Cross My Heart!

IMG_3848.jpgFebruary 14, a day when hearts bloom faster than flowers. Forget the cold-hearted ruggedness of winter blues.

Resist the desire to over-indulge in chocolate hearts, champagne, teddy bears, fake diamonds and prickly roses.

Avoid those red-hot tempers that play hide and seek as Lent, a Holy Season emerges with fresh ashes and renewed hope.

Lent, a time when many of the faithful will give up something (alcohol, bread, candy, etc.,) or make a pledge to do something (serve, feed, follow, pray).

Lent, a time marked by anxiety and serenity as many wrestle with the desire and need to make spiritual changes in their lives.

“Cross my heart!” We declare the truth that puts flesh on bones.

“Cross my heart!” We make promises that are often too hard to keep for forty days.

“Cross my heart!” We accept ashes on the forehead or hands thus, acknowledging our mortality.

“Cross my heart!” We proclaim a commitment that shakes and awakens us.

“Cross my heart!” We acknowledge Jesus’ truth, promises, and love that never dies.

Let us Park and Pray 

God of Love and Light, as we enter this first of forty days of Lent, hold and carry us, as our senses are shaken and awaken.

Reconciling God, settle our disputes. Revive and renew us.

Almighty God, you call us to remember the burning palm branches, the blessed ashes, smudged hands and foreheads, and to seek forgiveness for our sins.

Forgiving God, have mercy on us.  Give us a clean heart and a renewed spirit. We need humility and strength to go without, do without and live without, all, which binds our heart, mind, and spirit.

Loving God, as we travel along life’s journey, help us to celebrate self-love, agape love, and Divine love. Help us remember God’s love for us,  Jesus, the Christ, the Divine, the Lamb of God in whose name, we pray. Amen.

 

 

A Prayer for New Sisters

New sisters share a special place in the heart of the Divine One. The first glance, grin, touch, hug, and kiss are gifts they share. New sisters’ eyes trace each other’s hair, brown eyes, smooth cheeks and lips. They imagine what features resembles mom’s face. New sisters inform us about new beginnings. Their story gives a family new meaning. God’s grace is present as a covering for New Sisters. God’s love guides New Sisters through their newborn relationship and inspires us to pray for them.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” Psalm 139:14.

Let Us Pray

God your handiwork is awesome and your creations magnificent!

Thank you for mothers and fathers, sons and daughters and all who bring meaning to our family life. Thank you for the many expressions of love between sisters and their siblings. Teach new sisters and brothers to live together peacefully and lovingly share their unique gifts with each other. Set their sights on glorifying so envy and strife will not overcome them. Just as Mary and Martha were different, let not our differences divide and separate us from your love and one another. Help new sisters embrace your loving care as seeds for one day becoming loving parents . Hold us near and dear to you, O God. We pray in Jesus Name.

““Free at Last! Free at Last!”

God grant that right here in America and all over this world, we will choose the high way; a way in which men will live together as brothers. A way in which the nations of the world will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. A way in which every man will respect the dignity and worth of all human personality. A way in which every nation will allow justice to run down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. A way in which men will do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. A way in which men will be able to stand up, and in the midst of oppression, in the midst of darkness and agony, they will be able to stand there and love their enemies, bless those persons that curse them, pray for those individuals that despitefully use them. And this is the way that will bring us once more into that society which we think of as the brotherhood of man. This will be that day when white people, colored people, whether they are brown or whether they are yellow or whether they are black, will join together and stretch out with their arms and be able to cry out: “Free at last! Free at last! Great God Almighty, we are free at last!”” from “”Thou, Dear God”: Prayers That Open Hearts and Spirits (King Legacy)” by Martin Luther King Jr, Lewis V. Baldwin, Julius R. Scruggs

http://a.co/enWnYtW

Negativity, Forgiveness, and Resisting Evil by Nicholas Hutchinson

God our Father,
may no-one’s negative actions ever overpower my determination to choose to live in a positive way.

I know that to forgive someone
can be far from being an easy option, and I know that forgiveness isn’t somehow pretending that something wrong hasn’t happened.

Instead it is being generous, Father
– as your Son showed in his dying words – in being willing to release the other person from what natural justice demands should be ‘punishment’ for wrong-doing.

Isn’t this, Father, what is meant by “your mercy” and what we are to do in being called to “be merciful” ourselves?

For what I have done wrong, Father,
forgive me to the extent that I am generous and gracious in forgiving – or truly hoping to forgive – those who have done wrong to me.

Empower me to break the cycle of any hatred, resentment or bitterness, always resisting evil and conquering it with goodness.

Bring your healing and peace and wholeness into the lives of those I pray for, and into mine. Amen

Snowbound? Park & Pray at 1:11 pm

“Be Still and know that I AM God.” Psalm 46:10 Sometimes we are forced to be still. Today, I stand before a weeping window of snowflakes. I pray “God Almighty, thank you for your constant loving care. Comfort all who are suffering and experiencing challenges during this storm. Relieve pain, distress, sorrow and fear. Reduce our vulnerabilities especially keep safe all who must travel, live and work in unsafe conditions. Have mercy, O God as we weather yet, another storm in life with you by our side. Praying in Jesus’ Name. Amen

Happy New Year!

I pray to God I will:

Pray for you as I would have you pray for me.

Help you as I would have you help me.

Forgive you as I would have you forgive me.

Love you as I would have you love me.

Thank you as I would have you thank me.

Thank God, love God, seek God’s forgiveness and help. Pray always in Christ’s Name. Amen.

Happy New Year!

O Christmas Tree!

O Christmas Tree
I wrote this O Christmas Tree song 2015 after I selected my Christmas Tree. No matter what’s going on in our lives, I find the touch and smell of a freshly cut pine tree gives a lasting impression. Will you sing it with me?

A Grateful Heart

God, thank you for
Creating us

Loving us
Caring for us
Anointing us
Bearing with us
Being patient with us
Carrying us
Delivering us
Educating us
Forgiving us
Giving us
Helping us
Investing in us
Joining us
Keeping us
Leading us
Making us lie down
Never leaving us
Opening doors for us
Blessing us,

Making us leap with joy!

Emmanuel! God is with us!

Let us pray

Since the tragic Sandy Hook shooting, Over 500,000 Americans have been killed or injured by guns

• Nearly 242 school shootings, according to Everytown for Gun Safety (https://everytownresearch.org/school-shootings/)

• Over 1500 mass shooting incidents (defined as four or more people shot in an incident), according to the Mass Shooting Tracker (https://www.massshootingtracker.org/data)

• There has been no congressional action to #EndGunViolence with three failed gun violence prevention votes in the Senate and no votes in the House of Representatives

Let us Pray

 Almighty God, we park our lives for a moment of pray with you. O God, help us to know your presence among us. O Love Divine, your Light awakens us, renews us, refreshes and revives us. During this Season of Advent you call us to stay awake, wait, watch and beware. Merciful God, help us to be mindful of the days when our Savior was born and the challenges we face today. Guide and comfort us as we remember the Victims of Gun Violence, that continues to threaten our lives. O God, we pray in our Savior’s Name. Amen

This is the day that the Lord has made we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

 

image

My nephew used his Wii U game (Mii Maker) to remake my image into a game character. He carefully and thoughtfully selected her hairdo, facial expression, clothing, colors, posture and more.  I was amazed by his depiction of me. So, what if he uses my image in his game and wins! Win or lose, I will rejoice and be glad for reasons greater than the game.

Let us Park and Pray at 1:11pm
Lord, thank you for the gift of time, family and growing relationships. Thank you for renewing us day by day. We are your handiwork and a work in progress. Lord, you promised to bless us each day. You promised to always be present with us. You promised to love us unconditionally. What more can we ask of you, for your grace is sufficient. Help us to see your handiwork and rejoice in what you have done, what you are doing, and what you will do in our lives. ICN, Amen

Thanksgiving Prayers

expressions_shared.jpg

A Prayer For Thanksgiving

Almighty God, we offer our thanks and praise for all who are gathered around the table. Spirit God, make your presence known to us as we seek your blessings for the food we are about to eat from your bounty. Fill us with the gifts of your Grace, Peace, Light, and Love. Help us to share these gifts with our neighbors. In our Savior’s name, we pray. Amen. 

A Grateful Heart

Almighty God, in this season of Thanksgiving, we give thanks with a grateful heart. You fill us with your Word, clothe us with your Grace and anoint us with your Righteousness. Love Supreme, we sing praises and we give thanks with a grateful heart for your enduring love. In your Holy name, we pray. Amen. 

Let’s Park and Pray at 1:11 pm

Preaching & Praying in Germany

October 25, 2017, eleven Beneficent Church members and friends traveled to Offenbach Germany to visit our “Sister Church” and celebrate the 500th year of the Protestant Reformation. Pastors Michelle Madsen-Bibeau, Joachim, Christiane and I preached a combined sermon from Revelations 7:9-12 at the Evangelische Stadtkirche Church in Offenbach, Germany before our combined congregations. I preached from the pulpit.

Let us pray, God we come before your presence with praise and thanksgiving. We come from diverse cultures and languages but our faith in you O God is not diverse. We thank you for picking us up and carrying us when we fall down. Thank you for holding and blessing us with a renewed spirit when we feel down. Thank you for sharing your wisdom when we don’t know what to do. Redeeming God help us hold onto the palm branches that remind us of Jesus Christ, his sacrifice, and his promises. Bless us with pure robes, clean hearts, and the desire to serve you. May we live to love generously, honor the peace you give us and bear witness to the power of the living water that Jesus Christ offers us. To God be the glory forever and ever! In Jesus Name we pray. Amen

A Virtual Prayer Memorial to Honor Sargent La David Johnson

A butterfly is attracted to beauty. It clings to sweetness and embraces the aroma of each fresh flower. It does not destroy. It accents and honors life and creation.

We can honor Sargent La David Johnson’s life and preserve his legacy. Let us put away hurtful words. Sacrifice a few minutes today. Pause, “Park and Pray at 1:11 pm” in memory of Sgt Johnson. Say sweet words of comfort for his loved ones. Let us pray:

Loving God, thank you for the life and spirit of Sargent La David Johnson who sacrificed his life in service to our country. God in your grace and mercy comfort those who grieve. Silent the angry hearts who ignite painful gestures and blow harmful words like a hurricane of dissension. Quench the fires that burn through the fabric of truth and wholeness. Rescue us from fire and smoke that clouds our vision and attempts to turn lovers into haters. Shower our nation with your peace. Let your Light shine on the good and the wicked so together we might overcome that which weighs us down. Lift us up so we might truly be “one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” May we remember Sargent Johnson always with loving admiration. Bless us Almighty God to be great lovers of You and one another. In the powerful name of Christ. Amen

God’s Amazing Grace! Thank You All!

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
Isaiah 60:1

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Thankful for All who participated in the Service of Installation as Associate Pastor and Teacher Beneficent Congregational Church 

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Participants: Enno Fritsch, Organist; Rev. Michelle Madsen-Bibeau, Interim Minister, BCC; Earnest Cox Minister of Music, BCC; Delbert L. Collins, Soloist;
Sharon Mazyck, Soloist; Lon Plynton Guitar, Sheila Austin, Flute; CJ Washington, Drums; Ellie Alves, Dominic  Lemus; Lukas Enno; Michael Alves; Pastor Chontell N. Washington, Pastoral Associate, BCC; Diane Chain Cochran, Reader; Christeen Hum Estrada, Director of Children’s Ministries, BCC; April Brown, Reader; Walter Hope, Reader; Valerie Tutson, Story Teller; Rev. Dr. Kathy Henry, Reader; Rev. Dr. Damaris Whittaker, Keynote Preacher; Sylvia Delaney, Reader; Carlos Vega, Soloist;
Kevin Nelson, Chair Deacon, Reader; Rev. Barbara Libby, Interim Conference Minister, RI Conference, United Church of Christ (RICUCC); Frances Munro, President RICUCC Board; Rev. Gene Dyszlewski, RICUCC; Rev. Gary Bagley, RICUCC Committee on Ministry; Rev. Brendan Curran, Prayer of Installation.

Planning Committee Jay Frails (Chair), Jane Eastman, Paulette Littlejohn and family, Faith Washington and family, Rev. Michelle Madsen-Bibeau, Earnest Cox, Community Ministry Team – Kenny Alston, Sylvia Delaney, Jay Frails, Cindy Gorriaran, Gordon Hayes, Shara Plynton Ushers: Chris Alves, Irene Hope, Luke Krawszac, Niya Plynton, Shara Plynton

Cover Artwork Barbara Whatmough;

John Pagliarini Building and Grounds Supervisor; Michele Adamo, Office & Communications Manager; Juan

Special Thanks to Governor Raimondo for her letter and citation; Rev. Don Anderson, Executive Director Rhode Island Conference of Churches; Rev. Maren Tirabassi’s tribute.

Glory to God! Thanks to all present and in spirit for this wonderful celebration!

“On the Occasion of Your Installation by Rev. Maren Tirabassi

While we are limping away

and earthquakes and terrible fires,

and from great failures in compassion,

not to speak of the small

and so personal pain in lives

of all the folks in all our churches,

we do these simple things

that all the world calls crazy —

we put water on children,

and we install a woman of God.

We need your courage, Cleo

someone to send a dove

for an olive branch of peace,

someone to mix in a little leaven

and pulling over to pray at 1:11,

someone to carry spices to every place

where sad people need to hear

about the resurrection,

someone to speak Pentecost words

that does not know “churchy” language

but recognizes the truth in a life

that knows both mess and message,

the rim of the dark horizon

and the dawn of hope.

*************************************************************

God’s grace be with you this autumn day of celebration and every day of your ministry.

– Maren C. Tirabassi, October 8, 2017

PARK AND PRAY AT 1:11 pm

“At least 50 people were killed and more than 200 injured in a shooting on the Las Vegas Strip during a country music festival Sunday night. It is the deadliest mass shooting in US history.” CNN News

Awesome God we need you every hour, every minute and every second. Cover us with your love. Bless us with your grace. Merciful God, stop the bloodshed and assaults against life and livelihood. We pray for healing in our Savior’s name. Amen

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

Holy mystery we name God
and in whom we find rest and shelter,
may your word bring healing
to the broken and bruised;
comfort to the grieving;
and assurance to the fearful.
By your spirit of grace
be present to those
whose troubles are known only to you
and those whom we name
on our lips and in our silence…
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
(Author Unknown)

Park and Pray at 1:11 pm for Houston!

Park and Pray at 1:11 pm for Houston

Lord, we park and pray at 1:11 pm and always for our brothers and sisters in the midst of the storm in Texas. Stop the storm, relieve the floods, part the waters and rescue all the people. Dry the land and rapidly recover the losses. May peaceful clouds rest over Houston and surrounding areas. In Christ name, we pray. Amen.

God stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. Psalms 107:29

A Prayer for Ministers who Traveled to D.C.

Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. Psalms 50:15

Dear God, just as Jesus sent his disciples into a worn, torn and weary world, we call upon you to bless the ministers who gather at our nation’s capital. Bless their feet as they stand for justice. Bless their hands as they rest their paintbrushes against a new canvas. Guide each stroke with your words of wisdom. Bless their hearts to bear the burden of time. Help all to see the silver lining of righteousness flowing throughout the portrait. Merciful God, bless their minds to imagine your promise of love divine, a blazing gold frame. As they step away from their canvas bless them with peace, knowing that you’re a God that delivers and fulfills all your promises. God, we thank you for answering our call. In Jesus Christ’s name, we pray.  Amen

Two Are Better Than One

 Heaven & Earth Declare the Glory of God

Prayer Partner &  Artist: Barbara Whatmough

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NASB)

Reflection:

I can’t imagine my life without prayer. I would feel spiritually naked. Appearing naked in public is not on my bucket list of things to do. Prayer offers an invisible layer of protection. It is an anchor and a parachute especially during unexpected times in my life. Imagine feeling like a flat tire or a deflated balloon. Prayer lifts, fills, strengthens and relieves burdens that weigh us down. Praying is a way to seek divine help, give thanks and celebrate God’s goodness. 

Jesus often prayed, in solitude and with others. Having a prayer partner may strengthen one’s prayer time and relationship with God. Imagine driving driving a car. One foot controls the pedal, the other foot controls the brake while God’s hands rest on the stirring wheel. It’s like a cord of  three strands that is not broken.

Let us pray: God, we thank you for the opportunity to call on you anytime and any place. You hear our prayers and answer us. Thank you for being with us and keeping us in your loving care. Your wisdom and guidance is a shield of protection. You bless us with your constant presence. You prepare us as your servants. You mend our brokenness and repair the tangled relationships in our lives. You soothe our pain and give us peace. You make us unmoveable, steadfast, faithful and faith filled. You ask us to love you, love one another, pray and live as your servant children. Loving God, thank you for calling us to partner with you like one of three strands bound together as a cord. Help us to answer your call daily and rejoice. The heavens declare the glory of God! In Your Holy Name. Amen.

Biologist affirms Park and Pray at 1:11 pm

matsumoto-700

“Everyday prayer is a cleansing and healing spiritual experience”  Dr. Lloyd Matsumoto
http://www.ric.edu/biology/Pages/newsMatsumoto.aspx 

Several months ago, Dr. Lloyd Matsumoto, a renowned RI College Professor of Biology, sent the following Blog for Park and Pray affirming it as an everyday prayer that “is a cleansing and healing spiritual practice.”  He retired, June 2017 after 34 years of service. Dr. Matsumoto is a remarkable liver transplant recipient, whose method of transplant contributed to the advancement of science. Matsumoto joined a clinical trial at Massachusetts General Hospital, and he became one of three patients to participate in an experimental method of organ transport.  Lloyd and his wife Terry are members of Beneficent Congregational Church United Church of Christ. IMG_1361Dr. Lloyd Matsumoto appreciates the power of prayer through his own personal experiences and relationship with God. His high risk surgeries and significant medical and surgical challenges didn’t change his commitment to pray daily. Lloyd believes God’s grace and his faith in the Divine saved his life. Prayer is a staple in his life.

Scientific Evidence Suggests Prayers Positive Effect

In 1988, Cardiologist Randolph Byrd conducted a landmark study at San Francisco General Hospital on the positive therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer on cardiac care patients.  The control group or patients who did not receive intercessory prayer required ventilator assistance, antibiotics, and diuretics more frequently than patients in the Intercessory Prayer group. This study and other data suggest that a prayer mediator or intercessory prayer to the Judeo-Christian God has a beneficial therapeutic effect in patients admitted to a CCU. This study laid the ground work for other related studies.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3393937

Try the A-C-T-S Prayer Method 

Adoration Loving God you're amazing!
Confession Merciful God I confess my sins and ask forgiveness.
Thanks Lord I come before you with praise and thanksgiving 
Supplication Almighty God help, save, heal and bless me.
I ask in the powerful name of my Savior, the Christ. Amen.

Prayer Chants (spoken repeatedly):

The Jesus Prayer – “Jesus Christ, Son of God have mercy on me.”

A Prayer for Mercy & Thanks – “Lord have mercy.” and “God, we thank you.”

Fear Not, Prayer is Powerful

expressions_shared.jpgPrayer is powerful. It’s a treasured investment. It’s free, available to everyone and useful. You can freely give it to anyone and freely receive it without conditions. The rewards are greater than we can imagine. When we park and pray at 1:11 pm, we set aside a time and place to intentionally enter into God’s presence.  We knock on God’s door with wonder and expectation. God knows our name, understands our desires, hears our prayers, and fulfills our needs according to God’s will and purposes. We set ourselves up for heartache when we schedule God’s response to our prayer. Our internal alarm clock rings and we expect God to disregard divine time and immediately obey our timed commands. Anxious and discouraged, we let go of our prayers and praying. We experiment with fear and other ways to fill the void.

It’s 1:11 pm, we pause, rest, stop, PARK and PRAY at 1:11 pm.

We pray, “Lord have mercy!” Awesome God, forgive us for worrying about matters that seem to make us more anxious. Thank you for reminding us that “truly you know the plans you have for us, to prosper and to give us a future and a hope.”(Jeremiah 29:11) God, make your presence known to us all. You know what we need for today and tomorrow. Comfort all who are afflicted. Heal all who are wounded and brokenhearted. Satisfy our hunger and thirst for your grace, righteousness, goodness, and mercy.  Bring relief to all who are without shelter and loving support. “Give us this day, our daily bread.” We pray in Thy Holy Name. Amen.

 

Prayer is Powerful

Prayer is powerful. It’s a treasured investment. It’s free, available to everyone and useful. You can freely give it to anyone and freely receive it without conditions. The rewards are greater than we can imagine. When we park and pray at 1:11 pm, we set aside a time and place to intentionally enter into God’s presence.  We knock on God’s door with wonder and expectation. God knows our name, understands our desires, hears our prayers, and fulfills our needs according to God’s will and promises. We set ourselves up for heartache when we schedule God’s response to our prayer. Our internal alarm clock rings and we expect God to disregard divine time and immediately obey our timed commands. Anxious and discouraged, we let go of our prayers and praying. We experiment with other ways to fill the void. Finally, we lament, “Lord have mercy!”  It’s 1:11 pm, let’s pause, rest, stop, PARK and PRAY at 1:11 pm:

Awesome God, forgive us for worrying about matters that seem to make us more anxious. Thank you for reminding us that “truly you know the plans you have for us, to prosper and to give us a future and a hope.”(Jeremiah 29:11) God, you know what we need for today and tomorrow. Make your presence known to us all. Comfort all who are afflicted. Heal all who are wounded and brokenhearted., Satisfy our hunger and thirst for your grace, righteousness, goodness, and mercy.  Bring relief to all who are without shelter and loving support.
We pray in Thy Holy Name. Amen.

Words Like Leaves On a Tree

 

Our words are like leaves on a Tree. Some leaves need to cling to the branches until they mature. Some leaves need to hold onto to their stem until their pain is fermented. Some leaves like words should not fall from the tree until it is certain it can stand on its own word. Once it is released it can never return back to the tree, its source. It gathers on the ground as a community of words, phrases, messages and metaphors as a blanket of thoughts. It gathers as a heap of expressions blown around. Then, carried away to distant places where it finally settles as dust. It becomes a memory and a seed that offers a new thought, a grand idea and words that cling to us like leaves on a Tree.

Park and Pray at 1:11 pm
Creator God bless the life that is mine to hold and beg for your Grace and Mercy. I pray that I may not wander too far from the tree. “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to You, O GOD, my Source, my Strength,” my Love, and my Heart Desire. (Psalms 19:14) In Your Name I pray.

Image (http://bible.com)

The R.I Promise

I believe the R.I. Promise opens the doors to a better future for Rhode Islanders. 
Please visit http://www.RIpromise.com

Please join me in a virtual prayer for divine intervention. “Park and Pray at 1:11 pm” Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing at 1:11 pm please stop, park and pray:

Holy One, we give thanks to you for your infinite power and unconditional love. Bless us with wisdom to overcome our limitations and nurture our gifts. Bless the RI Promise, as a way that many may achieve a fulfilling life. Bless us with these and other seeds to grow our society. Bless our present and future generations with a future that holds your promises for us. Amen.

To learn more about the Rhode Island Promise Scholarship proposal, please visit http://www.RIpromise.com

Reverent Submission

img_1413-1Friends, I am convinced that when we park and pray at 1:11 pm we engage in reverent submission. When we practice reverent submission we release our hands and our hold on our lives. We surrender our will and allow space for God’s will to manifest in our lives.

When we say the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” What is God’s will for us and for our situations? We often believe our will is not satisfied when God’s will, different from our will, prevails.

Friends, trust God to hear your fervent prayers and petitions. Depend on God to do whatever is best in your life. Pray, asking in Christ’s name. Just as Jesus’ prayers were heard you will be heard because of your reverent submission.

Prayer

Dear God, we long to do your will. Thank you for teaching us how to pray through lessons on Jesus’ prayer life. Help us to release our will, which holds us back from discerning your will. May the righteous desires of our hearts be fulfilled. In Christ name, we pray. Amen.

Biologist affirms Park and Pray at 1:11 pm

matsumoto-700

“Everyday prayer is a cleansing and healing spiritual experience” Dr. Lloyd Matsumoto
http://www.ric.edu/biology/Pages/newsMatsumoto.aspx

Several months ago, Dr. Lloyd Matsumoto, a renowned RI College Professor of Biology, sent the following Blog for Park and Pray affirming it as an everyday prayer that “is a cleansing and healing spiritual practice.”  He retired, June 2017 after 34 years of service. Dr. Matsumoto is a remarkable liver transplant recipient, whose method of transplant contributed to the advancement of science. Matsumoto joined a clinical trial at Massachusetts General Hospital, and he became one of three patients to participate in an experimental method of organ transport.  Lloyd and his wife Terry are members of Beneficent Congregational Church United Church of Christ. IMG_1361Dr. Lloyd Matsumoto appreciates the power of prayer through his own personal experiences and relationship with God. His high risk surgeries and significant medical and surgical challenges didn’t change his commitment to pray daily. Lloyd believes God’s grace and his faith in the Divine saved his life. Prayer is a staple in his life.

Scientific Evidence Suggests Prayers Positive Effect

In 1988, Cardiologist Randolph Byrd conducted a landmark study at San Francisco General Hospital on the positive therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer on cardiac care patients.  The control group or patients who did not receive intercessory prayer required ventilator assistance, antibiotics, and diuretics more frequently than patients in the Intercessory Prayer group. This study and other data suggest that a prayer mediator or intercessory prayer to the Judeo-Christian God has a beneficial therapeutic effect in patients admitted to a CCU. This study laid the ground work for other related studies.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3393937

Try the A-C-T-S Prayer Method 

Adoration Loving God you're amazing!
Confession Merciful God I confess my sins and ask forgiveness.
Thanks Lord I come before you with praise and thanksgiving 
Supplication Almighty God help, save, heal and bless me.
I ask in the powerful name of my Savior, the Christ. Amen.

Prayer Chants (spoken repeatedly):

The Jesus Prayer – “Jesus Christ, Son of God have mercy on me.”

A Prayer for Mercy & Thanks – “Lord have mercy.” and “God, we thank you.”

God Is Able

Are you able to ask God to supply your needs?

You’re invited to “Park and Pray at 1:11” pm in spirit with us.

God is awesome and radically able to do more than we imagine.  image

The One Who Made a Cross

The hidden cross is not hiding from us. It’s offering us the naked truth about the Resurrection. He’s no longer here. Christ is risen, indeed he’s risen.

The naked cross is not naked. It is only stripped of the crucified one. It’s smooth brown satin finish reminds us that God can wash all our sins away. We are set free.

The cross, the nails and a stand holds us upright. The cross shields us from the intersection of life and death. Oh cross stay with us while we catch our breath.

The cross leads us, guide us and walks with us all the way. Show us how to care for you cross. Should we carry our burdens on our shoulders?

Breath on me, oh lovely cross. Fall down on my knees. Teach me to seek forgiveness. Oh cross that I may forgive all this day and always. In the name of one who bore the Cross. Amen.

Have You a Zechariah Moment?

Let the trees of the forest sing for joy.” Ps 96:17      Artist Barbara Whatmough

“Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.”  Luke 1:11-13 NIV

Reflection

How often have you prayed and wondered if your prayers have been heard? Maybe the answer to your prayer is not what you expected to hear. Maybe fear stands in the way of you knowing your prayer has been heard and already answered. In a figurative sense try meeting God at the right side of the altar. Breathe deep and release all fears. Receive the assurance that your prayer has been heard. Now boldly go forth and testify. Thank the Still Hearing and Speaking God for hearing and answering all prayers.

Let us pray

Spirit of the Living God fall fresh on me. Call my attention to the many ways you speak to me. Open my ears so I will hear you. Help me to know that you answered my prayer. Open my eyes so I will see the path forward and move according to your will.  I release all fear and I celebrate the joy of your presence in my life. In praise and thanks I pray in my Savior’s name. Amen

 

A Prayer at 1:11 pm

Dear Family and Friends,

It’s been more than two years since I have intentionally prayed for you daily at 1:11 pm. While  praying for you, I hoped you were praying with me in spirit at that same moment. I’d like to believe we were praying together. I’m inviting you to sign on and partner with me by enrolling in this blog as a follower. I’d love to hear your comments, testimonies and prayers. Here is the prayer I am inviting you to pray with me at 1:11 pm. daily:

Dear Holy One, 

We come to draw from your Great and Mighty  Fountain and receive your love, comfort and peace. As we “park and pray” today, we thank you for your unconditional love and constant presence.  

We realize that at times we come with a long list of requests without considering your promises or plans for us. We often seek to satisfy our needs instead of considering your desires for us. Lord, we confess our sins and ask for forgiveness.  

Your Holy Word reminds us of your promise to answer our prayers. We are reminded to keep the faith and that you will bless us with the righteous desires of our heart. Loving God, strengthen our faith so our joy may be fulfilled.  

Merciful God, help us master those things in our lives that interfere with our relationship with you and others. Help us to know your presence in tangible ways. Loving God in your presence we find love, peace, comfort, healing, safety, financial security and shelter from the storms in our lives. Almighty
God, bless us abundantly. Bless us while we sleep, while awake, when we talk, walk, live, breathe and have our being. Bless us now, to be still and know that You are God. Bless our going out, our coming in now and always. In Christ’s Name we pray. Amen 

Your name will be added to the Prayer List Page once you sign on as a follower of this blog. Thank you for “parking and praying at 1:11 pm.”
God’s Abundant Blessings,

Pastor Cleo

Just Pull Over

It’s hard to drive while having a conversation with God.Sometimes we have to just stop and pull over. It takes all the strength left within to say “Lord have mercy!” Some things make us want to holler and throw up both our hands. What we see and what we hear these days troubles our thoughts. Then once and a while a sweet current blows our way and reminds us that we are not alone. God is present in the midst of changes, chaos, surprises, blessings and more. Sometimes we come face to face with a Stop sign that we ought to obey. It nudges us to stop, park and pray at 1:11 pm because we can make a difference in our lives and their lives.

I’ve Seen the MountainTop!

Feb. 12th, the final show and my second time seeing the MountainTop at Trinity Rep Theatre. I’m still thinking about this extraordinary performance by Joe Wilson, Jr. and Mia Ellis. They are two gifted actors, whose personal journeys are unlike the characters they portrayed.

Imagine it’s 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee and you’re looking through a window of the Lorraine Hotel. You watch the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and a decoy maid who was really an angel. It’s King’s last hours before he’s assassinated. The maid knows every bit of his story from the beginning to the end.

February 14, 2017, I’m still thinking about the MountainTop images, messages and meanings. I’m convinced there’s a connection with God’s redemptive power and promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

I reflect on these words by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
And this I know that I must

Fear not.

Have faith.

Be not alone.

For I am convinced
God is here.

God loves us.

God hates evil.

God forgives

God gives

Eternal life.
Thank God.

Thank you.

A Chosen Instrument 

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REFLECTION

I keep thinking about my post-election dream, vision, warning or revelation. It was three o’clock in the morning when I woke up to relieve my full bladder. I turned on my cellphone and I was shaken by the news that Donald Trump won the election. I leaned into my bathroom sink and prayed, “Lord have mercy! What does this mean?” I felt as if I received a blessed assurance that the answer was found in this passage Acts 9:11-20. Could it be that our next president “this man” is the chosen instrument and one whose scales will fall from his eyes? I thought about this passage for several days and I listened to the many voices throughout our nation. Then I parked and prayed this prayer at 1:11 p.m. for him and our nation as I rested in peace.

Let us Pray the Prayer of Saint Francis (revised)

Lord, make him an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let him sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy. 

O divine Master, grant that he may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive, 
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, 
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.