Tag Archives: James

Prayer Is Not Boring

for Sunday, September 30, 2012
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
18th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 21
lectionary focus: James 5:13-20

Good morning.

At different times in our church service, we say different kinds of prayers. At the start of church, we pray to say hello to God. Then we pray to ask forgiveness for the mistakes we have made. When we listen to God’s Word read and proclaimed, we pray for understanding. We pray for our friends and neighbors. We say prayers of thanksgiving for all of our blessings. And when we leave each Sunday, we pray for God to go with us. We also pray at home and school and throughout the week. We say prayers before we eat and before we go to bed. We pray when we feel bad and when we feel Yeehaw good. (You can substitute any colloquial term of joy.) We pray when we are scared and when we need help. In some of our prayers, we ask for things. In some of our prayers, we share things.

There are many different times to pray and many different kinds of prayers. But there is just one reason that we pray. We pray to be close to God. Prayer is how we talk with God. And God wants you to talk to Him. God wants to know how you feel and what you think. God wants you to tell Him what you like and what you don’t like. God wants to hear you tell Him your story.

In our Bible story today, we hear about the power of prayer. But prayer is not a wish list of things you want God to give you. Prayer is not a race. Prayer is not a guarantee. And certainly prayer is not boring. Prayer is boldly sharing your heart and mind with God. Prayer is an action for building your relationship with God. So wherever and whenever you pray, talk to God with all of your heart and mind; honestly share who you are; and enjoy growing closer to God.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it back.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for prayer.
Help me
to share with You
my heart and mind
so I can be close to You.

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.

Tongue Twisting

for Sunday, September 16, 2012
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
16th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 19
lectionary focus: James 3:1-12
note: I don’t think I’ve linked to a youtube video before, but I want to share THIS POWERFUL LITTLE MOVIE. I think it would inspire an interesting discussion with older youth.

I enjoy football. The weather now is perfect to be outside playing football. And there are so many games to watch on tv. Those football players can do some amazing runs and jumps and throws and catches, and how do they get their bodies to do that? Well, of course they work out a lot and they practice so that they use their strength well. Those guys have these amazing muscles! They are so strong!

I was watching a game the other day and started wondering what is the strongest muscle in our bodies? Watching those football players run so fast….we could say our leg muscles are the strongest. And watching those football players throw the football so far, we could say our arm muscles are the strongest. But what about other muscles? The heart is a muscle and since it beats every moment of our lives…without a vacation ever…we could say our heart is the strongest muscle. And since we have to eat to live and we bite and chew, we could say our jaw muscles are the strongest.

But our Bible story today tells us that the strongest, most powerful muscle in our bodies is the tongue. Yes! It’s true. Let’s see your tongues. Stick them out. Can you see your own tongue? Yep.

Let’s figure this out. We don’t use our tongues to run. We don’t use our tongues to carry in the grocery bags. We don’t use our tongues to push the blood through our bodies. Our tongues are very small compared to our whole bodies. How can they be the strongest?

We use our tongues to speak. And the words of our mouths have great power. We can use our tongues to speak beautiful words that give our friends happy feelings. We can use our tongues to speak loving words that build friendships. We can use our tongues to speak wise words that solve problems and bring peace. Or we can use our tongues to speak mean words that hurt feelings and tear down our friendships and create problems.

The Bible tells us our tongue is the strongest muscle
because of the power of the spoken word.

But do our tongues speak on their own? No, we control our tongues. Just as football players choose where and when to run and throw in order to play the game well, we, too, must choose when and what to speak in order to live our lives well. We will make mistakes, we will misspeak…and we can say we are sorry. We are in charge of using this powerful muscle, of using our tongues to speak in powerful ways that are pleasing to God.

Therefore, let us show off our strong tongues by using gracious and loving words, all for the Glory of the Lord.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for my muscles.
Help me
to keep them strong.
Help me
to use them
in ways that are good.

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.

Acting Just Like Children

for Sunday, September 2, 2012
Labor Day Sunday
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
14th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 17
lectionary focus: (loosely) James 1:17-27

Good Morning! Happy Labor Day!

Once upon a time there was a teacher who was having a hard time with her class. Her students were being wiggly, and giggly, and staring out the window, and being curious about what was for dinner, and talking to the other students. Finally the teacher could stand it no more, and she burst out with , “Behave yourselves! You are acting just like children!”
Well, that made sense. They were children. But the way the teacher said it, made them think that being children was a bad thing.

This weekend we end our summer vAcations by celebrating our vOcations on Labor Day. VOcations are the jobs that people have. And on Labor Day, we celebrate all the work people do to make our community a great place.

But what about you guys? What vocations do you have? Where do you work? What are the jobs that God calls you to do?

In our Bible story today, we are reminded that God calls everyone to a vocation. God calls even children…even you. And your job right now is to be children. Your vocation, your job, is to remind grown-ups everywhere of the importance of being children, the importance of acting just like children. God wants us to be joyous and giggly and smiley and curious and never afraid of being children. But sometimes, grown-ups forget what they were like as children. Grown-ups get caught up in worldly things. Your job is to remind us all how to put the love and joy into Love thy neighbor as thyself. You are not just children, you are children of God.

So, behave yourselves! Behave just like the children of God that you are called to be! And thank you for sharing your vocation with us! Happy Labor Day!

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for letting me be a child.
Help me
to do my job
sharing Your love
sharing Your joy
and keeping the grown-ups smiling.

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.