Praying with One Eye Open

These days, I am traveling on “a wing and prayer.” While the familiar adage speaks to poor travel conditions, it is all that I could find. The other options don’t fit in the overhead compartment and, of course, would be an additional fee.

Welcome Home

Last week, I was studying at the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina as part of their Summer Institute for Reconciliation. It’s their tenth anniversary and I am certainly benefiting from the depth and breadth of the work of past facilitators, liturgists, musicians, and participants.

Pray at All Hours

While we have come to expect a twenty-four-hour news cycle and, if we could, we’d stare at our social media feeds for just as long, the idea that God speaks at times and days other than at 11 a.m. on Sunday mornings continues to be a stretch for many people.

Prayer is Not Seasonal

Commercials tell us that it is time for families to gather around the Christmas tree and the television. Jingle the bells. Add snow to the background. Cue smiling families, dressed alternately in red and green, making snowmen and snowballs. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

Feeling Prayer

At the start, let me say what this meditation is not about. It is not about expressive versus non-expressive prayer, verbalizing versus praying silently. I am not attempting to make you feel “warm and fuzzy” on the inside or judge persons who don’t feel that way during prayer.

Praying Time

Though there are times for which it seems that prayer does not work, times when it seems like the power of God has hit a dry spell, we are encouraged to keep praying. But, if I am honest, sometimes it is hard to keep the conversation with God going.

Praying in a Non-praying World

Be “in the world but not of it” is often expressed to help believers understand their place in the world, how not to be affected by its trials or inspired by its temptations. It addresses the tension of being in one place but living for another, namely heaven.

Prayer is a Happy Place

“Let us pray” is not a call for sad eyes and frowning faces, shuffling feet or sweaty palms. Entering the presence of God with the thought, “How am I going to explain this?” is not the aim. Prayer should not be treated as merely a confessional for the wrongs we’ve done and filled with apologies for not being God’s “little angels.”

Say More

Why is it so hard for us to “have a little talk with Jesus”? Why can’t we find the words to say? No mouthful here. For some of us, it can be downright awkward. Where do we begin? How do we address God? What do we say to the God who knows our thoughts before we are even introduced to them (Psalm 139:2)?

Believing In Prayer

Do we really believe that God hears us when we pray? If so, then why do we say the same thing over and over again? “God is great. God is good. Let us thank God for our food. Amen.” Fourteen words. Sixty-six characters shy of the 140-character limit for a tweet.

Praying Hands

These days, prayer is often seen as insignificant. We place it on our programs as a kind gesture, a pleasantry extended out of respect for our Elder God. It is a routine remark given—though not out of necessity.

A Bowed Head

“Give us, this day, our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). It is a prayer answered when we sit at a table for a meal—unless we are on a diet and have given up carbohydrates.

Arm-wrestling Prayer

After more than ten years in ordained ministry, I have found that we do more talking about prayer than actually talking to God. To be sure, we know that we should pray….

A Prayer about Violence

O God,
Our society is so violent. Why are people so afraid? Why do they assume the worst of others and see them as threats?

The Tale of Two Prayers

My friend was dying. When we met, she told me that she had cancer. Though, right now, I can’t recall why that was a part of our first conversation.

Pray Before You Work

Most persons would agree that we are busier than ever. We work from home, participate in a conference call while in the car, and think about work at the dinner table. Calendars are crammed to capacity so now we borrow from Sunday to make the weekends meet.

The Big-Mouthed God

Social media allows us to talk more than generations past cared to. Both of my parents were the product of “The Silent Generation” and I grew up with the understanding that children and adults did not talk to each other.

Keep in Touch

Though our primary means of communicating is in our hands, we don’t have time to talk right now. Sending a text message is complicated because it opens us up to a potentially ongoing conversation.

A Prayer for the Gullible

O God, Sometimes I am going to be gullible. Sometimes I am going to be too trusting so that I too easily believe what someone tells me. I suppose I should ask you to keep me from being gullible. But something else seems more important.

Prayer Watching

“Watch over each other in prayer.” These words are found in many covenants read by members of Baptist churches. Not to be confused with a creed, it is a community promise.

Praying Unbelief

So, I hate to begin with bad news but Jesus knows that we don’t always believe. I don’t know if Jesus uses measuring spoons or cups but he knows the quantity of our faith. Maybe he eyeballs it.

Praying in the Dark

More often than not, we talk to God with the lights on. This is not to suggest that prayer is scary, that there are monsters under the pews or in our prayer closets.

Praying Hard

Praying is difficult but it is even more so trying when you don’t want to talk, when the words are stuck in your throat and it hurts to talk. And you know that the only way to make the pain go away is to let it out, to get it out.

Pray-Her: Let Us Pray

Let us pray. The words are familiar to us but the practice of conversing with the Divine is still unsettling, unrealistic, and even unusual for many believers. Like the children of Israel, we would rather someone pray for us.

The Sound of Silence

Silence. We experience it so infrequently, most of us wouldn’t even recognize it. We wake to loud alarms, the drip of brewing coffee, running water as we prepare for our day.

Praying the Scripture

My college pastor once commented, “There is a difference between studying the Bible and meeting the Author.” How tragic when we forget that simple truth! Bible study is important, but what is most important is encountering God in the text.

Uniform 01.25.2015: Effective Prayer

People love stories of miraculous healings. When I log on to social media, I am often greeted with links to stories about babies who are diagnosed with serious illnesses in the womb but are born perfectly healthy.