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Contemplative Prayer & Photography

Following the first class, people are invited to make their visual prayers by taking photos. Here are some suggestions below. If you want a primer, you can download the class notes.

Photo Assignment for January 25

  • Start each day asking God for wisdom and guidance to see with the heart.
  • Take them in color or in black and white.
  • As you go about regular life in your neighborhood, your house, familiar streets, at work, in town, see what your notice. Receive the photos you open yourself to.
  • Using your phone or camera see things that are signs of God’s presence. This might look like one of these or even beyond these:
    • Human Expression: Interactions of people
    • God at the Farmers Market: What does the presence of God look like, smell like, feel like, taste like?
    • A New Old Thing: Something familiar that you have not noticed before.
    • Gratitude: Something on the street that feels welcoming or generous
    • Seeing Patterns: receive a photo that creates lines, shapes, textures, or symmetry.
    • When something draws your interest or curiosity, see it with openness, with the eyes of compassion and gentleness.
    • Is there a building, or pattern, or imfections you see that are interesting?
  • Give thought to what signs there are of God’s presence in these things.
  • The second and third prompts will offer more specific things to look for.
  • Remember, seeing is the goal, not perfection.
  • If you want to share the photos: email them to nickel@hpclouisville.org

Prayer in the Wake of Hurricane Matthew

God of our life, whose presence sustains us in every circumstance,

in the unfolding aftermath of storm and distress, we welcome the restoring power of your love and compassion. We open our hearts in sorrow, gratitude, and hope: that those who have been spared nature’s fury as well as those whose lives are changed forever by ravages of wind and water may find solace, sustenance, and strength in days of recovery and reflection that come.

We are thankful for the generous grace of days of preparation that helped many to be prepared; for the wise counsel of experts and the generous collaboration of so many communities, that in the face of the storm kept many out of harm’s way, and lessened the effects of wind and water on others.

At the same time, we open ourselves to the stories of those for whom Hurricane Matthew was not a near miss: communities deeply affected, whose livelihood, homes and stability have been destroyed. We pray in grief, remembering the lives that have been lost in the Caribbean, and for communities damaged, especially those already rendered fragile by the earthquake in 2010 and Superstorm Sandy. We lift our voices in sorrow and compassion for families who have lost loved ones, homes, or livelihood. We ask for sustaining courage for those who are suffering; wisdom and diligence among agencies and individuals assessing damage and directing relief efforts; and for generosity to flow as powerfully as rivers and streams, as we, your people, respond to the deep human needs beginning to emerge in the wake of the storm.

In these days of relief, assessment and response, open our eyes, our hearts, and our hands to the needs of your children and the movements of your Spirit, who flows in us like the river whose streams makes glad the city of God, and the hearts of all who dwell in it, and in You.

In the name of Christ the Healer we pray, amen.

Prayer by the Rev. Dr. Laurie Ann Kraus

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Prayer reposted from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
http://pda.pcusa.org/pda/resource/prayer-hurricane-matthew/

Prayer for the Syrian Crisis

This prayer written by the Rev. Dr. Laurie Ann Kraus
Coordinator, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance September 4, 2015

 

God of mercy,
We can no longer pretend to be distant from the heartbreak afflicting your children
who have fled Syria in fear of their lives,
stopped at the borders of countries too overwhelmed to welcome
held in trains, awaiting a word of hope,
huddled in camps and overcrowded shelters
with nowhere to turn and no way to turn back.
We can no longer pretend that that small pair of black tennis shoes,
washed up on the shore,
could not be the shoes of one of our own sons or daughters.
We know the truth: all of these children are our sons and daughters; and their parents
are our brothers and sisters, and we owe them a room in the inn, a place of safety, a
chance to live and thrive.
We ask your forgiveness for our short attention spans and our limited imagination.
We pray that you will help us to do better.
We pray for those who live in Syria still,
for the many whose faith in You has made them a target of hate
For those trying to hold life together, always watching and waiting
for the ominous movement of troops on the road into town
for the whistle of incoming shells,
for a cry from a desperate neighbor or a shout of warning
wondering, is it safe to remain? Shall I send my family away?
We pray for neighbors in Lebanon, in Jordan, in Turkey,
who have already welcomed so many,
whose resources are strained under the burden of hospitality
but who are still willing to do more.
We pray for those of us in the West, in Europe, the United States and Canada whose
time for generosity is upon us.
May we reach deeply, give generously, and welcome extravagantly.
May we lift our voices in a strong and unified advocacy so that governments will
act now to save lives and to protect the peoples of Syria.
Jesus, who said, let the children come to me, receive our sorrow and the gift of our
broken spirits, for we have so much yet to do to welcome even a few of the least of these
to save your broken children, to strengthen and support their communities to call the world
to accountability, to generosity, and to peace.
Help us find courage, compassion and hope, for we need your grace. Amen.

Prayers of the People

This prayer was offered by Rev. Matthew Nickel in worship on Sunday, June 21, 2015 for the Prayers of the People.

 

Our lives and the life of the world O God, are constantly in transition.

Change is weekly, if not daily,

like the tides rising and falling, like the seasons always turning.

In all the shifting transitions,

we are knit together a one community in you, Lord, by your Spirit.

Gather us, God, by the grace of our savior, Jesus Christ,

to be one with you and with each other.

 

We give thanks for the new life that forms among us.

For the gift of babies born into families of our community.

Particularly, we celebrate Julia and Sam and thank you for their family’s health.

Bless them as we anticipate meeting them.

Bless all families who are in transition,

whether with exciting births and in saying goodbye.

When we send beloved friends with blessing to new adventures,

send them O God with a reminder that a beloved community

will always welcome them in and that such a community receives them in transition.

 

On this day our nation celebrates fathers.

There are Fathers who have seen us from birth to life to independence,

And we celebrate their commitment walk with us through our lives.

There are Fathers who chose us, not by birth, but by willingness to raise us,

Regardless of where we came from, or what we’ve been through,

You called them to be a father.

There are men in the world who have acted with a father’s love,

Even without being a Father. Bless their gifts of grace and possibility,

We give to you O Christ, our gift of thanks, for raising abundant life among Fathers.

 

We prayer for reconciliation where there is violence,

healing where hatred and contempt are cultivated.

We also pray once again for the life of our nation and community

as we transition to an awareness of pain and racism

that has long dwelled among us and within us.

 

Our hearts wail and groan this week

for Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal in Charleston, SC

For the people of that church and that city.

For the family and friends of

Clementia, Sharonda, Cynthia, Tywanza, Ethel, Suzie, Depayne, Daniel and Myra.

When we lose our words facing such tragedy, let silence speak.

 

Silence

 

Awaken the community in Charleston,

and awaken all of us to the healing power your reconciliation.

Do not let the sun set on our anger and frustration with racism.

Guide us O God to be people who live to reflect your grace among all people,

to let our hands and our voices to do justice

for living a good life is simply not enough

when strong witness to resurrection is required.

When walking humble is called for every day,

when people remain captured within the prison of brokenness.

Heal and awaken your people to be faithful disciples of that most powerful love,

to be neighbors bound by love

to be the people of hospitality that you created and have called us to be,

And may we gather our voices as one, as the children of God who pray

the prayer you gave us to pray saying…

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