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In today’s StillSpeaking Devotional, Matthew Laney uses a passage from Genesis:

God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham! Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” – Genesis 22:1-2 (NRSV)

Laney likens inoculating his daughter to God’s test of Abraham. He goes on to say that many of us sacrifice our “children on the altars of our careers and smartphones.” I’ve been guilty of the former.  I’ve also sacrificed my children on the altar of romantic relationships. I confessed this to my now-grown children as part of my 9th step amends, but it still hits a nerve to read today’s devotional. Will you pray with me, please?

Unique Universe-Creator,

You are the God of Abraham and Isaac; you are the God of Christopher and Katherine and me. Only you could have called the worlds into being. You are bigger than, more than anything I can imagine. You are amazing!

Loving Lord,

Today, I bring my relationships to you; those with my children and all my relationships, even my relationship with you. Remind me to prioritize and be right-minded in setting the proper things before others. Remind me not to squander my inheritance, nor the inheritance I might leave to my children. Keep my heart pure and help me to remember responsibilities before frivolities.

Generous Giver,

All that I have, from my car to my coffee, from my house to my husband, from my children to my childishness, all comes from you. Thank you for a warm home in the winter, a car to carry me to contemplative worship on Wednesday mornings, for my children who are now adults and who can be honest enough with me to call me out on my transgressions of parenthood. Thank you for clearing the ice from the patio before the prospect of snow tonight. Thank you for everything. I am grateful. Lord, I love you so much!

And I pray in the powerful name of Jesus, who told me to do so,

Amen.

To God be the Glory!

 

Love always,

Melissa

Melissa Pazen, MSW

INSPIRED COACHING, MELISSA PAZEN

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.net

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

© Melissa Pazen, 2020

A prayer request from one in my Congregational UCC of Saint Charles family, Tara –

Please add my cousin Will and his 9 year old daughter, Lucy to your prayers. Will’s wife Ashly and their 7 year old son Vince were involved in a fatal car accident this week. This has been devastating for our entire family

This morning I opened my email to this request and it brings up an internal debate that I’ve been having for a long time:

What about when bad things happen? Does God’s plan intend the untimely death of a seven-year-old and a young mother? How can such terrible things happen to people we believe are good?

My God hasn’t let that happen to me; I’ve reached a ripe old age, older than I dreamed possible since the women in my family have historically died young. In fact, I never planned for retirement since I expected to die at 49 like my mother did. But anyway… I don’t have the ultimate response when someone asks “how could this have happened?” I can only say that I don’t know if God sticks a hand in and causes bad things to happen. I believe God called the world into being, though. I certainly believe that whether good or bad, God calls me to make the best of it. God asks that I make something good and worthy and holy out of every single thing that happens to me. I believe in God.

Will you pray with me, please?

Constant Caller,

I come to thee today filled with questions. I trust that only thee has the answers because only thou are God. I’m not meant to understand certain things because I am merely human. Were these deaths untimely? I don’t know and I’m ok with that. I know my answer isn’t necessarily helpful to the grieving family and I have to be ok with that, too. Thou knows all things, creates all things; do thou end all things deliberately even when it shakes us to our cores? Perhaps. Perhaps the Ecclesiastes author who purported “To everything, there is a season” heard it when thou whispered in her/his ear. I don’t know, but God knows. Thou are amazing!

Re-Freshing Responder,

Today, I bring Ashly, Vince and all who love(d) them to thee. Remind them to rest in thy strong and loving arms. Remind them to be gentle with one another, to be patient and kind, to be respectful. Remind them that self-care must come first so grant them rest and nourishment and time to heal. Remind them that grief is normal and good, that Shiva is a holy time still practiced by Jews and something that all could use. Grant all of them peace. Whisper answers in their expectant ears, be that small voice in the dark night of their souls.

Gracious God,

Thou are the source of all good things, maybe all bad things too. Today, I’m grateful for holiday mugs with my offsprings’ mugs on them. I am grateful for my thoughtful, reflective mind, for candles and antihistamines and tissues into which I can blow my runny nose. I am grateful for immunoglobulin therapy and the possibility that I’ll receive it. I am grateful for Sully and his squeak toys since they remind me to be joyful. I am grateful for the corn casserole recipe and the resources to buy the ingredients to make it. I am grateful for Steve who buys the ingredients and those who grew or combined them. I am grateful for thee, oh Lord. I love thee so much!

And I pray in Jesus supportive name,

Amen.

To God be the Glory!

 

Love always,

Melissa

Melissa Pazen, MSW

INSPIRED COACHING, MELISSA PAZEN

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.net

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

© Melissa Pazen, 2019

 

Today’s UCC Stillspeaking devotional (link) is about a dog that’s been hurt in the past and slowly learns that its rescuing owner means no harm when touching the dog’s back.

Sully MonsterWho would harm a dog?

Not I…  at least not deliberately.Miss Daisy

I always apologize to Sully Monster and Miss Daisy when I step on them. But that not-deliberate hurt still hurts.  My parents didn’t intend to injure my psyche, and I’m mostly over that now. My husband doesn’t mean to hurt my feelings, but sometimes his protection injures my pride!

I find that when I have the time to sit after a trigger is tripped BEFORE speaking, I sometimes can find the truth and gently respond to it instead of reacting to the trigger.  Sometimes I even learn from it!

Will you pray with me, please?

Everpresent Energy,

Thee raise the sun every morning to bring light and overcome the darkness. Thee create every thing, living and inanimate. Only thee could have created dogs, whose unconditional love shows us a side of thee that we would not otherwise see (I get the joke, dog is God spelled backwards!). Thou are amazing!

Request Responder,

Today, I bring myself and my triggers. Remind me to pause and pray before I proceed to put my paw in my piehole! Remind me to be the gentle, loving creature who thee made me to be. Lord, I pray for a job where I can eke out a living for Steve, the dogs and me. I don’t need to keep our big house, but to be able to afford something warm in the winter would be wonderful!  I know only thee can grant the opportunity and only thee can give me the grace to get the gig.

Generous Giver,

I thank thee this morning for life, sobriety, AA, Centering Prayer, Christopher, Kate, Mary, Jennifer, Judy, Sue, Lindsey, Deb, Kristen, running water, Miss Daisy, Sully Monster, Steve and Pat. I thank thee for all those in my faith community.

And I pray in Jesus’ most amazing essence and name,

Amen.

To God be the Glory!

Love always,

Melissa
Melissa Pazen, MSW

INSPIRED COACHING, MELISSA PAZEN

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.net

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

© Melissa Pazen, 2019

God said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”    ~ Genesis 22:2

Yesterday morning, I went to the contemplative worship service at the Congregational United Church of Christ in St. Charles and our scripture was the story of Abraham being told to sacrifice Isaac. In case you don’t remember the story, Isaac (meaning ‘she laughs’) was born to Sarah and Abraham when they were older, maybe even in their 80’s. God had promised Abraham that Isaac would be the beginning of THE Israelite bloodline and that the Israelites would someday be a great nation. Now, in this passage, God is telling Abraham to kill and burn that long-awaited child.

Wait, what?!?

I could imagine Abraham’s dismay, his disappointment, his grief.  But we, as good Christians, are told that Abraham obeyed God. Fortunately, at the last moment, God’s messenger gave Abraham a reprieve. God’s sense of timing, horror, and humor continue to amaze me. I know about hoping for that reprieve. I started seminary and whether I wiggled out of it or God said, “just kidding, Melissa; you don’t have to go anymore,” I still don’t know. But I went saying that I hoped for Abraham’s reprieve.

Yesterday, for a split second, I understood terrorism or one possibility for some terrorists. And the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.  My hand flew over my mouth. “What if this is what the fundamentalist terrorists hear?” I don’t think they hear the one true God, but they do. I could imagine thinking, “God (or whatever name), you tell me to kill people. Please, God, oh please, don’t make me do that.” But they don’t get Abraham’s reprieve.

Will you pray with me, please?

 

Maker Most Mysterious,

I don’t even know if this story actually happened. I do know that only thee could make it happen. Impregnating 80-year-olds then obligating an offering of the offspring, only thee. Only thee could cause Mary to be pre-marital and pregnant. These stories shake me up. Thee make me think, God, and that can’t be bad. Thee are amazing!

 

Lover of Life,

I bring to thee today my family. Keep me married and make that marriage thrive if it be thy will. Give me reason to laugh in my 80’s. Grant children to my daughter, Kate, when/if the time is right. (Perhaps she could name her first daughter ‘Isaica’.)

And, Lord, bring wisdom to those who would otherwise commit acts of terror. Help us all to remember that life and love is always thy will, no matter how hard it may be to feel love. Help me to remain a calm, healthy adult in all circumstances.

 

Generous Giver,

It’s soon to be one of the most busy times of year. Thank thee for the resources to make a Thanksgiving and a Christmas celebration. Thank thee for good smells, not burnt offerings. Thank thee for the ability to await all that is to come, with patience, joy and excitement. God, I love thee so much!

In Jesus’ precious name,

Amen.

To God be the Glory!

 

Love always,

Melissa
Melissa Pazen, MSW

INSPIRED COACHING, MELISSA PAZEN

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.net

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

 

Jesus came to Galilee … saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” – Mark 1:14-15 (NRSV)

This UCC devotional, written by the Rev. Vince Amlin, (link) is one I have already sent to my son who, after 9/11, was concerned with clean underwear and a charger for his phone, both given to him by store personnel; yes, GIVEN.  New York University set up free housing in north Central Park hotels for students affected, like my son (he lived 2 blocks east of the Twin Towers) and gave each $200 until they could get back into their apartment-dorms to dust (at least, I think he dusted). I’m grateful to be so cavalier about that fateful day now; I was in a panic and had three co-workers praying with me until we heard that my son was ok.

 

I judged him (though I should never judge another) in the days that followed. He had no classes. He could get to Hoboken to see his girlfriend. He could get to the library to study. He never went south of 14th Street to help with the cleanup.

 

I’m not one who believes that God micromanages us.  I have a hard time asking for a green light or a parking space, unless I’m really, really rushed.  I pray most mornings with a format of ‘praise, ask, thank’. I believe God asks us to make the best of whatever happens to us and I believe that God delights when we do! I’m sure God grieved with all those who touched the lives of those who died that day, terrorist or terrorized. I believe God grieved for the people who piloted planes into the World Trade Center Twin Towers as well as those who died helping others to get to safety.

 

 

I am grateful, and I’m sure God is, for all the people who helped find the survivors and clean up the mess.  I believe God grieved Bin Laden’s death before Bin Laden had a chance to see that hate is not the answer.

 

I wish my son had helped.  I’m not in my son’s skin and I don’t know what PTSD he had in the days afterward. I love my son. God loves my son. God loves me.

 

Will you pray with me, please?

Omnipresent Organizer,
Only thee keep the earth spinning on its axis around our sun. Only thee created it all, part and parcel.  Some people turn good; some turn bad; some are indifferent.  Thee delight, I believe, in those of us who do good things and who are good people and who think good thoughts, no matter how large or small.
Or am I anthropomorphizing?  I think not. I think thou are wonderful. Thee are beyond my imagination and thee are amazing!
Almighty Answerer,
I pray today for a day free of terrorism. I pray for my family, keep us safe if it be thy will. I pray the same for my friends. Lord, thee know I am underemployed and have little money. I pray thee will remind me to be the best job applier I can be so that I can land the job of our dreams, thy and mine. Thy will, not mine, be done. I pray for those who are sick. For those thee will heal, please do so quickly, if it be thy will. For those who will die, please bring them to thy glorious paradise quickly, so they don’t need to suffer — but thee know best and I’m sure sometimes that suffering can serve thy glorious purpose. I pray for those who are too cold in this northern hemisphere and too hot in the southern hemisphere. Climate change scares me a little, but I know thee’ve got it under control in a way I can’t understand.
And forgive me, please, Lord, for being judgmental. I know better; I’m still human, but I keep striving for progress, never claiming perfection.
Generous Giver,
Thank thee for my furnace which hasn’t seemed to stop running this morning of 6 degrees Fahrenheit. Thank thee for the possibility of jobs. Thank thee for the lovely bracelet Mary gave to me for my birthday with a cross and the word ‘blessed’ on it. Thank thee for the Fitbit my kids gave to me that reminds me to walk. Thank thee for all good things which come from heaven above. Thank thee for thy love. Lord, I love thee so much!

In Jesus’ almighty name,

Amen.

To God be the Glory!

 

Love always,

Melissa
Melissa Pazen, MSW

INSPIRED COACHING, MELISSA PAZEN

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.net

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

© Melissa Pazen, 2019

God of sun and rain, God of calm and catastrophe,
Only you can heal our church, only you can heal our souls. You called the world into being; you were there before the beginning and you will be there long after the end. You seek in Holy Love to save us from aimlessness and sin. You are amazing!
Loving Lord,
I call you to be with us. Hold each of us close to you, support us with love, wrap your arms around us, let us cry if we must and help us to heal. Remove our anger and our doubt. I pray that, if it is your will, you will heal my church; that all may be one and that any conflict may be resolved: peacefully, fully and to your Glory. And, Lord, let me be a blessing. Let me be a peacemaker.

Almighty Architect,

We thank you for all that you have given us: millions of shades of green in the gardens, more than enough resources to sustain us, and people who strive to emulate you, who love with us and work with us.
I pray in Jesus’ mighty and loving name.
Amen.

 

To God be the Glory!

Love always,

Melissa
Melissa Pazen, MSW

INSPIRED COACHING, MELISSA PAZEN

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.net

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

© Melissa Pazen, 2017

Today’s Stillspeaking Devotional, written by Donna Schaper, is called “Pointsettias”.  As I was reading, the phrase I’m using for the title jumped out at me and I hurried here to paste it and start my notes for my prayer.  And then, to have integrity, I read and reread the entire devotional. 

“Substituting details for depth” …is that when I buy so many Christmas presents for someone instead of spending time with him? …is that when I criticize the grammar and punctuation instead of lavishing in the thoughts behind the writing? …do I decorate for Christmas instead of contemplating the possibility of Jesus coming as a human and changing the world?

What does “prepare for the glory of the Lord by fixing the universe, despite itself” mean? I long to leave the world better than it was when I arrived, yet I have a bit of trouble realizing that sometimes I need to be ‘accepted the things I cannot change’, in Bonhoeffer’s words. I’m good at attempts to improve the large social ills and need to keep working on keeping my side of the street clean in my closest relationships.  Mindfulness, sometimes a difficult practice to keep in place.  

Quinn Caldwell’s All I Really Want has been a wonderful source of contemplation last advent and this. 

Unimaginable One,

I come to humble myself and to worship you, shouting your praises internally while be quiet externally. Your name should echo throughout the universe and I praise you, adore you. You are the almighty, the all mighty, and I am but one of your creations. Yet, you know me inside out. You know my name and speak to me individually through little bursts of inspiration. You are amazing!

Indescribable God

Loving Lord,

Today, I ask that you will heal Steve’s bruises from his fall. He’s feeling better yet plans to stay off the bruised leg today and that’s a little difficult for me to accept (even though I can’t change it). Thank you for the chance that he might work Saturday to make up the hours. 

I ask for the ability to relax my own aching neck and head today. I try to avoid pain medication for fear it will harm my kidneys and/or lose its effectiveness.

SONY DSC

Super-giving Source,

Thank you for advent meditation opportunities like the one I enjoyed last night. Thank you for Susan, who loves me dearly. Thank you for my faith community who are extensions of family for me. Thank you for a brain to think. I love you so much!

And I pray in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be all glory!

Love always,

Melissa
Melissa Pazen, MSW

INSPIRED COACHING, MELISSA PAZEN

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.com

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

I’ve had “the weepies” since Saturday.  Today is Friday.  I’m stronger by the day, but I’m still emotionally fragile.  WeepiesAnd then this morning, I found this daily devotional in my email inbox. Maren Tirabassi writes such good stories. And prayers.

I know there are people with worse troubles than mine. I live in suburban US, spring has come; I don’t live in a war-zone or gang-ridden neighborhood, I’m not starving (far from it!) nor freezing. But my spirit is weak and my emotions are fragile.  Will you pray with me, please?

Inscrutable Imagineer,

The layers of your love and your plan go on forever; I can’t know them all, but I sure do love them! You are amazing and I love seeing ‘what happens next’, even when it brings me to tears. Only you can interrupt the mortal actions throughout my day, reminding me to focus on you… on your compassion… your brilliance.

Compassionate Creator,

I bring Thea and Jim and my own self to you.  I pray that your will be done, and if you don’t have a strong preference, I pray that Thea not have to go through chemo again.  She’s only 62 and I’m not ready to lose her.

self care - 12 steps

Hold my brother close, please, and remind him to take care of the marvelous being you have created, the one that we know as Jim.

And me: strengthen me. Grant me intelligent compassion: the ability to care for others and to care for myself just as much and to take care of myself. And help me to come, and to come to, and come to know, and come to know you.

Generous Giver,

Thank you for sunshine, and cold dew on the grass, and plants to ‘harden off’ as they prepare to go in the garden. Thank you for bleeding heart that came back, after Pat Hummel gave me replacements for the one I lost in the drought. Thank you for the pond and thank you in advance for the waterfall and the goldfish.  Thank you for popups that tell me of a book written by John Shelby Spong. Now I want to read it and Amazon has it for a penny. Thank you for sisters in Christ who pray with/for me. Thank you for my life.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Love always,

Melissa

Melissa Pazen, MSW

Inspired Coaching, Melissa Pazen

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.com

 

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently! 

 

Today’s StillSpeaking Devotional, written by Elissa Johnk, quotes this scripture:

“To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. […] To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people . . . .” – I Corinthians 9:19-23

So, she wrote this with me in mind (and people like me, all around the world).  I read it, then prayed the prayer, then went into the kitchen where Steve is washing dishes, and read parts of it to Steve.  And I prayed the prayer again, right in front of him. Those of you who know Steve know he hates organized religion and preachiness. I read and prayed anyway, because I want him to know I’ll try to love him better and occasionally take a pass on loving strangers.

arguing-coupleI’ve wondered for a long time how I can be so pleasant to friends and even strangers, and even do lots of stuff for them, but I won’t remember to do that for Steve. I’m not a tent-maker and don’t even want to be (heck, I’m a seminary drop out).  Yet, I believe it IS my Christian duty to show love to all people. It seems to me that if I wear a cross, I need to be a good representative of Jesus.

But here’s the thing. I need to remember to be good to Steve or else HE gets a bad representation of Jesus. Do you think Jesus went home to Mary and wouldn’t help mend the broken things that a carpenter could do?  (Mind you, one Gospel has him calling his mother “Woman” at the wedding feast of Cana, and being pretty nasty to her when she asks him to do something about the lack o’wine.) I hope he could curtail his expectations of his mother and treat her with love and respect.

LoveWordCloudDid Jesus have siblings? Popular opinion states that he did. I hope Mary & Joseph taught him respect for all family members. I spent years trying to show my parents just how wonderful I was. Much of this was at the expense of my poor sister and younger brothers. I try now to treat them well, even when they royally annoy me (as they so often do and I so often annoy them!). (I can’t explain why James, his brother, is such an authoritarian. He was raised by the same people as Jesus.)

Was Jesus married? Do I even need to care? If so, I hope his wife embraced his mission and travelled with him. I hope he treated her like a queen. I hope, in his perfect-Jesusness, his son-of-Godness, that he treated his wife and children well.

So here’s my prayer, and if you are like I am, and continue to strive to embody love, compassion, kindness; I invite you to pray with me.

God of Graciousness,

You make the goodness in the world. You still speak and since the beginning, your words are you. Your word is light, shutting out darkness. You are not evil. You are not the god who plays chess with the incarnate evil and sends bad things to happen to good people. You are goodness. You are kindness. You are love. You are amazing!

Lord of Light and Love,

I pray that today you will replace all selfishness with love. Help me to take enough time to replenish my resources, so that I remember to think before I speak or act. Write the words love and loving-kindness on the inside of my eyelids. Grant me patience. Grant me grace. Grant me compassion. Take me back to where I was in the honeymoon of my love for Steve. Give me new eyes to see all the good he does. Remind me that I don’t need to cure every ill of the world. Remind me to cure the ills at home.

And I bring to you those with ills of mind and body. I bring those who aren’t handling life as well as they should and those who don’t have the resources to manage things well. I bring those who cannot bring themselves as well as those who don’t realize that they can bring themselves to you. I pray for a better and just economy. I pray for wisdom for the world’s leaders. I pray that your kingdom come on earth and turn upside down the belief that all resources are finite and insufficient.

Generous Giver,

Thank you for sunlight and lamps that bring the full spectrum of light indoors. Thank you for a husband who washes dishes and cleans the patio after the winter. Thank you for the promise of spring in the bulbs that stick their heads out. Thank you for colors, especially the green of growth. Thank you for my life.  I love you so much.

I pray claiming the promise of Jesus. That if we ask in his name, our joy will be made full.

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Love always,

Melissa

© Melissa Pazen, 2015
LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

Again, a Stillspeaking Devotional touches me.  Mary Luti writes of 

in si·tu
ˌin ˈsīto͞o,ˈsē-/
adverb & adjective
  1. in its original place.
    “mosaics and frescoes have been left in situ”
  2. in position.
    “her guests were all in situ”

When I had breast cancer, in 2007, the tumor was “in situ”.  This means it hadn’t moved beyond the milk duct where it originally formed.  I give glory to God for having found it when it was SO small (6 mm – about 3/16 inch, photo is actual size).

6 mm - actual size

 

On Wednesday, I will have a repeat mammogram on the same (left) breast because it appears I have another calcification, often the precursor of cancer.  I know I’m not in control of these things, and I try not to worry.  

I keep giving this over to God and LET-NOT-YOUR-HEART-BE-TROUBLED-smtrusting.  Five minutes later, I’m giving it over again.  Sometimes I wish my humanity weren’t so human.  I know I’m not meant to be perfect, yet I long for serenity.  I long to be comforted and held secure in Jesus’ arms. I long to be able to rise above this.  As long as I keep my mind occupied with something else, something positive, I am safe.  My idle mind goes back to this over and over.  I guess the idle mind IS the devil’s playground.  I don’t believe in a personified devil, but I know there are forces of evil at work in the universe.  These are mine (and yours?) every time I slip from God’s embrace.  Will you pray with me, please?

 

Amazing Architect,

You created the universe and somehow you chose to create a wretch like me.  I praise you for finding me, for letting my blind eyes see you and the beauty of all your works.  I praise that you are creating still.  That you speak to us, not only from a document that is almost 2000 years old, but in the words of friends and your whispering voice.  I “hear” you in my quiet mind, with words you would have me think.  I worship you for this, the ability to turn my heart and my mind to the good, INSTEAD of dwelling on the bad… on my fears.  You are more than I could ever imagine; more powerful, more loving.  You are amazing!

Lord who Longs to make my joy full,

Joy-FullI pray you will be with me today.  I pray you will keep your loving arms around me and let me languish on your lap. I pray that in my time at church and my time with Kate & Will & Steve, you will keep my heart and mind on YOU. I pray you will banish my fears. I pray you will hold me close and remind me to lean on your perfect strength. I pray you will remind me that if you are for me, nothing greater can be against me. I pray that you will let nothing separate me from your love, even sickness – if it shall be so, even death whenever it comes (may it be years away!)

I pray for others who suffer with fear and illness: Craig, Thea, and many too numerous to mention – yet you know their names and my intent. I pray for all the littluns who arrived earlier than their parents planned: Emilie, Hayden & Ethan, Nick & Alex and many too numerous to mention. I pray for my congregation as we seek your will in becoming “Open and Affirming” of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders — and of all those for whom we see the differences and forget the similarities.

I pray that you will remind us we are your precious children, that each of us have a life that matters dearly to you.

Magnificent Maker,

You are the source of everything I sense – see, hear, smell, taste and feel.  You have given it all to me and my brothers & sisters in this world — and every human is my brother or my sister! I am filled with gratitude and I thank you.  And, Lord, thank you.  And by the way, Lord, thank you. May I ever be in awe of what you have done for me, and continue to do, and will do forever.

And I pray in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2015

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

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