Lord, Hear These Prayers

25 11 2009

I want to blog about somethings I’ve been dealing with in my ministry & life over the past month and a half. This is also not the view points of my church, just a disclaimer, because I may mention some things sensitive in nature to faith and ministry, these are solely my thoughts and experiences. Sometimes when I think about what really goes on in my work, the opportunities God gives me and the difficulties he helps me overcome (or helps others overcome) it just blows my mind. So I’m not blogging about these things to find pity, and I’m not blogging about these things to get a pat on the back or any needed affirmation. I think I’m blogging because these are people and happenings on my heart that I’m praying about on a regular basis and I’d love for you to be praying about it too. And if there is something to add to the list… please feel free to let me know through a private message, it is not a burden to me at all.

* A person who grew up in the church where I’m in ministry asked to be made an inactive member of our church because he’s not so sure he believes Jesus is God or that Jesus is the only path to Heaven. This person has been one of the best volunteers with children and youth on my ministry team and I’m bummed that he is no longer a key leader. And while I’m bummed and somewhat boggled – I’m impressed with his courage and be so bold to say he needs some time to discover what is true for him. It also makes me think – I know he can’t be the only one. Why do we make it so hard in Christianity for people to be uncertain at times. Everyone I know says – well yeah, I’m not really always 100% sure myself but I always come back to believing again. It saddens me to think that people think others will be mad if they are unsure what they believe. My prayer is that we can all be on a journey together and not be afraid to say what we are uncertain of and be encouraging to or encourage by others in the ups and downs of our faith.
* I, and a few other adults, accompanied a group of nine youth to a Christian Junior High Youth Fall Retreat.
In less than 24 hours three completely unrelated damages occured because of choices made by individuals in our group. A cabin door was kicked in leaving the door frame needing to be replace ($300 -cha ching), a car window was shattered ($350 – cha ching), a cabin window screen was damaged because someone needed more air ($45 -cha ching). Needless to say there were several meetings with me and the parents and the youth involved and two and a half weeks later we are still working to resolve all the stories and who needs ot help pay for what, etc. Ironically the them for that weekend was RECONCILE. To be reconciled to God our creator by believing in Jesus’ saving death and resurrection, reconciled with one another as creations of God, and reconciled to the earth God’s creation in our care. As I’ve been meeting with everyone, I’ve certainly tried to assume whatever responsibility or negligence was mine as the key adult leader and I’ve tried to help the youth come to terms that mistakes happen but we still need to be honest, tell the truth, and try to make things right again (even if it isn’t all our fault). I’ve also wanted to let them know that God is not going to hate them, I don’t hate them, they are not banned from participating in future youth activities, their parents still love them and they can still be friends with one another while holding each other accountable for their actions. Stupid things happen and then we reconcile. That is why Jesus is necessary – to bring us back into a reconciled relationship with God our creator, who loves us so deeply. No other religion or theory brings grace and reconciliation with the one who made us. I suppose you do have to believe that you were created by God first though… that’s another blog.
* I know several people going through some really tough times in life struggling with mental illnesses/diseases either themselves or walking aside a loved one- depression, bi-polar, anxiety, anger, alcoholism, cancer (children and adults), cystic fibrosis, suicidal tendencies (teens have a raw deal in life sometimes!). There are several people also in bizarrely broken relationships and friends who have lost their jobs in this nasty recession time. So much brokenness and frustration … I can’t fathom how life is for some of these people. I’ve struggled through a few of these myself but my heart goes out to everyone dealing with such things right now. My prayer is that you will reach out to someone – a friend, family member, teacher, religious leader, doctor, co-worker – anyone that you can trust to help you either find a professional or simply let you vent by listening and offering you prayer. If you can’t think of someone – pray that God will bring someone around for you. And if you aren’t someone personally burdened by these things… pray hard for those who are. Pray for healing, pray for peace, pray for love, pray for wisdom… pray that they may know they are loved and cared for. I’m thankful for those who have confided in me and let me know they are safe, getting help, or finding healthy ways to cope.
* A few days ago I had to call the police to help me get a woman to leave our church. The situation was simply that a woman was transient (homeless) trying to find a warm recluse away from the cold weather and bitterness of her life, and I was the only one remaining in the building and needed to have her leave because our building policies/staff don’t equip us for such a thing right now. I tried to get her story, give her toiletries & socks, and calmly let her know I was aware of her need for shelter but I needed her to leave the building. There was a point where she started to gather up some pens and pencils seemingly devising some sort of a plan and it freaked me out, I literally was scared for my life. I left that area and went to a locked off portion of the church to call 911 saying I didn’t feel safe and needed the woman to leave. So the police came. It is SO hard to balance hospitality and Jesus’ call to love our neighbors and yet at the same time keep ourselves safe. I guess I’m leaving it up to God to provide for and protect this woman. I think by calling the police, it gave her opportunity for a warm place for the night, even if not the best circumstances but keeps her off the street and connects her to resources that I don’t have. I pray for her and all the others out there who are homeless, transient, vulnerable to drugs,prostitution,alcoholism, abuse adn all the dangers that can come from those. I hope for warm places to sleep and for people to understand those who are difficult to understand (especially with mental illnesses, addictions, life baggage, etc). God I know you are with them, I pray that they know it.
* Death – a little child died from cancer a week ago, Baily Bennet. He is a relative of a member of our church. Having daughters who are young this really hit me hard as I followed the story. I don’t have all the answers, I don’t know why young ones have to die. But sometimes they do and it really sucks. I don’t believe God wants them to die. I believe God wants us to trust that He is ever present with us in our life and emotions and pain and numbness. God wants us to rely on him for comfort and peace, and someone to vent all our anger and grief. That doesn’t make it easy. And I don’t know, maybe I’d say things a bit differently if it was my own child. All I can pray for in this is for peace.
So there you have it. My prayer thoughts as of late. Lord, hear my prayers. Amen.
“15-18We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.
18-20He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.” (Colossians 1:15-20, The Message)
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