Category: Prayer

Why the Charleston church shooting demands more than your prayers

"How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” – Psalm 13:1 The scene was familiar and jarring. With a massive police presence as a backdrop, African-American men and women gathered in a small prayer circle near Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The historic Charleston, S.C., church had been the site of a massacre during its regular Wednesday night Bible…  [more]

Imagining prayer

It was early fall and the start of another academic semester when the accident occurred. A new student, testing his long-boarding skills on the mountainous roads that surrounded our college, had hit the pavement hard without the protection of a helmet. I had yet to meet the young man, but as the college chaplain I rushed to the hospital to join his family. Once inside I was ushered to an upper floor marked by an…  [more]

What price glory? Parsing the mixed messages of sports celebrations

This week the NFL spawned a heated debate about who can be worshipped in the end zone. During Monday’s routing of the New England Patriots, Husain Abdullah, a safety for the Kansas City Chiefs, intercepted a Tom Brady pass and returned it for a touchdown. His performance was the talk of social media. No, not his athletic performance, but rather the fact that he fell to his knees after scoring and bowed his…  [more]

Adrian Peterson’s prayer group

What was that little red “O” doing behind Adrian Peterson’s name on the Web page for my fantasy football team? “Out.” What was this? There had been no hint of an injury leading up to the weekend’s slate of NFL games. What was going on with “my” best player? As further reports would reveal, Peterson – star running back for the Minnesota Vikings – had been…  [more]

My prayer for Ferguson

On my journey with Christ, here is one thing I hold onto with every fiber of my being: God is perfectly just and perfectly merciful. That's what keeps coming to mind as I try to process what's happening right now in Ferguson, Mo. - in these United States of America. That’s what I’m trying to remember in my prayers. When news of Michael Brown’s death first broke, my prayers were for his…  [more]

Praying with yoginis: when public prayer isn’t the Christian kind

Earlier this month, the United States Supreme Court narrowly ruled in Town of Greece v. Galloway that local governmental entities may open their meetings with Christian prayers, despite the exclusion felt by the complainants. The court’s 5-4 decision - and its various dissenting opinions - reflects well my own conflicted views on the subject. As a Christian in a country in which the majority of people claim…  [more]

Pre-game prayers: worship, witness or showing off?

With the NBA playoffs underway, the Oklahoma City Thunder have garnered attention for more than their stellar play. As the New York Times reports, the pre-game ritual at Chesapeake Energy Arena includes a prayer of invocation. Although the team asks that the prayer be generic and nondenominational, some who offer the invocation are quite specific. Given that Oklahoma is 73% Protestant and 9% Roman Catholic, it may…  [more]

Super Bowl Skittles and Mary’s prayer

I admit: usually my reasons for choosing favorite athletes are based on the ridiculous. For instance, my two favorite Chicago Bears this season were Julius Peppers (because how can you not smile at that name?) and Matt Forte (because anyone who posts images on Instagram of his sweet pit bull romping through the woods gets my support). But for once - finally! - I may have stumbled on a better reason to choose an…  [more]

Why Whisper may not be the best way to share secrets

“Secrets, secrets are no fun; secrets, secrets hurt someone.” While cute, this rhyme from my childhood is a reminder that secrets are powerful and wield the ability to cause pain and sorrow. They’re also popular, as a new app called Whisper has shown. Whisper taps into our burning desire to privately share by allowing users to anonymously post their thoughts in the style of a meme. According to…  [more]

Reading between the lines of Flannery O’Connor’s prayer journal

The prayer journal of Southern Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor was released a little over a week ago and already the buzz abounds. Friends, colleagues and writers I admire are talking excitedly about having this slim book in their hands. Renowned author Marilynne Robinson has even pondered it for The New York Times in her precise, elegant prose. While I have enjoyed the hype, it made writing about the…  [more]

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