Day of Prayer

As I made my commute this morning, I listened to Focus on the Family. I am not a regular religious radio listener. What caught my ear as I channel surfed was the voice of someone, a non-professional, praying an earnest prayer. After the Amen, another began. Then another. And another.

The voices were recordings of call-ins who simply wanted to pray for the nation, leaders, schools, veterans, public servants, etc. I had to pause for a moment and think about the fact that anyone who knows what day it is–The Day of Prayer– will at some point in the day–stop and pray. Think about that for a second. On a day not Sunday, people all over America will pause and pray.  Think of the spiritual power moving around at the moment hundreds of thousands of believers are turning their hearts and minds toward God and speaking a prayer.

I decided to remember what day this is– The Day of Prayer–and turn up my spiritual sensitivity and just see if I notice any difference in the day. I mean, if people all over the US are praying, there should be some noticeable difference, right?

Take some time today to not only pray, but to listen.

For a great little workbook on prayer, go see: www.therealprayer.org

Published in: on May 1, 2014 at 7:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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No Language Barrier

Immigration reform is a hot topic of late. Both political parties are tempted to see it as a touchstone for garnering votes in the next election. One item is especially important to the English-speaking public: requiring that immigrants speak our language. Some view this as a hardship, some view it as “the price of citizenship,” others view it as being a fundamental requirement for joining any culture.

In an interview for NPR’s Morning Edition, Heide Wrigley, a senior researcher at Literacywork International, says immigrants’ ability to speak English is about more than just the language — it makes for a stronger, more integrated country.  “It doesn’t just require that you learn the grammar and the pronunciation. You need thousands of words,” she says. “And you have to build what we call communicative competence that allows you to know not just what to say, but what to say to whom and when. And what not to say.”

It’s similar to the way in which we enter into communication with our Creator. We sometimes struggle with the right words, looking for the right terms, guarding our sincerity, checking our motives. We must remember that Peter, in his first letter, calls all of us sojourners, exiles, strangers in a strange land. 

That is, until we were brought into the family of God. The communications barriers then fall down if we will only remember Romans 8:26 which tells us the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which can’t be uttered.

There is no language barrier with God. Our true feelings, if not the proper semantics, syntax and grammar, fall on the Creator’s ears.

So pray without ceasing.

For a great little book on praying the Lord’s Prayer, go see:  www.therealprayer.com 

National Day of Prayer

It seems a little strange to me to see that we still have a National Day of Prayer. Not that it’s a bad thing…it’s really needed. But an ever-increasing number of people now identify themselves as “nones” — that is, unaffiliated with any religion.

But the National day of Prayer isn’t the National Day of Religion, it is a day of prayer for all peoples of all faiths to take even just a brief moment to pray, meditate, think, or just pause to reflect on their place in the Universe.

Maybe we just want to thank the Creator, ask for something from a Prophet, ancestor, or some other Avatar. And as much as we seem to get annoyed at those who do not believe like us, we still appreciate the freedom of Religion we have here in America.

It’s the National Day of Prayer. So take that day! And PRAY.

For a great little book on prayer ideal for the National Day of Prayer, Bible School, Bible Study, or any other prayer emphasis, go see: www.therealprayer.org

Vicar of Christ

Protestants don’t ordinarily use the word “vicar” for anything, but it is the basis for the word “vicarious,” meaning something like a second-hand experience. A vicarious experience is one in which I did not physically participate, but which through the description of  it by someone else, I can imagine, or almost experience.

The “Vicar of Christ” is like that. The Pope is supposed to be “Jesus among us,” the presence of Christ on Earth. Pope Francis appears to be taking that seriously (not that the others didn’t, mind you) in many aspects of his first days on the job. His beginnings are marked by humility and a desire to be more of a shepherd than a holy ruler.

It reminds me of a poem by Oscar Wilde called Easter Day:

THE silver trumpets rang across the Dome:
The people knelt upon the ground with awe:
And borne upon the necks of men I saw,
Like some great God, the Holy Lord of Rome. 

Priest-like, he wore a robe more white than foam,
And, king-like, swathed himself in royal red,
Three crowns of gold rose high upon his head:
In splendor and in light the Pope passed home.

My heart stole back across wide wastes of years
To One who wandered by a lonely sea,
And sought in vain for any place of rest:
“Foxes have holes, and every bird its nest,
I, only I, must wander wearily,

And bruise My feet, and drink wine salt with tears.”

We should pray for our religious leaders, that they would all exercise some humility in the days ahead.

For an easy to use prayer work-book, go see: www.therealprayer.org

Remember Me

Back in the 80’s, MacDonald’s restaurants launched an ad campaign called “Mac Tonight.” The commercials featured a singing crescent moon who crooned like a lounge singer in the style of Bobby Darin’s famous Mack the Knife. An injunction by the late singer’s estate later caused MacDonald’s to pull the ad.

It was, however, a brilliant idea. Millions of children across America, on nearly any summer night, could look up into the sky, see the real moon, and say “Hey, It’s Mac Tonight! Daddy can we go to MacDonald’s?” What a great reminder that some family time could be had down at the corner MacDonald’s! (And, inexpensively, I might add.) In effect, every crescent moon was FREE advertising!

The idea was to take something free, normal, routine, easily connected with, and turn it into a reminder of something important–in this case, hamburgers and fries with the kids.

Imagine someone taking something you do anyway, everyday– say, sitting down to dinner– and telling you “Every time you sit down and have some bread and wine…remember me.”

Get it? Gives a whole new meaning to your daily bread.

For a neat little book on the Lord’s Prayer (and prayer in general) go see: www.therealprayer.org

Published in: on March 6, 2013 at 12:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The World Needs a “Day of Prayer”

In his resignation speech, the Pope said he wondered if “The Lord was sleeping” throughout the trials and distresses of the Catholic Church recently. He no doubt experienced what most of us experience–the silence of God. Although Psalm 121 teaches “He who watches over Israel slumbers not, nor does he sleep,” it is easy to feel ignored sometimes. We all need a Day of Prayer.

That’s why a day for prayer seems so important now, because so many people feel ignored that unbelief is on a rapid rise. But I do know this–prayers are answered. But many today just don’t bother. They might pray once or twice and then give up. “Pray without ceasing,” Paul writes. It is the habit of prayer, or more accurately, the habit of FAITH, that moves mountains, not a knee-jerk, slot machine style of asking.

I advise beginners to start with the simple Lord’s Prayer. Once you understand its simplicity, you can use the framework for all of your daily prayers. Once you start, it becomes a habit. A habit of believing.

For a good little e-book on prayer, go see: www.therealprayer.org

Published in: on February 27, 2013 at 12:38 pm  Comments (1)  
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World Day of Prayer 2013

Every year about this time, I begin to think what if…

What if the World Day of Prayer on March 1, 2013 really was just that– a day when believers everywhere stopped what they were doing and had a brief time of uninterrupted prayer. What if people who are now referred to as the “nones” (religiously unaffiliated) simply stopped to meditate. What if every believer of every faith stopped and sought out their source for one brief moment.

Close your eyes and imagine millions of people around this small blue planet kneeling, standing, lying prostrate, hands clasped in penitence or raised in praise. Imagine a world where people really believed. Imagine a world where generosity was the norm, charity was shared and healing was just part of the routine.

Imagine a World day of Prayer.

Get started at: www.therealprayer.org

Published in: on February 26, 2013 at 8:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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Imagine there’s no heaven…

When I was a teen, I could not understand why John Lennon’s great song Imagine could create such a stir. It was, I was later informed, a subtle introduction to atheism. Just imagine–no heaven, no afterlife, no judgement, no judge, no need for a savior, no Jesus…nothing that most baby boomers had been raised to believe.

Now, thirty years later, we hear that the fastest growing religious group in America is the “Nones.” These are the people who, when asked about matters of faith and religious affiliation in surveys and censuses, select the answer “none.” More and more people are simply dismissing ideas of a supreme being, higher power, faith, etc.

While many people appear to be newly interested in things spiritual, they are not interested at all in an all-powerful, all-knowing, father-figure on a throne away off in “heaven” somewhere. NPR recently ran a series on the “nones” discussing everything from young believers/non-believers to how atheists grieve. One person in the interview, and I’m not quoting here, just gisting, said that her husband who was killed in an accident was not in a better place, but was in the ground.

When I read this, I Thessalonians 4:13 came immediately to mind: But we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, about those who have died, so you will not grieve, as those who have no hope. And even though Paul is speaking about death, I also would add that we should not grieve as those who have no hope in life, future, finances, health, God’s will…anything.

I have to agree with the Psalmist: In you oh Lord have I put my hope. (Ps 71)

And the more I pray, the more hope I have.

Go see: www.therealprayer.org

Published in: on January 23, 2013 at 12:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mayan Apocalypse-End of the World?

In the famous words of Dr. Evil–“How about ‘NO’?” As the end of the final cycle of the Mayan Calendar approaches, the media is beginning to stir the pot a little. After a bit of a hiatus from the chaos of the initial revelation about the Mayan calendar, we are now hearing about believers running to gather on a mountain in France to await the end. Some clever entrepreneur is selling shelters from the cataclysm and many others are telling of suicide scares.

What at first was just a bit of an annoyance for most Christians is quickly becoming an issue with society as a whole. And the more we talk about it the worse it will become. I’ve quoted news sources and even scientists: “Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than four billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012,” NASA researchers write in an apocalypse-debunking FAQ.” (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/50202547#.UM0a5-T7KSo)

The final words on the issue come from the final authority on all things cosmic–Christ, who said

“Now concerning that (final) day and hour no one knows–neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son–except the Father only. Matthew 24:36

As I once heard a wise old preacher say “Trust the red letters.” If you’re old enough you’ll know what that means. If you’re not, find an old Bible and look around.

Then pray.

For a great little book on prayer, go see: www.therealprayer.com

Published in: on December 15, 2012 at 8:08 pm  Comments (1)  
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Americans not as religious as they say? Hmm…

A new poll from the Pew Research Center says that nearly 20% of American say they are not affiliated with any religion. That’s right–one in five admit they do not go to church anywhere. The good news is that 80% of us DO go to church somewhere on Sunday or Saturday (or whenever.) Or do we?

Shankar Vedantam of NPR recently stated this:

 Well, leaders of several religious denominations for many years in the United States have said if (only)45 percent of Americans are attending church every Sunday, the pews should be packed.

But they’re not. In fact the pews are getting anything but packed. As I wrote in an earlier blog, the fastest growing religion in America is officially “no religion.” This has been discovered by people like sociologist Philip Brenner (UM Boston) who says he suspects that people who answer that question are really answering another question like “Are you the kind of person who goes to church?” And of course, the answer many times is yes.

If, however, you have them keep a diary of their whereabouts on, oh, let’s say, Sunday or Saturday, you’ll find out that very few people are in their house of worship anytime during the week. In fact, using the Time Diary Method, the percentage of Americans who documented attending a religious service is actually around 24%.

If you are reading this blog, you probably understand the import of “our Father” and you are probably interested in matters of faith. Our numbers are shrinking. We are not having the evangelical effect we once did. Nobody wants what we have to offer.

It begs the question: do we have anything to offer?

Maybe it starts with a prayer.

For an easy to use workbook on prayer, go see: www.therealprayer.org

Published in: on October 25, 2012 at 7:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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