Oh, no!

Worship began with centering prayer.

“Draw us close,” said the pastor, 
a prayer for what we need, 
for what we ought to want.

“Draw us close.”

And before I could consider what that might mean for me, a little voice called out,
“Oh, no!”

O God, draw us close.
Oh, no!

We want it,
and we do not.

What will happen if we
accept what we ask for
from you, O God?

Oh, yes!
We will never be the same.

Disaster, LGBT, LGBTQ, Loss, Prayer

After the massacre, a prayer

Holy God,

We pray for the queer community,
frightened by the massacre in Orlando,
wondering why living their lives
as the people you made them to be
put a target on their backs.

We pray for our queer children,
gay, lesbian, bi, trans,
already afraid, careful of danger,
some suspicious of religion,
doubtful of us and of you.

We pray for the Latino community,
reeling from the loss of so many of those killed,
coming to grips with the double bias
suffered by queer people of color,
haunted by the shooter’s choice of Latin Night for his attack.

We pray for the survivors of the shooting
for their healing,
and for a sense of your presence,
and for the friends and families
grieving a terrible loss.

We pray for your church,
that we might all come to grips
with the way we have treated others,
that we might not be silent but instead
speak against hate and proclaim your love
and enact your justice.

Forgive those who will not speak
because they are afraid.

Forgive us when we are afraid.

Bring us to a new understanding:
all your children are precious to you.
Prevent us from categorizing others
in ways that give us lenience
to look the other way.

Help us, Lord, to see the world through your eyes,
to recognize that your kingdom is right here and right now,
to live in your love in our relationships with all we meet.
Remind us that wherever we live,
however we pray and whoever we love,
we are yours. Amen.

(This prayer was composed for a Vigil Service
at Mechanicsburg Presbyterian Church.)

Miranda quote at MPC

Prayer, Thanksgiving


what riches!
so many things we can buy,
dream about,
wish to receive,

our cornucopia is overfull
(our landfill)
with iPads and Xboxes
programmable coffeemakers
refrigerators with TV screens
we can’t count them all

our shelter is overfull
with men and women
veterans, children
hungry, cold–
can we see them?

Prayer, Prayers for Pastors

A slight nod of the head (a prayer for pastors)

Nine victims of the Charleston church shooting.   Top row: Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton middle row: Daniel Simmons,  Rev. Depayne Middleton Doctor, Tywanza Sanders Bottom row: Myra Thompson, Ethel Lee Lance, Susie Jackson
Nine victims of the Charleston church shooting.
Top row: Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton
middle row: Daniel Simmons, Rev. Depayne Middleton Doctor, Tywanza Sanders
Bottom row: Myra Thompson, Ethel Lee Lance, Susie Jackson


When we worry

about the way people will hear us,

when we worry

that the truth will sting,

when we worry

what will happen to us,

remind us

that our silence

does not serve you.

Our silence is not safety,

or neutrality.

It is a slight nod of the head,

giving permission for

the sin of racism to continue.

May our heads shake,

as we say “No more,”

shake hard enough

that there can be no question

where we stand,

for the sake of Jesus Christ,

and his beloved servants

who have lost their lives

to human evil.


Prayer, Prayers for Pastors, Preaching

For Preachers, Awake in the Night

For all the preachers who are walking the floor tonight
With sick children or
Upset stomachs or
Sick, four-legged children
with upset stomachs

For all the preachers who cannot rest
Whose sermons are uncooked

For all the preachers whose sleep is disturbed
By dreams of Isaac
Bound on a mountaintop
Or wandering sheep
Or unfindable coins

For all the preachers who ponder troubles
With trustees and elders
With vestries and consistories
With new calls
And long ministries
Or no place to speak

For all the fortunate who rest well
Whose sermons gelled
Whose households sleep sweetly
Whose cats do not howl

And for all lying somewhere in between

We pray for your Sunday blessings, loving God.
Free us from the binding of human expectations.
Seek us when we are hidden under the rug of exhaustion.
Return us to the fold when we have lost the way.

Empower us by your Holy Spirit
To bring the Good News
To the weary
To the wandering
To the woebegone

To ourselves, too.

You are Love.
You are Mercy.
You are Grace.

We thank you for all these things,
Holding out hope for the holy nap to come,
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.


Trinity Sunday Prayer

Great Three-in-One,

We bring our prayers to You remembering how small our problems may be in the scheme of things but hoping you will hear how large they are in our hearts.

We pray:

  • For the people we love who are suffering
  • For the heroes who press for change in institutions that exclude
  • For the strangers rebuilding lives after disaster
  • For a world torn by conflict, where attacks happen for no reason and terrible reasons
  • For a deeper understanding of You
  • For the strength to love and act on that love
  • For the energy to be faithful in a time when religion can seem quaint
  • For the determination to be Your people when the label “Christian” doesn’t always sound like who we are and what we believe about You

Dear One-in-Three,

Sometimes we know you best in the wonders of what You have created. Sometimes we know You best in the assurance of your forgiveness. Sometimes we know You best in the whispers inspiring and provoking us to deeper understanding.

We pray:

  • To serve with the gifts You have given us
  • To love with the kind of love You show us
  • To forgive with generous hearts as You have forgiven us
  • To grow in faith, remembering that there is always a next stage to reach

We thank You for all the ways You make Yourself manifest among us:

  • In the beauty of this spring morning
  • In Your comfort when darkness covers us
  • In the life of Jesus, who taught us to pray saying:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Pray First, Prayer, Psalms

Praise The Lord

Praise The Lord
With awkward beauty
With good intentions
With well-meant gestures

Praise The Lord
With technical difficulties
With endless set-up
With incorrect hymn boards

Praise The Lord
With stiff hands
With tear-filled eyes
With worried mind

Praise The Lord
With open heart
With smiling face
With hopeful spirit

Praise The Lord!


After a prompt from Writing to God, by the wonderful Rachel Hackenberg.

I admit that I am several days behind in the book. The prompt for Day 10 took me in this direction when I read these particular verses and conflated them with a dream about a worship service, beautifully envisioned but awkwardly executed — a glimpse at the heavenly banquet complete with showered rose petals, but a long delay before Communion to reset the stage including the hymn boards — and woke to stiff hands reminding me of my own technical difficulties as I seek how I will serve God next.

Psalm 147:10-11 God doesn’t prize the strength of a horse; God doesn’t treasure the legs of a runner. No. The Lord treasures the people who honor him, the people who wait for his faithful love.