Unseeing in Sleep

Pray that you will not fall into temptation (Luke 22:40)

Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation (Luke 22:46b)

the disciples
unseeing and tired
eyes sagging, bodies sore, sleep surges up,
engulfs vigilance at the vital hour.

Jesus’ question, ‘Why are you sleeping?’,
sounds strange to sleepwalkers,
whose ears fail to hear the rhythmic feet
marching to the Mount of Olives
with malicious intent.

they have no answer for such questions.
it is the silence of sleepyheads
who do not think straight,
lost in limbo between dreamworlds
and real worlds.

Lord, touch us who do not see or hear,
who fail to understand temptation
in the grey light of slumberland.
Lord, awaken us from sleep
that we may rise and pray
in the dark of this new day.

[This is the first in a group of six original poems composed for Holy Week.]

A Prayer inspired by the prophet Zechariah

Lord our God, you are great.
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
glorious beyond our comprehending
and always worthy of praise.

Even as we seek You,
we admit our limitations.
Our life is like a vapor upon this earth,
yet You are eternal.
Our understanding is limited,
yet You are the all-wise God.
Like Job, we often speak words without knowledge
as we try to peer into Your ways that are higher than ours.

Give us vision, like Zechariah,
to see, through the mists of our limitations,
the glory of Your presence, blazing like the sun,
which brings light and life to all things.

Strengthen us to persevere in seeking You,
that, like a deer panting for streams of water,
our needy souls might be satisfied in You alone,
who is our Creator, Savior, and Sustainer.

All this we pray, through Jesus Christ,
to whom, with You and the Holy Spirit
be all honor and glory, now and forever.
Amen.

 


This is part of a series of posts with prayers based upon the message of the Minor Prophets:

Senior Pastor Update in the Time of COVID-19 (April 1, 2020)

Here is my latest update for Eastbrook Church as we navigate the time of COVID-19. I will continue to re-post these weekly updates here at my blog for those who have not seen it or who are not part of our church but could use the encouragement.

At one point, I mention the opportunity to join in with 24-7 Prayer Movement here in the city of Milwaukee throughout the month of April. You can find out more information here.

Call to Prayer for Milwaukee #PrayforMKE

#PrayforMKE

Dear Milwaukee friends, I want to invite you to join me, Bishop Walter Harvey of Parklawn Assembly of God, and Pastor Randy Knie of Brew City Church as we seek to catalyze a 24-7 prayer movement in Milwaukee during April. Many churches and Christians are already praying, so let me encourage you to sign up for a one-hour slot to pray here.

You can also watch the video here for a little more background.

Lastly, connect with this via Facebook here.

This Is the Perfect Time to Draw Near to God

bible-study-notes

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

The last couple weeks all of our lives have been disrupted. National, state, and city leaders have called for limited social contact and, in many cases, issued orders to stay at home. We are forced to slow down, to limit our activity, and some of us have more time to fill than we are used to.

We are forced to draw away. We are, in many ways, forced into solitude. This is the perfect time to draw near to God.

Yet, maybe you, like me, find that there are so many more distractions than ever before.  There are more news pieces to chronically pay attention to, more Zoom calls to join for work, more Netflix or Amazon Prime shows to binge, more kids doing their schooling in otherwise vacant home spaces…and the list could go on.

The truth is that we struggle to make space for what is most important. But here it is. This is the perfect time to draw near to God. So, will you join me in taking the necessary steps to do it? We can do this by taking time in solitude with God, by reading His Word daily, by seeking Him in prayer, and by being still and knowing that He is God. It will not happen by accident. It will only come by focused, intentional preparation of the space of our lives to draw near to Him.

The wonder of James’ promise is that when we draw near to Him, God will also draw near to us.

 

A Prayer inspired by the prophet Haggai

LORD of hosts,
Almighty King of all the earth,
You are worthy of all our praise
and deserve the best of what we have to offer.

Help us to give careful thought to our ways,
that we may not be found wanting
in presenting all of who we are
and all of what we have to You.

In Haggai’s day, You called the people to rebuild Your house,
strengthening them to accomplish the task by Your grace.
In our day, help us to hear Your calling for the church,
and strengthen us to accomplish that calling by Your grace.

May no opposition overcome us
and no circumstances dissuade us
from giving ourselves fully to You
and Your mission upon earth.

All this we pray, through Jesus Christ,
to whom, with You and the Holy Spirit
be all honor and glory, now and forever.
Amen.

Senior Pastor Update in the Time of COVID-19 (March 25, 2020)

Here is my latest update for Eastbrook Church as we navigate the time of COVID-19. I will continue to re-post these weekly updates here at my blog for those who have not seen it or who are not part of our church but could use the encouragement. I also encourage you to watch the video of our worship team leading the song “Way Maker,” from this past weekend’s service. It is such a powerful song, particularly during these days.