Revised Common Lectionary readings: Colossians 1: 11-20
At the beginning of almost all of Paul or other apostles letters, we find a section of “this is my prayer for you”. So, if you imagine you were writing, or even talking, to someone that you care about, and you are saying to them “this is the intention and space that I hold for you each day”.
What would you say to them?
Consider, for a moment a son or daughter, a nephew or niece, your significant other or perhaps just a friend that you have. What desire would you hold in your heart for them?
As we have a look at what Paul says to the Colossians in his letter, I want you to hold in your mind and prayers one person. Take a moment, before we start, to consider who you will hold this prayer for. And when we finish, I will ask you again to bring this person back to mind and consider how you would change this prayer for this person.
Life can be hard and we all pass through difficult situations. Sometimes, we find it hard to find the strength to fight. And when we are told that we are made strong, this doesn’t refer to the physical strength, but to emotional and mental strength and fortitude.
Typically, the strength of something is measured according to the force or pressure that it can withstand! Think, for example, of a flood wall. And I pray that you are made strong — strong enough to withstand whatever flood you are facing at the moment.
Unfortunately, strength comes from experiences, often from tough, cold, painful and raw experiences.
They say that in Japan some scientists were doing an experiment on trees. They gave them perfect growing conditions – airtight, where they would not be subject to harsh winds, or even breeze. They watered them gently. Just enough water. And they made sure that they got the perfect amount of sunlight. All of the trees, sometime between three to four months of growth, all fell over. Without the breeze and the weather… they failed to grow strong!
So, my prayer for you this morning is that you, while knowing suffering, you rise above it! That in spite of the blows of change that you might be facing, may you have the fortitude to stand steady.
Because being strong is both vulnerable as well as fierce. It’s being independent, while knowing that you are supported and loved.
I pray for you that you will be powerful – whether with tears flowing fiercely and freely – or tears of joy and happiness. That you be vulnerably strong.
Know that your power lies in the present moment, in being here, in doing what you can now. Your power does not lie in the past, as it is no more. Know that you cannot ignore the present, it’s not enough to hope and pray for a better future – but in doing what you can today with what you have.
Endure everything with patience
I pray that you understand that strength is patient, it is persevering and enduring. Sometimes, this means having the power to wait out the storm. Know that this too shall pass.
At other times, your patience and strength will be in knowing that you have to keep your eye on the prize and take that small step forward, no matter how difficult and hard it feels. Don’t give up, in spite of the difficulties.
I pray that you have the wisdom to know when to back down and walk away and when to hold your ground or forge forward. That you have the courage to change what you need to change, the compassion and serenity to accept what cannot be changed, and the patience and wisdom that comes from knowing the difference.
Joyfully giving thanks
I pray that in spite of the mixed emotions that come from facing difficult moments, and wanting to complain when life appears to be falling apart, that you find what you are grateful for. Even at this time.
Let me envision you finding and maintaining a gratitude practice that brings you inner peace and joy. Even if this week we are celebrating Thanksgiving, that you have a practice of giving thanks each and every day. I pray that you find grateful appreciation for all of your circumstances and not just the great experiences of life.
I know that others might see you as being strong – and maybe your inner truth is that we are just getting through a tough situation the best that you can – but I pray that you find joy and inner peace in all of this moment.
May you recognise that a gratitude practice is called practice, because there are some days that it feels like a workout, rather than a joyful moment. So just keep practising!
Rescued from the power of darkness
Today I pray that you remember that you have been (or maybe today you just need to hear that you can be) rescued from the power of darkness. If you are in the darkness of depression and/or anxiety, know that I hold this space for you.
Some days, you simply have to acknowledge and accept the turmoil, sadness, hurt and struggle that you are going through. And after acknowledging and accepting those feelings, be willing to release them and let them go. They do not define who you are – emotions are intended to pass through us. You are not required to hold onto them or store them within you.
Other times, this darkness means accepting the failures, the mistakes of the past, and I pray that you have the strength to stop beating yourself up. My prayer for you is that you recognise that you have the power to choose – or not – whether you are going to continue carrying all that baggage with you into the present and future.
I pray that you recognise that you have been rescued from the impotence of feeling afraid. This doesn’t mean that you will no longer feel fear. The fear will still be there to warn you of danger – but I pray that you also feel the calm inner strength and peace that passes all understanding. Know that the situation does not control you but that you can control how you respond. Choose your thoughts, then choose your words, so that you may choose your actions.
I can’t promise that this will be easy, but my prayer is that you see the light in the darkness.
I pray that you remember at all times that God is love, and because God is love, Love forgives. Your part – your role – is to accept forgiveness.
Are you strong enough – humble enough – to accept love and forgiveness? I pray that your pride does not stand in the way – that you get caught up in “I can’t forgive myself”. Because I know that you are not more than Divine Love. I know that I am not greater than Divine Love.
Who am I – who are you – to say that what I did is bigger and more important than Spirit? I pray that we never allow our past to become an idol – to stand between us and receiving forgiveness!
I pray that you always have the strength to let go of your ego, and make space where you can always receive forgiveness.
In the same way that you receive it, I pray that you will give it freely.
The image of the invisible God
Genesis may remind us that we were made – man and woman / male and female – in the image of God. But Colossians reminds us that Christ was the walking image of the invisible God – the Way.
This is how you do it.
These are the attributes and characteristics that each and every one of us should have, when we are truly have made enough space in our lives – that WE are filled with the fullness of God.
And so, I pray that you, might have a Christ consciousness, that you show all the attributes of Divine Love. I pray that you be light, love, power, might, strength, wholeness, compassion, mercy and caring in this world.
In whom all things were created
Because you are the image of the Invisible Spirit and Creator of all, may you be made new, making something from nothing, and making more from something. May you speak it into existence, starting with the seed of an idea in your mind, knowing that if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you too might move mountains!
Know that the same Spirit that hovered over the waters of the deep, that separated the land from waters, lives in you. You have that same strength and power to know that relationship with the Divine, through whom all things are created and made new.
I pray that you see the role that you have been playing – that you have an awareness of the power and strength that has been entrusted to you – and that you stop playing small.
In whom all things hold together
Scientists talk about the Cosmic Glue that holds all things together – the force within that they do not yet understand. I pray that you understand that the Divine lives in you, and that the same power that holds all of the Universe together, is holding you together – down to each individual atom within each cell of your body.
You have survived 100% of the days – good and bad – that life has thrown at you so far.
And now, I pray that you consider – on a spiritual, mental and emotional level – what’s holding you together when you are pushed and pulled by life. I pray that you notice that when you want to fall apart, that you notice what sustains you in those times.
Have an awareness of Spirit within you – the Cosmic Glue – that simply allows you to keep it all together, even when it feels that the world is falling apart.
Making so much space for the Divine in your life
I pray that you make so much space for Spirit in your life, that the fullness of all that God is –
- loving & compassionate
- whole & holy
- omnipotent, all-powerful and strong
- mysterious and yet simple
- faithful, immutable & unchanging
be within you. That the same way that the fullness of God was pleased to dwell within Christ, that it be pleased to dwell within you.
Being One with all things
That you truly understand, today and always, that you are One with all that God is. That you see within each other, the way that the Divine sees in you, the potential of what might be. And that you support and sustain each other, so that each and every one of us here, might enjoy that indwelling of the fullness of God.
This is my prayer.