You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2013.

Amazing Almighty,

This is the day Christians remember that Jesus rose from the dead.  I sure don’t know how THAT worked, but I know it came from  you.  Amazing!  This is the reason believers say you can do anything.  And relying on that level of ability gives me great comfort.  Amazing!

easter_empty_tomb1

Loving Lord,

I bring my friend, Amy, to you again today.  You know she has a fever of 103F and hasn’t awakened since her seizure on Friday.  I know that fevers mean the body is working hard to heal something.  I know sleep is healing.  I trust you, and I ask you to continue to be the healing energy for Amy.  Be the wisdom of the medical team, I pray of thee.  Be the compassion of those taking care intensively of Amy. Be the love, as I know you are, among all members of Amy’s family.  It would be pretty cool if Amy awakens today and the bed could be empty, like the tomb.  (Just sayin’)

empty bed

Generous Grandother,

You fill our Easter baskets to overflowing with your love for us. We are grateful for all that we have.  And thank you for taking good care of Jill and Doug as they drove to Colorado. Continue, I pray of thee, to bless us to your purpose, your service.  Lord, I love you so much!

I pray in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

Advertisements

Received email a few minutes ago from Pam, our Director of Connections:

I just received a call from Jill T.  While vacationing in Colorado, Amy (Jill’s daughter) has suffered a grand mal seizure.  She is in intensive care.  Please, please, lift Amy in prayer. 

Doug & Jill are on driving to Colorado this morning to be with Amy.  Pray for safe travel for Doug & Jill.  Pray for peace as they await news from tests.

Thank you dear prayers. 

Original Energy,

I rose this morning with a few plans and some time before to settle into the day.  You weren’t my first thought; forgive me.  However, the tune of Solid Rock was playing through my mind and the words “all other ground is sinking sand” have been rattling around inside my head. Now this email jogs my mind and calls me to pray.  You are the power of the universe.  You are amazing!

Gracious Grandparent,

You created Amy, just as you created each of us.  We love her, with her simple giving ways, and her steadfast love for her Christian Ed class who she followed from little through confirmation.  And now the wiring in her brain or the chemistry or whatever has gone wrong.  And I know that’s hard on a body.  I know you may have plans that I don’t understand – to which I’m not privileged to know; that’s the way it’s supposed to be and I trust you.  I also know Jesus told us to ask in his name.  So here’s what I’d like:  make it be ok.  Bring Amy back to health.  Give Jill and Doug a lovely little vacation with Amy and with Paula.  Ease any possibility of monetary suffering; make insurance cover everything.

Again, I think of a car as a monastery.  A place set apart for prayer.  Let it be so.

zDriveIntoSunset

And in the meantime, Lord, I know you will surround this entire family with your grace and with your love and with your strength.  Let them need only to see one another to know your presence.  Remind them to be gentle and kind, even if they are feeling stressed – although, seriously, Lord, this family has embodied grace in my eyes.  Let them feel your power just as they see a sunrise each morning.  Grant them that peace which surpasses all understanding.  Remind them to pray and trust when they begin to worry.  Remind them to lean on you.  Enfold them in your loving embrace and grant them the grace to enfold one another.

Generous Giver,

All good comes from you; the TRUE good.  While I sit in my warm house with my coffee and water brought to me, I am privileged in this world beyond belief.  You’ve given me the type of mind that longs for good beyond these creature comforts. You’ve given me the type of heart that loves and longs for love.  Thank you for these more important gifts. Thank you for cars and gasoline and time to travel. Thank you for whatever will occupy Doug’s and Jill’s thoughts as they drive for so many hours.  I love you so much.

I pray in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

I received an email message this morning from Amy, a colleague in Raleigh, NC.  Amy & I have been corresponding on an issue for which I often help colleagues around the country. This email from her this morning closed with “Have a great day – and a blessed Easter weekend!”  She usually closed her email with “Blessings”. 

So, I wrote to her about the amazing group of praying colleagues & friends God has provided to me.  I told her we’re willing to pray for any/everything.  She offered a prayer of joy that she’s been kept on through two expected layoffs because someone else chose to leave (someone who would have been kept on).  This time, she’ll begin on May 1 to drive 35 minutes to another town. She wrote “since you offered, can you remember me in your prayers for safety on my new drive on the high way each day?”  Well, you know me.  There’s a tickler on my calendar beginning the Monday of that week.

(By the way, gentle reader, feel free to comment in order to request prayer.  We love to pray!) 

And just now, another of my prayerful colleagues, Shirley (in the Atlanta area), sent this and it reminds me that Easter is this coming Sunday: 

March jonquil

 

I’ll look when I get home this evening to see if our jonquils have poked their new life above the soil of my northern Midwestern environs, but I’m doubtful!

Everpresent Energy,

You are always in motion.  This morning, I’ve had many emails that remind me of your perpetual creation.  I adore you.  You ARE amazing!

Loving Light,

You clearly want my attention.  Here I am, focused on you and the beauty of your creation.

Lord, I pray today for Amy.  Let her use her 35 minute commute starting May 1st to commune with you.  Make her car her monastery, and keep her eyes on the road and her heart on you.  Let her know true peace and clarity as she travels.  Let her rejoice in the knowledge that she will have 70 minutes each day to spend time with you.

I bring Susan to you.  Keep her well and happy as she and Matt travel to Peoria to spend Easter with her parents.  Give Matt and Susan the chance to show Susan’s parents how good this coupling is, how it is your plan that they be together.  Help Susan’s parents take comfort in this knowledge.  I pray too, Lord, that you will make manifest the way for Sarah to come to the wedding.  Let us be your conduits for this, Lord.

 

people praying

I pray for all those putting their lives on the line in statements of justice and peace.  As they act on their knowledge of your plan for love, harmony, your peaceable kingdom, may they know true peace

I bring Lindsey to you. I’m excited that she’ll be back with us for Easter.  Your enthusiasm shows through this saint, Lord.  We welcome her back to us as we will commemorate the welcoming of Jesus’ presence back to his disciples on Easter.  It is such a glorious and happy time, Lord.  I barely can wait for it.

Abundant Affirmer,

I think of all my colleagues and friends and family who are part of my group of prayerful saints.  I am grateful for Shirley and Janice, Jon and Pat, Chuck and Lisa, Thea and Susan and Lindsey.  I know you made them all, just as you want them.  I am grateful.  Thank you for all this and more.  I love you so much.

I pray in Jesus’ holy name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

This morning, I read an article on The Bonobo And The Atheist, a book written by primatologist and atheist, Frans de Waal. I added it to my Amazon Wish List because it looks to be right up my alley. In it, de Waal argues that ethical behavior, known in humans as morality, is an evolutionary phenomenon. The reviewer (theist and anthropologist Barbara J. King, whose book Evolving God also went on my Wish List) mentions that chimpanzees, macaques, and bonobos all are empathetic. De Waal also notes “there is little evidence that other animals judge the appropriateness of actions that do not directly affect themselves.”

Amazing Almighty,
You are. That alone leads me to praise you, merely for who you are. I rise in the morning and see evidence of you everywhere. You are. Amazing!

Lord of Light,
A non-judgmental being seems far worthier of your love than I am. I want to be non-judgemental. What happened in our evolution that took us away from the level of primates who have empathy and kindness. Do we need to be judgemental in order to be sentient? Perhaps these are two sides of the same coin; perhaps to be able to think and make decisions we must be able to judge. But, somehow, Lord, I’d rather not have the brain chemistry to judge others unless I can fully understand them. And I don’t think I can ever fully understand another. I think that’s your realm – not mine. For you are the Creator and I am but the creature.

146293843-bonobos-congo-sanctuary

So today, Lord, perhaps you can help me to be more like the primates. I like being able to think and I love having free will, but it would be wonderful not to have the hateful sin of judging others. As Paul said “all have sinned and fall short.”

Source of all Seen,
I thank you for my health and my sister Thea’s recovery. I thank you for the promise of spring.  (And, btw, Source of Humor and Whimsy, I will always be grateful for opposable thumbs!  Great idea!)

primateWorld

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

Today’s UCC StillSpeaking Devotional is written by our favorite author, Quinn Caldwell.  Did you SEE the link of the halo?  It looks to me like a rainbow and certainly is like the way we imagined Jesus’ halo when I was a little kid.  I think I’ve seen paintings like that.

Perfect Painter,

You dreamed up all the colors of the rainbow.  You put all the beautiful colors in the stripes of the Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert and Red Rock.  Your sense of aesthetics is more beautiful than anything I could imagine.  Amazing!  And when humans acted selfishly and like bone-heads and like stuffy Pharisees, you sent Jesus to show us the way you want us to live.  Amazing!

glory

Loving Lord,

This morning, I bring my friend Susan to you.  Grant her your peace, that surpasses all understanding.  Give her unlimited joy as she prepares for the ceremony making public her marriage to Matt.

I bring Thea to you; we are so grateful for her healing and that you have ways for her to avoid nausea during chemo as well as ways for her to receive healthy blood chemicals to give her energy.

I bring Lindsey, and all our siblings in Christ who travel.  Make straight their ways and bring them safely home to their ministries with us.

I bring Tom, Carol, Debbie’s father and all who have pain and illness. Give them your energy and peace to keep the pain from turning into suffering.

I come to you my own self, asking for more energy and a sense of well-being. I pray you will bless my relationships and my interactions.

But most importantly, Lord, I pray you will take my life. For you can bend light to make a rainbow or a halo. “Bend me, shape me, any way you want me”, Lord.  The 1960’s pop tune comes to mind.  I looked it up and it could have been a prayer, maybe even with that bubblegum beat!

Bend Me Album

Bend me, shape me
Anyway you want me,
Long as you love me, it’s all right

Bend me, shape me
Anyway you want me,
You got the power to turn on the light.

Everybody tells me I’m wrong to want you so badly,
But there’s a force driving me on, I follow it gladly.
So let them laugh I don’t care,
Cause I got nothing to hide,
All that I want is you by my side.

Bend me, shape me
Anyway you want me,
Long as you love me, it’s all right

Bend me, shape me
Anyway you want me,
You got the power to turn on the light.
Bend me shape me anyway you want me*

Lord, as I try to submit to your will, I pray you will keep me mindful.  For as long as I remember, I try to spread your love.  As long as I remember, I try to be kind and generous.  The moment I forget, I fall back to my innate selfish, foolish ways.  And even with years of practice, loving doesn’t come to me without very deliberate thoughts.  I want to focus on you.  I want to bring your kingdom to earth.  I need your help.  I always will.

Generous Grandparent,

You lavish blessings upon me.  Your love fills every nook, every crevice and overflows around me.    Remind me to float, no to walk on your ocean of love.  Let it imbue my every motion, my every breath, my every thought.  I am thankful for all you’ve given me.  I appreciate the beauty I see and hear.  I am grateful for the comforts you send.  I am overcome with the love of the community of faithful with whom you surround me.

I pray through Jesus’ name, our Christ,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

*(Lyrics © CLAUS OGERMANN, PRES. D/B/A HELIOS MUSIC CORP.)

The corporation for which I work awaits a new Manager (who needed to give a month’s notice at her old position).  One of this manager’s subordinates has assumed the manager’s critical responsibilities in addition to her own.  It’s clearly too much to try to accomplish and is taking a toll on my coworker.

 

Lord,

We sit in the US with well-paid jobs, more than enough to eat, heat, technology…  all comes from You and we are amazed at your abilities.  As I sit on my comfortable chair, at my fast PC, I pray for my colleague Lydia.  I watch as she tries so hard to do the best possible job.

job stress

I pray that you will remind her that you love her beyond her wildest imagination.  Let Lydia always remember that you are at her side, supporting her.  In days when there is too much to be accomplished, help her to know that you are pleased with her.  She is your beloved child.  Please, Lord, grant Lydia internal peace in the external chaos.

relaxed_worker

Pour your grace upon her.  Bless her work, knowing that all she does glorifies You.

Through Christ our Lord,

Amen.

This prayer is from an Eighth Century British Christian named Alcuin, reflecting that stream of Celtic Christianity that began with St. Patrick and flourished in that part of the world throughout much of the first millennium.

Give us, oh Lord we pray, firm faith, unwavering hope, a passion for justice.

hope
Pour into our hearts the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and spiritual strengths, the spirit of knowledge and true compassion and the spirit of wonder in all of your works.
miracle

Light eternal, shine in our hearts.
Power eternal, deliver us from evil.
Wisdom eternal, scatter the darkness of our ignorance. Might eternal, have mercy on us.
Grant that we may ever seek your face with all our heart and soul and strength,
And in your infinite mercy, bring us at last to the fullness of your presence where we shall behold your glory and live your promised joys.
In the name of Jesus, our body and blood, our life and our nourishment, Amen.

To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

Go-deep-go-strong-abatley-1

© Alison Batley (photo copyright)

Today my congregation hosts a prayer vigil.  We’re in a transition phase, since our pastor of 22 years retired.  The United Church of Christ (UCC) recommends taking time to adjust to leaving the old and envisioning the next pastoral period.  With a lot of help from the internet (amazing what one can find with Google!), I developed a guide for our prayer vigil today.   Among the resources:  

Prayer Vigil Guide for Visioning with the most lovely graphic (above)

Those who wanted a resource for their 30 minutes of solitude in our sanctuary (or elsewhere) have been given the following.  I pray it helps us to think about where God wants to lead us.

Throughout our four-week all church study, we used this little graphical guy doing various things.  I was fortunate to find him praying; it appears he’s likely copyrighted by Leo Blanchette.

orange guy - prayer

I’m posting the resource here, because some may find it helpful in considering their personal or congregational journey ahead.

To God be the glory!

Transitional Ministry Visioning Prayer Vigil

Enter into prayer:  praising God for the many wonderful ways our congregation embodies God’s love.   Praise God if you have grown closer to Christ at our church. Praise God!

Scripture:  

We continually remember before our God your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

~ I Thessalonians 1:3

Focus:  on whom God is for you, the purpose God has given you and the purpose for our congregation.

Scripture:  

“But what about you?” Jesus asked. “Who do you say I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by God in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of death will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven…”            ~ Matthew 16:15 – 19

Meditate:  on the times and ways in your life when God has guided you and the times God has led our church.

Scripture: 

But when the Spirit of truth comes, the Spirit will guide you into all truth.

~ John 16:13

Access the Holy of Holies in ways that work for you:  Listen to music, read, draw, do handiwork or your craft.  Enter into God’s Sacred Space.

Scripture:  

… beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.            ~ Phillipians 4:8

Ask:  for spiritual vision for our congregation and spend time listening to God.

Scripture: 

Where there is no vision, the people perish.

~ Proverbs 29:18

Pray:  that our church will be led by the Holy Spirit during the envisioning event and that each participant will come with a listening heart to be attentive to what others have  to say.  Pray that all will seek to align our personal desires with God’s vision, and work together to seek God’s direction.

Scripture:  

Call unto me, and I will answer, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.

~ Jeremiah 33:3

Ask:  God to guide the participants to discover key areas of ministry focus God would desire for us during the next five years.

Scripture: 

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak.

~ Ecclesiastes 3: 1 – 7

Scripture:   “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

~ Jeremiah 29:11-13

Pray:  for good participation from as many people as possible on March 10 in helping to envision our church’s future.

Scripture: From God the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

~ Ephesians 4:16a

Melissa Pazen © 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

This morning, I heard that my manager’s father-in-law has been diagnosed with lung cancer, and that while it is in an early stage, the father-in-law has  decided not to pursue treatment and to rest comfortably in the Lord’s hands.  I imagine this is very difficult for all who love this man.

 

God of Beginnings and Endings,

You have made a time for every purpose.  You understand everything.  Being merely your creations, we don’t.  And one of our flaws is that we wish we did understand everything.  We wish we could make things begin and end on our schedules, according to our desires.  We confess that we want the control and the knowledge only you have.

God of Parents and Children,

I pray for Debbie’s father and all who love him. I pray for his wife. I pray for Debbie and Steve and their children.

Abel_dying_Louvre_MN80

Lord of life,

if his decision to seek no treatment is the right one, let him rest securely.  If his decision is the wrong one, keep whispering in his ear until he hears you; let him seek your counsel and hear your wisdom.

Lord of loving,

I pray you will give serenity and acceptance of Debbie’s father’s decision to those in his family.  I pray you will help them to respect him and his decision.  While they must grieve their ultimate loss of his presence, let them remember all the good he has done.  Remind them of the love he has had for them, shown or undemonstrated.  More importantly, help each of them to remember the love you have for them – each and every one.  Let them know your love will always be available to them.  And let them know they can show your love to one another. Remind them to treat one another respectfully and kindly.  Let them know that when they walk humbly with you, loving justice and mercy, they are doing what you require of them.

God of memories,

Grant this family and all who love them the gift of spending time together now.  Remind them to enjoy the time that is left, whether it be several years or several days.  Remind them to seek the information they want to remember, whether they compile a memory scrap book or record his voice or make video.  Let them recognize the value of a human life and celebrate this man’s journey while they still have time with him.

Dying_gaul

In the days to come, when there are sad or difficult times, let these people lean on your strength and on one another who show your strength.  Remind them that whenever they face a dark night of the soul, your light will come again and bring knowledge in the morning that life goes on and joy will always come again.

Gods-Sunrise

Generous Giver,

All that we have, all who we love, everything we see comes from you.  You bless us abundantly and we are grateful.  Lord, we love you so much.

Through Jesus,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

This morning’s StillSpeaking devotional addresses death and its sting.  Donna Schaper summons images of watching carrots grow in order to appreciate what it takes to change, and the time it may take.  Our congregation will be considering change this week-end at a visioning meeting.

 transformation

Many fear death.  I suspect almost all of us fear pain preceding death.  There are a few of us who look forward to learning what comes after death.  I believe I’ve been promised something wonderful, and I’m eager to see how it pans out.  I remember a sermon that included the thought spurring comment: “What if you were to arrive in heaven and find Hitler standing next to you?”  I supposed it was meant as a conundrum or something to lead me to be sorry for living a life in which I attempt to do good and avoid evil.  My response:  I hope I won’t care.  I’m hoping for a heaven in which I truly will be overjoyed to be there…  and that it will surpass my best times on earth, and I won’t have to go home to get up and go to work or clean the house in the morning.   Perhaps I’ll understand something about how we both got there.  Don’t know about these things now, I’m merely God’s flawed creation.  I’m not supposed to know everything, so I can relax in the knowledge that I don’t.

Somehow, I am reminded of “Spirit” a lovely hymn written by James K. Manley, as he finished his doctoral thesis:

wind

Spirit, spirit of gentleness,
blow through the wilderness, calling and free,
Spirit, spirit of restlessness,
stir me from placidness, wind, wind on the sea.

You moved on the waters, you called to the deep,
then you coaxed up the mountains from the valleys of sleep;
and over the eons you called to each thing;
“Awake from your slumbers and rise on your wings.”

You swept through the desert, you stung with the sand
and you goaded your people with a law and a land;
and when they were blinded with idols and lies,
then you spoke through your prophets to open their eyes.

You sang in a stable, you cried from a hill,
then you whispered in silence when the whole world was still;
and down in the city you called once again,
when you blew through your people on the rush of the wind.

You call from tomorrow, you break ancient schemes.
From the bondage of sorrow all the captives dream dreams;
our women see visions, our men clear their eyes.
With bold new decisions your people arise.

(James K. Manley (20th century), hymn-writer. Published in Everflowing Streams (1981). “Spirit,” l. 1-4 (1978).)

Spirit of Gentleness,

You blow goodness and mercy just as the gentle wind blows ripples on the water.  You are the origin of my every thought.  You send inspiration to move me from my mental inertia.  I worship and adore you.

Spirit of Restlessness,

Stir me from placidness; guide me, I pray of thee, on a gentle but steady course of bringing your kingdom to come on earth.   Set my heart, mind, soul on your loving kindness.  Let me seek only to improve the world for all.  Let me be a calming presence among those in turmoil, helping to bring glimpses of your joy and your glory.

Spirit who calls me to freedom,

Thank you for calling me from tomorrow and breaking the ancient schemes.  Remind  me that my only bonds are those from which I could break through by following you.  Help me to make reality from the dreams of the captives.  Help me to report the women’s visions and encourage the men to clear their eyes and see you.  Help us all to arise and do your holy work.

Spirit who Cried from a hill,

Thank you for whispering to me in the silence.  Thank you for waking me in the night to meditate on you with the sting of my hand ‘falling asleep’.  Thank you for the extravagant blessings you have bestowed on me.  Thank you for a world of freedom in my head, to imagine your world of freedom on earth.  I love you so much.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 312 other followers

Posting Dates

March 2013
S M T W T F S
« Feb   Apr »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Blog Stats

  • 4,918 hits