A Prayer for the Addicts

For all those who feel held captive:

by alcohol, by drugs, by food, by sex, by the internet, by shopping, by anything whose call on your attention is more powerful than the call to health, wholeness, and relationship

You are surrounded by prayer

You are beloved, and you are enough, and the holes you are trying to fill are no bigger than those of your so-together-seeming neighbor  (and no more likely to be filled by objects)

The powerlessness you feel is no reason to be ashamed, but a place from which we all, eventually, need to ask for help

It is never too late

Hope is real, recovery happens, relapses are not always the end of the story

And even in the midst of times when we feel run by urges we do not understand, beholden to appetites we know are not life giving, we are loved deeply

The story isn’t over. You are more than your felt needs. You are worthy, no matter what.

We pray you would find in yourself the possibilities God see in you – and be able to look yourself full in the face without mediation, distraction, or numbing

It doesn’t have to be this way. It won’t always be. And if it is, God will still be with you through all of it.

A Prayer for the Bored

For all those whose minds are restless

Blank slates searching for words of meaning to fill them

Idle hands searching for distraction to occupy them

Struggling with not needing, not being needed, not having something, ANYTHING to do

Angry, disinterested, neutral, or lonely

We pray that you would find a way to live into not doing, but being, not acting, but feeling.

Sit with yourself, and be satisifed. You are good. You are enough. You don’t need anything else to live and be joyful.

Find the things of interest lying in your own heart and mind, your own reflections on the state of the world. Think of others. Love them Pray for them.

We pray that you would find meaning where you need it, activity where it is satisfying, friendship and curiosity and wonder in the infinite places where they are.

But for now, in your boredom, we pray that you would remember that nothing lasts forever. That there is always more. That the seed of intention in your heart for the world would be fed by the next thing to come your way, and provoke a question that begets a practice that nourishes a love, leading you on towards a world where interest and meaning are easy – but where you are never afraid to do nothing, because in times of rest you have no fear of who you are.

If it is you…

I have a lot of friends and family who aren’t religious. Often (as a Pastor person) I’m one of the most religious people they know. This has led to a lot of wonderful, funny, and educational conversations over the years.

One of the most frequent, and unexpected, are requests to change the weather. Whenever its been cold or rainy for too many days in a row, I’m definitely going to hear from someone, “Can’t you do something about this?” or “Can you talk to Jesus about this situation?”

It’s in jest, but it’s also revealing of how people think about God, prayer, and power. In the popular imagination one version of God is basically a big Storm from X-Men – a being of great power who does stuff for the people he likes the best or his own mysterious reasons. This is decidedly not a being with personal relationships, a greater vision and intention, or relevance to those who haven’t chosen to follow God.

For some, that’s the God on display in this week’s lectionary tale of Jesus walking on water. It’s a display of miraculous power, pure and simple, a demonstration of Jesus’s abilities with an added reminder in Peter’s attempt to join him to KEEP THE FAITH OR ELSE. My non-religious friends didn’t get their ideas about God out of the ether. They learned them from people of faith.

But there has to be more than that shallow vision of God in this incredible story of the stormy waters, one of the few contained in all four Gospels. The God in Jesus here is known not through the ability to manipulate nature (although he of course can do that too) but through the way he calls and comforts the people he loves.

When the frightened disciples see Jesus’s form walking on the waves, and they worry it is an evil spirit, Peter says to him, “If it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Peter knows the being is powerful through what it does on the waves. He will know it is Jesus if he is brought into Jesus’s work, if he is invited to follow and to share, as he always has been before.

When the wind rages and Peter’s feet and faith stumble he cries out, “Lord, save me!” and immediately Jesus reaches out and catches him. It is this act of support, of mercy, of loving friendship, that convinces the rest of the disciples that the powerful man before them is “truly the Son of God.”

Powers and tricks are great. And God’s omnipotent sleeve is full of them. But they aren’t what makes God God. They’re not why I’m a Christian, and they’re not why I worship. I worship God because I have been called into the middle of raging storms while deathly afraid, and found more there than I ever would have asked for. I worship God because I have been caught just as my face began to sink into the waters, by a hand so gentle and so firm it never once felt like rebuke.

I serve a God of more than weather – a God of mercy, of justice, of creation, of newness. A God of all.