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Spiritual Direction: Prayer Prompts, Week of June 15, 2020
This week we will focus on a prayer that is probably familiar to you.  Although this is popularly known as the Prayer of St. Francis it is very doubtful that he ever spoke it.  It most likely was written around 1912, 700 some years after Francis had died! 

Day 1: Pray the Peace Prayer of St Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me 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 I 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.


Reflect on this:  One purpose of praying this prayer is to ask God to bless us and help us feel God’s peace. Another purpose is to ask God to bless other people and for them to feel God’s peace. But this week I ask you to focus on a third purpose, that the very act of praying will change us as we ask God to make us more like Jesus. 

As we pray… Love instead of hatred, pardon for injury, faith in place of doubt. These are the blessings of God’s peace, which so many hurting people desperately need.  We cannot share God’s blessings with other people unless we have first experienced them ourselves. So the first step to being a channel of God’s peace is to experience that peace in our own lives. We cannot ourselves be channels of love if we are consumed with hatred. We cannot help other people to find pardon and to give pardon if we have not experienced God’s forgiveness or if refuse to forgive those who have injured us. And we cannot share faith if we are full of doubts.

As Pastor Heidi continues with her series on the Sermon on the Mount let’s spend this week meditating on this beautiful prayer.  As we experience the peace God gives, we must not keep it to ourselves! In the beatitudes we hear the words of Jesus, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.” The Bible calls US to be peacemakers, to be peace-bringers, to share God’s peace with all that we meet in this troubled world.

Day 2:  Read Romans 12: 9-21 and reflect on what it means to ‘live at peace with everyone’.  Are you naturally inclined to name the exceptions to this call in your life?  As you pray ask God to help you feel God’s peace in your own life.  We are called to become CHANNELS of God’s peace to others – sharing the peace we have experienced – this is our witness to the world. Channeling this peace might be exactly what we can offer our hurting neighbor when we just don’t know what else to do.

Day 3: Read Isaiah 26: 1-12 and recognize that peace is much more than just an end to war, an absence of conflict. In the Bible peace is not the absence of something negative but a very positive concept of calm, tranquility, serenity, harmony, reconciliation, wholeness, completeness, soundness and well-being.  Review these words… do you feel them at work in your life?  Through your prayer ask God to experience this kind of peace in your life.

Day 4: Read Philippians 4: 4-9 and see that we all need to make time and space in our frenetic overcrowded lives to be in God’s presence and receive God’s peace, to set aside our busyness and noise to meet God in the silence.  What do you hear God saying to you in the silence… what do you want to say?

Day 5: Read Corinthians 1:3-6 and bring to God the places in your life where you need to be consoled.  Know that God wants you to place your burdens at God’s feet… (Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”).  When we give our burdens to God then we can begin to bear other people’s burdens with them. We can console them.  Instead of looking for other people to look after us, we can console and comfort and support and strengthen others.

Day 6: Read Matthew 6: 9-15.  Is there someone you are struggling to forgive? Bring that to God today.  Know that Jesus is not telling us that we earn forgiveness by forgiving others, but that we realize wonderful it is that God forgives us, and we cannot help but want to let that forgiveness flow out of us and into others.

Day 7: Continuing to pray with breath prayers.  Last week we talked about using breath prayers.  Let’s try that again this week with “Make me a channel of your peace.” A simple prayer we can use first thing when we wake up. “Make me a channel of your peace.” Last thing before we go to sleep. “Make me a channel of your peace.” Inviting God to take and use us tomorrow.  And any time when we face conflict, or meet other people who are struggling with pain. “Make me a channel of your peace.” Lord, use me to help these people today!

Have a blessed week!

Peace,

Jenny