By your grace and by your Spirit, move our motives toward being the kind of motives that accurately reflect our identity as your children and as Jesus’ followers.
First, though, make us more aware of our motives. Help us to grow past knee-jerk reactions and unthinking actions; make us ever cognizant of why we think what we think, say what we say, and do what we do.
Second, make us more sensitive to the ways in which our motives need to change and to mature. Move us past selfishness, fear, anxiety, and pride; move us toward selflessness, faith, hope, and humility.
Third, form our spirit so that love—your love—will be our sole motive.
If and when we were baptized, we may have been poured, sprinkled, or dunked; in whatever style we were baptized, it symbolized our immersion in the death of Christ and our being raised to new life in him.
Keep us ever aware that we have been so immersed.
It is easy for us to get immersed in things: in our work, in our pleasures, in our guilt, in our fear—in ourselves. Protect us from getting drowned in them.
Whatever we have going on, though, keep us constantly immersed in your life, your grace, your love, your peace, your hope, and your Spirit.
If we must drown, let us drown in what finally matters most.
As we deal this week with the expected and the unexpected, with the planned and the unplanned, and with the routine and the irregular, grant us your wisdom.
Help us to stay in constant communion with your Spirit that we might have constant access to your guidance; keep us aware of the nudges and the shoves through which you lead us in the ways that we should go.
Then, having sensed the way you would have us to go, give us courage to step in that direction.
--to let go of things onto which we are not meant to hold;
--to give up our illusions of control;
--to trust in you rather than in ourselves;
--to live in joy instead of in fear; and
--to relax our hands, our heart, and our spirit.
Help us to loosen our grip because we know that you hold us securely in your strong hands.
--the wind in the trees,
--the rain on the roof,
--the birds in the air,
--the people in their pain,
--the children in their hunger,
--the oppressed in their oppression,
--the lonely in their loneliness, and
--the silence in its stillness.
Help us to laugh when that is the appropriate response to what we hear; help us to cry when that is the appropriate response to what we hear.
Help us to join in, either to sing along or to try to help make the song better.
We have plans made for this week; who knows whether they will work out—or whether they even should work out? We plan as best we can but sometimes circumstances change things and sometimes things just don’t go as we thought they would. Sometimes they shouldn’t go like we thought we wanted them to go.
So give us flexibility; give us the ability to adapt and to adjust without losing our balance and without losing our temper.
Help us to grow to see the unpredictability of life as part of its fascination rather than as a source of frustration.
How can we not praise you? How can we not praise you for who you are and for what you do? How can we not praise you for sending your Son Jesus Christ into this world to live, die, and rise to show and to give us the way to eternal life, to give us the way to know you? How can we not praise you for sending your Holy Spirit to comfort and challenge us?
So today we will praise you. Let our praise be acceptable to you.
At the same time, don’t let us make so much noise that we fail to hear and to heed your still, small voice.
--to die to self and to live to you;
--to die to greed and to live to generosity;
--to die to vengeance and to live to forgiveness;
--to die to legalism and to live to grace;
--to die to pride and to live to humility;
--to die to lust and to live to love;
--to die to envy and to live to gratitude;
--to die to taking and to live to giving;
--to die to our will and to live to your will; and
--to die to our way and to live to your way.
Help us, O God, both to die and to live; help us, O God, to die so that we can live …
Help us to seek understanding of both what we can see and what we can’t see.
We can see our bodies, for example—at least we can see the skin that covers our bodies. But we can’t see our organs, our corpuscles, our arteries, our atoms, or our quarks. We can see the moon, some stars, and some other heavenly bodies, but we can’t see the vast majority of what makes up the universe. We can see some of what you are doing in our lives and in the world, but we can’t see much of it. We can see what other people let us see of their lives; we can’t see the rest of who they are. We can see the words on a page but we can’t see all that went into the making of the words and all that is potentially present on the other side of those words. We can see the physical but we can’t see the spiritual.
And yet, what we can’t see is there as surely as what we can see is there; what we can’t see is important as surely as what we can see is important.
Thank you for those who, because they have instruments, viewpoints, experiences, and education that we don’t have, are able to see what we can’t see and to help us to broaden our view.
Make us more aware of all that is there but keep us aware that we can’t know all that is there; give us a humble inquisitiveness …