Archive for Saturday, July 9, 2011

Faith Forum: Do you have specific summer prayers?

July 9, 2011

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Doug Heacock, contemporary worship leader and director of media and communications, Lawrence Free Methodist Church, 3001 Lawrence Ave.:

I can’t say that I have specific summer prayers, or prayers specific to any particular season of the year, but I have noticed that there are “seasons” of another sort in my prayer life. In other words, the nature and content of my prayers is often tied to the “seasons” of my life. 

When I am facing important or difficult decisions, my prayers tend to be requests for wisdom and direction. When crises of various sorts have come into my life, I have found myself praying for strength and steadiness. When I have clearly blown it in some area of my life, my prayers are largely prayers of confession and contrition. And sometimes (but not nearly enough) my prayers are simply prayers of thanksgiving for God’s blessing.

I am learning, however, that prayer, in any season of my life, ought to be less about seeking to move the hand of God in my life and more about simply reaching to take his hand and allow him to lead me where he will. I once heard someone characterize this as a process of simply putting up one’s “sail” and allowing God to send whatever wind he chooses, in whatever direction he wishes. This does not come easily for me.

I was reminded recently of something C.S. Lewis once wrote: “There are two kinds of people in the world — those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘Very well, then — have it your way.’”

As I pray, I’m trying to learn to live in the former state, in every season of my life.

— Send e-mail to Doug Heacock at doug.heacock@gmail.com.

The Rev. John McFarland, pastor, Christ Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church, 2312 Harvard Road:

Father in Heaven —

You are truly God for all seasons, creator of all seasons, guiding your people through all seasons of life. I bless you for summer; thanks for time to catch my breath, each one a gift purchased by your son.

While schools are out, strengthen staff and students; grant rest, but stoke hunger for truth come fall. Well before then, empower vacation Bible schools to point impressionable souls to the only savior, through his perfect word. Many couples will wed this season, prompting this cry to the designer of marriage: Have mercy upon our homes; forgive us for despising your patterns of selfless relating. Make husbands like the servant-redeemer; make wives like faithful churches. Most wedding guests tacitly commit to supporting these unions which begin with such zeal and romance; help us to be faithful, to stand in the gap when couples don’t want to hear about covenant duties. Church leaders assemble this season; in perfect measure — convict, comfort, and control — as you are head of your body.

What a privilege is summer travel. Thank you that natural beauty still speaks of your majesty and glory. Prompt me about creation-care, even as you remain in first place, the only entity worthy of my adoration. Many youth go on ministry trips, some of them far away; use their energy to change your world for good, especially as they proclaim and portray truth to support obedient congregations. Summer camps introduce our children to new companions and let them hear beloved truths from new voices; prompt them by your spirit to see that life in Christ is the infinitely valuable “Pearl of Great Price” … then hold them in this truth when they come down from their mountain tops.

And thank you for lemonade. Because of Jesus.

Amen!

— Send e-mail to John McFarland at jmmlawrence@aol.com.

Comments

Gene Wallace 3 years, 9 months ago

Those of us who practice the "Craft of the Wise" are in touch with nature and it's seasons. We have three Summer season Celebrations and Festivals, called Sabbats, which are, Beltaine on May 1st, Litha/Mid-Summer on the Summer Solstice, and Lammas/Lughnassad on the 1st of August. We honor and celebrate the Life Force of our Living Universe and Planet as Goddess and God archetypes of these seasons. We celebrate fertility, growth, maturation and harvest at our Summer festivals. We acknowledge the interconnectedness of all Life and Living Things and honor the Universal deity, the Life Force of our Living Universe, which is Immanent within each of Us and all Life throughout the Universe.

kansasplains 3 years, 9 months ago

Why not prayers from other religions? Muslim? Buddhist? If I have a prayer, it is that young people, will, with the help of friends, find new and positive things to do during the summer. So many are just locked up inside of houses and apartments watching TV, when there is so much more that they could be doing (such as a recent Journal World article about young people helping the community--and a huge backlog who couldn't be accommodated.) How can they not be accommodated when there is so much to do, and so many people who have very little to do with their time?

FloridaSunshine 3 years, 9 months ago

Doug, how I could relate to every word you wrote! Thank you for reminding me, by the statement found in the incredible writings of C.S. Lewis, that I, too, want to live in the perpetual state of "Thy will be done." I tried many years ago to "have it my own way"...my life was a mess. His way is always the best...Lewis found that out...as have so many of us. I prefer to allow God, in His great wisdom, to send whatever wind He chooses...to take me in whatever direction He wishes. I am His willing vessel. May I continue to always end every prayer with, "Thy will be done." Certainly, if that statement was something Jesus could pray on the way to a cruel cross, it is with great reverence that I close my prayers with His same words.

Specific summer prayers? Not specifically for summer...I find myself in need of praying every single day of my life...oftentimes offering up prayers several times during the days and nights...depending on the circumstances...e.g., just hearing that my dear cousin has cancer and so does her husband! How else does one get through horrendous news such as that without prayer? I have no idea. And since all those years ago, when I offered everything I am, everything I ever will be, to my Lord, He has brought me through some dire circumstances I would not have been able to weather otherwise. He has given me strength when I had no strength, hope when there was no hope, answers when there was silence from others after my questions. No wonder I worship this amazing Lord. He is my lovely, compassionate Saviour. (By the way, my cousin and her husband worship Jesus, also...and have placed their lives, their doctors, their "all" in His nail-scarred hands.) May His will be done. That is all we ask...specifically.

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