Prayer, Plain and Simple

dt_common_streams_StreamServerCAGO2I8Y.jpgA massive wildfire has hit Herriman, Utah. 1,250 homes have been evacuated and several have now been destroyed. Salt Lake county residents have been asked to stop using cell phones to free u the lines in case of emergency. High winds are fanning the flames.

“God, extinguish the fire in Herriman, Utah. Give the firefighters strength, wisdom, courage, and favor. Calm the winds. Save lives and property. We pray that you would be honored in this. In Jesus’ name.”


America, hold your breath, and count to 10! Our country seems to be throwing a fit of anger, and it’s time to step back a moment. The mood is palpable. People are ticked and scared and lashing out at anything “establishment.” Last night’s primary election results – in Delaware most blatantly – has revealed the blaring furry. America is angry that government’s reach is too long, its grip too strong, and its impact too ineffective. There’s a “throw the bums out” tidal wave rising, to the point that the conservatives who are fueling the revolt may be undoing their own intent.

It might be going too far. With her primary victory in Delaware the fickle firebrand Christine O’Donnell has probably doomed the Republican bit to win control of the Senate come November. She’s far to polarizing and some would argue, inept. Yes, anger can be good. Anger is a symptom. Anger reveals problems. Anger can be healthy. But it can also run amuck. Two wrongs don’t make a right and electing a fool to replace a tyrant is not necessarily the deal to strike…

 The Bible urges, “Be angry but sin not…” That is, there are times when anger is the right response. When injustice is awash, then it’s right and righteous to let indignation do its work. Many of us would say there’s plenty to be angry about in America right now. But admitting this, we have to add, “Be angry, but don’t let it push us to sinful foolishness.”

“Lord, there is a brewing anger in our nation today. Much of that anger has good reason. There are injustices afoot. Our government is too big and too inept. And as they reach for more, we’re reacting. But Lord, in the midst of our anger, give us pause. Give us prudence and caution and break between the stimulus and the response. We want to be wise in the midst of our passion. We ask you to bless our country, and that our country would bless you. Bless us today with a heart of compassion and patience and wisdom to balance – but not neutralize – our anger. In Jesus we pray…”

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New year is the anniversary of the creation of the world. In 2010 it’s the year 5771. The festival will last two nights, preparing the way for Yom Kippur, the Feast of Atonement which begins 10 days after Rosh Hashanah. Taken together this season is called “Ten Days of Awe.” September, called Tishri ends with the Feast of Kabbalah, the Sukkot.

Tonight, the Jewish community around the world will gather for family meals and prayers. Some synagogues will organize large celebrations.

With the New Year Jews remember Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning God created…” God alone is the source of all things. God exists apart and beyond all things. He alone IS, and IS self-sufficient and self-existent.

Christians too worship the God of all who is the source of all things. We too remember that he created and now sustains all things. The world had a beginning, in him.  And also the world will have an end, again in him.

“Lord God, we bless you and praise you. You are the God and Lord, source and power of all power. You alone are creator. Out of love you have given life and existence beyond yourself. Thank you. Today, at Rosh Hashanah we remember you as the source of all things. All that is, is through you. We acknowledge our debt to you. Without you we would be nothing. Thank you too for the revelation of truth you have entrusted to your people, the Jews. Bless the Jewish community around the world today. Protect and provide for them. Lead them to know you in deeper ways. Show them their Messiah, deliverer and healer. Be forever praised!”

Gen. David Petraeus , the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan today warned that a Florida church’s threat to burn copies of the Koran would endanger U.S. troops in the Middle East and could pose danger for Americans worldwide.

“Images of the burning of a Koran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan — and around the world — to inflame public opinion and incite violence ,” Petraeus said. “Were the actual burning to take place, the safety of our soldiers and civilians would be put in jeopardy and accomplishment of the mission would be made more difficult.”

Hundreds of Afghans protested on Monday the plans by Gainesville, Florida-based Dove World Outreach Center to burn copies of the Muslim holy book on church grounds on Sept. 11.

Come on followers of Jesus! This is not the way of the Kingdom of God. This is not wise or helpful or Godly. Christians don’t protest this way, we find ways to love. Yes, sometimes love means exercising political and even military force. But inciting reactions by leveraging obviously incendiary symbolism is not Jesus’ way.

“God way pray for your peace. We pray for wisdom and humility in your people. We pray for creative ways to love in the face of fear and violence. We pray for ways to bless Muslims, even those who intend us harm. Yes, we know that sometimes love calls for physical resistance. But force is only a last resort. Keep us from the stupidity of posturing. We walk in your ways, quiet and resolved and enduring to the end. In Jesus…”