Prayer for Contentment

Lord,

Let me be content.

Help me to turn my desires into your peace.

Let me be content; serving instead of being served.
Let me be content; to give more than I receive.

Let me be content; with the body I have.
with the mind you gave me.
with the soul you breathed into me.

Let me be content; when the rain falls
When the sun shines,
When the wind blows.

Let me be content; in silence.
in noise,
in warmth,
in the cold,
when alone,
when crowded,
when tired,
when strong,
when hungry.

Let me be content to know that the world is yours,
and I am in it.

Let me be content in your love.

In Jesus name,

Amen

10/9/2013 jsc

Prayer Book: Prayer for Courage

Dearest God in heaven,
Thank you for the many blessings you have bestowed on me.
I know that all good gifts come from you.
I know that all things happen so you may work them for good,

Father give me the courage to accept your plan as best for my life.
Father help me to live as the conqueror you have made me.
Father God, let me always take you at your word in my:

Giving,
my family life,
and in my salvation.

Father help me follow the example of your Son and stand for truth no matter the consequences.

In you Holy Son’s name,

Amen

Prayer Book; Prayer for Acceptance of Forgiveness

Heavenly Father Creator and Master,
You are the eternal life-giver;
You make all things possible through your redeeming love.

Father I feel such anxiety.
I remember all the things I have done.
I see the wreckage of my life and the pain that I have brought to others.

Father help me see the freedom you have given me.
Lead me to the blessed peace of understanding.
You have consumed the past in the power of your love.
My chains are truly gone.

The sacrifice of your Holy Son has set me free.
Let me accept that.
So, I can press forward to do your work in confidence and security.

In the name of Jesus Christ,

Amen

JSC 9-19-2013

Prayer Book “Prayer for Understanding”

Heavenly Father,

I know that all wisdom comes from you.
I know your heart is full of love for all of your children:

Father, my spirit is troubled.

I have not loved your living image on earth,
I have asked others to understand me:
when I am angry
frustrated
lonely and depressed.
But I have not given what I have asked for.
Please forgive me Father.
Help me to truly give to others what I want for myself.
Thank you, Master for all your blessings.
Thank you, for your love and your understanding,
Thank you, for being the Father I can run to for all the wonderful things of life.

In the name of your Holy Son, my Savior

Jesus Christ,

Amen

JSC September 17, 2013

Christian Gangsta

Yesterday when I was coming home from working out I broke the law. I gave money to a man on the street holding a sign that read, “Disabled, Hungry, Please help.”

Now let me clarify. It is not really against the law to give money to someone in Indiana. It is however “not recommended.” It is especially “not recommended” to do it while waiting at a stoplight. It is not recommended because according to local businesses and politicians, “we have a problem with panhandlers.” But I did it anyway.

I have now, according to said businesses and politicians, made it difficult for conventions to come to town. Let me explain, Indianapolis lost out on a large convention recently because our panhandlers bother people for money on the streets. The organization cited that as the only reason that they were not coming to Indy.

I have also encouraged a non-working person to continue to not work. The prevailing theory is that if one can get money by begging then they will not get jobs and become useful members of society because it so much “easier” to beg for the money.

So, my wrong-headed kindness has cost my city and state money. My money has perpetuated the scourge of begging in public. I am now “the problem.”

All I can say is, “Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta.”

Nowhere Man

In my last post I wrote about cheering for people who are kind. I know speaking out for kindness does not make me a “trailblazer.” In fact, since I wrote it I have been thinking…

Who cares what I think?

The answer is short and sweet, no one.

I am, in the words of the Beatles, “a real nowhere man, sitting in his nowhere land, making all his nowhere plans for nobody.”

In fact, my Nowhere Land is the prison that I have consigned myself to through my fear of action. But since I wrote it my mind, correct that, my spirit keeps coming back to it. As I look out the bars of my prison all I see is my own inadequacy. But there is something beautiful in this cell with me.

The beauty in here with me is my teacher. He keeps putting things like this in my head even though I know they are never going to work. Even though I know the bars are too strong for me. Even though I know that the door is locked and the key is just out of reach. But sitting here I do have time to think. And what came to my mind is a piece of writing that I am including in this post. The person who wrote it had the same teacher as me. Enjoy the writing of a man more free in jail than many people who have never seen a prison cell:

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling our present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom, if ever, do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all of the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would be engaged in little else in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I would like to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should give the reason for my being in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the argument of “outsiders coming in”

I am in Birmingham because injustice is here …I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider …

We have waited for more than three hundred and forty years for our God-given and constitutional rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward the goal of political independence, and we still creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward the gaining of a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say “wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize, and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she cannot go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her little eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son asking in agonizing pathos, “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger” and your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and when your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodyness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over and men are no longer willing to be plunged into an abyss of injustice where they experience the bleakness of corroding despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience …

You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, it is rather strange and paradoxical to find us consciously breaking laws. One may well ask, “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: there are just laws, and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “An unjust law is no law at all.”

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine when a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality …

There are some instances when a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I was arrested Friday on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong with an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade, but when the ordinance is used to preserve segregation and to deny citizens the First Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and peaceful protest, then it becomes unjust.

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was seen sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar because a higher moral law was involved. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks before submitting to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience.

We can never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. But I am sure that if I had lived in Germany during that time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers even though it was illegal. If I lived in a Communist country today where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I believe I would openly advocate disobeying these anti-religious laws …

I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are presently misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with the destiny of America. Before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson scratched across the pages of history the majestic word of the Declaration of Independence, we were here …If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands …

Never before have I written a letter this long–or should I say a book? I’m afraid that it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else is there to do when you are alone for days in the dull monotony of a narrow jail cell other than write long letters, think strange thoughts, and pray long prayers?

If I have said anything in this letter that is an understatement of the truth and is indicative of an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything in this letter that is an overstatement of the truth and is indicative of my having a patience that makes me patient with anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.

Volume 212, Number 2, pp. 78-88

This excerpt taken from

    The Atlantic Monthly.