Tag: prophets

Lament #5

Lament #5

Submitted by Steve Pomeroy

O God of the disconnected, how easy it is to withdraw, to restrict our safe space, to limit our vision, to decide not to see.  Why do we do that, God?  Why do I do that, God?  Why have you created us in the greatness of freedom and allowed us to become chained with the need to be safe?  Why have you endowed us with the spirit of adventure that calls us to new journeys, but let us be fearful of risking so many first steps?

Embolden us, God – embolden me, God – to escape the entanglements of the safety nets we have created.  Help us to reach for your heavens and make them the stuff of our earth.  Amen.

How to Write a Lament

Lament #4

Lament #4

Submitted by Susan Gregory

Creator of All,

I am SO concerned and horrified by the events happening in Gaza and Israel. So many innocent lives are being shattered. So many are dying. God, this cannot be your will. How long will you just be an observer?

My prayerful request is that your Holy Spirit touch the decision makers in such a powerful way that they cannot resist. That they will stop the hostilities and take steps to permanent peace.

Lord, you have intervened before with warring nations. You empowered the women of Liberia to bring peace. Please don’t wait so long this time to touch hearts and transform the warriors into literal peacemakers.

How to Write a Lament

Lament #3

Lament #3

Submitted by Barbara Wilson

Infinite Spaciousness,

Within You all is possible – and is already happening.
At all times I am being acted upon by Your Will – by Your Divine Plan.

I hear the frustration, even more, the defeat and emptiness in the voices of Your children who appear to be beyond hope.
Yet they reach out to me for help – scarce believing.

Help me help them. Show me the way.  I know that You prepared the way even before they called.

Help me lay aside my past conditionings so that I can fully respond to Your Will now.
That Your Will be done.  That Your Will be accomplished in their lives.

I now release all into Your care and keeping, knowing that You Hear, You Know, You Care, You are at Work.  Thank you, it is done.
Amen.

How to Write a Lament

Lament #2

Lament #2

Submitted by Ashley Whitham

Mama God,

the One who holds me in Her arms when life is too much;
the One who wipes away the tears from my face and kisses my forehead;
the One who knows my pain before I speak it aloud;
the One who is my companion when I am lonely;

We are loose, lost, disconnected.

So many of Your children have been without the fellowship of each other for so long.
We are social creatures, as You made us to be, longing for community.

Be so obviously present for those waiting to rejoin community.
Please send Your Holy Spirit to guide our pastors and leaders as we rediscovery felloship.

Mama God, You are the eternal demonstration of community. I rely on Your example as we move forward.

How to Write a Lament

Prayer of Lament

Prayer of Lament

Submitted by Ron Harmon

O great disruptor of the status quo,

Why do the voices of those who preach division and fear seem to drown out the voices of inclusion and hope?

Why does justice seem to illude those places in our world where your people call out for release?

Why are those of us who claim to follow you often so slow to respond?

God break into our complacency,

Disrupt our isolation with the voices of those who yearn for a different tomorrow.

Help us to see what we have not been able to see,

To hear what we have not been able to hear.

Grant us courage to encounter the suffering,

Speak disruptive truth,

Envision your alternative future,

And live your alternative future into being.

We trust that your purposes continue to unfold.

We are grateful you continue to nudge us into the future.

Amen.

How to Write a Lament

Creating a Prophet’s Playlist – Frustration

Creating a Prophet’s Playlist – Frustration

Have you ever listened to the same song for more than an hour? How about two? Currently, as I’m writing this, I’m nearly finished with hour three listening to the same song. I was up late, cleaning. (I’m a mom – it’s easier to clean when the kids aren’t actively making it dirty…) I started a youtube video while I cleaned, but just let it autoplay. I have no idea what route it took, because I missed a couple songs in the middle while I was vacuuming. But by the time I finished cleaning and sat back down, it was a reaction video to the song “The Sound of Silence” covered by Disturbed. It’s not a new song to me. I grew up listening to all sorts of folk music as well as music from the 1950’s and 60’s, including Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence.” But I had never heard this cover.

As the song played, it was immediately a Spirit-Filled Moment for me. I find the original song pleasant and fun to sing along to, but never have I felt moved by the Spirit when listening to the song. After the reaction video finished, I directly searched for the actual music video.

I was covered in goosebumps.

I cried. Hard.

I raised my left hand. NEVER HAVE I EVER naturally felt the urge to pentecostal-style raise my hand. It wasn’t until the end of the song that I looked at my hand in the air in shock (and WASP-y awkwardness).

I watched the again.

And then I started to get that itch that I’ve found something new and I needed to share it with someone. But this all started in the middle of the night, so I had no one to talk to. I turned, instead, back to reaction videos. And there are a ton available! Three hours later, I now know that there are a lot of opinionated people who seem to all really get something out of this video. People who were lifelong fans of the original and people who’d never heard of Paul Simon; nurses, metalheads, kpop fans, even pastors – all moved emotionally by this song. One woman (who had never heard the original) openly wept, and I cried with her. So I got my moment of communal connection, over and over again listening to this song.

Probably about an hour into this journey, Spirit-Filled Moment Level 2 happened. The lyric: “And the people bowed and prayed to the neon god they made…” abruptly resonated with my spirit differently. I have Moses on the brain because of an upcoming preaching assignment, and there was a sudden shift, like, the tenth time I heard him sing the line, and the neon god became a golden calf. At that point, I had to listen to the whole song over again… again… and I heard the pleas of the prophets. Paul Simon’s words: “Hear my words that I might teach you. Take my arms that I might reach you.” Phew! Is that not the desperate cry of the prophet to a people who are lost?

Somewhere along the journey, I heard a comment that referred to the Simon and Garfunkel version as the original message of hope to the audience, trying to call attention and redirect everyone. While the Disturbed cover represents the anger from having the message ignored. This was Spirit-Filled Moment Level 3 for me. There have been many examples this year of the angry and unheard prophets. When protest marchers took to the streets all over the Northwest this year, it wasn’t new anger. It’s now reached such a depth of frustration; that these protests still continue to be necessary, because the root problems are still not being addressed.

This song is Moses breaking the first set of tablets. This is the O.T. prophet banging his head against the walls of Jerusalem because no one is listening. But what happens next? Does the angst or anger stop the prophet? Does this song end with defeat? No. The words of the prophets were still out there to be read. The words of the prophets were still being whispered into the world. Moses goes back up the mountain! The work of the prophet continues forever. Don’t let the frustration stop you from speaking your soul’s truth to the world.

Creating a Prophet’s Playlist – Self-Love

Creating a Prophet’s Playlist – Self-Love

I haven’t finished my research on being a prophetic people yet, but I am completely convinced that the first step towards embracing the role of prophet is being grounded in our own giftedness. Understanding who we are, our own talents and skills – not in a way that boosts our egos or as social status, but recognition of ourselves as blessed uniquely within our community, and ourselves as blessing to the community. I get tired of the forced humility in our society that tells us we can’t acknowledge our own strengths, because it would be arrogance or boasting. Because if we’re living in community we all have a role to play, and we need to be able to confidently contribute.

To be confident in our own giftedness does require some work in exploring what those areas of gifts, talents and skills are. One thing to do on your own is the Gifts Discovery Questionnaire. It’s a simple survey, attempting to cover a long list of spiritual gifts. Not only is this a good first step in identifying your own gifts, but also looking at the gifts that you feel your ministry could benefit from learning. If you take this survey in conjunction with your community, you could use the results to create ministry partnerships, mentor relationships, etc. The one caveat I would put on taking this questionnaire is that taking it once is not enough. Our gifts and our call changes. Taking this survey once and assuming the answers will be true for the rest of your life is inaccurate and does yourself a disservice. I’ve taken it three times, and had different results each time – because each time I was in a different phase of my life and my ministry. Another way to learn about our own giftedness is to ask the community. I love affirmation circles, and they’re a great tool for people to share with one another the ways in which they see each other’s ministry at work.

To be confident in our own giftedness also requires practicing self-acceptance and self-compassion. And I say ‘practice’ because it’s hard work that takes personal effort. There are parts of ourselves that don’t measure up to standards. Society tells us we then need to change ourselves to meet the standards. Perhaps, instead, we change the standards. If we know the areas in which we can grow and flourish, because we have the solid foundation of knowing our gifts, skills and talents, we can create our own standard by which to measure and accept ourselves. Being our best self is a better standard than trying to reach someone else’s best. And for those moments when we can’t reach those standards, when we stumble, when we make mistakes, when we make the wrong choices – we practice self-compassion. We offer ourselves grace and forgiveness, because we are a child of God. If it’s a mistake you would forgive in someone else, you also must learn to forgive in yourself. Self-acceptance and self-compassion are not just about our thoughts or spirits. It’s also about our bodies. Our prophetic message of truth must be transmitted through our bodies – acts, speech, words written, smiles, hugs, giving, marching. We cannot be prophets without physical expression. Whatever gifts or limitations our bodies have, they are part of our identity as prophets.

And all of these are radical acts of self-love.

Do you take into consideration your own wants, needs and happiness? I think there’s this idea out in the universe that a prophet must give up everything in life except their calling to speak their truth – which maybe is why we resist the role of prophet. I’m sorry, but I will never be John the Baptist. However, I don’t think I’m supposed to be. I’m supposed to be me. If God created me, and calls me to be my best self, then the truth I’m called to speak must be part of who I am. A prophet is called to speak truth – that truth comes out of who the prophet is, at their core. A prophet cannot share their message and deny themselves. A prophet must be rooted in their own sense of self, calling, giftedness, and mission. A prophet must first love and accept themselves before finding the strength/assurance/voice to share their prophetic message to the world. We must practice self-love to find our role as a prophetic people.

When my daughter was in fifth grade, it was a dynamic year for her. There were so many ways in which she really shined in and outside of school. I think it all started with a teacher who made this song, “This Is Me,” the class’s theme song for the school year. Every student knew all the words to that song by heart. They discussed what the lyrics mean, and what it meant to them. It manifested in varying ways during the school year – decorations, assignments, bgm, presentations, etc. I chose the above video to include in the post because it gives some of the back story of how uncomfortable the singer, Keala Settle, was with performing the song. No one starts ready to declare, “This is me!” Even though she performs so confidently in the film, it was a process for her to find her place with this song – to believe the words she had to sing.

Everything starts with ourselves, which is why I think self-love is important on our prophetic journey. If I’m called to value the worth of all persons, I cannot devalue myself. Let’s start our path towards being a prophetic people by learning to love ourselves.

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Cape Town, South Africa