Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Ahmaud Arbery of Georgia R.I.P

Before we turn the page let’s park and pray at 1:11 for Ahmaud

God, You who formed his inward parts; You, Almighty God knitted him together in his mother’s womb. We praise you, for he was fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works.” Psalm 139:13-14.

Dear God, your eyes beheld his unformed substance. In Your Book were written all the days that were formed for him. A precious gem, a work in progress and a life that tragically ended.

Merciful God, comfort his family, friends, community and world, shaken and awakened again by the stench of evil. Hear our prayers.

Almighty Healer, search all who are wicked. Give them a clean heart, a renewed spirit, and a mind that rejects evil and delights in goodness.

May the Light of your Holy presence be our Guardian and Protector. Thank You for promising to love us, give us grace and eternal peace.

Lord, hear our prayers. ICN, Amen

God Bless America

God Bless America!”
I wonder what the speaker understands about this request. Listen carefully while saying this powerful prayer request out loud. “God Bless America!”

It often appears at the end of politically charged speeches. In this context, it may sound like a command, demand, or mandate rather than a prayerful request. Practice saying, “God, bless America.”

These words spoken with humility are a supplication, petition and prayer. Try saying, God, bless…
The comma offers a way for us to practice pausing, parking, and praying. We reflect on our thoughts before proceeding.

“God, Bless, “allows us time to turn our attention away from ourselves and towards Spirit. The comma positions us to PARK. Commas will enable us to stop the excess chatter in our mind and lay our thoughts in our hearts. When we park at the thrown of Grace, we connect with the Holy One. We are fully present with God.

Many of us wouldn’t begin our phone conversation by saying, “Diane, give me” or “Martha bless me!” We usually give a greeting or say a welcoming statement. “Good Morning John, how are you? I hope all is well.” We check in with one another.

Try saying, “Good Afternoon, God! Thank you for taking my call.” Then, “God, I am not satisfied with…” Or, “God, I am thankful for what you did…” Then ask, “God, Bless America.” Our prayer ends with a powerful affirmation of faith that indicates God is the source of power. Therefore, say, “I pray in Your Holy Name.” Finally, consider ending your prayer with “Amen,” or “So be it,” or “According to God’s Will.”

I believe God answers our prayers. I hope you will recognize God’s answer as a blessing. God often gives us what we need, and when we need it.
Let’s Park and Pray at 1:11 pm this prayer:

Almighty God, we thank you for your omnipresence. Thank you for the many ways you share your unconditional love with us. God, keep us healthy in body, mind, and Spirit so we may live according to your will and ways. Give us hope for our future and patience to endure and overcome our troubles. Heal our brokenness. Bless us with your truth as the source for our wisdom and decisions. Forgive our sins and help us to recognize and overcome our transgressions. May we live each day to satisfy you and to receive your favor. Merciful God, we pray in our Savior’s Name. Amen.

Let It Begin With Me

The Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama is a place where I found this peace sign. Our prayers this month will focus on peace in our lives, our homes, our communities and in our world.

Park and Pray at 1:11 pm

Holy One, thank you for “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.” I pray that I may have an appreciation of the peace that you offer me. Bless me with an awareness of your peace so that I may receive it and share it with others. Guard my heart and my mind in Christ, the Prince of Peace.

A Ransom for All

bible.com/111/mat.20.28.niv

Where are you? Why are you here? What are you serving? Who do you serve? How? What are you willing to give as ransom? Will you give your time, talents, treasures or what else? Do nothing. Simply be present. Can you be a non anxious presence?

Let Us Park and Pray st 1:11 pm

God, this Holy Week many are tempted to do a lot to prepare for the Easter celebration with family and friends. We might search for the perfect hat, the most beautiful suit and wear the most attractive hairstyle. In the midst of our prepation we might trip over the alabaster bottle and waste it’s precious oils. We may forget to sit at your table, eat, drink and recall the Last Supper. We might step on broken nails and trip on splinters from a worn out cross. We will miss whatever you have in store for us. Almighty God help us to open our eyes, ears, hearts and hands to receive you and what you prepare to serve us daily. Thank you for your life gift, a ransom for us. Please accept our meager offering of faith and stillness. In your name. Amen.

On Her Knees

img_0914Recently, I was inspired with hope by what I saw and experienced. I was the guest pastor at the St. Peter’s Church (Iglesia de San Pedro) in Samana, Dominican Republic, the historical church home for the descendants of enslaved and free African-Americans who left the United States on or after 1824. My sermon, based on the Gospel of Matthew chapter 5 verses 14-16 focused on this theme, “You are the light of the world!” (“Eres La Luz Del Mundo!”), a powerful message.

When I arrived early at the church before worship something caught my attention. It was before people arrived and drenched by the torrential rain. I paused at the entrance of the church. My eyes were immediately drawn to a woman dressed in white and situated on her knees, praying, as if she was begging. I saw her forehead firmly pressed against one of the steps leading to the altar. She laid before the cross as a beacon of light illuminating rays of hope, mercy, justice, compassion and more. I imagined one beam of light piercing through doors. Doors that separate children from their parents. Closed doors that separate us from discovering truth and bearing witness. Tsunamis, devastation, and other challenges. I imagined she carried a heavy load, a burdensome bushel filled with painful memories. She could not bear to stand with such a weight of injustices, a culmination of pain and insurmountable suffering. The light within her shined through her and called me and others to pause as we entered the sanctuary. She lifted her head and her knees. Her face shined like a newly minted coin. Light shined in her face and faces throughout the church beamed with expectations. The Glory of God shined affirming the presence of the Holy One, Source of Light.

Let us Pray Merciful God, Thank you that we can bring our pain, sorrow, doubts, fears, frustrations, disgrace, joys and triumphs to you. We leave our concerns on your thrown of grace. We look to you Almighty and Powerful God to empower us with wisdom and might to overcome the storms in our lives. We pray knowing that your blessed assurance gives us hope and renews our strength. Your loving kindness equips us to be your hands, heart and feet throughout this world. Shine your Light on us and in us so we may be a light in the spiritually dark places in our world. Bless us with your Light as we do the challenging work you have called us to do. We pray on bended knees, with outstretched hands, standing, sitting or simply in the stillness of our being. Loving God, hear our prayers. In our Savior’s Name. Amen.

Search Me,

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139:23-24 NIV

LET’S PARK AND PRAY AT 1:11 pm

Search me, O God – deep within,

Know me – my heart, mind and soul,

Test me – examine me,

Know me – know my anxious thoughts,

See me – see my ways,

Lead me – Your way.

Receive me – my heart, my prayer,

and the prayers of those in need.

Praying in the Savior’s name. Amen

Aretha, Beauty, Virtuous & Excellent

Dear God, thank you for blessing us with Aretha Franklin. Her gifted voice and powerful spirit continue to edify your name. Your teachings about love, respect, righteousness and more are woven in her songs. Her music represents a tapestry of life. Holy One, thank you for inspiring and equipping Aretha with a powerful voice, an instrument of love, peace, and healing. There’s no sitting still when Aretha, the Queen of Soul’s voice is heard. Her spirit filled voice propels us to rise, hold our heads high, reach beyond the sky. We remember her manner of praise in her life and song as an extravagant and awesome gift!

Thank you Almighty God for Aretha, who experienced your holy presence early and throughout her life. Her music reflected the times in which we live. Times when we shed tears and laughed with her! Aretha, the Queen of Soul, often grounded us in your Supreme Love, a Divine Love. Aretha’s life and her songs are also reflections of our joys and sorrows. Queen Aretha reminded us in her life and in her passing that still waters run deep. In the midst of troubled waters, there is hope. You are One Lord of all who is the Bridge, the Way Maker, the everlasting Savior who gives us Life, Breath, Pulse, and Passion. Aretha means Beauty; Virtuous; and Excellent! She lived her life as the Queen of Soul, who ministered to many souls. Aretha, the Queen of Heart whose music still tugs on our heartstrings. Aretha, gone but never forgotten.
Eternal God, receive her into your everlasting peace. In our Savior’s name. Amen.

image_557509650880833

Say a Little Prayer

I Say A Little Prayer

During the 1980’s I had the esteemed privilege to care for former Prisoners Of War or POWs while employed as a Nurse Practitioner at the VA Medical Center. I admired those POWs who represented less than 10 percent of my panel of 900 veterans. During my encounters with them I saw evidence of their bravery, humility, tolerance and gratitude. I listened as they shared their war stories. I examined their battle scars and assessed their intrinsic vulnerabilities. I found in them the highest form of resilience and perseverance. As we honor Senator John McCain, a former POW, whose life, sacrifices, contributions and legacy remind me of the former POWs in my care. McCain approached his terminal illness and poor prognosis like his military battles. Love for his family, friends, country and service dictated the course of his life. Like the former POWs in my care, John McCain charged into the battlefield of life each day to fulfill a greater mission, chart a more stable course, defend our freedoms and renew our hopes. He will be missed.

Although we are still recovering from the loss of Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, a mighty pillar, powerful spirit and a compelling witness! I imagine her greeting John with an inspirational song of praise and prayer profound enough to rock the heavens. Imagine hearing them sing this prayer. Imagine singing it with them in spirit.

“The moment I wake up. Before I put on my makeup I say a little prayer for you.”.

Imagine singing this prayer and praying for one another.

“I Say A Little Prayer”
The moment I wake up
Before I put on my makeup
I say a little prayer for you
While combing my hair now
And wondering what dress to wear now
I say a little prayer for you

Forever and ever, you’ll stay in my heart
And I will love you
Forever and ever, we never will part
Oh, how I love you
Together, forever, that’s how it must be
To live without you
Would only mean heartbreak for me

I run for the bus, dear
While riding I think of us, dear
I say a little prayer for you
At work I just take time
And all through my coffee break time
I say a little prayer for you

Writer(s): BACHARACH BURT F, DAVID HAL

Is It You O God?

God, it’s me, I need you. Please meet me. I’ll show up at 1:11 pm. by the tree.

A Prayer at 1:11 pm

In the morning when I rise I hear the birds sing, I see sunshine. I feel the dawn of a new day. Is it you O God?

Show your presence in the midst of today’s news. Gracious God where are you when leaders attempt to demean and demoralize your people?

Merciful God make your presence known when displaced children cry for their mother whose trauma is disorienting and unbearable. Almighty God show up in the bureaucratic swamp and rescue those who live in violent prone areas. Set the captives free, release the victims of mass incarceration.

Holy One, grant justice and free the spirit of natives and slave descendants who are still bound to a master. Creator God release new seeds, rain down cleansing water and a fresh anointing of your oil and daily bread. Fill us with your presence in every step, every space, every breath and every heart beat. Loving God, give us a new song that leaves a lasting impression.

May we be like trees, they stand firm against the winds and trying times. O God, settle us down so we may experience your loving presence. Lord hear our prayers.

We Glorify you and we pray without ceasing in our Savior’s Name. Amen

Are You Hot & Thirsty?

Lately, it has been so hot! Scorching temperatures, hot topics, heated conversations and shifting emotions. We look for relief in cool places. Still, we are hot and thirsty. We call on our Creator to fix it! Oh Lord, soothe our bodies and quench our thirst.

Let’s Park and Pray at 1:11 pm this pray by the Psalmist

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me. Those who want to kill me will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth. They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals. But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God will glory in him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced.” Psalm‬ ‭63:1-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

http://bible.com/111/psa.63.1-11.niv

It’s 1:11 p.m! Where Are You?

It’s 1:11 p.m! Where are you praying?

It was a sunny day when I parked under this tree to pray at 1:11 p.m. Here’s what happened.

After praying I looked down and the ground was covered with blackberries!

I looked up at the trees above my head and I snatched a handful of this sweet fruit.

I looked up at the trees above my head and I snatched a handful of this sweet fruit.

I stayed under the covering of these beautiful trees and I enjoyed these gifts.

I embraced the sunlight that pierced through the branches. I stayed and prayed.

Lord, I give thanks with a grateful heart for our time together. Thank you for your grace. Your blessings are unconditional and your love is boundless. Your Fruits of the Spirit nourishes the body, mind and spirit. Lord help your spiritually malnourished children receive you and use your food according to your will. Bless all with a constant flow of compassion for all your children. May serving you with passion be our first and last meal of each day.

Parking and Praying at 1:11 p.m. in our Savior’s name. Amen

Calling All People

This Norman Rockwell painting reminds me of a portrait of humanity and what we are called to be. Then, I watched one ant carry a bread crumb to a community of ants. I wonder what inspired this creature to share with others. I understand we are so much higher than the creatures we crush daily. But, lately I’m concerned about why some of us do not feel connected with those who are hungry, thirsty, desperate and whose lives are threatened. We are called to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Let us Park and Pray at 1:11 pm

God you call us, your children to be righteous, kind and loving. Yet, some of us behave like you don’t exist or your Word doesn’t matter. God, help us to do better and be better people. There is an urgent need in our country and world to protect and support the most vulnerable among us, our children. Please God, please help us to help the migrant children who showed up at our borders.

A Prayer for TA1

A Prayer For Together as One

Gracious God,

Draw near to those who are burdened and oppressed, promising that you hear their cries and you see their troubles.

Draw near to those who are divided and undecided, promising you hear their confusion and you see their frustration.

Draw near to your Church that we may together unite as One courageous people, promising to be the beloved community and Children of God.

This we pray in the name of the Triune God.

Amen.

Pastor Cleo

http://www.Parkandprayat111.com

I AM NOT CRAZY!

Some days when I’m super busy and alone I might express my thoughts out loud. Yes, I’m alone and I’m talking out loud. Does that mean I’m crazy? Am I crazy if I repeat out loud this excerpt of the MESSAGE version of Isaiah 43:1-4?

I’m not crazy! I’m not talking out loud to myself. I believe our ever present God never leaves us. So we are never alone even if we feel isolated. We are not talking solely to ourselves. God is here.

Sometimes, after parking and praying at 1:11 pm I look around me. I may see the numbers 111 on a vehicle, house, placard, or image. Many of you and I happen to be together at 1:11 pm. It’s been an awesome gift to Pray with you at 1:11 pm. I feel it’s an affirmation of God’s presence. God is truly present and God hears our prayers.

Let’s Park and Pray at 1:11pm

Almighty and Everlasting God, I’m crazy about you. God, I thank you for your presence in our lives. Gracious God, you are the gift that keeps giving and loving us. Help us to find you in the congested and noisy places in our world that often demand our attention. Help us to recognize you in the places and spaces in our daily walk with you. Merciful God, give us eyes to see your works, ears to hear your voice, and a heart to feel your presence. Bless us with a mind to discern your will, hands, feet and passion to do your work. Lord, anoint us with faith and power to withstand the powers of darkness. Be a Light unto our path so we may walk in your righteous ways.
In your Holy Name we pray. Amen

Where’s the Glory?

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. ROM 8:18 KJV

Is our suffering worthy of or equal to the glory which will be revealed in us?

It seems as though when we are tied up with our burdens, worries, and pains, a stuffiness and a stiffness sets within us that prevents us from achieving revelation of glory.

When we focus entirely on our suffering we strengthen our appetite for worry.

Focusing on our suffering clouds our way going forward.

When we worry we feed our suffering. Moving from worry to glory requires us to release our burdens to God.

Glory is revealed when space is opened within our heart and mind to receive it.

Let Us Park and Pray

Holy One, God of all righteousness and glory. Release in us your glory. Move in us the glory of your presence. Live in us Oh God. Reveal your glory now and evermore.

Help us oh God to recognize and receive your grace and mercy. Merciful God, release our burdens and help us overcome our suffering. Fulfill our desire for peace in the valley, in the storms and on the mountain tops of our lives. May the glory of the Lord rise upon us. Praying in our Savior’s name. Amen

Come With Me

http://bible.com/111/mrk.6.31,33.niv

It’s 1:11 pm. Time to stop. Park and Pray. Rest in God’s presence.

Dear Lord,

Thank You for inviting me to rest in your presence. Thank you for calling me to a quiet place with you. Thank you for guiding me to a quiet place.

For in your presence I find peace. Lord, in your presence I find silence. In your presence I find rest for my weary body, mind and soul.

Lord, save a place for me.

Help me to hear your call in the midst of so many voices and places. My Lord, you patiently wait for me as I learn to stop, to park in the midst of your presence. I sit at your feet and release my burdens. You hear my prayers. Lord give me ears to hear you and strength to walk with you. Help me to be in your presence daily.

Oh Lord, I cherish my time with you. I come to glorify your name. I come to rest in your presence. I come to receive your peace. I eat your Bread of life. I rest with you. I am restored. I go in peace.

I pray in Your Holy Name. Amen.

bible.com/114/jhn.16.33.nkjv

Lord we need your peace. We are thirsty for your peace. Yet, in the midst of our tribulations we are double minded. We try our ways only to fall back down the slippery slope. It pulls us apart from you. Lord, God draw us close to you and never let us go. Bathe us in your peace. Fill our cups, O Savior Divine. Stay near, feed us and drink with us. We shall drink your peace with gladness. We give thanks for your everlasting Peace. In Your Holy Name we Pray. Amen.

From Mess to Message

imageIn 2005, I was a mess, bedridden by excruciating back pain, I published my first book. From Mess to Message is a poetic understanding of the hidden healing messages of pain and suffering. Now, many years post failed back surgeries I found peace in my book’s messages in the midst of chronic back pain complicated by bilateral sciatica. I accept pain as a part of my healing. It is a circumstance and not what defines me. I’ve learned to live through the journey while thanking God for the pain and the promise to heal me in a deeper and wholesome way.

Pray No More

Pray No More
Imagine our children are safe in school,
Imagine disturbed people receive the help they need,
Imagine guns are limited and used sensibly,
Imagine no more tragedies, no more violence,
Believe it is possible! Park and Pray at 1:11 pm.

IMG_3851

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!

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

Biologist affirms Park and Pray at 1:11 pm

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“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.”

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.

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