“God, today we pray for Egypt, a nation one again in great turmoil. Save Egypt from violence and despair. You love this land, and always have, even when that love demanded your hand of discipline and judgment. Egypt along the Nile is intricately woven into the fabric of our histories together. It was your land of plenty for Jacob’s family when their promise land was gripped in famine. It was your place of refuge for Joseph when he fled there from Herod with Mary and the child Jesus. From back to the dawn of history Egypt cradled our civilizations and gave us the latitude to reach for a life beyond mere subsistence. There we first build our cities carving desert stones into monuments pointing to heaven. Those towers still inspire awe and wonder expressing for us all our buried yearning for TRUE eternal life. Ancient Egyptians went to great lengths to ignore dead as a way to say it is not the last word. That yearning was fulfilled by You, the One who had been hidden in that Land. Jesus, you lived the myths in real history when you defied Death with eternal life. Now Jesus, save Egypt. Save her from devouring herself in violence and greed and despair. Bring just and righteous leaders to her. And may the passion in her people, a passion for spiritual truth be turned to their true Eternally Living King!”
“Oh God, you are so creative and generous. The delicious cup of coffee I’m enjoying this morning has to be one of your great inventions. Thank you. I remember (as James reminds me – James 1:17) that every good and perfect gift comes from my Father, from You! Coffee is good, very good, as you said when you surveyed your handiwork at the beginning of time. The fruit of these little bushes tucked away on the sides of mountains in the far corners of the world have come to me on this cold winter morning. How good of you. Bless those who took care to plant and tend and grow and harvest and process and deliver to me these precious little seeds of delight. I am grateful. Remind me through my day to look for other gifts hiding in common sight throughout my day. I admit that I will get so busy today that I will overlook them. But I am thankful. Thank you for filling my life with gifts, good and perfect gifts. You are kind. So this morning, enjoy this cup of coffee with me. You do live in me. Why not relish yourself, through my taste buds, this luscious expression of your genius!
“God, you know what’s on my calendar. You know I have more ‘to dos’ than I have slots in my day. I am not sure what needs to be set aside, but something has to go. I need your guidance to help me set priorities. You tell me in John 15 that you want my life to be fruitful, full of rich abundance, that multiplies into the lives of others. But you also warn me that fruitfulness means pruning. A branch on a vine that bears no fruit is lopped off. And a branch that does produce is snipped back so that the energy flowing through it will be directed to fruitfulness and not merely greenery. Prune my life, Father, great and wise gardener that you are. Help me now to cut back what might be good, but not best, what takes more energy than it produces, impressive as it might seem. This is a discipline, a discipline of focus. I am often so greedy to pack my life with more, to ‘have it all.’ I have to choose the right from among all the good. Give me direction by giving me peace in one direction. I give you my calendar and the priorities it represents. I give you rights to my priorities. I will audit and you will help me choose, realistically what is and is not intended by your will. Thank you for the pruning! In Jesus.”
“God, I have been afraid of the words ‘blessed’ and ‘success.’ And not only the words… I have been afraid of the thing itself! I have demeaned ‘prosperity,’ ‘affluence,’ ‘abundance,’ and ‘victory’ by crediting you with bringing pain and sorrow as discipline in my life. Yes, you use these sorrows, but your intent, your end is joy! I have not believed you want to bring me joy. Sadly, this is what I think of you. And as one of my wise teachers has said, ‘What I think of you first each morning is the most important thing about me.’ Forgive me – my first thought of you is often ‘austerity.’
Jesus, I read today of your miracle at Cana, when you changed water to wine. I know there are deep symbols in this story: the water, the wine, the wedding… these are all profound pictures of things I little understand. But the simple truth in this story is that you, God of gods, creator and sustainer of all things cared about a little celebration in a little out of the way village. You care enough to make very good wine out of ordinary water, to keep the party going, with abundance! This is the very first stroke of your ministry on earth, and you go over the top. You come to their feast and bring ‘life to the fullest.’
Come to my house, Jesus and turn water into your best aged wine! Take what is ordinary and common and make it extraordinary, the very richest and most choice life you can imagine. I give you charge to do this. I say, ‘I will do whatever you say…’ and in that I fully expect you to deliver, to take the common pots in my common life and to make precious treasures in them, a life full of unimaginable richness. Take my relationships and make them a taste of heaven. Take my finances and make them abound. Take my body and let your resurrection life flow into all my cells.
Abundance is your nature, Jesus. Express this aspect of yourself in my life!”