Pastoral Series

Prayer: Labor Day, part 1

Prayer: Labor Day, part 1 Monday is Labor Day.  Can we connect the heart of the day (and whatever our work may be) to God in prayer? God worked – which is why the world exists.  And God observed Sabbath: “On the 7th day, God finished his work and he rested” (Genesis 1:26).  God gave…

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Prayer: What does prayer change?

Prayer: What does prayer change? Recently I was interviewed for the Crackers & Grape Juice podcast – about my new book, Worshipful: Living Sunday Morning All Week.  The most intriguing question I was asked was this (picking up on the familiar thought that prayer doesn’t change God but changes the one who prays):  Does prayer…

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Prayer: Back to school

Prayer: Back to school    Summer’s over.  Kids and teachers are heading back to school.  How is prayer like going back to school?  Lots of Americans believe America’s problems can be traced to taking prayer out of school.  But what’s the old joke?  As long as there are tests, there will be praying in school……

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Prayer: Homecoming

Prayer: Homecoming This week, I’m coming home from Armenia.  Sometimes after a long trip, I’ll post just one word on Facebook:  home.  That always gets lots of likes. Increasingly in our culture, we are losing a sense of home.  Where are you from? …and many stammer.  Uh, I was born in Savannah, grew up in…

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Prayer: Travel and Praying

Prayer: Travel and Praying This week, I am in Armenia on a mission trip.  I’m trying to think about prayer and travel, or prayer and our connections to faraway people and places. Perhaps we pray for our mission work in far-flung places, for missionaries and the people they serve; we hope you do!  But I…

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Prayer: the Plot of the Story

Prayer: the Plot of the Story Somehow this past year I got hooked on the action thrillers of Daniel Silva.  Light reading – a good break for me, as so much of my reading is denser theology.  His stories are set in places I’ve been and love.  In The Fallen Angel, for instance, the murder,…

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Prayer: You are what you love

Prayer: You are what you love I’ve just read J.K.A. Smith’s terrific little book, You Are What You Love, in which he reflects on some common mistakes we make about prayer and worship, and how then to get from the brain down into the heart.  His premise is “You need to worship well, because you…

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Prayer: Woe is me!

Prayer: Woe is me! A hundred years ago, many men’s pocket watches featured a popular thought etched onto the rim – from the poet Robert Browning:  “God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world.”  There is always this kind of spirituality – that if all’s right, if life is fine, then God is doing…

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Prayer: Guilty?

Prayer: Guilty? For centuries, the main reason people came to church was to seek forgiveness for their sins.  Individuals would go to confessional booths, and all worshippers would pray together a prayer of confession – eager for absolution from the priest. But in modern times, the prayer of confession, and our very sense of being…

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Prayer: Empty tomb

Prayer: Empty tomb    Some pilgrims to the Holy Land are a bit disappointed when they come to the place of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.  We harbor an outdoor image of “on a hill, far away, stood an old rugged cross,” and we envision a tomb, like a cave, carved into the side of a…

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