Father and Lord, You know. I know that you know, but for some reason, you allow us to participate in the sacredness of time and space and surrender and miracles.
Waiting is hard. Seeing your hand in all of this...sometimes it gets cloudy. Can you help me to see your hand in the every-day?
I have zero discipline. I set my mind to pray and as soon as I get a notification, I am gone. I need your Spirit to quiet my buzzing beeping distracted multitasking soul.
I confess my lack of gratitude. My impatience. My anger. My jealousy. I'm so broken. My soul longs for the coals from your altar to cleanse like you did for brother Isaiah (6).
In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said,
“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.”
4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. 5 Then I said,
“Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7 He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.
Revolutionary words. Otherworldly love. Your love that reaches reaches reaches burns the unclean refines the created and makes the created beam as a burnished testimony.
Who are you, Father? Grant me eternal curiosity. I want to do as you do; flatter you with my sincere imitation. But I can't do that if I'm on my phone all day. So, help me.
Today, my relatives are embroiled in conflicts. There are marriages that teeter on the brink. I hear your words from Malachi 2:
...You cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. 16 For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the Lord of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”
Sift out the treachery. Draw out the confession and repentance. Bring reconciliation, Lord.
What does your house look like? Because Father, so so many of us feel like step children--not because of you. Because your house is divided. My sisters--your daughters--are feeling like aliens because there are no rings on their fingers and no children on their hips.
But since when are the children of God defined by negation--by the "no"s? How do we preach fulfillment in you alone and then turn around and shame people for not fitting a mold that you yourself care nothing about?
29 But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
When your will is done on earth as it is in heaven, none of us will marry or be given in marriage. We are all the bride of Christ. That is our ultimate goal. Can you breathe your truth and compassion and bring your freedom to the people our churches have shackled and isolated?
Can you bring communion to our house? Can you reconcile us to one another as part of One Body? Can you prepare a place for my friends--you know who I'm talking about--on earth as it is in heaven, so that they know how vital they are to the Body just as they are?
Can we talk about the deep struggles over wine or coffee or bourbon or soft drinks (whatever!), can we look each other in the eye and confess to one another and bear each other's burdens and be the church by admitting where we struggle and fail, and then get a hand up and a dust-off and start walking again together? We need this space more than chocolate or cliched floral-filled feel-good ministry. We need to sink our hands deep into the soil of life and cultivate the earth. We need deep-rooted relationships, not cut-flower cut-corner acquaintance. Grant us the messy blessing of knowing and being known. It's not good for us to be alone.
And Lord, can we talk about the racial segregation and silent approval of ungodliness that pervade your American church? This weighs heavy on me. This makes me want to walk away from your Bride, I confess.
John 17 says:
17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
Why do we idolize truth (unless it's politically expedient to do otherwise) and pay only lip-service to unity in the U.S.? Your Son is no liar, yet we are making him out to be one. I keep hoping that the world is looking outside of America so that they believe that you sent Jesus. I feel like I am on the outside looking in as a believer, but also a black person. Help! I know I need to love and reach reach reach like you do. I cannot do this without your Spirit.
My friend has cancer that has spread to her lungs, Father. She's in chemo right now. She is a warrior, but she is tired. You are growing her through this. We know because she exudes faith to those who have reached out to support her. She is the epitome of James 5:
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
Lord, I desire her full healing. I'm gonna tell you what I want, because you are Daddy. You're her Daddy, too. I know you love her.
May your Son be our mirror. Help us to reflect him. Help us to be gentle. Give us the strength to persist. Help us to extend compassion and dignity to the marginalized. Help us to share. Shower us with indomitable joy.
Thank you for being you, Father.
Thank you for the sweet and the fat of life.
Thank you for the fragrance and the song of life. You are extravagant.
Thank you for bread AND butter and an honest living.
My eyes have beheld your glory in myriad ways. I floated in the Indian Ocean and felt the mist of Victoria Falls. Galapagos finches have pecked at my shoe laces. I am not worthy. I am not worthy.
I sang a dirge over my grandmothers.
My parents have forgiven me. I'm breathing.
Those roses from my dear friends' yard--oh, the scent!
Laughter and a Sho Baraka concert.
Quiet couch talks with my partner in life.
Mommy's ox tails.
I thank you for a praying grandmother and a zealot mother. I come from warrior women! I thank you for a dad who grows kinder with time. Thank you, Lord, for the little wondrous theologians who constantly aid in spiritually forming me as I stumble to raise them to pursue you. Thank you, Father, for my partner in life, who exhibits long-suffering and stubborn dedication, with a touch of mischief.
I bless your name, Father. Thank you for hearing. Amen.