Archive for prayer

.:: A Prayer from Solitude for My Students

Posted in adolescence, disciplines, Prayer, spiritual disciplines, Theology with tags , , , , , , on October 20, 2014 by Walter

One of the courses I teach is Spiritual Disciplines and a significant portion of that class is actually practicing the disciplines when it is feasible in class.  Today I got to share in practicing solitude with them as we dispersed across the green on campus and spent a hour in solitude on an amazing fall day.  Here is a prayer that I wrote for my students during this time:

My prayer for them is that they could be FULLY PRESENT with you God as we commune together in Solitude.

May the peace of Christ dwell in their hearts as they declutter their lives from the noise of the start of a busy week.

May they be taken to the dark parts of their souls and do the difficult work of self-reflection.

May they see you God in the delicate beauty of Autumn that is breaking through.

May their souls be still.

May they be taken from loneliness to intimacy as they experience Your Presence.

May the warmth of the Autumn sun be a gift and reminder of Your Grace.

Father, they are so busy-they had tremendous amounts of stress bearing down upon them–please come near to them in this time.

Give HOPE to those struggling with classes, grades, homework.

Give PEACE to those with problems with family, friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, roommates.

Give HEALING to those with health issues and medical problems.

Give RELEASE to those with financial struggles, job schedule issues, and those who need just another hour in their day.

As they encounter Your Presence in solitude whisper into their souls that You are Fully Present with them.

First Day of School Prayer!

Posted in Teaching, Theology, youth ministry with tags , , on August 16, 2014 by Walter

IMG_0405.PNGToday is the first day of classes for Lipscomb.  The first day of a school year is always pregnant with hope. Hope that this will be a better year. Hope that students will stay on top of their homework and reading. Hope that things will be different…better.  Here is a prayer for my students:

Father as we enter a new academic year I invite You to be impossible to ignore in the classroom.  May students see Your Creativity in the wonder of discovery as students are introduced to new ideas and concepts.

I praise You for the minds that want to be pushed, prodded, filled and challenged.  May they see You in the new information, discoveries, knowledge and wisdom.

I praise You for the relationships that will be formed between student and teacher.  May they begin a journey  of learning together that lasts a lifetime.

For those students that will experience loss, grief, struggle, discouragement, and doubt, will you send an extra measure of comfort and peace into their souls?  Please send teachers and classmates around those who are hurting to offer compassion and support.

May we all recognize that the classroom is truly Holy Ground.  May we see something transcendant when teacher and student gather together to seek knowledge and understand the extraordinary and truly awesome privilege it is to study in an institution of higher learning such as Lipscomb.  May we not take for granted the blessing that literally billions of others on earth would like.  Give us the discipline and self-control to take in all that this academic year has to offer in our readings, classes, activities, discussions, seminars, labs, and more have to offer.  

May You illuminate us with the light of knowledge and may that Truth we discern and discover this year set us free to help those who are oppressed, needy, hungry, naked, and lost.

Give my students the wisdom to know the meaning and purpose of their lives and learning so their knowledge, skills and gifts be able to make Your Kingdom a better place for your greater glory.

Grant me patience for the students who need that little bit extra.  Give me the ability to be fully present for every class, lecture, conversation and office meeting so that I can serve those around me in the best way possible.

May I learn more from my students than I have ever before and grant me new perspectives to places that have become overly familiar.  

May we be able to look back at this year and be able to undeniably praise You for all the growth that we have experienced through this year.

Amen.

 

.::DO DISTURB

Posted in church, Life, Ministry with tags , , , on July 26, 2009 by Walter

This is a prayer attributed to Sir Francis Drake that was read in church last week.  I love the dissonance that it stirs within the suburban soul:

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.

May the modern church, reclaim its mission to:

DO JUSTICE–May we be DISTURBED deep in our souls to care for the Orphan of our culture, to nurture and remember the widowed of our world, to visit the imprisoned, to clothe the naked INSTEAD of resting comfortably in our pews week after week.  May we be a FORCE of COMPASSION in this world.

LOVE MERCY--May we be a people who are DISTURBED to the point that we stand up for what is RIGHT and to shun that which is WRONG.  The church has been far too silent when it comes to issues requiring mercy such as the kind that Organizations like International Justice Mission, Invisible Children and Compassion International deal with.  Why has the church been so silent on the issues of same sex marriage and homosexuality?  (What I mean is there HAS to be a COMPASSIONATE response full of mercy that the church can and ought to embrace instead of letting these intolerant buffoons that dominate the media be the poster child for the church on these issues)*

WALK HUMBLY–I think the fact that the church has been the establishment for too long in our culture that we have lost virtually ALL of our humility.  Thanks to organizations like the Religious Right, we have abused our position as a majority and in the process forgotten what it means to be humble servants to the disenfranchised of our world.  We have forgotten what it means to wash feet, touch and heal lepers, and the like.  May we be DISTURBED to humility–to a world view that sees others who are different, who believe differently, who look different, smell different, etc. as Beautiful Creations of God . . . and maybe, just maybe, we shall begin to love them as Jesus would.

If we can do some of this then perhaps, just perhaps, we shall dream bigger, sail farther away from the shore, fall more in love with life and less in lust for things, venture into wilder places, and in doing so, get a much, much, much larger vision of God.

I know–wild hair ideas from a guy without any hair. . .

* I realize that I only throw stones in this direction and don’t offer any real solutions.  I honestly don’t know what the answer here is, but I don’t like the responses that I have seen the church offer thus far.

.::Three Years

Posted in church, Life, rant with tags , , , , , , , on April 17, 2009 by Walter

Today in my disciplines class I had my students do an exercise that Stephen Covey talks about in his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  I had them visualize their funeral three years from today and what they would want their loved ones to say about them at their funeral/memorial.

So here is my first stab at the exercise:

  • I would want my wife to say that I loved her unendingly, exceedingly.  That I was a faithful husband and a caring companion.  I would want her to say that I sharpened her in her fiath as she sharpened me.  That I reflected joy in our time together.
  • I would want my daughters to say that I was a father who never ceased to tell them that I loved them.  That I was a dad who SHOWED them what a Christian was far more than simply TELLING them what to do in their faith.  And by being such an example, they desired themselves to follow Jesus because of what they witnessed.  They knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I cared for and helped protect them.  That I showed them that while I wasn’t perfect, I was one who would be quick to ask for forgiveness when I blew it.  That I showed them how to really “Carpe Diem” as I gave them a love for worship, laughter, roller coasters, the church, the ocean, skiing, travel, music, Sabbath, and ministry.
  • I would want my students who’ve I had the privilege to minister to to say that I was a person who always directed/pointed them to Jesus.  I was a sign post directing them away from me to Jesus.  That I cared and loved them but his PASSION for Jesus and the Journey was infectious.  He taught me to THINK about faith and gave me “out of the box” ideas as to how to live out my faith.  He never gave me a pre-packaged, marketed, simplified, consumer faith, but was AUTHENTIC about what it meant to follow Jesus.

I know I am not perfect.  I won’t be until heaven.  I don’t want to delude myself into thinking I am.  But what I strive for most is AUTHENTIC FAITHFULNESS.

What is great about an exercise like this is that is gives me a concrete target to strive towards with my faith, my character and my behavior.  So I have to go now and get my wife some flowers and make my daughters a play list for their iTunes of “Music they Must Love.”

.::AS WINTER DIES DOWN

Posted in Life, Theology with tags , , on March 10, 2009 by Walter

As winter dies down and spring approaches, let us remember a few things in this time of seasonal change.*

  • While the cold of winter begins to fade, remember those parts of your heart the perhaps need thawing.  Offer those darker, more frigid parts of your soul up to God as an offering to allow Him to heal you.
  • As spring burst forth with colors, leaves, flowers and green.  Remember the redemptive power of Jesus to make everything new.  To restore those parts of your soul that may have died.
  • Change is good.  You cannot come into the presence of the Lord and remain the same.  If you are the same person you were at the beginning of this season, perhaps you haven’t worshiped or offer yourself to God and now would be a good time to start.
  • With the newness of Spring, may you be alert to the new things Christ may be offering you in this journey this season.  Grace, hope, love, courage, determination, faith, peace, gentleness, kindness . . .
  • As Spring rings forth New Life to this world, may God bring New Life to your soul this season.
  • Perhaps you suffered a long, dark winter of your soul, my prayer is that this would be a spring that allows faith and hope to emerge from their slumber and revitalize your spirit.
  • And above all, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb 11:8)  There is tremendous comfort for those where change is a challenge, there is always one constant in this universe.

*For my Californian friends, seasons are these things the rest of the nation experiences when it either gets warmer or colder.  We are currently experiencing that time when the weather gets warmer.

.::Prayer

Posted in disciplines, Ministry, spiritual disciplines, Teaching, Theology with tags , , , , , , on February 4, 2009 by Walter

If I am honest, one of the disciplines that I overlook and take for granted the most is prayer.  Probably because so much of my prayer experiences have been dull, boring, hard work, tedious, etc.  I cognitively know that prayer is powerful and effective.  I have been the recipient of many prayers that I know have sustained me through some really difficult times of my faith.

This morning I was reminded how fantastic prayer can be.  My disciplines class embarked upon a Concert of Prayer where I lead them through several different modes of praying, from silent meditation to group prayer, to confessional journaling, to group artistic efforts on a white board and so on.  It is always a risky effort taking people to places where they may never have been before.  I never know how a group is going to respond to an exercise like this.  This morning I dragged myself to work through 15 degree weather, sleepy, tired with a looooooong day ahead of me.  So my own soul and disposition was left wanting.  However, after an hour of recalibrating my soul, being reminded of hos God is truly at work in this world, and seeing 40 college student give themselves so freely in prayer was indescribably encouraging.  Hearing a room filed with prayers from all corners is overwhelming and uplifting.  The things you wrote on the board were rich with depth.  Just watching you as you prayed and prayed and prayed was so amazing!  Thank you Discipline Class for such an encouraging experience and uplift to my soul.

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:3-6