Tag Archives: prayer

Line drawing of an archer

Prayer Quiver

Prayers are the arrows of the warrior,
Not aimed at the enemy’s heart,
But shot into the air.

Under attack from my enemy,
I fire arrows into God’s throne room,
Messages tied round the shafts.

They fall at His feet,
He picks them up and reads them,
He adds them to His collection.

Just as He saves our tears,
He saves our prayers,
They last for all time.

Stand against the enemy He says,
But don’t be mute like small-g gods,
Stand and pray in His image.

Fire round after round,
As many as it takes because,
He will never let your quiver go empty.

Drawing by Mark Zechin

Read more poetry here

Man kneeling with Cross over shoulder

Taking a Knee

I’m taking a knee. I’m taking a knee for you.

People take to their knees in prayer. When I kneel, I humble myself and say, ‘I’m willing to intentionally be less than you.’ It’s plain I’m to do this before God. But I also should do this for you, because Jesus told His disciples, ‘This I command you; that you love one another.’ Love is a sacrifice. Love is taking a knee.

I don’t kneel before you because of your greatness, but because I’m commanded to love you, sacrificially. I don’t kneel to glorify you, but to acknowledge my own flaws before God. I take a knee now to demonstrate that there’s something gravely wrong.

So, the knee is a tool – a tool for proclaiming my humility.

The knee has also been turned into a weapon – a weapon of oppression.

George Floyd didn’t ask to take a knee, but he took a knee to his death. It wasn’t his knee and it wasn’t his choice. He prayed aloud until he died, but no one listened.

I’m still on my knees, praying that it’s the final outrage; this is not what taking a knee is supposed to mean. I have had enough, and won’t stop praying now; I’m just getting started.

Taking a knee used to only be a football term. The quarterback would take the ball and kneel, ending the play.

Taking a knee no longer ends the play. It has begun the play, and the clock is running. With God’s help, we will see its hands spin forward into a day filled with hope and peace. Taking the knee is now a word about justice. But first and foremost it must be a word about humility.

In Isaiah 61 God promises beauty for ashes, and we have more than enough ashes right now. But I’m not talking about burned buildings, wrong though those are. I’m talking about generations of burned lives.

Who is promised this beauty from ashes? Those who mourn. So, let us mourn together as brothers and sisters, and receive this beauty for ourselves. Isaiah goes on to say that those of us who do mourn will repair the waste cities and the desolations of many generations.

Let’s proclaim – together – that these generations of desolation have finally come to an end.

Let’s proclaim – together – that the day of freedom and justice begins now!

Let’s proclaim – together – that we will first look inside ourselves for these.

Let’s proclaim – together – that we will no longer be silent in the face of evil.

And let’s proclaim all this on our knees.

If you liked this essay, you may also like this poem.

Photo from Erik Mclean via Pexels

Hand with communion cup and bread

Such a Great Promise

(A two-minute read)

Holy Week looks a little different this year in the midst of Coronavirus Craziness (but we can still make it ‘holy’).

It’s traditional on this day, Maundy Thursday, to read the story in John’s Gospel about Jesus washing His disciples’ feet. Before He does this, we’re told that Jesus knew ‘that the Father had given all things into His hands’ and that ‘He came from God and was going to God.’ (John 13:3)

In other words, the Bible says, Jesus was (and is) the boss of me. Of you. Of everyone. Of everything. So, how did He respond to being made boss? Did He become bossy?

No, he humbled Himself as a servant and washed the filth off His own servants’ feet.

He washed them and He washes us. You and me. And, whenever we choose, we can step into that eternal world where He meets us – in whatever pile of dirt we sit in – to help us out of it. And then, He cleans us up.

But the good news doesn’t stop there.

Jesus also ended a time when rules and regulations were needed to get us close to God. Israel learned the hard way that its law only bred more lawlessness. They failed, but through Jesus, you and I can succeed.

Jesus teaches us that its not what we do that counts. We can’t do anything to earn the Father’s love. God already loves in spite of who we are. That’s what’s important – who we are, and who we’re willing to become.

Self-actualization is a myth and a fraud.

If you want personal growth, true personal growth, you have to turn to the Lord. Our best human tools may change us. But only God can transform us.

We are born more than halfway there.

The Bible says we’re born already knowing God. We know him deep inside, whether we’re aware of it or not. God’s in there, waiting expectantly for you and me to open the doors to our hearts and let Him in.

I challenge you, right now, to stop reading, close your eyes and make a demand of God (even if you don’t believe in Him yet): ‘God – Please reveal yourself to me. I’m ready!’ I know He will eventually answer if you keep listening.

Even if you don’t have the moxie to do that right this moment, I promise you (because I know from my own personal experience) that He stands ready to answer that demand whenever you decide to make it.

As God says often, ‘Don’t be afraid!’

I hope you will do this. Your life will never be the same. It will be better, and richer, and you’ll know His peace – even in the face of others’ mindless fear from Coronavirus Craziness. Best of all, you’ll know His joy.

Because the joy of the Lord is our strength, (Nehemiah 8:10) free for the asking.

Listen to what the prophet Jeremiah wrote about this ‘new covenant’ more than 500 years before Christ was born:

‘“I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’

‘“For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know Me already.” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness and I will never again remember their sins.”’ (Jeremiah 31:33-34)

What an offer.

Best of all, it’s not a Once-in-a-Lifetime offer. It’s a Once-for-Eternity offer. How can we say no to that?