Being an Official Prayer
I’ve been an official prayer a lot over the last 45 years.
It hasn’t always been easy because I’m not especially good at it and some people don’t like people like me praying in public.
When I was asked to open some artsy-fartsy thing in the Clark, New Jersey’s town hall about 37 years ago, a Junior Leaguer came up to me after the “Amen!” and bantered and moaned about me mentioning Jesus.
A lot younger and bolder in a Segerian kinda way, I said with a smile not snapped like her with a snarl, “Well, I guess, then, you can go to hell.”
Some people don’t get my sense of humor.
Fortunately, she did not send the letter that she sent to our elders to presbytery because the religious guys (back then) would have probably rebuked me for being insensitive and rude to people who don’t know or like Jesus and just wanted me to punctuate their festivity with something to someone somewhere (even back then).
In short, they wanted your typical public prayer: “Blah, blah, blah…”
Our session, which is Presbyterian for a meeting of elders, passed around the letter and nobody said anything about it.
Some churches (more back then) like Jesus more than people who don’t know or like Jesus.
For reasons still escaping moi, that set off something and I’ve been an official prayer a lot since that Junior Leaguer tried to get me into trouble for mentioning Jesus in a public prayer.
Maybe it has something to do with those inviting me knowing and liking Jesus in a Matthew 5:13-16 kinda way.
Don’t know and haven’t given much thought to it or lost sleep over it for as long as I can remember.
Actually, I’d rather pray than speak/preach in public for several reasons: (1) I don’t have that ego need; (2) I like to feed others who do have that ego need and like to listen to others who think they have something to say on His behalf; (3) Church members who use public events to market their pastors to steal some sheep have never gained my esteem; (4) Well, O.K., I’ll do it on rare occasions if God writes the invitation/command in the sky; (5) People who wanna hear what He may have to say through moi have been able to come to church 2-5 times a week if so inclined/moved for over four decades; (6) I’m not into religion like that Junior Leaguer (still around); and (7) I’d rather talk to/with God than people because He pays more attention.
Anyway, some folks have been asking me to provide copies of two recent prayers; which is hard because of what I wrote about in “Prayer Helps” on 4/19/17 for www.koppdisclosure.com (go to the Blog Archive to the right and click it on), www.churchandworld.com and, maybe, The Belvidere Daily Republican.
Here are the summaries…
Belvidere High School
50th Anniversary Memorial of the Belvidere Tornado
April 21, 2017
Fifty years ago to the hour today, O God, our community experienced unspeakably inexplicable pain in death, injury, destruction, devastation, and disillusionment; echoing the complaint of the prophet Habakkuk: “Why do You allow people who are trying to love You to be hurt so much?”
You never explained why but only offered how: “The righteous will live by faith.”
You admit the rain and winds of pejorative change fall on everyone; and not even those trying to be faithful – with the embedded memories so close to the surface in this moment recalling that terrifying time of half a century ago – are immune to horrors.
Yet You say to trust You and there will be a fresh perspective, an eternal one, that will cause us to repeat with that same prophet with sober confession laced with steady confidence, “Though the fig tree not blossom or fruit be on the vine and though I must see and recall and still linger in the pain of life in this world, yet I will rejoice in the God of my salvation – the One who says, sooner or later and definitely in the end, we will join all the saints to say with the apostle, ‘Neither death nor life, things present or things to come or anything else within time and space can separate us from holy and eternal communion with You, Yours, and our everlasting family.’”
We do not think it is coincidental – Nah, it is providential! – that this day is so close to the day that changed all fears into the assurance of eternal life and eternal reunion: Your resurrection day when death was finished and no longer feared and love overcame and cannot be beaten and light exposes and extinguishes darkness; so that we can say with the apostle, as was said on April 21, 1967 and is repeated today on April 21, 2017, “Neither death nor life, things present or things to come or anything else within time and space can separate us from holy and eternal communion with You, Yours, and our everlasting family.”
And so, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, keep fresh the memories of those who went home to You 50 years ago and who have been so sorrowfully missed in time yet, greater still, increase our confidence in a reunion that makes our time but a speck of sand on the beachfront of eternity as we will be reunited forever and ever and ever world without end in paradise by grace through faith in Jesus in whose name we pray.
Prayer for Local Law Enforcement
21st Annual National Day of Prayer Breakfast
Belvidere Community Building Complex
May 4, 2017
We thank and praise You, O God, for Your Word in Jesus as fully explained in Holy Scripture by the enlightenment of Your Holy Spirit.
Your Word promotes the best for us and proscribes inhibitions to the only behaviors enabling holy communion with You in the common quest for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all with the Ten Commandments and red letters of the New Testament providing the backbone of our national faith, morality, and law.
We agree with Your undershepherd David: “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and light to my path.”
Your grace has called, gifted, and compelled women and men as law enforcement officers who appeal to You in aspiration for all people to guide into righteousness and protect from the meanness, madness, misery, and miscreance being fueled by the evil one and its accomplices.
As we join the remnant in America supported by our global sisters and brothers in/through/for Jesus in thanks and praise for all officers, we also, here and now in Belvidere, Illinois on this National Day of Prayer, 4 May 2017, ask blessings of health, strength, safety with Your shield of faith as most prominent, wisdom refining knowledge, courage to engage the sword as inevitably necessary, and constant consciousness of the affirmation and affection of all who are being served as serving You for the Belvidere Police Department and Boone County Sheriff’s Department.
And as we thank and praise You for family in uniform, we thank and praise You and pray the same for their support team led by our Mayor and Council, Chief of Police, Sheriff, Fire Chief, State’s Attorney, Judges, public servants, saints who planned this prayer meeting and breakfast, and citizenry undeterred, undaunted, unafraid, and uncompromising in allegiance to You and the highest values of America rooted in Holy Scripture as enlightened by the Holy Spirit in the great and unparalleled name of Jesus.
Blessings and Love!
Shatter the sound of silence!
Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!
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