. It’s as it says in James 3:10-12…

10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

I regret the bridges that I have burned through hasty speech on social media and through other mediums. God forgive me. Brothers and sisters, let us bridle our tongues/words as we engage those with whom we disagree. Don’t come off as arrogant, morally self-righteous, or anything of the sort. Humbly approach each and every person and situation with the love of Christ – genuinely wanting people to come to the knowledge of the Truth. Pray for your heart. Pray for those who oppose you. Pray for your words. May blessings flow and not curses, that God may be glorified.

Holy God, bless the fountain that is my mouth and have holy dominion over my tongue. May the words that enter the arena for others to see/hear be holy words that glorify You. May disagreements be seen as mission fields and not battle grounds – opportunities to witness to the Truth. May my words be Your Words. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

In Love

The preaching series in James takes us into chapter 2 where James admonishes his beloved brothers (in Christ) about showing partiality. This is a message that hit my heart and one that I hope resonates with others.

So below is a prayer that I wrote for today’s Holy Communion liturgy, with James in mind (and in heart). To God be the Glory!


It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God, Creator of all we can see and not see. In Love You created us.
In love You saved us through Jesus Christ.
In love You sustain us with Your Holy Spirit.
In love, may we go and serve one another, regardless of what they look like or come from or believe or think.
May we go with You and receive people without partiality.
May we receive them for the sake of the Gospel – proclaiming the life-saving Good News of Jesus Christ.
May we not be distracted by anything that Satan would throw at us to divide us. We are Yours, oh God, and we glorify You and You alone. And so, with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven we join in singing Your unending praise.

Doer

The preaching text for today is James 1:19-27 as I continue working through the Epistle of James. The following is the Holy Communion liturgy I wrote with this James text in mind and heart. To God be the glory.


It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God, for You and You alone are worthy. But words are not enough to fully express our worship, and so may we not get caught up in only spouting off words of doctrine – falling into complacency – but may we also be doers of the Word. May we control our tongues, care for the vulnerable and be holy as you are holy. Oh Lord our God, Creator and Redeemer, Shepherd and Fortress, our hope and salvation. You call us to action and thus grant us Your Spirit that we may respond and so glorify You. And so with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven we join in singing Your unending praise.

Abundant Wisdom

1 Timothy 2:1–4 (ESV) ~ First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

James 1:5 (ESV) ~ If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

Oh God of all wisdom,
Wisdom seems to be in short supply,
But people stepping up to the microphone are abundant.
People raise themselves up to be leaders.
People raise others up to be leaders.
But rarely is it considered: Are they wise?
Rather, what is considered are qualities that are flawed and fleeting:
Appearance
Power
Money
Intelligence
Ability to make people feel certain things
Ability to manipulate words.

But wisdom, oh wisdom, is in short supply.
Without wisdom, we can not lead Your people to fear you – to live peacefully.

Oh God, You give generously to those who ask for wisdom.
Oh God, I now ask that you may give wisdom generously to:
Our president
Lawmakers on every level
Judges
Lobbyists
Teachers
Law enforcement
Media professionals
And so on and on…

And, oh God, I ask for wisdom for myself.
May I be a wise leader:
in my family
in my church
in my community
May I strive to glorify you and be obedient.

Oh God, wisdom is indeed in short supply, but not with You. So please give generously out of Your infinite supply that we may lead peaceful lives glorifying You. I don’t ask for my glory or for my comfort but for Your glory.

Oh God of wisdom, please give generously – please give generously.

Through Jesus Christ my Lord I pray,
Amen.

Being Built Up

This is the liturgy I wrote for Holy Communion today based on the preaching text, James 1:1-18. To God be the glory…


It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God, for, of Your own will You brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of Your creatures. (James 1:18) You brought us forth through Jesus Christ and thus You have promised to bring us to completion and place on our head the crown of life. You put us through trials in order build us up that we may remember who we are and whose we are – becoming more and more Christ-like. You do not desire our destruction but rather our salvation. May our endurance bring You the glory that You rightly deserve. And so, with the Church on earth – redeemed sinners through the blood of the lamb – and the hosts of heaven, we join in singing Your unending praise.

Trials

This is a poem based on James 1:1-18 – the sermon text for Sunday, Sept 15 as I being preaching through the book of James. To God be the glory.


Lead me by the hand,
when trials come my way.
Hold me close to You,
So I’ll not go astray.

For You have a plan,
in all that I will face.
Trials have a goal,
Please help me to embrace.

I want to grow strong
For Satan tries to stop,
May I lean into You,
So I’ll come out on top.

Jesus is my Lord.
I know I’ll see some strife.
But, through my trials,
there lays the crown of life.