November 12, 2008

(Weds., aft., Nov. 12, 1 p.m.-1:50 p.m., in front of Christ Church, Schenectady; Scott Underhill and Deacon Alan Hart.)

a–indicates anointed with Holy Oil.
t–indicates received one of Torre’s wooden crosses.
c–indicates took one of our “Are You Looking for God?” cards.

Note: The weather was chilly and damp — definite gloves and wool hat weather, but our neighbors flocked to the Table for His forgiveness, love and hope.

LAURIE — Pray for this woman whose daughter recently was allegedly raped by three men. (The daughter has been to the Table three times herself for prayer since the incident.) LAURIE said her daughter is being stalked by one of the three men allegedly involved and is worried for her. Supposedly, the police are investigating and the issue is heading to some kind of conclusion. Pray for this family.

t–HECTOR — This young man stopped by, first seemingly on kind of a lark. He laughed and said “Pray for Me? Sure. Why not?” But when we began to pray for him to be happy, provided for, made safe and protected, it became obvious to us that the young man was clearly moved by the severity of what we were doing in God’s name and that God was claiming this young man. He became very serious and bowed low. He took a cross and was grateful for the prayers.

t–BILL — Here is a middle-aged man who asked for prayer that his son, JASON, will not be taken from him by his mother– with whom Bill obviously is not getting along with well at the moment. Bill prayed that Social Services will not take his son away from him. Scott prayed for Bill that the family will find peace and understanding and get back together in harmony and unity. Bill was a very, very sad man.

t,t,a,c — ANDREW — If possible, this man was even more sad than Bill. (They arrived about 5 minutes apart.) Andrew, who said he has come and prayed in our chapel before, wanted prayers because he said his marriage is falling apart. His wife, HEIDI, is angry because he just lost his job. He said he wanders the streets looking for work and is not finding any employment, and then he comes home and says he has to hear his wife complain. Andrew was in tears by the time he got done explaining. We prayed that the Lord will intervene in this marriage and save it, that He will help this couple to realize the love that still exists between them and to make it grow stronger. We asked God to help them in the areas where the marriage is weak.

t,t,t,t,t,c — From one extreme to another — a very happy, bubbling family of five came to the Table. The father ALONZO was smiling and brought his wife GALINDA and their three young children over. (The boys are EDWARD and ALEX, the infant girl is EVELYN.) Alonzo said “You just can’t get enough of prayer!” The wife Evelyn said she came to our church about 10 years ago and got help toward going back to school. She now has a college degree! They said they were interested in coming to our church Sunday. Please welcome them to our family if they do!

t,t,a — LISA — This woman came hesitantly to Deacon Alan while Scott was still praying for the children mentioned above. She said, “I’m a prostitute and I have a drug habit. Is it still all right for you to pray for me?” Alan answered her that Christ came for ALL us sinners and immediately anointed her for protection and provision. He asked if she wanted to come to repentance about what she is doing, and she started crying and said “Yes!” By now Scott had joined Alan in the prayers for her. We prayed that God would free Lisa from her addictions and from prostituting herself; that she would instead find the gifts God has given her and begin to use them in a safe and productive way so that she can turn her back on her present life and look ahead to a new and bright one following God. She took a cross for herself and for the elderly man who she says lets her live with him.

t–LES — This is a blessing. This old, alcoholic street man who has come by the Table regularly in the past few weeks has sometimes been so unsteady on his feet that he can hardly walk. Today, he stopped for prayer and was quite coherent. He told us “I want to praise the Lord because I got my ID back!” We prayed for his continued healing and protection. He hugged Deacon Alan and said, “You will never know how much these prayers you have given me have meant to me.”

t–(NO NAME) — A young man was in a hurry but stopped quickly and asked for a cross for his nephew ALLEJANDRO. The young man showed us his own cross he is still wearing from a previous visit.

t–SASHA — Like Bill and Andrew, another very sad visitor. This young lady is the sister of the Albany Street woman whose young son died last week after a long illness. (It was a death widely written about in the newspapers and reported on TV last week.) Sasha wanted prayers for the whole family for healing. The mother, especially, is having a very hard time coping with the death of her boy.

Albany Intercessor

Dr. Peter Toon: Devout & Effective Prayer

November 12, 2008

Some of you may remember the discussion I was a part of recently at Stand Firm, and which I posted about here in response to a terrible article by a retired TEC priest in which he discusses unanswered prayer and how it must mean God is not omnipotent and needs our help. I continue to see that kind of theology popping up all over the Episcopal Church (Desmond Tutu was just recently espousing it in a large gathering in Chicago, as reported by ENS).

So with that background, I was very struck by one of the Rev. Dr. Peter Toon’s recent post “Real Prayer, Devotional and Effectual.” Here’s an excerpt:

Here, with the hope of taking forward our thinking I want to introduce an ancient collect, rendered from Latin into the traditional English language of prayer.

“O GOD, our Refuge and Strength, who art the author of all devotion; Be ready, we beseech thee, to hear the devout prayers of thy Church; and grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain effectually; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” [See further, The Book of Common Prayer, 1662, Trinity XXIII]

From this profound, short prayer I want to focus initially on two phrases: “author of all devotion” and “devout prayers.”

All real stirrings of genuine faith, hope and love in our hearts: all desires and intentions to serve, obey, trust, thank and praise God; and all inward and outward movements towards adoration and worship of God are to be traced to God as their source—that is of the Father working through his Spirit in the hearts of his people. Thus God is the “author of all devotion” (or “godliness”) and, of course, he expects his people to work with him in this matter!

“Devout prayers” are prayers that have their origins in the cleansing and renewing work of the Spirit of the Father and of the Son in the souls of his baptized people. Such prayers are of varying kinds but since they are inspired by God we are to believe that they are actually heard by God.

We are now ready to move on now to reflect on the words: “Grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain effectually.” From this petition we are reminded that there are further, important spiritual additions to what we have already noted (that God the author of true devotion hears the prayers of his devout people) in terms of the answering of prayer. Here the two key words are “Grant” and “faithfully.”

The use of the verb “grant” of God the Father makes clear that none of us deserves, or has a right to anything, that we ask for; rather, it is solely in the goodness and wisdom of God to give it out of pure, eternal mercy. This attitude of deep humility in the devout must be a major part of the ethos of their prayer.

“Faithfully” points to prayer that is not only from Christian believers who trust in God through Jesus Christ, but is also a prayer that is characterized by, and filled with, living, dynamic faith—including often an inner conviction that which is asked for is truly God’s will to give.

In this way and by this form of prayer, the church effectively obtains that for which it asks the Father in the Name of the Lord Jesus.

I conclude by making an observation that addresses the real, daily and weekly pastoral situation, within western churches, that we seem to get more “answers” to prayer that are in the “no” and “not yet” category than the “yes” one.


I suggest that we do not make a sufficiently clear distinction in our teaching and practice concerning petitionary/intercessory prayer between (a) devout prayers being heard by God (the emphasis here is upon God hearing them and being pleased to receive them); and (b) devout prayers that are filled with and characterized by faith/trust being not only heard but also answered effectively by the God of all mercy and grace.

Full text is here.

Pray for the Church in North India

November 12, 2008

As someone who follows news of persecution of Christians around the world fairly closely, I have been aware of and praying for Christians in Orissa, but I hadn’t really connected it with a specific Anglican Province or thought of posting prayers at Lent & Beyond.

George Conger has an article which relates how the persecution of Christians in India is affecting the Church in North India.  Please read it and pray!

A Veterans Day Prayer

November 12, 2008

Yes, Veterans Day was yesterday… but I was busy with Advent stuff, and missed this wonderful prayer that Pat Dague posted at Transfigurations. By posting it today, it will be available for future reference. And besides, every day is a good day to pray for our Veterans and those who are currently serving our country. Thanks Pat for this lovely prayer!


God of peace,
we pray for those who have served our nation
and who laid down their lives
to protect and defend our freedom.

We pray for those who have fought,
whose spirits and bodies are scarred by war,
whose nights are haunted by memories
too painful for the light of day.

We pray for those who serve us now,
especially for those in harm’s way.
Shield them from danger
and bring them home.

Turn the hearts and minds
of our leaders and our enemies
to the work of justice and a harvest of peace.

Spare the poor, Lord, spare the poor!

Let the peace you left us,
the peace you gave us,
be the peace that sustains,
the peace that saves us.

Christ Jesus, hear us!
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer!
Concord Pastor


Two more Veterans Day prayer posts caught my eye:

Northern Plains Anglican

Nova Scotia Scott

Luke 15:1-7, Joel 2:18-19, Isaiah 55:1-3 and Words Received

November 12, 2008

Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to him to hear him. (Luke 15:1)
      Holy Spirit, please help all of us sinners draw near to Jesus to hear him.

And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:2)
      Jesus, thank you for receiving us at your table.

So He spoke this parable to them, saying: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” (Luke 15:3-4)
      Father, please give us a heart to go seeking out the lost and the least.

“And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'” (Luke 15:5-6)
      Jesus, we pray that every parish in this diocese will know the joy of seeing lost sheep return to the fold.

“I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7)
      Holy Spirit, move in the hearts of all your people in this diocese and bring all of us sinners to repentance so that there will be great joy in heaven.

Then the LORD will be zealous for his land, and pity his people. (Joel 2:18 )
      Father, in your zeal restore the Episcopal Church and have pity on your people.

The LORD will answer and say to his people, “Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil, and you will be satisfied by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations. (Joel 2:19)
      Thank you for your mercy on us, Jesus.

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to me. hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you– the sure mercies of David. (Isaiah 55:1-3)
      Lord, I come to you!

He also chose David his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the ewes that had young he brought him, to shepherd Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands. (Psalm 78:70-72)
      A word received: I raised up David as a true shepherd of my people. Pray that I will raise up true shepherds throughout my church.

      Father, we pray for your true shepherds that you will give them wisdom and strength, that you will go before them and guide them step by step. Protect and anoint them and their families. Pour out on your whole church a spirit of repentance and turning and renew that “first love” (Revelation 2:4) in your people.

Wednesday: 81, 82; Joel 2:12-19; Revelation 19:11-21; Luke 15:1-10
Thursday: 85, 86; Joel 2:21-27; James 1:1-15; Luke 15:1-2,11-32

Words receive for a Sunday School lesson in December:

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:18 ) A word received: Look at the evidence of my work in your life. Can you see what I have done in your life? Look to me for my work in your life.

“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.” (Matthew 1:19) A word received: Look at my work in Joseph’s life: in him you see both justice and mercy.

“But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.'” (Matthew 1:20) A word received: I gave Joseph direction for his ministry as a husband and a father. I want all my people to desire my guidance and take it as Joseph did.

“‘And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call his name JESUS, for he will save his people from their sins.'” (Matthew 1:21) A word received: My saving work is evident in Jesus’ name and in Jesus’ life.

“So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:” (Matthew 1:22) A word received: I have come into the world through my Spirit so that I may be with you day by day. Look to me for new life from my father.

“‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.'” (Matthew 1:23) A word received: Joseph was obedient as a son and he was truly called a son of David. (Matthew 1:20)

“Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn son. And he called his name JESUS.” (Matthew 1:24-25) A word received: I long for my people to have the restraint and the courage of Joseph.

Albany Intercessor

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