The following is a guest post by my husband, Rev. Patrick L. Sipes. It is a prayer practice developed for First Evangelical Lutheran Church in North Platte, Nebraska for use at the beginning of worship, and throughout the week. We pray it may help to deepen your conversations with God.
The congregation I serve has been going through the Faith5 course over the last few weeks and one thing that has stuck with me that Dr. Rich Melheim says is that, “if you don’t know your highs and lows (the good and the bad things that are going on in your life) you don’t really know yourself.” I also had one of my class members tell me afterwards, “This is a new thing for me and something I’m going to have to practice.”
The following is an “Everyday Object Prayer” that is meant to help you work on naming your highs and lows. The everyday object we’ll be using is a key. As you choose a key pick one that has peaks and valleys on it as you look at it from the side and starting on the tip end, follow the ridge up to the first peak with one of your fingers. As you rest there at the peak, bring to mind something that was a high for your week, something good that happened to you, something that helped you feel accomplished, something that came to completion or resolution. Bring this thought to God in celebration and then travel down the key to a valley and bring to mind a low spot of your week, something that didn’t go as you had wished, something that caused you to struggle and hasn’t yet resolved, something you are still unsure about. Bring this low spot to God and ask for God to be with you in it, and to give you wisdom for journeying with it. Continue down your key in this manner bringing to your focus, the highs and lows of your week.
As you come across this key throughout your week, consider when you might take time to use it in prayer again.
My husband, Pastor Patrick Sipes, will be our guest blogger with a prayer meditation for the Easter season. He is currently serving as the transitional minister at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in North Platte, Nebraska, and will be inviting congregation members into these meditations in worship. May God bless you as you explore Scripture through Prayer.
John 20:19-31 NRSV: Jesus Appears to the Disciples
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” Jesus and Thomas 24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” The Purpose of This Book 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
On the evening of the resurrection, Jesus visits his disciples in the upper room where they are hiding behind locked doors. As he enters, the room, he greets the disciples with the phrase, “Peace be with you.” Through this prayer, we ask for that same peace in many places of our own lives.
In our lives, we have places of fear, fear of illness, fear of injury, fear of others, fear at times that we simply cannot place a finger on or name but it is there none the less. This morning we take a few moments to bring those places of fear to Jesus.
(Take some time for bringing fears to mind, heart, and body.)
As you bring your fears to Jesus, hear his words, “Peace be with you.”
In our lives we have reason to rejoice. Places where we see new life coming, accomplishments that we have achieved, birthdays, anniversaries of many kinds, small things like simply getting out of bed. This morning, we take a few moments to bring those places of celebration to Jesus.
(Take some time for bringing things that make you rejoice to mind, heart, and body.)
As you rejoice with Jesus, hear his words, “Peace be with you.”
In our lives there are things that make us doubt. There is news that seems to good to be true, there or places where our expectations have not been met, there are lies and half truths that are difficult to sort through. This morning, we take a few moments to bring our doubts to Jesus.
(Take some time for bringing doubts to mind, heart, and body.)
As you bring your doubts to Jesus hear his words, “Peace be with you.”
May this time of worship be a time that fills your whole being with the peace of Christ. Amen.