Prayer as Ruthless Honesty

It’s a lovely time of year to live in Minnesota. The weather is finally warm enough to be outside, the leaves are coming back on the trees, the school year is winding down and all the activity of summer is dawning.  The fields that stretch behind my house are free of snow and the corn is not yet growing high, so I can go walking there – a nice change from jogging miles on my treadmill every morning.

Yesterday as I walked, I listened to Rob Bell’s podcast, the “Robcast.” I’ve listened to this podcast off and on since he started it because I’ve always enjoyed his books and other projects but lately, I’ve been mainlining these podcasts, one after another.

I love how he is making these podcasts exactly what he wants them to be – sometimes they are a sermon – which is very natural for him since he is a pastor, but sometimes he interviews people, on other occasions, they are just his thoughts which sound more like a motivational speech than anything.  He creates for the sake of creating what he feels led to create and does his best to detach himself from whether or not the outcome will be a “success” – and encourages others to do the same. His words, his way of sharing them, his outlook – and all of it is serving as good medicine for my spirit.

And yesterday, he was talking a bit about prayer. He said, “Prayer is the practice of ruthless honesty of all that is going on inside you.” He referenced a text from Jeremiah when Jeremiah was pouring out his frustration, anger, and praise all in the same prayer…but the prayer didn’t end with praise, it ended with asking God why he had even been born. (Jeremiah 20:7-18)

It reminded me of my dad’s notebooks I have been going through as I’ve been trying to get rid of things. Whether he saw them that way or not, they were prayers. From the sad poems, to the angry, ranting letters to local politicians, to the unpublished memoirs, even the unsent letters he wrote to faceless, nameless women he found in Enquirer personal ads. All of those words he wrote were him pouring out what was going on inside of him. The notebooks were the place he felt he could be honest. They were his prayers.

All of us need a place we can be honest and real about what troubles and excites us, what brings us hope, what we long for. We need to be able to pour out and acknowledge all that collects inside us – to remember that it, and we, matter.

It seems in modern Christianity we think we need to sanitize our prayers. In fact, long ago in confirmation class I used to teach the kids a tidy little acronym to help them remember what a ‘perfect’ prayer looks like: ACTS – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. All those parts are good and important, but prayer can’t be reduced to an acronym. When it is treated that way, we start to think there is a wrong and a right way to pray, that God can only handle some of our words and some of our thoughts presented in only certain ways.

But God can handle our messiness. God can handle our prayers that are all over the place – angry and thankful and pissed off and hopeful all at the same time. We are never ‘too much’ for God. Our emotions, our lives, our mistakes, our longings, our desires, our despair – none of it is too much for God.

“Prayer is the practice of ruthless honesty of all that is going on inside you.” – Rob Bell

 

 

 

Sunrise, Sunset

Reflections on Shuffle Play

Sunrise, Sunset – Fiddler on the Roof Soundtrack

And they are off. I got my babies up early and onto the bus and another school year has begun. I woke up with the song, “Sunrise, Sunset” going through my mind. It is a bit sad and melancholic – like my mood today. Even though I am thankful for each passing year, I notice how quickly the sunrises and sunsets pass.

I went for a run and then made my way over to church. There is no one else at the church this morning for a little while. I love the quiet – a perfect way to begin a week which is going to be very busy. This feels like the lull before the storm.

So many to keep in prayer today – my head practically spins with all the prayers: those recovering from Hurricane Harvey, those worrying about Hurricane Irma, all those in the line of the fires out west, a young mom from my church who is in the hospital with crippling headaches and no diagnosis yet, all the nervous students and overwhelmed teachers, all the parents feeling all the different feelings on this gorgeous fall morning, all the churches preparing for Rally Sunday, prayers upon prayers upon prayers.

My days are better when I begin them with prayer – and my prayers are often exactly like this: I write and see what comes out. Sometimes I don’t even know what is on my heart and what I want to tell God about (or what God is trying to tell me) until I am writing it down. It happens that way, or when I am out walking and suddenly I notice that I have been talking out loud to myself or to God or to some imaginary ‘other’ for the past few minutes.

Some people think prayer is akin to good thoughts – nice, but relatively powerless. Others see prayer as a good luck charm – if we just pray enough or in the right way, God will grant all our wishes.

But I see prayer as a conversation – it’s me telling God what is on my heart and if I am quiet enough and really listening, God revealing something of God’s own heart to me. It happens. I can’t explain it, but it is one of the truest things I know. When I pray, something breaks open in my heart and makes enough room for the Spirit to move, to give me some wisdom, some inspiration, some peace I was needing.

So, yes, I pray for others – but mostly I pray because this selfish heart needs it and the medicine only it can give.

Why do you pray? Do you pray?

IMG_2720

Sunrise, Sunset
from Fiddler on the Roof
Is this the little girl i carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don’t remember growing older,
When did they?
When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?
Sunrise sunset, sunrise, sunset,
Swiftly flow the days,
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers,
Blossoming even as they gaze…
Sunrise sunset, sunrise, sunset!
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears…
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears…

Looking for Green Places

Looking for green places
But they are not here yet
Just brown and brown,
grey and brown
The cold lingers a bit longer
Spring is shy.

I was tired today
Walking felt like a chore.
I walked and felt underwater with each step.
Everything was hard –
Cleaning – a chore
Writing – a chore
Being awake – a chore;

So I scaled everything back and practiced being quiet
My kids and I
Watched movies
Ate Chinese food
and talked
occasionally glancing out at the
brown grass, brown trees, grey March day.

There was so much I needed to do
but really
I needed to sit
and listen
for You.
Sometimes You seem so quiet…
or am I just being too loud?
All I know is that my spirit gets dry as dust
my bones all wither-y
and then
it is time to stop.
Stop and listen.
Stop and pray.
Stop and be.
Stop and look out the window
at the brown and grey,
wonder out loud,
sigh.

Oh – maybe someday I will be wise enough
to do this before my spirit feels parched.
Someday I will pretty much enlightened
Pretty much.
But not today.
Today I was tired
So I rested.
and I trust in the healing sleep will bring
and in the One who placed the stars in the sky
and in all that might yet be possible tomorrow.

An Everyday Prayer

Dear God,
I yelled at the dog
I had a cookie for breakfast
I was impatient with the children
I sighed over another cold, snowy day
I worried, and worried, and worried some more.
Countless times I lose my way as your follower each day.
Countless ways I wander in the darkness
So much for being a light in the world for you.
So much for showing others the way to you when so often I am distracted,
Disturbed,
Day-dreaming,
Dead-tired.
But still, you are here. For me, for all of us.
But still, I hear your breath in the evening breeze.
But still, your wonder is painted in the sunrise.
But still, you are everywhere – in the warm handshake on the way into church,
In the sweet smiles of children listening to stories about you.
In their squirminess, too.
You are here – in this holy place – so old, and yet being made new each year.
You are here – loving us at our best, holding us at our worst.
So thank you, God. Thank you for this day – snow and cold and all.
Thank you for blessing us with relationships, people to love. Help us to be better at that.
Thank you for all there is to do and be each day – but help us to not take it all so seriously that we miss the joy of the journey.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, God. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen.

Looking for Answers to Big Questions? Explore the “Prayer of Examen”

Should I go down this path or that one? Should I take the new job or keep my old one? What does God want me to do? What does God want me to change? How do I know where God is leading me? These are common questions that deal with the topic of discernment. Developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Prayer of Examen helps us become more aware of where God is in our lives. When we practice the Examen we begin to be attentive to times of consolation (what gives us life, joy, peace, love) and to times of desolation (what brings us anxiety, worry, fear, anger). When we notice desolation in our lives we begin to have a sense of what God is leading us away from. When we notice consolation, the fruits of the Spirit, we are actually noticing God. And once we begin to notice God our job is to follow wherever God is leading.

Practice the Examen:

  1. Choose a period of time to examine in prayer. This can be a day, week, or a specific event.
  2. Allow your mind to wander through that period of time. Some questions you might ask yourself about that period include:
    – What am I most/least grateful for during that time?
    – When did I feel a sense of love, peace, joy, life (the gifts of the Spirit)?
    – When did I feel exhausted, dead, drained, angry, mean?
    – What specific events, thoughts, or experiences draw my attention?
    – What aspects of that time repel me?
    – What moments from that time speak to me of my deepest desires?
    – What things feel out of place, uninteresting?
  3. Ask yourself, When did I notice God during this time? What felt like a time of God’s absence?
  4. As some answers to these questions arise, notice what this tells you about the future. How is it that God is calling you into being? Toward what actions, activities, or attributes is God drawing you?
  5. Repeat this prayer at regular intervals in order to see how God is working in your life.

Taken from Creating a Life with God by Daniel Wolpert

Artwork by Trey Everett

Check out more at http://www.micahprays.org/art/doodles.htm#deadplant

On Prayer – a sermon from September 27, 2015 at Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church – Audubon, MN

Among the scores of articles written this week about the pope’s visit, one that particularly caught my eye was an article about some of the disciplines the pope has in his life.  The article says he hasn’t watched television since 1990, he takes regular naps each day, goes to bed early, and each day he wakes at 4:00 a.m. and spends the first two hours of his day in prayer and meditation.

We may think that’s nice and that sounds like a great thing for a pope to do, but prayer is a spiritual discipline accessible to all of us and the benefits of prayer extend farther than most of us realize.

In fact, prayer may be one of the very best practices to benefit our health and well-being.  Science backs this up.

The relationship between prayer and health has been the subject of scores of double-blind studies over the past four decades. Dr. Herbert Benson, a cardiovascular specialist at Harvard Medical School and a pioneer in the field of mind/ body medicine discovered what he calls “the relaxation response,” which occurs during periods of prayer and meditation. At such times, the body’s metabolism decreases, the heart rate slows, blood pressure goes down, and our breath becomes calmer and more regular.

This physiological state is correlated with slower brain waves, and feelings of control, tranquil alertness and peace of mind. This is significant because Benson estimates that over half of all doctor visits in the U.S. today are prompted by illnesses like depression, high blood pressure, ulcers and migraine headaches, that are caused at least in part by elevated levels of stress and anxiety.

A study of Tibetan Buddhists in meditation and Franciscan nuns in prayer showed prayer and meditation increase levels of dopamine, which is associated with states of well-being and joy.

So, while perhaps our first impulse when we think about the Pope getting up at 4:00 a.m. each morning to pray is to think about his selflessness to pray for others and the concerns of the world, but another way to look at this practice is that for him it is one of radical self care.

A Vatican spokesperson confirms this when he said, “Morning prayer is where he meditates and really connects to God. His deep relationship to God is what allows him the freedom he has, what sustains him through the day, Before anyone comes in, before the (Vatican) secretary of state tells of him of any crisis, he connects with the Lord.”

So if prayer is good for our health, gives us a greater sense of well-being and joy, and helps us deal with the stresses of our day with increased ease, why wouldn’t we do it?

Well, perhaps prayer is one of those things that we feel we should do and even want to do but we aren’t quite sure how to go about it in ways that feel natural or meaningful or even necessarily spiritual.  We know how to pray the Lord’s prayer and we hear the prayers being said in church, and participate in the prayer chain but maybe we never thought much about praying on our own or as prayer being anything other than a last resort when we really need something.  It reminds me of a quote by Oswald Chambers when he wrote: “We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.”

God wants prayer to be our steering wheel and not just a spare tire – at least scripture surely seems to lift up the importance of prayer to us over and over.  In our reading from James today it reads, “Are you hurting? Pray. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.”

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing

Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

These are beautiful Bible verses – and I think we all want to be people of prayer and have that peace that passes all understanding.

So it’s important to remember that prayer takes many shapes and there are a multitude of ways we can incorporate it into our lives, receive its’ benefits, and bless the world with our prayers.

One way is to get up early and pray just like his holiness.  Lots of books have been written about the benefits of getting up early to take care of the most important things first.  In the book Miracle Morning,  it reads, “It’s been said that the first hour is the rudder of the day.  If I am lazy or haphazard in my actions during the first hour after I wake up, I tend to have a fairly lazy and unfocused day.  But if I strive to make that first hour optimally productive, the rest of the day tends to follow suit.”

My mornings have rarely been a good example of how to start the day.  I love to sleep, I generally sleep as long as possible and then wake up, drink coffee, check e-mail and then bark at the kids to get ready.

Just in the last few weeks I’ve been trying this idea of getting up early and starting the day more intentionally.  I haven’t gotten up as early as the pope but early for me and the practice has been very satisfying. 

But if you can’t imagine the early morning thing, there are so many other places and ways to fit prayer into life.

One of my favorite has been during exercise – to walk and pray.  At my church in Texas, the cemetery was huge and it was right out the front doors of the church, just like here and I would walk the perimeter of it and pray.  There was a trail worn into the ground from how many times I had walked and prayed there and that became a very precious place and practice for me – especially as more and more people I loved were buried there and I would stop and visit their graves.  Or if I was stuck on a sermon and I didn’t know what to write, usually if I walked a few times around the cemetery and prayed about it, my mind would start working again.

Some people pray in the car – many of us spend a lot of time alone in the car.  Why not pray?  It may be important to note here that what prayer is – is a conversation with God.  We can do that with our eyes closed and our hands folded, but we can do it also with our eyes wide open and while we are doing anything.

I like how Frederick Buechner puts it, he writes, We all pray whether we think of it as praying or not. The odd silence we fall into when something very beautiful is happening, or something very good or very bad. The “Ah-h-h-h!” that sometimes floats up out of us as out of a Fourth of July crowd when the skyrocket bursts over the water. The stammer of pain at somebody else’s pain. The stammer of joy at somebody else’s joy. Whatever words or sounds we use for sighing with over our own lives. These are all prayers in their way.”

So the most important thing to remember is to find a place and a way to pray –not how we do it.  We pray and we keep at it.  Be persistent in prayer. 

And be open to the surprising ways that prayer will work in our lives. Miracles do happen every day, but prayer is not a magic charm.  We can pray and pray and pray for rain but that doesn’t mean we won’t still go through months of drought.  We can pray and pray and pray for healing to come but that doesn’t mean the healing will come when we want it to, or even on this side of the grave.  We can pray and pray and pray for an answer but sometimes all we feel for seemingly far too long is deafening silence and confusion. 

And when this happens – which it does – this confusing business of prayer can leave even the most faithful feeling disillusioned with the practice and wondering what good it does, wondering if it is really much different than hoping or wishing. 

This is when we remember as John Heuss said, “Prayer is neither black magic nor is it a form of demand note. Prayer is a relationship.”

Keep praying.  Keep praying because the world needs it.  Keep praying because God wants to hear from you.  Keep praying because you need it. Keep praying not because we will ever understand all its benefits but because of how the spirit can work in the beautiful mystery of prayer.

I felt that mystery this week when my son, Jesse, was having ear surgery.  It was just a small surgery and he was fine – but as we sat in the recovery room afterward, a pastor friend stopped by to say hello, and before she left, she prayed for him, for us.  It was so wonderful – I forget too often how precious it is to hear someone pray for me.  To know that someone is lifting up my concerns, my hopes, my cares, my worries to God – it’s the most beautiful thing.

Keep praying for each other and for me, sisters and brothers.  And know that each day, I pray for you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This Is The Gospel of the Lord? (a sermon from 7/12/15)

Our gospel for today from Saint Mark is actually a flashback that Herod has when he hears of all the work that the disciples are doing in Jesus’ name.  Some were saying the John the Baptist had been raised from the dead and Herod was thinking they might be right – and this is when we have this flashback where we get to hear what happened to John the Baptist.

It’s not a happy story and it’s kind of a big wet blanket text right here in the middle of the summer.  It’s one of those gospel texts that when I read it, instead of proclaiming afterward, like I always do, that this is the gospel of the Lord, I want to put a question mark after it.  This is the gospel of the Lord?

King Herod in this gospel is a descendent of Herod the Great, who was infamous for having all the toddler boys killed after the Magi announced Jesus’ birth.  Herod the Great had a few sons – two of which he had killed, along with his favorite wife, because he heard a rumor they were plotting his death. 

Two surviving sons were Herod Philip and Herod Antipas.  It’s like that show, Newhart – do you remember that show? This is my brother Daryl and this is my other brother Daryl.  Anyway, here it is Herod and his other brother Herod. Herod the Great’s grandniece Herodias came along and married Herod Philip, her uncle.  I read there was a lot of inter-marriage within this family because they believed that their bloodline was superior and they didn’t want to sully it by marrying outside the family.  Herod Philip and Herodias had one daughter.  The story that we read about in our gospel begins when Herodias leaves Herod Philip for Herod Antipas – her other uncle.  Unlike Herod Philip, Herod Antipas was the greatest Prince in the family – he held rank and wealth.  It didn’t matter to Herodias that Herod Antipas was already married – she quickly left Philip and took their daughter and went to Tiberius to be with Herod Antipas.

This was not legal according to Mosaic Law.  If Philip were dead, it would have been honorable, in fact it would have been required at one point in Jewish history for a brother to marry the widow of his brother – but there was nothing good about what Herod Antipas and Herodias have done.

Now even though their marriage arrangement was illegal and distasteful, no one interfered – Herod was powerful and influential.  Only one person spoke out against what had happened – “Mark 6:18 reads, ‘for John had been telling Herod, ‘it is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”

So here is John the Baptist, pointing out the sin that no one else will point out. He’s got guts. And we might say, “Good for John the Baptist!”  Until we remember that time when someone pointed out some sin or shortcoming of ours and we remember that it doesn’t feel very good.

What do you mean I could be a better giver?  I do pretty well.  Well, sure I didn’t need that new pair of heels but they were so pretty and they were on sale.

What do you mean I really need to stop gossiping?  I mean, it’s not like I said anything that wasn’t true.  Well, sure that’s not exactly an uplifting way to talk about my neighbor, but come on.

What do you mean I better think hard about the first commandment and the false gods sucking up time in my life?  I mean, sure I spent way more time on Facebook and catching up on old episodes of the X-files last week than studying scripture or in prayer, but everyone needs some down time.  Right? Come on.

None of us like being faced with our sins.  Those who call us on them become an unpopular drag really, really quickly.

This was the place in which John the Baptist found himself.  He called out Herod and Herodias on their sins and they did not like it one bit. Herodias wanted him dead immediately but Herod was afraid to do this because he knew that John was a righteous and holy man.  In fact, here in the gospel of Mark it says that Herod liked to listen to John.  Maybe he wondered if there were things he should be learning from John.  The gospel of Matthew contradicts this, however, and says that Herod wanted to kill John but he was afraid of the people.  Regardless, we do know that ultimately he had John imprisoned.

But that wasn’t enough for Herodias.  She was out for blood.  Our translation reads, “She had a grudge against him.”  Other translations read that she “nursed this grudge” – she fed it and tended to it and kept it alive.

It’s crazy how crazy anger can make us – especially if we feed that anger.  A very long time ago I remember a fellow I had been dating broke up with me and of course that was hard and sad – we had been dating for a couple years.  But then a day or two after we broke up, I found out that before he broke up with me he had started dating someone else.  This completely changed my sorrow to righteous anger.  How dare he?  My indignation knew no end.  My energy immediately turned from weepy tears to plotting how I could inflict the most pain upon this blond-haired, blue-eyed, Norwegian Lutheran jerk.

But all the angry letters I might want to write him, all the little speeches I planned in my head that I would present to him when I saw him next, all his friends that I planned to date in retaliation – I knew none of it would really be satisfying.  Oh, I definitely let him know that I found out about his sorry little cheating heart – I had to do that.  But then, I stepped back and I remembered what Jesus said about loving your enemies and praying for those who persecute you.  So I prayed hard – every day.  I prayed like I don’t think I have ever prayed before. I prayed for myself and I prayed for that ex-boyfriend, I even prayed for his new girlfriend.  I prayed for them with bitterness for a long time, but I kept praying, until the anger started subsiding, the hatred melted, and I could start to see clearly again.  I could feel myself slowly starting to forgive them – and that felt so much better than the cold little stone of anger I was tempted to keep carrying inside. 

I wish Herodias could have understood how good it feels to forgive rather than to nurse hatred and grudges.  It sounds like she was laser-focused on her revenge, however. 

She made a plan – so she would be ready when the opportunity came.  The opportunity for her revenge came on Herod’s birthday – there was a big party for his birthday.  This would have been a party for men – women of good reputation didn’t go to these parties – not even Herodias, his wife, would have been invited.  I read that the only women usually found at these kinds of gatherings were women who danced and entertained men after the meal.  Whatever the equivalent was in those days of women who jump out of cakes.

So then it is peculiar that his daughter, who is actually Herodias and Herod Philip’s daughter, comes in to dance.  Here the daughter is simply called Herodias but in other places she is called the daughter of Herodias or Salome. Most theologians I read speculate that it was Herodias who sent her daughter in there, not caring about her daughter’s reputation as much as she is banking on that Herod has been drinking and just might be feeling generous enough to offer her what eventually does.  The King said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.”

The girl leaves and asks her mother, “What should I ask for?”  Now what kid does that?  If you ask my kids what they want, they don’t come and ask me – they know very well what they want.  They probably have a list prepared right now they could hand you.  Coming up with requests isn’t hard for kids usually.  So that’s why some think that Herodias had coached her daughter beforehand, “After you dance for your stepfather, if he offers to give you something, come and tell me.”

Well, we know what Herodias told her daughter to request – the head of John the Baptist – on a platter.  I always thought that part was a bit extra nuts – that it had to be on a platter. But whatever.  The scriptures say that Herod was grieved to do it, but because he didn’t want to lose face in front of his guests and go back on this promise to the girl, he had John beheaded.  The head was placed on a platter, given to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother.  This is the gospel of the Lord?  This is the good news of Jesus?

Well, thank goodness, this story doesn’t stand by itself in scripture – right before this, we are hearing the story of all that Jesus was doing and how word was spreading about his healing and the disciples were going out and casting out demons and curing the sick in Jesus’ name.  And right after this story about John’s death, the miracles continue with the feeding of the five thousand and Jesus walking on water and doing more healings. 

But just as John was killed for speaking truth to power, the same thing would eventually happen to Jesus.  This gospel of Jesus Christ – this gospel that makes life worth living, that brings healing to the sick and wholeness to our hearts and amazing grace, it is not without cost.  For John the Baptist and for Jesus and for countless martyrs for the faith it cost them their earthly lives.  And we are living a very shallow, hollow, surface sort of faith if we think it does not cost us something as well.

 C.S. Lewis said, “The Christian way is different:  harder, and easier.  Christ says, “Give me your all.  I don’t want so much of your money and so much of your work:  I want you…no half measures are any good.  I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want the whole tree….  I will give you a new self instead.  I will give you Myself.”

What does this mean?  It means we are the children of God, given the gift of God’s grace – and a gift like this – how can we help but want to thank the Giver?  How can we do this?  How can we live lives of responding in thankfulness for God’s beautiful grace? 

Being willing to be convicted when we are wrong and try to do better is a start.  Giving not just out of our leftovers but giving our first fruits, the best we have to offer to God, that is a start.  Stepping up, being brave to use our voices and efforts to speak up for justice for those who are experiencing injustice, that’s a great start.  Forgiving, even and especially when it is hard, turning away from the temptations that make us less than the people God has called us to be, being diligent about studying the Word of God, beginning and ending our days and filling the hours in between with prayer, visiting the sick and the elderly and the homebound, writing the note of encouragement and support, teaching your children about the Lord’s prayer, the creed, and the ten commandments, honoring your parents with visits and support especially as they age, being honest in word and deed, using your words to speak well of others and never cut others down, be faithful to your spouse, be thankful for what you have….all of these things are a great way to start.

Not because our salvation is dependent on us doing these things but because we are so thankful for the love that Jesus has already so freely given us, we want our lives to be transformed by him. Isn’t that what we want?  I mean when someone gives you a gift, you want to respond in turn, and I pray that we never take God’s grace so for granted that we forget to seek him daily and be shaped by Jesus daily. 

Most of us will likely never be killed because of our faith, and yet this faith we share does require something.  Namely everything.  May God help us to give this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.