Prayers for Choirs: No. 12

Prayers for Choirs: No. 12

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” - John 1:5 Have you ever noticed how much light comes from one tiny candle? No matter how dark the room may be, the soft glow of one small flame cannot be overcome.

It is radiant and bright and hopeful—a reminder of God’s promise to us and God’s presence with us. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” (Ephesians 5:8)

Prayers for Choirs: No. 11

Prayers for Choirs: No. 11

It's not a church holiday, I know, but there's something inherently spiritual about the practicing of giving thanks. This week, many of us will celebrate Thanksgiving, a day we gather around the table; share our favorite food, stories, and traditions; and count our blessings. We'll reflect on God's good gifts in our lives: the gifts of health or healing, provision or guidance, good friends and neighbors, grace and freedom. We'll reminisce about years past - perhaps those who are no longer with us - and celebrate another year of love and life and laughter with loved ones, far and near.

How do we show our gratitude? How do make it a daily practice?

Prayers for Choirs: No. 10

Prayers for Choirs: No. 10

It's that time again.

The time when some of us start to feel a little anxious, a little unsettled. When everything feels like "us" vs. "them." When we sometimes feel like we're on opposing sides from people we call friends and neighbors. When it feels like we're more divided as a country and a community than ever.

It's election season, and this year, it's more polarizing than ever.

All you have to do is turn on the news, or scroll through Twitter or Facebook, or scan the headlines in the checkout aisle.

Some people get loud about their opinions, others get quiet. Some get angry, others feel uneasy, and many feel afraid. Some people put signs in their yards or stickers on their cars to let everyone know where they stand - constant visual reminders of the turmoil and conflict across our nation right now. Others keep their opinions to themselves to try to keep the peace with family, friends, and neighbors.

Prayers for Choirs: No. 9

Prayers for Choirs: No. 9

One of my favorite things about living in the Northeast is the change in seasons.

I love the white winter landscapes and the first shades of green in spring; the lush, green gardens and the fiery reds and golds of fall. Everything feels new, yet familiar at the same time.

There’s a certain rhythm to the change in seasons. Every few months, we yearn for change—a fresh start, something to wake up within us and come to life again.

But change is bittersweet. Because while we embrace the new season (scarves! apple cider! leaves!), we must leave behind the old. It's part of moving forward, moving on. It's part of growing, maturing, and learning. It's part of life

Prayers for Choirs: No. 6

Prayers for Choirs: No. 6

Just when we thought we were healing, picking up the broken pieces and putting things back together, trusting one other and believing in our society, our nation once more, we find ourselves right back here again. Surrounded by chaos and conflict and confusion. Lost in the darkness of hatred and anger and prejudice and fear.

The mass shooting in Orlando last week is just one in a string of tragedies we've had to face as a nation. How do we respond? How do we lead? How do we pray?

In times of unspeakable tragedy and loss, times where it feels like hate is winning, and times when we feel afraid of what's to come, we pray for relief and redemption and grace.

For the hurting, grieving, and persecuted, we pray for comfort, peace, and security.

For the difficult conversations we're having as a nation and the challenging days ahead, we pray for guidance, wisdom, and justice.

When we don't know what to say or how to help, we pray that God would speak through us.

When it feels like God is silent, we pray for love and light and faith.

Let us pray.

Prayers for Choirs: No. 5

Prayers for Choirs: No. 5

Communion. For many congregations, communion is a long-standing tradition - something we celebrate on a quarterly, monthly, or weekly basis. It is a ritual, a practice, a way of remembering and honoring Christ's sacrifice for us: the body, broken; the blood, poured out. The forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, the life everlasting.

But what if there's more to it than that? What if "do this in remembrance of me" goes beyond the bread and cup - if Jesus really meant "do as I do"?

In Interrupted, Jen Hatmaker noted remembrance comes from the word anamnesis, which means "to make real."

"Communion is more than a memory, more than a reverent moment when we recall Jesus' heroic sacrifice. Remembrance means honoring Jesus' mercy mission with tangible, physical action since it was a tangible, physical sacrifice." - Jen Hatmaker, Interrupted

In communion, we make Christ's sacrifice real again - we experience grace, we receive forgiveness, we are made whole. We live out the story of the Gospel. We become the hands and feet of Christ in the world.

Prayers for Choirs: No. 4

Prayers for Choirs: No. 4

I noticed it today for the first time.

The first buds on the dogwood, the first tiny green leaves on the bush near the fence. Spring is here.

There was something sacred about that moment. I stood, stick in hand, playing with the dog in the backyard. And those little green leaves made me stand still, made me take notice, made me look for signs of spring and newness and change and growth.

How long have they been there? I wondered.

How many times did I walk right past them, too absorbed in my own thoughts to take notice? What else have I been ignoring in my heart and life?

God is always at work in our lives. Are we taking notice? Are we looking for signs of growth and newness of life? Are we looking for those tender signs of spring in our own lives?

Prayers for Choirs: No. 3

Prayers for Choirs: No. 3

I often think of Lent as a quiet season - stillness, simplicity, stripping away. But as much as we might try to have a quiet, reflective season, life doesn't always work out like that. Sometimes, life is anything but quiet and simple. Sometimes, it's overwhelming and sometimes, it's just plain complicated.


Sometimes, it's hard to get out of our own heads. How do we escape? How do we find peace, contentment, and joy in the midst of hardship?

It begins with renewal. 

"Opening the hand to receive the moments. Trusting what is received to be grace. Taking it as bread. Recount how we laughed today. How we cried today and it too was grace. How He fed us. We ate. We filled. We swept up the crumbs. So He lays us down to sleep. Trust tucks in. He has blessed today. Will He not bless again tomorrow?" - Ann Voskamp, 1000 Gifts