My home sits in a canyon in the shadow of a large mountain along a stream named Bear Creek. During the spring snow-melt and after heavy rains the stream swells, tumbles frothily over rocks and acts more like a river than a creek. Once ai traced the origin of Bear Creek to its very source, atop the mountain. I stood on a snowfield marked by “sun cups,” the bowl-shaped indentations that form as snow melts. Underneath I could hear a soft gurgling sound and at the edge of the snow, runnels of water leaked out. These collected into a pool, then a small pond, then spilled over to begin the long journey down the mountain, joining other rivulets to take shape as the creek below my house.
It occurs to me, thinking about prayer, that most of the time I get the direction wrong. I start downstream with my own concerns and bring them to God. I inform God, as if God did not already know. I plead with God, as if hoping to change God’s mind and overcome divine reluctance. Instead, I should start upstream where the flow begins.
When I shift direction, I realize that God already cares about my concerns – my uncle’s cancer, world peace, a broken family, a rebellious teenager – more than I do. Grace, like water, descends to the lowest part. Streams of mercy flow. I begin with God, who bears primary responsibility for what happens on earth, and ask what part I can play in God’s work on earth. “Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” cried the prophet. Will I stand by the bank or jump in the stream?
With this new starting point for prayer, my perceptions change. I look at nature and see not only wildflowers and golden aspen trees but the signature of a grand artist. I look at human beings and see not only a “poor, bare, forked animal” but a person of eternal destiny made in God’s image. Thanksgiving and praise surge up as a natural response, not an obligation. — Philip Yancey
International Day of Prayer for Peace
Each year on 9/21 the World Council of Churches calls churches and parishes to observe the International Day of Prayer for Peace
Our Lord and God almighty, we praise you, for you created us all and made us into many different tribes and nations, that we may befriend one another and that we may not despise each others.
Open our hearts we pray, so that we may respond to the needs of all our brothers and sisters.
Oh Lord Jesus bless all our lands with more lasting peace and fraternal understanding.
Above all, heavenly God, touch the hearts of our political leaders and all those in power.
We pray that they may exercise power gently, that they may humbly seek a disinterested dialogue that will bring about understanding, leading us all to a place where all nations and all people live together in peace and harmony.
Where there is bitterness teach us forgiveness and reconciliation, replace hatred with love and indifference with care.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.