By: Molly T. Marshall
When praying with people facing difficult circumstances, such as internally displaced persons, orphans or addicts, it's a daunting task to offer encouragement that does not come across as glib or perfunctory.
By: Frank Rees
When a disaster or a mass shooting occurs, political leaders often say that their prayers are with the victims. Genuine prayer, however, cannot be a substitute for responsible action.
By: Shaun King
Our nation's capacity to be shocked is fading, its soul numbed and desensitized. While the Las Vegas massacre jolts our conscience, it is likely to fade quickly into the news cycle. More than ever, we need peacemakers.
By: Shannon Youell
People all around us are drowning in judgment, rejection and marginalization. If someone asked if the struggles in our communities bothered us, we would say that we were. But how much does it bother us?
By: Simon Jones
In an age when fake news overwhelms us and when few Christians are able to connect their faith to economics and politics, we must be guided by the truth of Scripture to shape the way we live.
By: Joe LaGuardia
"God of Grace and God of Glory," Harry Emerson Fosdick's beloved hymn, captures the spirit of historic progressivism while birthing notions of nonviolence that shaped much of the progressive church.
By: Ron Rolheiser
You don't always feel like praying every day. That's why making prayer a ritual is so vital. It can keep you praying even when you don't feel like it. And this is true for many areas of our lives, not just for prayer.
By: James Gordon
When you become jaded by our culture's noise and greed or unsettled by the divisive rhetoric of power games and image makers, let the written words of Abraham Joshua Heschel refresh and renew you.
By: Molly T. Marshall
As political decisions threaten basic access to healthcare by the poor, we need to let the powerful words of the psalms of lament direct our prayers and heal our wounded hearts.
By: Jesus Romero
In these perilous times of social and political polarization, immigrants need more people who can help them find legal relief. Here's how one Christian ministry does that, standing in the gap and serving as their advocate.
By: Sam Tolbert
As we participate in today's National Day of Prayer, we need to realize how prayer is essential to our future peace and survival. Let us take advantage to pray daily and to pray more often in community with others.
By: Karen Bullock
As we Americans learn of the volatile events of our world, we know that if there was ever a time for us as a nation to bow the heart and knees before God in prayer, it is now. Here are four ways to do that.
By: Frank Lewis
Our nation needs prayer. You don't need to attend a pricey breakfast with a best-selling author or an award-winning Christian artist to observe the day. You just need to pray. Maybe even fast and pray.
By: Robert Parham
Protest and prayer are divergent approaches to the inauguration. Protests express opposition. Prayers may express agreement with the new administration or be faithful to the biblical mandate to pray for leaders.
By: Gary Furr
For the last 18 months, the presidential campaign season has shown that our differences are complex and deep. For churches, it's an opportunity to become more deeply involved in the ministry of reconciliation.
By: Doyle Sager
The November election is over, and there's no more political tension in your church, right? If that's what you were hoping, you discovered those tensions morphed into something new. Here's how you can deal with it.
By: Barry Howard
Praying for a leader doesn't mean you affirm that leader's policies or character. It means you affirm the power of God in providing guidance and to intercede for that leader to be receptive to God's direction.
By: Frank Lewis
Praying for our newly elected president - and encouraging others to do so - may be the most powerful thing you can do to practice civic leadership and engagement in a divided community.
By: Bobby Dagnel
Will you pray for President Donald Trump during his presidency? If not, then you will have become derelict in one of the most significant and strategic of our Christian duties.
By: James Gordon
The clock and calendar are little different from the scrape marks on the prisoner's wall - recording time's passing. With a new year only days away, it's a time to reflect on your days passed and prioritize your days to come.
By: James Gordon
How do we pray for a world impatient with mercy? How do we answer anger with understanding and make respect and compassion more persuasive than grievance and resentment?
By: Ron Rolheiser
We've all had that feeling. You're facing a dire situation. You need to do something, but there's nothing you can do. No magic wand to wave to make things better. But there is something you can do.
By: Larry Eubanks
Most churches have religious bullies, and they're often our leaders. They do everything our discipleship programs tell them they should do - and yet they can be the meanest persons you'll ever meet. Why?
By: Matt Sapp
The problem for a lot of us isn't that we don't want to pray, but that we don't know what to pray for, and we're not sure what to say. Check out these three suggestions to pray more boldly.
By: Ron Rolheiser
Our society no longer understands the value and power of ritual, even though ritual itself can hold and sustain our hearts in something deeper than the emotions of the moment.
By: Rod Benson
Ethical prayer is not about good technique but integrity and persistence. It is dangerous, exhilarating, countercultural and subversive. It is not preparation for an ethical life but ethics in action.
By: Rod Benson
If we faithfully follow Jesus, our deepest and truest desires will find their expression in godly, countercultural, justice-shaped prayers passionately aligned to God's kingdom and mission.
Jesus, in other words, taught his followers how to “talk to God in a different way.”2 Has he done that for you? When the storms of life rear their ugly heads, are you prepared to meet Jesus because he has taught you to pray? That doesn’t mean the storms won’t come up. They most assuredly will. But it does mean, I think, as Vivian Greene has said, that “life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
By: Chuck Summers
God's will is not being done in the world. Not even close. In God's kingdom, there is no place for the hatred, violence and killing that seems so prevalent everywhere we look.
I believe God wants to see a good, strong heart which values giving over getting, serving over being served, honesty over deception, love over hate, forgiveness over revenge, right over wrong, faithfulness over fickleness, strength over weakness, courage over fear, selflessness over selfishness, humility over arrogance, justice over favoritism and peace over war.
Get serious. Bare your soul and voice your fears. Acknowledge your weakness and tendency to quit when the road gets steep. Most of all, ask God to give you the wisdom, strength, stamina and courage you need to break out of your self-imposed prison by accepting every opportunity to make yourself and the world around you better. Often life is bigger than we are. It is never bigger than the God who made us and is eager to help us meet every challenge.
The hardest road we travel is the one we don’t want to go down. This road, however, is usually the one we most need to travel for our own welfare and those around us. How do we embrace our hour, the challenge which awaits us this week? Begin where Jesus did. “After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come.’ ”
That may be as clear a picture as we get in this life of what Christ has done for us. He came to us, loved us, and set us on fire with the light that he was. He died for us, rose again, and made a way between earth and heaven, so that someday we can follow him into the Father’s eternal presence. For now, here we are, sent as he was sent, to light up the world he loves.
By: Faliku Dukuly with Richard Wilson
Many Liberians live in absolute poverty. Rather than wait for others to lift Liberia out of poverty, one man and his friends are becoming the change that they had been seeking.
By: Chuck Warnock
Many will regard the Supreme Court's ruling on public prayer as an unqualified win for Christians. Before we celebrate, we must ask if we want our public prayers defined by the high court's criteria.
We’re afraid God will change us. We want to live as we want to live. If we spend time alone with God, He just might shape us and mold us as a potter shapes and molds the clay. You need to be cautious. You need to be fearful about spending time alone with God.
Public prayers in political settings are inappropriate for both religious and political reasons. Yet some religious folk tolerate and even endorse prayer before government proceedings.
And in the house of prayer, if my prayers are welcomed, so are yours. And so are the prayers of any humble enough and persistent enough to say them. If a cold-hearted judge would yield to the persistent nagging of a poor widow, how much more will a loving God respond to our persistent praying?
Evidently, Jesus felt that God had something to offer to those who had grown weary. He believed God had a special place in his heart for those who were struggling, like this widow, and was confident God would respond to pleas for help with compassion and justice. So, he encouraged his disciples “to pray always and not lose heart.”
Thousands of students will once again gather around their high school flagpoles on Sept. 25 for See You at the Pole. Here are two reasons it may not be such a wonderful event.
Our children need us to provide a safe place for them to explore the mysteries of life and faith by asking questions and sharing their stories. As a church, we need to provide the kind of environment which encourages our children to be curious, search for truth, think for themselves, ask questions, wrestle with tough biblical passages and voice their opinions. Just as Paul encouraged the Philippians to “work out their own salvation,” we must move our children beyond the faith they have borrowed from us to one that is authentically theirs.
When a loved one is dying, many families wonder what will happen to their souls after bodily death. We must not be dismissive of their questions about death, immortality and heaven.
Prayer leads to a life of intimacy and partnership with God. Will you choose to cultivate a life of listening, asking and partnering with God in God's healing, restoring and reconciling work?
I don’t know if we can say it any better than this... pray for what Jesus prayed for, try to live the way Jesus lived, continue to put one foot in front of the other in this journey we call life, and ask God to go with you. I don’t think you can do that without prayer, do you?
To whom do you need to reach out for help as you nurture the children God has entrusted to your care? Why not begin with God, as Manoah did? I assure you God will respond to your prayer as He did Manoah’s. God loves your children as much, if not more, than you do. As a result, God is eager to grant you the wisdom, understanding and patience you need to be loving and responsible parents.
For the most part, the blast of the first shockwave at the Boston Marathon moved people of faith to prayer. But what do we do after praying and mourning for the victims?
Would you like to pray and feel as if God heard? Then seek God with your whole heart and you will find him.
A conflict between rebels and the Central African Republic has displaced many people and damaged Baptist churches. A Baptist leader there asked for prayer.
Where do you encounter God? Perhaps the time one spends quietly turning shovels of earth in a backyard garden can reveal the significant mysteries of God's creation.
Because, in faith, we witness to the fact that your love is stronger than hate, that your joy is greater than our despair, that your peace will bring us wholeness, that your hope will carry us into the light.
Posting prayers daily to a blog is another way to live out Paul's instruction to pray without ceasing, says Pastor Michael Ruffin in a new Skype interview on EthicsDaily.com.
So when it comes to the question as to what God talks like, when it comes to God’s speaking to you, it is essentially an answer you will have to provide for yourself. But know this: however God speaks to you, you can be assured the message will go straight to your heart.
When we pray to God, we ask God to heal, God can do something.
God wants to turn our unjust world upside down. When we domesticate our prayers, we are trying to make prayer palatable so God doesn't disturb us too much.
Do we think of ourselves first even as we claim to follow God's agenda? Or do our needs come last so we can serve others, especially the vulnerable? There's one sure way to know.
The pitfalls and challenges facing our children are daunting, for them and us. We all need God’s help to steer safely through these turbulent waters.
After one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history, faith leaders are sharing words of comfort as the nation comes to grips with the tragedy that left 12 dead and 58 wounded.
How would any of us have made it this far in life if somebody had not loaned us some faith at some point? Be intentional. Give to someone who needs.
Faithful Christians ask God to take up their righteous causes but don't get the answer they want. Is it because we're good about confessing the wrongs of the "ungodly" but not our own?
Most of us grew up believing prayer was all about our talking and God listening. But what if the most powerful, profound praying takes place silently at another level, a level too deep for words?
Today – May 3 – some of us will observe the National Day of Prayer while others observe the National Day of Reason. Can we all agree that it's also a good day to listen to each other?
LONDON (RNS) A British High Court justice has triggered dismay with a recent decision that declares prayers at town hall meetings are against the law.
(RNS) The people behind a popular chain e-mail about President Obama and the National Day of Prayer might want to think about the sin of omission.
WASHINGTON (RNS) President Obama connected his faith with his policies toward the poor at the National Prayer Breakfast.
NEW ORLEANS (RNS) Millie Campbell slipped the transmission into reverse. "Oh God," she said, "we thank you for the blood of Jesus."
(RNS) After causing a bit of turbulence with some passengers, Alaska Airlines will no longer serve prayer cards with in-flight meals, the company announced.
God can still make something useful from us. The issue is whether we will prayerfully surrender ourselves to be re-made, redeemed, renewed, and reconciled for God's holy purposes.
WASHINGTON (RNS) A famously litigious lawyer has filed charges against CUA for not providing Muslim students with prayer rooms.
What would happen to your prayer life if you actually prayed like your prayers could change the world?
WASHINGTON (RNS) A city court dropped charges against a group of religious and civic leaders who were arrested during a prayer vigil for the poor.
When God doesn't seem to answer a prayer by our timetable, we may be tempted to believe the answer is no. But it may also be that God is answering our prayer according to his plan, not ours.
Rain transforms a brown and brittle back yard into green ground that invites us to sit and rest. And prevailing prayer can replenish the soul in the same way summer rains nourish our yards and flowers.
At times, we're quick to pray. At other times, we're quick to ask why we should pray at all. Questions are important, but prayer is not something to be analyzed. It's just what we do.
LONDON (RNS/ENInews) The annual peace service at Westminster Cathedral acquired fresh significance as Londoners gathered to pray for their city.
The agency that registers doctors to practice medicine in the United Kingdom said it's appropriate for doctors to make a "tactful offer" to pray with their patients.
Feel like your prayers aren't reaching God? Remember, prayer is not really about us. It's about where God is leading us in our lives, rather than what we want or need.
Following the murder of 77 people in Norway, church leaders in the nation and around the globe offered their prayers and condolences as the nation struggled to come to terms with the tragedy.
OREGON CITY, Ore. (RNS) State officials will retain custody of a girl whose parents treated the girl’s condition with prayer.
As politicians call for prayer to end droughts and disasters, we should remember we have a role to play in the answers. If we've caused problems, such as altering weather patterns, we should fix them.
Two prominent governors, who are skeptics about the evidence for climate change, have called for prayer for their drought-plagued states. But God doesn't perform tricks on demand to further political ambitions.
TORONTO (RNS) A majority-Muslim public school in Toronto is defending its policy of allowing an imam to lead Friday prayers in the cafeteria.
What do you do when your prayers are unanswered?
If it is indeed true that major events in life, both good and bad and maybe in-between – major surgery, a catastrophic illness, the death of a loved one – shape you and change you, at least to a certain extent, then what Jesus endured on the cross, and his coming back to them, surely did change him somehow.
As a Texas school became the battleground for public prayer at a graduation, the controversy raised the issue of whether Christians should be more concerned about their "right" to pray or another's faith struggle.
(RNS) Cancer patients who consider the length of their lives to be “in God’s hands” are more willing than others to spend money on treatments.
Jesus taught us to pray so things here on earth will work like they do in heaven. What's not working? Three wars, for starters. Add poverty, hunger and an economic system that rewards the rich and punishes the poor.
WASHINGTON (RNS) The law calling for an annual National Day of Prayer imposes solely on the duties of the U.S. president.
In our journey to be an instrument of the Lord's peace, it's a lot like a walk in a tranquil garden labyrinth. Sometimes we follow the path to reach the center of God's will. Other times, we take our own shortcuts.
SEATTLE (RNS) Alaska Airlines has issued an apology for misinterpreting the devotional behavior of three Orthodox Jews.
For many, a typical Sunday morning means catching up with friends during church and listening to what someone in the pulpit thinks you should hear. But what if you spent one hour encountering God in silence?
When it comes to prayer, do you treat it like another chore to be checked off your to-do list? Perhaps it's time to stop treating prayer as a list of wishes that we recite and spend more time listening and laughing.
Egypt's revolution drew significant media coverage leading up to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. As the nation's societal structure has collapsed, prayers from the worldwide faith community are crucial.
George Washington Carver, known largely for discovering more than 300 uses for the peanut plant, was a Christian whose belief in Jesus formed the conduit through which he could meld his faith and his science.
TORONTO (RNS) The mayor says he will appeal a decision by a human rights tribunal that bans prayer at city council.
A life dedicated to prayer is humbling and amazing. And for more than a century, that's what people from 28 congregations from the Washington, D.C., area have done, meeting at least twice a month to pray.
“Prayer sorts out our desires,” writes David Benner. “Notice that I did not say that in prayer we are able to sort out our desires. No. The sorting work is God’s, not ours. Our job is to sit in God’s presence and allow God to purify our desires.
(RNS) A Southern Baptist pastor who called for prayers for the death of Obama is now planning prayers against Westboro Baptist Church.
When Jesus invites us to pray the Lord's Prayer, we must remember God's kingdom stands in contrast to Caesar's. if God is to reign on earth as in heaven, we cannot separate the spiritual and the social.
Christians will be praying for peace in Sudan, a place where conflict has already taken 2 million lives in a 20-year civil war between Muslims in the north and Christians and animists in the south.
In the Roman world, the emperor was seen as the Great Father of the people. In the Lord's Prayer, early Christians signaled that their allegiance was to God and not the emperor. To whom do we owe allegiance?
The birth of Jesus represents the supreme effort on God's part to reshape our flawed humanity back into his own image. If we would only accept as true the things Jesus had to say to us, what a different world this might be.
If God has everything all worked out, what effect can prayer have? Conversely, the thought that God is swayed by petition hardly seems fair. We need to remember prayer doesn't change God, but does change us.
When was your last soul check-up? Too often we don't stop to think, meditate or talk about how our souls – the very essence of our spiritual selves – are doing. Check out these ways to nourish you soul.
Paul said when a person comes to Christ they are a new creation. The old has passed away; the new has come. Wherever we turn in scripture, we are reminded that an encounter with God or accepting Christ results in some kind of change.
Is the best way to get a “yes” answer from God simply to wear him out with your asking?
Prayer is a spiritual discipline that connects us to the God who created us and who continues to want to hear from us about all those things we that burden our hearts. Prayer is a lifeline tossed our way on those days when that’s all we have. Simplistically speaking, prayer is no more than a conversation between two good friends.
Pray without ceasing and there still will not be sufficient time to pray enough.
The Apostle Paul, in writing to his young colleague Timothy, encourages him to pray for everybody, including those in authority.
According to what Jesus is teaching us as part of his disciples, one way that prayer does change is that the focus changes from us to God.
MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (RNS) For artist Jody Cole, painting is an act of prayer.
If we really believe that Jesus Christ died on a cross and that God raised him from the dead, does it make a difference in our lives?
(RNS) The old adage “couples who pray together stay together” may be true, especially for African-Americans.
I think that God is probably grateful for any prayer we’re willing to offer. Just give it all to God, right or wrong. God knows what to do with it, and will respond with the kind of grace that only God can give.
Progressives can reclaim the power of prayer and divine healing and need to be more imaginative in prayer, expecting more of ourselves and more of God.
As the National Day of Prayer approaches this Thursday, let's correct a few distortions. President Obama, for example, is not trying to cancel the day. That's a rumor rooted in the nonsense that he's not a Christian.
Numerous statistics suggest that many children now in our Baptist churches will walk away from worship and church life by the time they are in their 20s. So seeing some of them recite the Lord's Prayer was encouraging.
Partisanship is still a force to be reckoned with in our nation. Perhaps what we need is a prayer party, rather than a tea party, with prayers that actually motivate and strengthen actions of compassion and ministry.
Judas is synonymous with betrayal, yet Jesus knelt before him and washed his feet. While prayer may not change those who betrayed you, it can change you.
Baptists throughout Great Britain joined together recently for The Wave of Prayer, a weekend initiative sponsored by the Baptist Union of Great Britain and BMS World Mission.
Nigerian Baptists have asked for prayer following violence between Christians and Muslims that has left an estimated 500 people dead and displaced around 18,000 others.
Guess what week this is. You probably don't know, but you wouldn't be alone. It's the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. While it's been observed for the last century, few celebrate it.
What do we ask of God when certainty is elusive? Hannah took her plans to God and asked for his intervention. In similar moments, what do we pray?
Are we willing to do the same? I don’t know if God is still willing to respond to a bargain, as God did with Hannah. I’m not sure I would encourage you to do that sort of thing. But I do believe this... the Lord will take that which is barren and empty and make it rich and good. If that sounds good to you just about now, I would encourage you to sit down and have a talk with God. Whether your lips move or not, trust that God will hear you and respond. And then, don’t be surprised if God doesn’t bless you with a double portion.
Knowing this, let us live with death-proof hope. Knowing this, let us live with death-proof love. Knowing this, let us live with death-proof grace, joy, and peace. Let us live in prayer, because of prayer, and as constant agents of prayer in the lives of one another. Let all of these things and more become true in us and with us because for us, prayer is essential to life with God, and life with God, for God, and with each other is prayer. Amen.
In the end, even Solomon’s wisdom couldn’t save him either. Solomon spent his time and energies in acquisition and building. But he forgot to remember the simple things about God. For you see, God really asks very little from us: Fidelity, a love that is unhindered and undistracted, and a joyous response to the grace that we find so freely offered. Solomon had the unique and generous opportunity to ask anything of God. With that unlimited possibility in front of him, he asked for a heart of wisdom. If you were invited by God to ask for anything, and you knew God would grant it, what would you ask for?
Members of the Baptist World Alliance paused to pray for Nigeria, where more than 800 people were reportedly killed during the latest round of religious sectarian violence.
Before the fireworks and the barbecues kick in, reflect on this prayer for liberty. A prayer of thanks for our nation, a prayer of protection for those who serve, and a prayer of intervention to guard the innocent.
The people of Iran represent billions of others, oppressed and threatened by leaders more concerned about protecting their power base than serving the public's need to live life unfettered. They stand in need of prayer.
Wiley Drake, former second vice president of the SBC, let it be known that he was praying for President Obama to die. Is praying for someone's death consistent with the values and truth that Jesus embodied in his life and ministry?
Sri Lanka, an island country just off the coast of India, is still rocked by armed conflicts in which tens of thousands, including many children, have died. Although a truce was signed in 2002, violence has intensified in the past year.
The National Day of Prayer's original intent was to be a day when persons of all faiths could pray for the nation in their diverse ways. Regrettably, in recent years, fundamentalist Christians have perverted it into an exercise in religious segregation.
News that even in these straitened times international donors have responded so generously to the needs of Gaza is very welcome.
Let's be honest with ourselves. We cannot drink from the cup of God's love and life by simply willing ourselves to do so, or by resolving to change our bad habits, or by adding on a few good ones. The Psalmist points to the fact that the faults (or sins or errors) that are killing us are hidden from us. Only God can clear them from us. We can’t detect them, much less correct them ourselves. To think we can is to join the arrogant, says the psalmist.
When Fuller arrived in heaven on Wednesday, what do you think the Lord said to him? Do you think it is possible that He whispered in his ear as He gave him a big hug, “Thank you, Millard, for not getting too comfortable?” I do.
May we pray, pray, pray and work, work, work to build a better tomorrow and welcome this world you have made and love to become all you have intended it to be.
Prayer is not ceremonial. Prayers offered at public events like football games, graduations and presidential inaugurations are mere ceremony. They are prelude to something else that is the main event. If Jesus is right and prayer is actually a conversation we can have with God, then we have no business reducing it down to the level of a starter pistol at a foot race.
I am praying and hoping that we find a way to get our troops out of Iraq. I know I already said that, but we really need to get our folks home.
The birth of Jesus represents the supreme effort on your part to re-shape our flawed humanity back into your own image. If we would only accept as true the things Jesus had to say to us, what a different world this might be.
Given the tendency for public prayer to degenerate into religious grandstanding and arrogance, it's no wonder Jesus instructed the bulk of our prayer to be accomplished in private.
What is the real purpose of a National Day of Prayer? I have often been puzzled by efforts to get large numbers of people praying about something. Is the assumption being made that God only responds to a critical mass of people praying. That until a certain number is reached, God will not act?
Sometime around the middle of August, James Dobson's Focus on the Family released a video urging Christians to pray for rain. Not rain to end the drought in the Southeast and other places, but rain to drown out a political message. The video encouraged Christians to pray for rain during Barak Obama's acceptance speech at Invesco Field in Denver on the last night of the Democratic National Convention.
Every morning, all across our country, in big cities and small towns, students come trudging through the doors of our schools. Some come eagerly, anticipating each day; some come reluctantly, overwhelmed by challenges too great for them. Some come from homes where books are read and learning is encouraged; others come from daunting family situations.
I was listening to NPR the other day and learned of a prayer movement called Light the Highway that runs prayer vigils along Interstate 35 from Texas to Minnesota. The group asks God to do away with systemic poverty, drug addiction and hopelessness, along with other plagues like homosexuality and abortion.
Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network reported Wednesday's half-inch rain across parts of Georgia was "certainly an answer to prayer."
Baptists in the United Kingdom last Sunday took part in a second "On Our Knees" emphasis aimed at turning around a dramatic decline in the number of children attending Baptist churches.
Christians in Myanmar, including Baptists, planned prayer services for their country, while an American Baptist leader urged Christians everywhere to follow events and pray for peaceful resolution of a bloody government crackdown of pro-democracy demonstrations now in its second week.