Grandparents’ Prayer

Grandmother baking with grandson

Photo by Donna Cosmato


Holy God, Eternal Parent, Author of love and grace, we pray for grandparents, great grandparents and all who stand in the line of generations.

Thank you for the blessed gift of children to love and cherish. Thank you for grandchildren and great grandchildren who will carry forgiveness and love into the future, who see your blessed presence in the lives of the least of these among us and who raise up the banner of hope in a hopeless world.

As you, in the model of the Savior, showed us agapé love, seventy times seven forgiveness and going to the cross because of that love, we pray for all grandparents that agape’ love remains a lifestyle, a normal mode of living among all your children of every race and nation.

Forgive us our trespasses, sins and debts when we rely on threats and violence to, in our minds, correct those around us. Grant us the grace of discovery finding peaceful modes to carry the forgiving cross for those we may not like, agree with or appreciate.

On this precious Grandparents’ Day, transform us into people who preach and practice using the heavenly peacemaking ministries you’ve given us. Remake our minds, in old age, remodeling them into fit vessels for the new wine flowing from your New Jerusalem. Grant us grace to support and join the march our grandchildren are walking. Help us celebrate the new day and new life promised in Jesus, your Son, our Savior.

We praise the one who gave us new birth and renews us every day as we pass on the Good News stories of your magnificent grace. Give us ears to hear the language of that Good News as our grandchildren are telling it, bringing us to rejoicing in your ever-living new wine presence among us.

We pray this in Jesus name, promising to take seriously the saving grace and ministry of being faith-filled grandparents. Amen!

J. Lyle (Jim) Kinsey is grandfather to 4 wonderful young women

Hey! It isn’t Christmas yet

The most counter cultural thing a Christian can do today is to refuse the drive to Christmas. If you watched the Macy’s parade on Thanksgiving, Santa came riding in at the end of the parade with the bold symbolic statement that Christmas has come. The commercialization of Christmas is obvious. “Santa has come, the Christmas season is here, so come shop with us.”
The last thing our culture wants to do in this season is wait. We don’t want to hear about voices crying out in the wilderness, of a young woman wrestling with what the child she carries means for her and the world, or even about some long off time when Christ will come again. With all the decorations and advertisements we are collectively saying “Get on it with it.” Just like a child unable to control the excitement, who treasure hunts around the house for gifts, we want the celebration now. None of this waiting business.
Yet, in truth, this is Advent. It is not Christmas. We are waiting. We are preparing.
To observe Advent is to push back on our culture of consumption and immediacy. To observe Advent is THE Christian practice for our time. For in Advent we acknowledge the delay. We recall the Hebrew people waiting for the Promised One. And we proclaim the fact that we are liminal people. We live in the now-and-not-yet-ness of our faith. Jesus has come, and we wait for him to come again.
We wait.
Waiting is so uncomfortable because we have to acknowledge both our longing and our lacking. When we confront our longing, we realize that there is something we lack. That is very definition of desire. We want what we don’t have. And when we see our longing played out each Sunday of Advent we are confronted with the very reality that we are not yet in the fullness of God’s embrace. In a culture that celebrates immediacy, consumption, and satisfaction, such a realization is nearly anathema.
In Advent we embody both our longing and come to terms with the very distance between us and God. Christians today have bought into our culture of immediacy, preaching a Gospel of God’s full presence. To even hold the season and practice of Advent counters the way we have tried to share the Good News. Advent, then, chastens us as followers of Jesus by reminding us that God is both with us and yet before us. It forces us to accept the distance between us and Christ. Christ is not “in us” but coming. Christ is not here, but is calling us into the fullness of faith.
At the close of his beautiful memoir, The Seven Story Mountain, Thomas Merton put words to this paradox.
“I no longer desire to see anything that implies a distance between You and me: and if I stand back and consider myself and You as if something had passed between us, from me to You, I will inevitably see the gap between us and remember the distance between us.
My God, it is that gap and that distance which will kill me.”
To the world around us, living in want and wait does seem like death. Why wait for anything when everything is right here? Why wallow in longing when satisfaction is so easy? And for the dominant theology of our time, preparing for the coming of Christ contradicts the very immanence we preach. Why prepare for Christ when we have Christ now, in our hearts, and will go to heaven when we die? Why all this business of rough places smoothed, valleys lifted up, mountains made low, the overthrow of the powerful, and the proud humbled?
It is Advent sisters and brothers, and there is no greater resistance than to hold this season of waiting. Advent is counter cultural.

Mary!

2015 COVER


John 20:1-18

Question:
But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine! ”           (Isaiah 43:1)
These words leap off the page into my heart. With these words I am called to swift passage into the waiting arms of Jesus.
He knows your name. How does knowing this release you to live within the confines of today?


Prayer:

Amazing God! Amazing love! Thank you this day for your amazing Gift … and calling me your own. May I rest in that love. Help me to recognize my identity and acceptance in you. Amen.

~ Randi Rowan, Program Assistant

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lent Devotional written by Craig H. Smith, district executive for the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren and ordained minister. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Craig’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

They laid Jesus there

2015 COVER


John 19:38-42

Question:
His presence was gone. They felt empty, anxious and alone. The only time when Jesus would not be available to them. So then, imagine
the warmth and joy they felt when He appeared with a promise – He would be with them … always.
How do you deal with your circumstances? Is there a way you can be still in His company and gain His peace?

 

Prayer:
God, teach us to live in the secret of your presence.
Amen.

~ Randi Rowan, Program Assistant

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lent Devotional written by Craig H. Smith, district executive for the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren and ordained minister. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Craig’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

I am He

2015 COVER

John 18:1-14, 28-40a; 19:13-25

Question:
“I am He.”  With these words, Jesus says so much more than what his soon-to-be captors realize. Our journey to maturity starts and ends here. How do we grow in capacity to deal with difficult life-spaces?  Where do we go when we lose God’s shalom / peace? Whom do you seek?.


Prayer:

Father, remind me that navigating life’s most difficult places sometimes requires only the simplest of maneuvers – that of sitting at your feet and talking about my emotions and thoughts.  Help me to perceive your presence and insight. And listen …. listen as one being taught.
Amen

~ Randi Rowan, Program Assistant

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lent Devotional written by Craig H. Smith, district executive for the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren and ordained minister. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Craig’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Do you know what I’ve done?

2015 COVERJohn 13:1-17, 31-35

Prayer:
O God, open our eyes to see examples of servant leadership in our midst. Increase our care and compassion. Encourage us to be of service, to see where there is need and to respond. Strengthen and empower us to do more, to reach out, to move from apathy to empathy, and to follow Jesus today and each and every day. Amen.


Question:

As Jesus surprised Peter by washing his feet, we might be surprised by those who join in Lenten practices to be in solidarity with their Christian neighbors: http://www.eidpraylove.com/
How does faith lead you to connect with others in love and service?

~ Debbie Eisenbise, Director of Intergenerational Ministries

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lent Devotional written by Craig H. Smith, district executive for the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren and ordained minister. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Craig’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

In the company of Judas

2015 COVER

John 13:21-32
Prayer:
O God, hear our confession: too long have we thought only of ourselves. Forgive us.
Help us, we pray, to be about Your work in this world. Strengthen our allegiance to Jesus, our connection with the Body of Christ, and our love for You, O God. May we truly be Your people in this world, a community of the faithful. Make us Your own and bless us, we pray. Amen.

Question:
How do you view success? Do you long for it or run from it? Is there a way that you can view success in a different way in your day to day life?

~ Debbie Eisenbise, Director of Intergenerational Ministries

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lent Devotional written by Craig H. Smith, district executive for the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren and ordained minister. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Craig’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

A troubled soul

2015 COVER

John 12:20-36

Question:
What is your deepest need at this moment? How do you sense God’s presence with you in the midst of your need?


Prayer:

O God, in our brokenness, and in that of others, we know You are present. We know that through Christ Jesus, there is nothing that separates us from Your great love. Thank you. We are humbled by Your love and grateful for Your presence. In silence and in wonder, we pause and pray. Amen.

~ Debbie Eisenbise, Director of Intergenerational Ministries

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lent Devotional written by Craig H. Smith, district executive for the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren and ordained minister. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Craig’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

A costly offering

2015 COVER

John 12:1-11 

Prayer:
O God, You give us so much. Life itself is a gift. You call us to live with open minds, open hearts and open hands. We hear You, God. We thank You.
This day we ask for the vision and creativity of Mary, to seize the moment and give the unexpected gift, the costly offering. We ask for her courage and compassion, to reach out and show care for others even if we are criticized and maligned for doing so. And we ask for her humility, to receive Your protection and blessing whenever we step out in faith. Guide us, we pray. Amen.

Question:
How will you step out in faith, live compassionately, give generously throughout this day?

 

~ Debbie Eisenbise, Director of Intergenerational Ministries

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lent Devotional written by Craig H. Smith, district executive for the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren and ordained minister. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Craig’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.

Holy preparations

2015 COVER

Mark 11: 1-11; 14: 1-16


Reflection:
Preparation is definitely an important part of our life, as talked about in the devotional today. But what happens when our plans and preparations need to be adjusted? Palm Sunday is one of my favorite days out of the year, mostly because of a family story of Palm Sunday 1992. The church that my family attends, at that time only allowed children up to grade 3 wave the palms in the parade that are typical in most churches. This Palm Sunday was the last year that my sister was allowed to wave the palms and she was excited and prepared to do so. However, her preparations were derailed as she and my brothers, instead of being in church, were at my grandmother’s house because my mother was preparing to give birth to me. Our preparations do not always go to plan; I’m sure Jesus’ disciples had preparations that Palm Sunday long ago that needed to be adjusted in the following week and beyond.

Question:
What are you preparing for currently? How could your preparations change?

Prayer:
God, help us to prepare, but also help us to adjust when Your plans require us to create new preparations. Amen.

~ Laura Whitman, Special Projects Coordinator

Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is offering these simple prayers and questions in connection to this year’s Lent Devotional written by Craig H. Smith, district executive for the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren and ordained minister. (Available from Brethren Press in print and E-Book formats). Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, Craig’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog.