David’s Prayer of Praise

O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel,
may you be praised forever and ever.
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty.
Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord
and this is your kingdom.
We adore you as the one who is over all things.
Wealth and honour come from you alone,
for you rule over everything.
Power and might are in your hand,
and at your discretion people are made great and given strength.

O our God, we thank you
and praise your glorious name!
But who am I, and who are my people
that we could give anything to you?
Everything we have has come from you,
and we only give you what you first gave us!

We are here only for a moment,
visitors and strangers in the land
as our ancestors were before us.
Our days on earth are like a passing shadow,
gone so soon without a trace.

… I know, my God, that you examine our hearts
and rejoice when you find integrity there.
You know I have done all this with good motives,
and I have watched your people give their gifts
willingly and joyously.

O Lord, the God of our ancestors
Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,
make your people always want to obey you.
See to it that their love for you never changes.

– 1 Chronicles 29:10-18

50 Prayers Challenge: #43 – Update

That’s it. We made it! Five days with only a bowl of rice each day and it was brutal. A bowl of rice a day is not near enough to fill one up. You are constantly hungry. Immediately after eating your bowl, the hunger pangs are eased, but you’re still not full. Your stomach gurgles and the irritating discomfort around your midsection makes it impossible to forget your hunger which makes you think about food which makes you think about your hunger and so on.

I’ve never thought as much about food as I have in the past five days.

For me, each day was harder than the last culminating in today, Friday. At points, I had the shakes. My stomach felt emptier than empty. I think the acids in there were trying to consume themselves. The whole day I had to interact and work with people and operate trying my best to disregard the raging hunger inside. I was afraid, at times, that I might flat out faint (I thankfully didn’t).

My friend Evan summed up the experience the best. He said, “It’s hard to believe a billion people live this way …”

Simple disbelief.

50 Prayers Challenge: #43

43. Eat only a bowl of rice a day for a week to remember
those who do that for most of their life (take a multivitamin).
Remember the 30,000 people who die each day of poverty and malnutrition.

I crave more than I hunger and when I actually do hunger, I never starve. I’ve grown up in a culture of excess. I spend more time thinking about how to work off the food I’ve eaten than where my next meal might come from. My undertaking of #43, along with my friend Evan, is just a tiny attempt to empathize with the millions all over the world who’s daily struggles I can’t even imagine.

For the next 5 days, we’ll be eating just one bowl of rice (as well as a multivitamin). It may be slightly cheating, but I’m using the biggest bowl I have in my house – it holds three cups of cooked rice – but it is still so much less than I’m used to eating. I’m on the back nine of my first day and I’ll confirm that it’s rough. I made the mistake of going into town today. Being surrounded by restaurants, food ads, and the smells that go along with both were a massive temptation and a reminder of the hollow feeling in my stomach (after only one day). On to day 2.

End of the week update.

50 Prayers Challenge

The 50 Prayers Challenge is a challenge I’ve posed myself to complete as many prayers on this list as I can throughout 2014. The list is originally titled ‘50 Ways to Become the Answer to Our Prayers‘ and is posted on the website of a group who’s faith, and the practices it leads them to, I respect very much, The Simple Way. When I first found the list, I thought it would be a good challenge for someone (not me of course) to give a shot. Maybe I’d give it a try when I got back to the States, but not now. I’m currently living in Zambia and while it’s become familiar, it is far from home and I have zero clue how to go about some of these here. Then it struck me that I have zero clue how to go about some of these back in the States where I am home, comfortable, and acquainted. There will always be excuses to made so it’s go time.

Some of these prayers will actually be easier to accomplish while in Zambia and there will be some that I’ll probably save until I get back to the States in – Lord willing – August. Then, there are some where my location makes absolutely no difference. Finally, there are also several prayers on this list that I have no intention of completing, at least in 2014, based on who I am (single male) and what stage of life I am in. With all this said, embarking on this challenge, much like the Christian life, is not about success, it is about glorifying God. I want to complete as many of these prayers as possible, but that is not the goal. The goal is to grow in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It’s not about crossing items off a list (literally) in order to become a better Christian, but an exercise in pushing my idea of what it means to follow Christ’s example and falling more in love with my Creator.

If you’d like to join me, either physically or in spirit, in one or a few or all of the prayers, let me know. Email me and we’ll figure it out.

To see the list and follow along either go to the ’50 Prayers Challenge’ button at the top of the blog or click here.

Visit this place, O Lord, and drive far from it all snares of the enemy;
let your hold angels dwell with us to preserve us in peace;
and let your blessings be upon us always;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen

– from the Book of Common Prayer

Rule of St. Benedict

Let us get up then, at long last, for the Scriptures rouse us when they say: It is high time for us to arise from sleep. Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from God, and our ears to the voice from heaven that every day calls out this charge: If you hear his voice today, do not harden your hearts.

Canticle of Brother Son

by St. Francis of Assisi

Most high, all-powerful,
all good, Lord!
All praise is yours,
all glory, all honour,
and all blessing.

To you alone, Most High,
do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

All praise be yours, my Lord,
through all that you have made,
and first my lord Brother Sun,
Who brings the day;
and light you give to us through him.

How beautiful is he,
how radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High,
he bears the likeness.

All praise be yours, my Lord,
through Sister Moon and Stars;
In the heavens you have made them,
bright and precious and fair.

All praise be yours, My Lord,
through Brothers Wind and Air,
and fair and stormy,
all the weather’s moods,
by which you cherish all that you have made.

All praise be yours, my Lord,
through Sister Water,
so useful, lowly, precious,
and pure.

All praise be yours, my Lord,
through Brother Fire,
THrough whom you brighten up the night.
How beautiful is he, how gay!
Full of power and strength.

All praise be yours, my Lord,
through Sister Earth, our mother,
Who feeds us in her sovereignty and produces
various fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.

All praise be yours, my Lord,
through those who grant pardon for love of you;
through those who endure sickness and trial.

Happy those who endure in peace,
by you, Most High,
they will be crowned.

All praise be yours, my Lord,
through Sister Death,
from whose embrace no mortal can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing your will!
The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord,
and give him thanks,
and serve him with great humility.

Radiating Christ

Dear Jesus, help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go.

Flood our souls with your spirit and life.

Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly that our lives may only be a radiance of yours.

Shine through us, and be so in us, that every soul we come in contact with may feel your presence in our soul.

Let them look up and see no longer us but only Jesus!

Stay with us, and then we shall begin to shine as you shine; so to shine as to be a light to others; the light O Jesus, will be all from you, none of it will be ours; it will be you, shining on others through us.

Let us thus praise you in the way you love best by shining on those around us.

Let us preach you without preaching, not by words but by our example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what we do.

The evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to you.


Romero’s Prayer

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promises.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything,
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning,
a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders;
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

– Archbishop Oscar Romero