prayers for choirs

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. 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. 8

Prayers for Choirs: No. 8

"And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me.'" - Isaiah 6:8

It's a hymn many of us know by heart:

Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?I have heard you calling in the night.I will go, Lord, if you lead me.I will hold your people in my heart.

But what does it really mean to follow where God leads, to hold God's people in our hearts? What does it mean to respond to this Call on our lives?

Responding to the Call means reaching out before holding back. Giving before expecting to receive. Listening before speaking our mind. It means risking our own self-image, reputation, security, and comfort to help meet the needs of others. It means loving with the kind of love God shows us every day.

Prayers for Choirs: No. 7

Prayers for Choirs: No. 7

"O come, O King of nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind.Bid all our sad divisions cease and be yourself our King of Peace."

It's a carol we sing during Advent, but we carry the words with us as a prayer throughout the year, especially in the midst of strife and war and heartache.

Deep down, we know that God is with us; but I think we forget, sometimes. It's easy to think of God as enthroned in the clouds above, watching over us instead of walking beside us. That if he were really here, on earth with us, that bad things wouldn't happen.

We're an imperfect people in need of a Savior. And there will always be light and darkness, love and hate in the world. The truth is God is with us, now to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). All we have to do is ask him to "come."

Come, be our help. Grant us peace. Heal our world. Come, save us.

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

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.

Restlessness.
Uncertainty.
Fear.
Loss.

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

Prayers for Choirs: No. 1

Prayers for Choirs: No. 1

I've been thinking a lot about joy and sorrow lately.

At first, they seem like opposites: Most people don't feel a sense of joy in the midst of sorrow, right? But joy - it's hard to describe joy in a way that isn't tinged by sorrow. Joy is wise - it recognizes where we've come from, what we've been through; it acknowledges the sorrowful parts of our lives.

Someone recently described it like this:

We carry joy in our right hand, sorrow in our left. 

We walk through life with both in front of us, like we walk, one foot in front of the other. We can't have one without the other without losing balance. 

We walk through life knowing that it can't all be joy and it won't all be sorrow. But we recognize the value of both. 

We hold onto our joy in times of sorrow and remember our sorrow in times of joy. And when we come to God in prayer, we bring our hands - our joy and sorrow - together, and we pray.

Top 10 Posts of 2015

Top 10 Posts of 2015

I tend to do a lot of reflecting at this time of year. What did we do this year? How did we grow or change? What worked well? What didn't work? How did I do on my goals? What do I want to make happen in 2016?

With that comes an honest look at my blog and website and finding out what really resonated with all of you. I review search terms, blog topics, and popular pins on Pinterest, and look back on the most popular posts. I brainstorm content and themes for the coming year, start researching helpful resources, and outline a preliminary editorial calendar.

Last year, for the first time, I did a little round-up of the most-read posts in 2014 (read it here). Today, I'm continuing the tradition by featuring the top 10 posts from 2015. Enjoy!