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Category Archives: Prayer

I ask your prayers tonight, as I am in the Malabar area of Florida where there are some vicious brush fires.  I’m staying with my girlfriend Tiffany and her family at their home, and we’ve begun to talk about packing for a possible evacuation.  There is plenty more that we’re dealing with related to it, but I’ll spare you the details.

I’ve never been involved with anything like this, so I’m just a little frazzled.

This really moved me…

Found this via a longer post from To Write Love On Her Arms on their MySpace. I encourage you to read good words, and you can read some of theirs here. The blog of Switchfoot’s Jon Foreman can be read here.

J. D. Salinger and St. Paul and dark black smoke
by jon foreman

So I’m listnin’ to the jason molina box set. reminds me a bit of sun kill moon in a really good way. with some atmospheric “spirit of eden” things every now and then.

it’s grey out. it was grey out yesterday. but it’s not raining. it was raining yesterday.

still trying to get any news about home. rough. feels like a world away. fires.

So I find it strangely appropriate that we’re touring to support habitat for humanity, an ironic twist in the plot, with the homes burning back on the west coast. It’s so strangely fitting that I wrote a song with Thieson for this tour on a bus that burned down a few hours later. But you see, this plot, this divine comedy strays awfully close to tragedy.

It’s a strange book and I’m inside it. So I’m trying to pin down the details about the the plot in this book. The one where I’m the protagonist in a plot much larger than I am. A book that I can’t simply put down when I’m frustrated. With no bookmark, no remote control. The pages write themselves with very little effort of my own. And yet I’m in there. I’m written into the book.

I was wondering today whether the houses that we help build with Habitat in SD are still standing. I don’t know how this ends.

Ruth has gone on downstairs, the bass frequencies are vibrating everything in the room… and a world away houses are burning down in my hometown. What can you do?

The good guys get gunned down. The bad guys do fine. That can’t be the end of the story… But the fires are still burning back home… and this thought kept running through my mind all day, “Oh God, have mercy on me a sinner.” I think that’s the prayer in Franny and Zoey… But St. Paul says the same thing

Pray that God is merciful,

jon

“So close my eyes and hold my heart. Cover me and make me something. Change this something normal into something beautiful.”

Jars of Clay’s “Something Beautiful” is one of my favorite songs ever, and often one of the most meaningful. Here’s an acoustic version from the 11 Live DVD…which is a great DVD, by the way. 🙂 The lyrics can be found here.

When I first heard Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, it was in concert at a former radio station in Knoxville. Out of all the songs he played, this one touched me the most. Perhaps it was the music, or perhaps it was his story of how he wrote it at a time when he wasn’t sure of what was going on and he felt he needed an answer right then. Perhaps it is how the entire piece is like a prayer composed of steel, wood, and uncertainty. For whatever reason, it’s still my favorite song on his Only record. Sometimes, when I just need to quieten my mind and relax my heart, I put in my earphones, turn up the volume, and drown in this song. Sometimes more than once or thrice.

And, on this eve of my debut as a Church School teacher, I’ll likely listen to it a number of times.  After the Vols game, of course.  😀

We prayed this at the end of our weekly OCF service.  It was so beautiful, I had to share.


O All-wise and All-gracious Lord, Our Savior, Who enlightened the ends of the world by the radiance of Your Coming, and Who did call us into Your Holy Church through the promise of the inheritance of incoorruptible and eternal good!  Graciously look down on us and remember not out iniquities, but according to Your infinite mercies forgive all our sins.  For though we transgress Your holy will, we do not deny you, our God and Savior. Against You alone do we sin, yet You alone do we serve, in You alone do we believe, to You alone do we come, and Your servants only do we wish to be.

Remember the infirmity of our nature and the temptations of the adversary and the worldly enticements and seductions which surround us on all sides, and against which, according to Your word, we can do nothing without Your help.  Cleanse us and save us!  Enlighten our minds that we may firmly believe in You, our only Savior and Redeemer! Inspire our hearts that we may firmly believe in You, our only God and Creator!

Direct our steps that we may walk in the light of your commandments without stumbling!  Yea, our Lord and Creator, show us Your great and abundant kindness, and make us live all the days of our lives in holiness and truth, that at the time of your glorious Second Coming, we may be worthy to hear Thy gracious call into Your glorious heavenly Kingdom.  Grant us, Your sinful and unprofitable servants, to receive Your kingdom, and that in the enjoyment of its ineffable beauty, we may glorify You, together with Your Eternal Father and Your Ever-living Divine Spirit to the ages of ages. Amen.

Sweetest Lord Jesus, strong Son of God, Who did shed Your precious Blood and die for love of my love, i am ready to die for love of Your love.  You only do I wish for my Spouse, as You wish me for Your bride.  I give myself to You.  I surrender myself to you, o Jesus, You Whose heart is ever turned to me, heal my heart, that I may feel the sweetness of Your love, that I may taste no sweetness but You, seek no love but You, love no beauty but You. I have no desire but to please You and to do Your will.  Teach me to repent, and to take up the Cross daily and follow You with joy.  Teach me to pray with faith and love.  Yourself pray in me, that with You I may love my enemies and pray for them.

Jesus, You are life in my death, strength in my weakness, light in my darkness, joy in my sorrow, courage in my faintheartedness, peace in my agitation, obedience in my prayer, glory in my dishonor, and deliverance from my dishonor.  Glory and thanks to you Jesus my Savior and Healer.  Amen.

Here’s a little gem from a video made of Opening Day at Walt Disney World. That’s Glen Campbell singing a beautiful song I first heard from Australian guitar great Tommy Emmanuel.

“To die a little, that I might learn to live.” It’s something I’m trying to learn.

OCF Shadows

These are two Coptic prayers I heard on the podcast Frederica Here and Now.


Liturgical Communion Prayer:

Amen. Amen. Amen. I believe, I believe, I believe and confess to the last breath that this is the life-giving flesh which your Only Begotten Son, our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, took from Our Lady, the Queen of us all, the Holy Mother of God, St. Mary. He made it one with His divinity without mingling, without confusion, without alteration. He confessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate. He offered it upon the Holy Wood of the Cross for us all. Truly I believe that his divinity parted not from his humanity for a single moment, nor a twinkling of an eye. Given for us for salvation, remission of sins, and eternal life, I believe, I believe, I believe that this is true.
Amen.


Prayer for Healing:

Again, let us ask God, the Pantocrater, the Father of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. We pray and entreat your goodness, oh Lover of Mankind. Remember, oh Lord, the sick among your people. You have visited them with mercies and compassions. Heal them.  Take away from them and from us all sickness and all disease.  The spirit of sickness, chase away. All those who have long lain in sickness, raise up in comfort. Those afflicted by unclean spirits, set them all free.

Those in prisons or dungeons, those who are in exile or captivity, those who are held in bitter bondage, oh Lord, set them all free and have mercy upon them. For you are He who loosens the bound and uplifts the fallen, the hope of those who have no hope, and the help of those who have no helper.  The comfort of the faint-hearted, the harbor of those in the storm.  All souls that are distressed or bound, grant them mercy, oh Lord.  Grant them rest, grant them refreshment, grant them grace.  Grant them help.  grant them salvation, grant the forgiveness of their sins and their iniquities.

As for us also, oh Lord, the maladies of our souls, heal; and those of our bodies, too, do cure.  Oh You, the true physician of our souls and our bodies, the Bishop of all flesh, visit us with your salvation.  Through the grace, mercies, and love for mankind of your Only Begotten Son, our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, glory, honor, dominion, and worship is due unto you, with Him and the Holy Spirit, the giver of life, who is of one essence with you, now and forever, and unto the age of all ages.  Amen.

Along the lines of the last post comes this entry from my journal made last year around this same time. It’s one of my favorite “a-ha” moments ever. I scribbled it down in the middle of the night, but I hope it makes sense. 🙂

Thursday, September 7, 2006:

[…]

The parish at St. Nicholas has been very warm in its welcome. Great conversations with several people, with one of the most memorable surely being with Annie, a student at Virginia Tech. Our discussion, lasting long into Sunday afternoon, has led to one of the most profound realizations of my entire life.

And, I say “profound” not because of the depth of my intellect—no. Rather this revelation is having a profound impact on me. I dare say—I dare to hope—that it will..that it is…changing my life.

In our discussion, we ended up on the topic of psychological therapy. She noted that simple behavior modification is empty due to the fact that, if the subject at any time returns to his old habits, he’s ruined. Cognitive therapy, on the other hand, requires the subject to change the way they think—the way they perceive what they are doing. This idea of changing perspectives has stuck with me since we talked about it.

This is Christian transformation. In Romans 12:2, St. Paul commands that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. “Mind” is actually the Greek word “nous,” which is in truth the very soul of a person. So, change your perspective on what you do, take it to your soul and make the change at that level. This is the transformation that must take place!

First time ever in my life I’ve truly felt the instruction of that verse. And, I’m trying to apply it….

…and I’m still trying.

God give me grace.

Jeffrey
On a late-September night in 1996, Dark Side Of The Moon blared from the stereo in my brother’s room as he gathered things he would need to enter rehab. It was his first trip, and my family had been given news of his drug addiction a week before. Our emotions that night weren’t just stirred or shaken. To be honest, I can’t think of a way to describe how we felt.

As the music played on toward the end of the record, my dad began weeping, quickly escalating into forceful (though brief) sobbing. “What’s wrong?” I remember asking.

My dad, between tears and gasps for breath, mournfully stated, “He had to play that song.”

“Well, it’s one of his favorites, dad. Why wouldn’t he?”

“It’s not that. I’m just so scared that it’s true: that he’s heading to the dark side of the moon, and he won’t ever be back.”

So far, he has been wrong.

But, based on an angering discovery made this evening, it looks like he might be well on his way. And it’s so ironic that I was listening to the CD for the first time in months, simply because I wanted to listen to it. And, as I often do when I hear the final two songs, I thought back to that night…

Prayers for my brother Jeffrey and our family would be so greatly appreciated.


Brain Damage/Eclipse
words by Roger Waters

The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path

The lunatic is in the hall
The lunatics are in my hall
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more

And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

The lunatic is in my head
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You rearrange me ’til I’m sane
You lock the door and throw away the key
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me

And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

All that you touch and all that you see
All that you taste, all you feel

And all that you love and all that you hate
All you distrust, all you save

And all that you give and all that you deal
And all that you buy, beg, borrow or steal

And all you create and all you destroy
And all that you do and all that you say

And all that you eat and everyone you meet
And all that you slight and everyone you fight

And all that is now and all that is gone
And all that’s to come and everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon

Switchfoot @ Bijou

Over and over again, I make references to the band Switchfoot on this blog. Lyrics, song titles, entire songs, quotations, pictures. I’m sure some of you wonder if I ever listen to anything else. And, I do. But, so often, these songs by this little band from San Diego affect me greatly. They make me angry, cry, want to change, and they make me think. And this thinking is not just about myself, but about life, about the world, about problems we all face, and about so many other things.

Tonight, I am in the process of listening to their first album for the first time. And, with this listening, the invariable punch in the face….


You (Always Something)
words by Jon Foreman

There’s always something in the way
There’s always something getting through
But it’s not me
It’s You, it’s You

Sometimes ignorance rings true
But hope is not in what i know
It’s not in me
It’s in You, it’s in You

It’s all I know
I find peace when I’m confused
I find hope when I’m let down
Not in me
In You
It’s in you

I hope to lose myself for good
I hope to find it in the end
Not in me
In You
In You

It’s all I know

In You
In You
It’s in You
In You
There’s always something in the way
There’s always something getting through
But it’s not me
It’s You
It’s You
It’s You (It’s all I know)
It’s You (It’s all I know)