Praying Through Weeping—Guided Prayer

Scripture Focus: Jeremiah 9.17-18
This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come;
send for the most skillful of them.
Let them come quickly
and wail over us
till our eyes overflow with tears
and water streams from our eyelids.

Reflection: Praying Through Weeping—Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

If prayer is relationship then when God weeps, we should join. What friend would weep, whom we would not join in weeping? Weeping for our own hurts and harms is one thing. Weeping for what grieves God is a prophetic task and a work of faith.

Weep in prayer with the weeping prophet. Jeremiah’s tears, just like his words, are not his own. They are as much a part of the revelation of God as the words he writes.

Oh, that my head were a spring of water
and my eyes a fountain of tears!
I would weep day and night
for the slain of my people. — Jeremiah 9.1

Jeremiah expresses our desire to escape evil—fleeing to the desert to be away from wrongdoers.

Oh, that I had in the desert
a lodging place for travelers,
so that I might leave my people
and go away from them;
for they are all adulterers,
a crowd of unfaithful people. — Jeremiah 9.2

We confess we are part of a culture that seeks out its own version of truth.
We confess that we live in echo-chambers of the lies we prefer rather than the truth. Any lie or obfuscation is acceptable as long as it can be weaponized to help us win.

“They make ready their tongue
like a bow, to shoot lies;
it is not by truth
that they triumph in the land.
They go from one sin to another;
they do not acknowledge me,”
declares the Lord. — Jeremiah 9.3

Weep with Christ prophetically. He weeps that our hypocrisy not only harms us, but blocks the path of redemption for others.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. — Matthew 23.13

“And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.” — Matthew 23.35-36

More specifically, judgment would fall within the next week. And more personally, it would fall on Christ himself.

Christ can weep with us and wipe away our tears because he took the just payment for their cause.

Divine Hours Prayer:
Open my lips, O Lord, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Had you desired it, I would have offered sacrifice, but you take not delight in burnt-offerings.
The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit; and a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. — Psalm 51.16-18

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Jeremiah 9 (Listen – 4:38) 
Matthew 23 (Listen – 4:53)

Read more about Undignified Weeping and Dancing
Hannah carried the weight of her grief to God’s presence and broke open her heart with shameless weeping.

#ReadersChoice is time for you to share favorite Park Forum posts from the year.

What post helped you pray more passionately?https://forms.gle/DsYWbj45y9fCDLzi7

Unsettled by Faith

Genesis 24.40
But [Abraham] said to me, “The Lord, before whom I have walked, will send his angel with you and prosper your way. You shall take a wife for my son from my clan and from my father’s house.”

Reflection: Unsettled by Faith
The Park Forum

The closer Abraham drew to God, the more unsettled his life became. All of the fathers of faith were wandering creatures—their minds, souls, and bodies sojourning as the spirit led. And yet, time and again we read of the people of God trying to leverage God’s grace to create stability, comfort, and earthly benefit.

The great people of faith, like Mother Theresa and St. Francis of Assisi, among many others, purposefully held their lives in liminality—for this is where God moves. Richard Rohr explains:

“We have to allow ourselves to be drawn out of “business as usual” and remain patiently on the “threshold” (limen, in Latin) where we are betwixt and between the familiar and the completely unknown.”

There alone is our old world left behind, while we are not yet sure of the new existence. That’s a good space where genuine newness can begin. Get there often and stay as long as you can by whatever means possible. It’s the realm where God can best get at us because our false certitudes are finally out of the way.”

The invitation of faith is unnerving. Anything received without merit demands we leave the moorings we have always relied upon in order to discover a world yet unknown. Rohr concludes:

“Because we have avoided liminal space, we have created a very smug and middle class kind of Christianity that has little wisdom or compassion to offer the world today. Much of the work of authentic spirituality and human development is to get people into liminal space and to keep them there long enough that they can learn something essential and new….

Most of us cannot run off to the wilderness or the hermitage forever. But spiritual traditions offer temporary and partial liminality in experiences like pilgrimages, urban plunges into different levels of society, silent retreats, extended periods of fasting, solitude in nature, and sacred times like Lent and Ramadan. There has to be something different and daring, even nonsensical, to break our comfortable sleepwalk and our compulsive cultural trance. Mere piety will never do it.”

Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
How sweet are your words to my taste! They are sweeter than honey to my mouth.  — Psalm 119.103

– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Prayers from The Divine Hours available online and in print.

Today’s Readings
Genesis 24 (Listen – 9:42) 
Matthew 23 (Listen – 4:53)

Join Us:
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Read more about Angelic Visions Require Childlike Faith
The faith of intellectualism is interested in explaining away the angel. To take angels seriously, Madeleine L’Engle insists that we must have a bit more childlike faith.

Read more about Gospel Faith or Garbage Faith
The only worthy thing is knowing Christ in the power of his resurrection and in participation in his suffering. This kind of faith is our foundation.

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