Below are Prayers and Thoughts about God:
PRAYERS WE LIKE:
Grandma Snyder’s Prayer (Author unknown)
So far today, I have done all right, I have
kept my mouth shut. I have not gossiped,
yelled, or lost my temper. I have not been
greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or
overindulgent. I am glad about that. But
in a few minutes, God, I am getting out of
bed. From then on, I’m probably going to
need a lot of help. Thank You!
The Difference (Author unknown)
“I got up early one morning,
And rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish
That I didn’t have time to pray.
Problems just tumbled about me,
And heavier came each task;
‘Why doesn’t God help me?’ I wondered.
He answered, ‘You didn’t ask.’
I wanted to see joy and beauty
But the day toiled on gray and bleak
I wondered why God didn’t show me
He said, ‘But you didn’t seek’,
I tried to come into God’s presence;
I used all my keys in the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided,
‘My child, you didn’t knock.’
I woke up early this morning,
And paused before entering the day;
I had so much to accomplish
That I had to take time to pray.”
-Author Unknown, The Difference
A Morning Prayer
God, Please enlighten my mind with truth’
Inflame my heart with love;
Inspire my will with courage;
Enrich my Life with service.
Pardon what I have been;
Sanctify what I am;
And guide what I shall be.
The prayer of St. Francis of Assisi (Author is thought to be unknown)
Lord, make me an instrument of your
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to
Give the world the best you have and it
may never be enough. Give your best
anyway. ~ Kent M. Keith
People are often unreasonable and
self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you
are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior
motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest,
people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be
jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you
do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do
good anyway. Give the world the best you
have and it may never be enough. Give
your best anyway. For you see, in the end,
it is between you and God. It was never
between you and them anyway.
(Mother Teresa had this version in her
room and it is often incorrectly attributed to
Christ in Life—— by T. D. Reid
I’ve found that the word “Christian” can procure instant bias and often negative connotations. It is not hard to understand why. First, it is a religion that appears splintered; the dizzying number of Protestants, Lutherans, Catholics, some orthodox, some liberal, seems to draw from any attempt at a united front. Second, those who are not Christians justifiably feel isolated by and withdrawn from an ideology that seems to quite easily condemn them to an eternity of hell. Third, hypocrisy runs deep; on one hand is the middleclass housewife, who adamantly believes that non-Christians are doomed, yet who gossips about her friends and does not lift a finger to help those less fortunate than she. On the other hand, are the spiritual pillars of the religion, entrenched in as much scandal and corruption as our elected officials. This image, perpetuated in part by those responsible for
upholding the tenets of their faith, is the problem with Christianity as a religion.
But, here is my challenge: I question that we should even call Christianity a religion, as religion is seen by our standards today. We view religion as something that we fit into the end of our day right before we go to sleep, something that tucks nicely into the Sunday time slot between a bacon and egg breakfast and afternoon football.
Religion is something that we motion through, a tradition surrounded by stiff collars and an instant gratification of feeling righteous and vindicated from our immediate transgressions. This is what religion has become to many, and this is not Christianity. Christianity is meant to be lived; it is life, not a religion. It is one unifying principle that connects every living, breathing person to one another. It knows no sects or factions, because it upholds only one simple truth that has been made available to each of us. That truth is love, unconditional love that God has for us, and that we may have for each other if we choose to do so. It is a love that can be felt even in the smallest details. We may feel it as the warmth of the sun on the back of our necks, or in the smile of a stranger. Through all the debate and differences of opinion on how one should lead life, the answer is simple. Jesus said, love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. And beyond that, for though we have been taught to love our neighbor and hate our enemies, Jesus says, But I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. We’ve heard to “turn the other cheek” when someone wrongs us, but the unconditional love that He speaks of goes even further: And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do
not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. This principle is most evident in His sacrifice. For the longest time, I did not truly understand how one man’s death could somehow atone for the offenses of humanity.
The answer to my bewilderment is explained by love. God showed us how to achieve that perfect love, with Jesus as our tangible example. So unconditional was His love for us, that He was willing to die for those very people who were spitting on him and driving spikes into his hands. He prayed for them, he loved them even as they hated him. He wanted to take their sins upon himself, was willing to endure hell and torture to give them, us, a chance at life. That willingness is the absolute manifestation of higher love, a sacrifice so selfless. The point is, the capability to love in that way is within each of us. God speaks to us: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not
boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres…And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. And love acts. We cannot protect the weak without lifting a finger. We cannot reject evil if we see others around us in pain and do nothing to ease that pain. We cannot be selfless without, at some point, putting our own needs behind another’ s and inconveniencing ourselves for their improvement. And this cannot occur if we are not walking in love at every moment of our lives and if we are only concerned with the Lord’s work for an hour on Sunday mornings. So
to the middleclass housewife: if you take the love that God had given you and hoard it away, if you take the light that he has bestowed upon you and cloak it from the world, it will be as if those gifts had never existed in the first place. You may sit pure and sinless in your own eyes, but you will not be participating in the one true thing that God bestowed on us and wished for us: His love.
So, is Chrisianity splintered? No, it is connected by that single lifeline, that perfect love for us that He revealed strikingly in Jesus. What differences in rules and practices that exist among the sects matter little when compared to this unifying principle, God says, one man considers one day more sacred that another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, because he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. Christians may differ on certain finer points of the faith, but the key, the most important cornerstone, is that each of these diverse ideologies and practices is enacted for
the greater glory of God. We should respect these traditions if they are true to His Word, because their faithful aim, no matter what the path to that aim, is the glorification of God and the magnification of His love. Another question: does Christianity easily condemn our brothers and sisters in humanity to an eternity of hell? No, again, God’s love is not a condemnation. His gift in Jesus, that example of pure love, is in no way a condemnation; it is an exclamation of good news, a reason to rejoice! Before this act of selfless love, we were mired in our egocentric ways. The love is now tangible and can be accessed by all of humanity, and we should celebrate the presence of God’s hope and peace in every person; where we go wrong is when we trust in Christ, but do not proclaim His perfect love to those around us. Again, hiding our faith from the world is akin to turning our backs on friend and
foe alike. And finally, what of our hypocrisy? Why are we judging others when we too are laden with similar transgressions? We need to stop treating Christianity as a modern-day religion and start regarding it as a way of life and a message of love. God did not intend for us to judge others, to only occasionally think of Him, nor did He intend to have us seated in church with our eyes straying to our watches. He wants us to marvel at his subtle touch in every aspect of our lives. When the sky is darkened with clouds, He hopes that we will gaze upward and wonder at the palate of colors He has used to paint the roof of our world. Even when we suffer, He wants us to praise His name in the knowledge that He loves us and that His plan is continually working around us and through
us. He says, And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings; because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and hope.
And so, even our pain can be transformed into a means to become closer to Him, and can be used positively to reinforce God’s love on earth. In our lives may we forever be striving to convey that love; may we find peace and joy at every single moment, no matter how small and no matter how difficult; and may we judge no one but rather be unified as one people with the sole objective to praise Him and to spread His compassion to the lonely, the weak, the poor, and the lost. May we love selflessly in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy
Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and left; through glory and dishonor; bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as imposters; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
Regarding religions and the following of Christ —— by K. D. Snyder
In this age of technical bombardment: TV, internet, radio, etc… never before has an individual on the planet been exposed to so many opinions. While it is wonderful to extract so much feedback from the world, it can also lead the vulnerable astray. There is seemingly misdirection or a lack of direction to many people’s lives and I fear it leads to the greed, violence, and soullessness that we see in the world. We need guidance; we have always wanted guidance towards something greater than what we find on this earth. Reading the religious literature, the interpretations are as numerous as the people who read it. The question should be: What is the basis for this religion and the source of its guidance? While seemingly bright and thoughtful people belong to all religions and often simply follow the faith of their parents, I will not judge further as I did my own shopping around and came to my own conclusions. Having read up on many of the religions that have guided people through the ages and in the spirit of free opinions, I will give mine on God and Christ and finding Peace.
But first, who or what is God? Let me define God as the Creator; Goodness itself; the Spirit of Love. God is an entity so beyond us that I believe we are actually quite ignorant of God. (I used the word “defined” earlier because I could not believe in God who is not Good or embodies Love. I will continue more on this later.) That God is the epitome of superlatives is unquestionable as we view the universe, creation, and life, and the physical and chemical interactions around us that we still barely comprehend with science. (BTW, I am a scientist by training.) I also have no problem with God using evolution to create. Physically, our bodies, our world, our universe are complex chemical palaces. With the Gibb’s free energy equation taking Entropy into account, a slow chemical process of creation is conceivable. BUT you have to start with something to bake a cake. Whether you create the ingredients out of nothing or create an actual cake out of nothing, it doesn’t really matter. Creation of anything is simply impressive!
Why should we believe in God?
Spiritually, if you do not believe in something greater than yourself, you must also accept how truly insignificant you are. You are as important as an ant; maybe less, if you are of an unproductive nature. You must also realize that if there is nothing more out there, nothing really matters – really, nothing. On the other hand, if you believe there is a God, then God and his guidance really should be the most important thing in your life.
Let us return to God being defined as a good and loving Creator. The fact that this Creator is beyond our understanding does not mean He is good. That God is an artistic genius does not mean He is good. That God awes us with wonders does not mean He is good. We all know of many human artists or those with brilliant minds or abilities who are not necessarily decent people. I believe God is good because He created all this, then took the time to send a messenger (once man had developed enough brains to understand and receive the message) to show us how to live. That messenger embodied the perfection of God to such a degree as to be considered a true Son of God. As you may realize, Christ often referred to all of us as children of God. He taught us to pray to God as “Our Father” and explained that we all have the potential to hold Heaven inside of us. This true Son showed us how to live through love and mercy, and to die without violence while showing forgiveness. He showed us how to overcome our selfish, evolutionary animalistic urges and to live by His example. His teachings were so Godly and so beyond my intrinsic natural behavior, that if I ever come even close to emulating Christ, my joy would be, indeed, Heaven.
I am a Christian, but do not belong to any man-inspired religion or brick-and-mortar church. I may one day; but at the moment, I find my inspiration in God’s creation: on a beach at sunrise or in a forest on a mountain peak. I belong to Christ’s “Church”, but one without walls, where there are no arguments, no misinterpretations, and no misunderstandings. As far as I can discern, Christ’s teachings exemplify Godliness better than anything else I have seen. Let our deeds and His Way define us. Therefore, anyone who tries to behave with love, mercy, and forgiveness is a Christian, whether they think it or not. And a self-proclaimed Christian who acts with righteous violence and claims hatred against anyone is no Christian at all. The fact that one could say historically Christians stole from the poor to build their cathedrals, killed mercilessly throughout the Crusades and the Inquisition, and now abuse children, should not turn anyone away from Christ as these were clearly not His teachings. One must return to the pure source of guidance, Christ’s life and his teachings. Likewise, one should examine all religious sources and examine the truths behind each.
I call myself a Christian because my goal is to try to follow Christ’s teachings. Focusing then on Christ’s teachings in the New Testament, the first rule is: “Love God (or Goodness)” and the second is: “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Those rules really say it all. (So, if someone asks you to do something evil in the name of friendship or love, Goodness must always be considered first.) They are all I need for guidance and certainly should and do keep me quite busy. Of course, I usually fail miserably and get caught up in my selfish little life. I know very well what I should do on a daily basis but my focus strays so easily. The big bonus is that I know that if I do try with all my heart, God will forgive me my failures. This forgiveness is the ultimate gift to receive, and to hopefully pass on to others.
The pure message in the story of Christ who had so much power and yet was a humble, loving servant to his fellow man IS Godly. He was demeaned, betrayed, tortured, and killed alongside thieves; and He still showed no violence and forgave those who harmed Him. I believe this is why He came and suffered, to show us how to live and die in this world, that we might reach Godliness. (The excuses we would give if he hadn’t suffered can be imagined: “Well, of course HE could be magnanimous, he wasn’t feeling the pain I am in.”) Even when we realize how horribly He suffered to bring us this message, it still isn’t easy for us to follow his Way. But this was God’s gift of love to us. This love, with its giving nature, its lack of violence, and its total forgiveness, takes away all fear and results in Peace. I write this in the hope that someone out there might find His Peace.