Archives for January 2010

A Rainy Day Prayer…

During the announcement time this morning, our very talented pianist/vocalist came across the sanctuary to ask me if it would be all right for her to play a few chords as I began my prayer. She had done it for our senior pastor during the early service and thought it worked pretty well, was it okay? Sure, I said, and then you’ll sort of fade out, right? She nodded and slipped away into the crowd, heading back to the piano.

We sang a marvelous, somewhat new-to-us offertory song just before we went to prayer, and so I opted to preface my written prayer with a few words from the song, words that seemed appropriate somehow. The pianist played, as promised. And soon, so did the lead guitar, plus a little bit of reverb guitar and even a tiny bit of drum, I think. It was lovely – but it was a greater volume than I had anticipated, so I found myself morphing into Southern Evangelist Mode and fairly shouting through most of the prayer. Interestingly enough – as so often happens in worship preparation! – the Spirit had given me words that lent themselves to this style. At the close of the prayer time, the worship team segued into an unscripted reprise, which was just lovely. Our pastor’s chosen theme for the morning – ‘change.’ The song lyrics at the beginning and end are from “Revelation Song,” by Jennie Lee Riddle, Gateway Create Publishing, 2004
A Rainy Day Prayer
written by Diana R.G. Trautwein
for worship at Montecito Covenant Church
January 17, 2010

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come;
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings;
You are my ev’rything and I will adore You.
clothed in rainbows of living color, flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder;
Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power
be to You, the only wise King.

The rain is coming, Holy Father,
or so the weather folk
and the drops on the patio tell us.
The rain is coming,
showering the earth with the promise of new life,
washing the cobwebs away,
filling the reservoirs,
changing the brown, dry ground into a carpet of green.

The earth is thirsty for the rain, Lord,
hungry for the kind of change
that brings with it hope,
and the promise of new beginnings.
And we, as people of the earth,
are thirsty and hungry as well.
For the rain – certainly!
Despite its occasional inconveniences,
rain is refreshing,
calling us to quieter, more reflective activities.
We all need rain days once in a while.

But beyond that kind of thirst,
that kind of hunger,
there is something even deeper,
more urgent,
more necessary.
For we hunger and thirst after you, Lord God.
We long to hear you say, your Spirit to our spirits:

“I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my spirit upon your descendants,
and my blessings on your offspring.”

We long for your Holy Rain
in our lives,
and in our world.
We watch the pictures coming out of Haiti
and cannot believe what our eyes are telling us.
Rain down mercy, Lord!
Rain down mercy, and healing power and hope!

We listen to some of the angry political rhetoric
furiously flying
out of the mouths of our leaders,
and we wonder if anyone tells the truth anymore.
Rain down reason, Lord!
Rain down reason, and truth-telling and wisdom!

We listen to the words coming out of our own mouths
some days and we wonder
if some mean-spirited alter-ego
has taken up residence in our souls.
Rain down forgiveness, Lord!
Rain down forgiveness, and humility and love!

We watch our children and our grandchildren
stretching toward the light,
learning to be human.
And we hope and pray for a viable future for them all.
Rain down protection, Lord!
Rain down protection, and healing to our planet,
and strong systems of care – from the nuclear family to
the Department of Social Services.

We watch our elders,
saints who have led us on the path toward you,
and we pray for a good ending, Lord,
a good ending and the promise of a rich new beginning
as they transition from this life to the next.

And for all of us, Lord,
children, elders, middlers,
youth, students, young parents,
all of us thirsty for you,
so in need of the life-giving rain
of your Spirit in every corner of our lives –
for all of us,
we ask pliability,
bendability –
the willingness to yield to change
and the wisdom to ask for it with our whole hearts.
Cleanse away those cobwebs!
Fill the reservoirs to overflowing!
Change the dry, dusty ground of our being
by bringing forth a carpet of green,
fresh and new.

Change us into that vision
you hold for each one of us –
that reality that is totally unique to each of us,
yet clearly related to our elder brother,
Jesus Christ,
in whose image we are designed,
through whose sacrifice we are reclaimed,
from whose resurrection we take assurance of our own,
even Jesus Christ.

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.
Who was and is and is to come.”


Words, schmerds…

I was just sittin’ here, studying for a teaching session tomorrow morning on holiness and the glory of God, when my husband walked by and said, “Hey, look up for a minute.” WOW. Think I’m about done now with words for tomorrow. Right outside my bedroom door was this spectacular sunset sight. Thank you!

A Prayer for Beginnings…

written by Diana R.G. Trautwein
for worship at Montecito Covenant Church
January 3, 2010

Today’s table prayer will be longer than usual
and will include several opportunities for silent prayer.
Will you come with me, ‘down to the river to the pray,‘ this morning?

It’s a ‘back to the basics’ kind of day today, Lord.
A small window of time designed
to help us cut through the complicated web of
and just plain ‘stuff’
that we tend to gather around us like so much
heavy luggage,
a time to push away from all that insulation
that too often causes isolation,
a time to breathe a little bit more calmly,
to slow down,
to remember who we are and whose we are,
beloved children of Almighty God.

And we need that kind of breather about now.
It’s important for us to just stop here for a few minutes,
isn’t it, God?
It’s important to reflect quietly on where we’ve been,
and on where we’re headed.
And in the process of that reflection,
it’s good for us to say some simple, basic,
but very important, words to you,
basic words that loved children
say to a loving Father.
So we’ll begin with these:


Thank you, thank you, thank you
for the goodness and beauty of life,
for the power and promise of our faith,
for the joy of knowing you,
and of being known by you.
Hear us as we offer silent prayers of thanksgiving
for those people and experiences
in the year just past which have given us glimpses of your love.

— Silence —

We continue our time of quiet reflection
with another set of basic words, Holy Friend,
and here they are:


We are very sorry for the words,
spoken and unspoken,
for the deeds,
done and undone,
for the thoughts,
silent or expressed,
which have caused pain for others or ourselves
and which have gotten in the way of our
relationship with you.
Hear us now as we offer silent prayers of confession
in this moment of quietness.

— Silence —

For the wondrous reality of grace in our lives,
for the confidence that our sins are forgiven,
we rejoice and give you praise.

And as your thankful, forgiven children, Lord God,
gathered round the family table this morning,
ready to dip our fingers in the waters of our baptism,
ready to remember all that you’ve promised,
we also need to offer these really basic words:


There are so many in our midst who are struggling today,
people we love,
people we care about,
maybe even we ourselves.
And there are so many others,
whom we don’t know,
whom we don’t love –
except in the most abstract possible use of that word –
people who are caught in messes
that are beyond our power to comprehend,
who are suffering in ways
we have trouble even imagining.
They, too, need your mercy.

So today, before we eat this bread or drink this cup,
before we swirl the waters,
before we participate in these holy parables of love and promise,
we pause to remember that you are God,
the God we know to be loving and merciful and just.
So, hear our prayers for mercy, O Lord, as we offer them to you
on this day of new beginnings, in the silent temples of our own hearts.

— Silence —

Holy Trinity –
Father, Son, Spirit,
Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer,

Thank you!
We’re so sorry!
Have mercy!

Back to the basics, indeed.
We pray today in the sweet name of Jesus,
using that most basic of prayers,
the one he taught us, saying…
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins as
we forgive those who have sinned against us.
Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil,
for thine is the kingdom and the power and glory forever.