The Spirit Prays for Us

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (NIV) (Romans 8:26-27)I am the office manager at Hope Lutheran Church, and I feel honored that I have been invited to write for TVprays.org. Several years…

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In the Desert

"I have also heard the groaning of the Israelites whom the Egyptians are holding as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant. Say therefore to the Israelites, ‘I am the Lord, and I will free you from the burdens of the Egyptians and deliver you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. You shall know that I am the…

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From Light into Lent

Two days from now, the festive feast days of Epiphany will give way to the somber season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday. We are invited to reflect on God’s great love and mercy in sending Jesus Christ to reconcile us to God and to one another, through the forgiveness of sin, giving to us the gifts of life and salvation. The appointed Psalm for Ash Wednesday, March 2, is Psalm 51:1-17. While some Psalms speak about God, this penitential Psalm is…

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Lilies of the Field

When the news of Sidney Poitier’s death came out, I thought about how long it had been since I’d seen him perform, and then I realized I had never seen Lilies of the Field, the 1963 film that won him the Academy Award for Best Actor, so I watched it on Amazon Prime Video. It’s an uplifting story with a strong Christian message. It doesn’t insult your intelligence. I recommend it, although it’s in black and white, has no computer graphics, no explosions,…

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Write it Out

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,your faithfulness to the skies.Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,your justice like the great deep.You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.They feast on the abundance of your house;you give them drink from your river of delights.For with you is the fountain of life;in your light we see light.Continue your love to those who know you,your righteousness to the upright in heart.Psalm…

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Gifted

We’re coming into the time of the year when thoughts turn to gifts. Many of us will have Thanksgiving dinner at the home of a family member or friend. We may bring food to share with others. Sometimes we also bring a gift for the host and/or hostess. It could be flowers or little delicacies or a bottle of wine – something a bit special to express gratitude. Of course, the big gift-giving extravaganza will be coming in about six weeks. Some may…

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Spotters

Years ago, a fellow whom I visited in a VA hospital told me this story. He, (we’ll call him “Bruce”), was at the gym observing a power lifter, (we’ll call him “James”), who was bench-pressing more than 350 pounds. For those who are wondering what bench-pressing is, it’s a form of exercise where the lifter lies on a bench, under a rack that holds a bar that has a series of weights added to it and lifts the weight with his arms enough…

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Think About Such Things

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—thing about such things.(Philippians 4:6-8, NIV)One morning, as I prayed for members of my family, I realized how much anxiety…

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All the Days of My Life

I’m struggling to find words to encapsulate all the thoughts and feelings I’ve had this week in a way that makes sense for a devotion. The world is overwhelming. There is so much outside of me that leaves me bewildered and exhausted. On top of that, there is just as much going on inside of me that keeps me similarly bewildered and exhausted. Answers are not easy to come by these days. The cry of “Why?” endures.Yet, I have found myself in prayer.…

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Read more about the article What happens when we pray?
I grew up with this on my bedroom wall

What happens when we pray?

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”(Matthew 7:7)But. What about when it doesn’t seem to work? As I have grown spiritually I find I wrestle with the idea of how God answers prayer. Jesus makes it seem quite cut and dried here, doesn’t he? I’m finding…

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Come to the table

It’s summer again, the time of family gatherings. This is the time of year we put extensions in the table and dig folding chairs out of their dark corners so that there can be room enough for everyone at the table. Our table never quite meets the Norman Rockwell dream. There is always a bit of chaos when you bring so many people together. There’s the negotiation of who sits next to you and how to get more elbow room. Still, whatever the…

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Practicing Anew

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and…

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The Spirit Intercedes

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what (other texts say or how) we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. Romans 8: 26-27 (NIV) How should we pray? For what shall we pray/ These two questions seem to be most relevant…

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Prayers Around the Cross

“But I, O LORD, cry out to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.” Psalm 88:13The above quote is from one of the lament Psalms that are in our Bible. Laments tell of the grief and pain either a person or the ancient nation of Israel happen to be going through. Every lament is honest in what is unfolding and each one tells God the truth and asks for help or some kind of deliverance from oppression. And every one, except…

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If Love is a Verb, Prayer is Too

I expect you’ve heard the saying: Love is a verb. It means love translates into action. If we love someone or a place or our pet, but never put that love into action in various ways, it’s a thin love indeed. I came to understand the phrase “love is a verb” a little differently after going to marriage counseling and reading books about how to make my marriage better. I remember an anecdote in one book in which a man told the therapist…

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Prayer and Justice

On April 9 the church and world remembered German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer who died in the Flossenbürg concentration camp on that day in 1945. I shared this Bonhoeffer quote, posted by the Lutheran World Federation, on my Facebook Page ,“Our being Christian today will consist in only two things: in praying and in doing justice among people.”I have been reflecting on the relationship between prayer and doing justice regularly since last February. I attended a training in California with Mark Yaconelli,…

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Musings on Ecumenism

We are part way through the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Jan. 18-25), an annual observance with over 100 years of history. Organized by the World Council of Churches, the week is a call for Christians to remember Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (see John 17:21). This year the theme is “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit” (John 15:5-9). I have to say that this is tough…

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Soul Food

Trust in Him at all times, you people, pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. (Psalm 62:8) The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man (woman, child) avails much. (James 5:16) Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes WITH you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.(Deuteronomy 31:6)I’m not a “cradle Lutheran” but the daughter of a Quaker lady…

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To Dance. To Wail.

When in trouble, call out to me; when I save you, sing my praise” (Ps. 50:15) Anne Lamott calls, “Help,” the first great prayer. She identifies Help, Thanks and Wow as the simple prayers people need to endure the challenging parts of life. These are the prayers, she suggests, that lead us through trouble toward healing and transformation. I try… to ask God for help in my life, in our nation, in the world; to thank God for what is good; to feel…

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Sacred Spaces

1The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world and those who dwell therein. 2For the Lord has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. 3Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord, and who may stand in God’s holy place? (from Psalm 24, ELW translation) I have been thinking a great deal about sacred spaces since the pandemic began, but especially in the last few weeks. I was an early encourager of all of…

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Praying the News

I am a person who does want to watch, listen to and read about the news to stay current on issues and concerns, learn new things, and know about where I am living. But, I have to be careful when and where and how I engage with the news. For one, I have a 9 year old who can get really nervous when some tough stories are shared. But, I can also completely derail and go down a path trying to search for…

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Friends

“A friend loves at all times…” Proverbs 17:17 Jesus said, … “I have called you friends…” John 15:15 The landowner replied, “Friend…” Matthew 20:13 One of the realities of the pandemic is that many of us have not been able to see our friends in person as much as we usually see them. We have “made do” by keeping in contact through texts, phone calls, written notes, FaceTime or Zoom calls, and in a few cases, by including them in our “bubbles” and…

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Just as You Did It

…‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ (From Matthew 25:40)It is reassuring that we are members of Christ’s family. It is reassuring that if we treat each other as Jesus treated others that we are treating Jesus that way.Who are members of your extended family? Who do you treat with respect, care and love as Jesus showed us and commanded us?There is a…

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How Prayer Works

It has been a long six, eight months, hasn’t it? Aren’t you tired of this? Don’t you want your summer back, your life back, your economy back? What are we supposed to do with millions unemployed, and now, maybe millions who can’t pay the rent? Or buy groceries? (see video)

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What if prayer is most important when we feel the most doubt?

Is anyone else finding it hard to pray these days? I am finding it hard - not because the need isn't great or because my heart isn't willing; it's because I hardly know where to begin. On any given day, I have half a dozen urgent things I want to lay at God's feet. By dinner time it's up to a full dozen. And yet I find myself putting it off. Prayer that is. I’m worried God will want to know where I've…

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Spring Was On the Way

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me. Psalm 23:4It was mid-March. We were having roller coaster weather as the low-and high-pressure systems battled each other; but our sunny back lawn needed mowing. I’m not able to follow the mower around anymore, though I’ve done it for many years and for a number of years many lawns a week. Now I rely on Larry (my oldest…

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Do You See?

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he…

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