Litany for Release

We have come through a tumultuous time here in the U.S. - one tumultuous time that has launched us straight into another. I have personally felt that I need to clear some inner space if I am going to interact with gratitude and the season of Advent. So, on this, the weekend before Thanksgiving I invite you to find a quiet space to pray this prayer with me.

I recommend praying this litany aloud, while doing a lot of breathing. In fact, I recommend a big ol’ breath in between each line. Some nice music would be good too.

We humans have a tendency to hold onto things. Help me to loosen up and let go.

I release my fear to you, God.
I release my pain to you, God.
I release my uncertainty to you, God.
I release my shame to you, God.
I release my busyness and hurry to you, God.
I release my worry to you, God.
I release my defensiveness to you, God.

I release to you any feeling that I need to fake something, or put on a show.
I release to you any sense that I am unworthy, or unloved by you.
I release to you any interactions I’ve had with people that have hurt or shocked me.
I release to you any grudges or unforgiveness I’m holding.
I release to you any urge for vengeance or need to prove a point.

I release myself from inappropriate expectations put on me by other people.
I release myself from insisting on perfection.
I release myself from micromanaging situations, or taking too much responsibility.
I release myself from saying Yes when I should be saying No.
I release myself from saying No when I should be saying Yes.

I accept the peace you offer me in your presence.
I accept the rest you offer me in bearing my burdens.
I accept the freedom you offer me
  To not judge
  To not consume
  To not categorize or label
  To not fill silence with noise.
I accept the spaciousness that comes from giving up things that don’t serve me or others.


Litany for Endurance

The Lectionary text from the Gospels for November 13, 2016 is Luke 21:5-19. The Lectionary is for me a rich source of inspiration on this Election Day Eve.

God, Help us to remain calm in troubled waters,
When things to fear are real or imagined.

When we are tested (1),
Help us to endure.
When we are criticized,
Help us to endure.
When we are misunderstood,
Help us to endure.
When we miss the mark,
Help us to endure.
When things are loud around us,
Help us to endure.
When peace seems impossible,
Help us to endure.
When common ground feels like compromise,
Help us to endure.
When we are thwarted,
Help us to endure.
When discouragement seems like the only reasonable response.
Help us to endure.
When we are tempted to prepare our defense (1),
Help us to endure.
When those we love feel like enemies,
Help us to endure.
When our enemies are hard to love,
Help us to endure.

We know that we gain our souls
By quiet, uncomplaining endurance.
We know that endurance
Expands our souls.

In all things,
May we have the mind of Christ.


(1) James 1:2-3  “testing… produces perseverance.”

(2) Luke 21:14 “Make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance.”


Litany for Humility

The Lectionary passage from the Gospels for October 23, 2016 is Luke 18:9-14. And, well, I encourage you to read it because I'd say here’s a passage we can use about now.

In fact, just the other day I read an article written by a pastor which declared that anyone who stood against his preferred presidential candidate to be under no uncertain terms a “pharisee.” I confess I was a bit offended and judged that pastor to be judgemental and pharisaical himself. After all, I’m only trying to navigate these murky waters as best I can, just like we all are. And they are VERY MURKY, stick-your-hand-in-and-it-disappears murky. And besides, I think you are wrong, nameless pastor. Dead wrong. Actually I’m certain that you are. And I am right, and I see through these murky waters more clearly than you do because I am further along on the path of enlightenment than you are, obviously.

And my certainty and righteousness leave me no room for humility. My defensive stance leaves no energy left in my heart for self-reflection. My internal list of all the good qualities I possess, which I immediately begin to recite whenever someone questions my motives, drowns out the small voice that invites me to spiritual formation, to consider how I might be part of the problem, what I might do to be part of the solution.

Does this narrative sound familiar?

I think we can subvert it. I think we can, in a sort of grassroots, guerilla way, which in my experience how mercy usually operates, BE THE CHANGE. We can reject mudslinging and turn our cheeks. We can lower our defensive fists and invite contemplation. We can loudly and decisively reject oppression, and then live prophetically and humbly into what comes after it is gone. We can listen to the chorus of angry voices around us, find where the pain is, and set about healing it. We can do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly.

At least I hope we can.


God, we turn toward you now.
Be merciful to us, sinners.

We feel we must defend ourselves.
We take refuge in you.
We feel we must silence others.
We choose to be still instead.
We feel we must rebut every argument.
We look to you for what is right.
We feel we must make ourselves appear powerful.
We remember that your power is made perfect in weakness. (1)

Help us to not point fingers or launch accusations.
Help us to quietly and peaceably stand up for what is good.
Help us to take care of our own hearts before criticizing others.
Help us to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

We recognize that we are sinners
In need of mercy.
We recognize that we all see in part,
In need of divine perspective.
We recognize that we are all fighting a great battle,
In need of kindness. (2)

May we imitate the humility of Christ,
Who accepted punishment,
Who endured humiliation and slander
And used them for good.

We turn toward you now.
Be merciful to us, sinners.


  1. 2 Corinthians 12:9

  2. Quote attributed to Ian McLaren

Litany for Diversity

Do I have to say anything about this litany? Do I have to point out the headlines, the twitter feeds, the political season? I think not. I think we can acknowledge that we have some problems accepting one another, problems loving one another, problems with being kind. And I think we can acknowledge ways in which this political cycle has shown us our own hearts and characters in ways we needed to see. Some have said that it is God's judgement. But I am inclined to think it is God's mercy, moving us forward.

God, you have made people of every imaginable kind
Colors and shapes,
Privileged and marginalized,
Rich and poor.

We have differences of every imaginable kind
Perspectives and worldviews,
Countries and cultures,
Philosophies and theologies.

We acknowledge that we tend to fear what we don’t understand,
And that love is more powerful than fear.
We acknowledge that we must work to understand each other
And that this work is Kingdom work.
We acknowledge that each perspective brings your nature into clearer picture
And that we need each other’s points of view.

Help us to love one another
Even though we are different.
Help us to celebrate one another
Even though we may not agree.
Help us to be kind to one another
Even when we have been hurt.
Help us to open the doors to our churches
    Governing bodies
    Dinner tables
Even though it may feel awkward and impractical.

We know that the diversity of the people of the world is a good gift
For our growth and edification;
To help us see your vision for the world
Where there are neither slave nor free,
Male nor female,
One race nor the other;
But we are all free, beloved, and united
In the peace of Christ Jesus.



Litany for an Election Year

When we want to run away,
Help us to stay present to what is important.

When we want to post nasty things on social media,
Help us to vent in more appropriate ways.

When we are tempted to spend time indulging anxiety,
Help us to fix ourselves on your faithfulness.

When we are uncertain how to vote in good conscience,
Show us a way forward.

When we feel reactive,
Help us to become contemplative.

When we feel frustrated,
Help us to trust that the Kingdom of God is unstoppable.

When we feel afraid,
Help us remember our hope, joy, and the power of love.

When we are tempted to criticize those who disagree with us,
Help us to speak gracefully, or not at all.

When we are focused on pointing out the negative,
Help us to find ways to help make things better.

When we feel a sense of dislike or loathing for anyone, ever,
Help us to remember compassion and kindness.

When all we can see is ugliness,
Help us to turn off the screen and go outside.