Pray for me…..don’t forget

The Pope has left the country! I really enjoyed listening to him last week, watching him in parades, blessing children, leading Mass, and speaking/preaching. I felt like he brought God up front and center for our country. Those of us who work in Catholic healthcare appreciate his great leadership, his urging to care for the poor and the sick, and all of God’s people.

We all saw the images on TV as he stopped his processional to bless a baby or kiss a child with a disability. He spoke about the importance of family, of service to God, and to care for all of God’s people. We need messages like that to remind us of why we are here and why we have been created at this time and in this place.

Throughout his trip here Pope Francis reminded all of us to pray for him! At his closing of the Mass Sunday evening for almost a million people he said, “Pray for me…..don’t forget….pray for me!” Here is, by all accounts, the most religious man in the world and he is asking for prayer. Let’s use that as a reminder to pray for the Pope and for all world leaders, especially leaders of our country.

And prayer is the lifeblood of our Via de Cristo movement. I call on all of us to pray daily for fall teams/pilgrims and for Christ to be made known in worship, fellowship, study, piety, action and in the breaking of bread for the good of all!

After 20 years of ministry I know people find prayer difficult. How do you do it? What words do I use? How do I know it does anything? All I can say is that prayer brings us in union with God in Christ. It does not matter how or when or what words you use. Our God promises in the Bible to hear our prayers so pray on, friend! “Pray without ceasing…” as the Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5: 17.

Pr. Doug

P. S. I personally serve on INKY Men’s weekend #73 this coming weekend, please pray for US!!

Pastor Doug Givan
Staff Chaplain
Clay, Brazil
Seton, Indy
dgivan@stvincent.org

Sunday Morning Priorities

Hi Friends:

This came to me on Facebook yesterday in my news feed and I share it with you! It’s one of those cartoons that makes you think as you look at it and ponder the deeper meaning. In this case, it’s about the priority of God and worship in your life. It is a picture of a young man in football uniform telling his coach he can’t make the game Sunday morning because he is going to be an acolyte at church (an assistant for a worship service).

Sunday morning I was with a delightful group of people at their church as the substitute pastor. They have a long history in the community but have struggled lately and do not have a full time pastor. Attendance was about “half full” Sunday and as I drove home I went by a soccer fields and I had to look twice! It was two fields put together and it was packed! There were kids running every which way and parents on blankets and lawn chairs. The church I attended was half empty, the soccer field was full! And I thought how sad that the soccer people have finally found an opening in the week when practice and matches can be scheduled: SUNDAY MORNING! And it’s not just sports that have long infiltrated Sunday morning….it has become just another morning in our world. People work, the retail world is open and ready for you, youth sporting events are scheduled, people sleep in, and life carries on. (Now, to be fair, any number of those soccer families could have attended earlier that morning, the night before or another service at another day/time!)

I remember “back in the day” when stores were closed on Sunday. It used to be a day of rest, where you went to church Sunday morning, had a home cooked meal and then rested for the week ahead. We do have one of the Ten Commandments teaching us “Remember the Sabbath (rest) day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath.” (Exodus 20:8).

So I celebrate the Sunday (or other day) gathering of God’s people for worship! I love a cartoon that gives us a solid reminder of what is important. And I want to add that whether you have a church home or not, God is still love, and God still loves and forgives you. It’s just nice to hear about that love and forgiveness in a Sunday morning church service!

Peace to you,

Pastor Doug
NLS SD

P.S. Don’t forget “altar call” as part of the 4th day spiritual life! Go to the altar to be altered before or after church, or even better when not many are around in the building, and have your prayer time. You will feel the spirit of God.

“War Room”

Friends:

I love to see movies and I would like to recommend “War Room” to you! I saw it over the weekend and it is part of Hollywood’s renewed interest in putting together specifically Christian movies. There have been several out over the last couple years and I always enjoy seeing them. I couldn’t help but be moved by this beautiful story and movie while also hearing the “explosions and gun fire” from the next door movie theater! That seemed to be very symbolic of life itself.

The upshot of the movie, without giving anything away, is about prayer. The main characters in the movie have cleaned out a closet in their home and turned it over into a prayer closet! They go into this closet to pray, thus the title “war room” to write down prayers and post them on the wall. It is a wonderful reminder of the power of prayer in our lives and how prayer can change lives.

There is a lovely verse about prayer from the Old Testament 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” We are called by the name of Christ (Christians, meaning “little Christ”), we do humble ourselves thinking of others before ourselves, and we pray. God does not care about the words you use to pray or when or how you do it. Turning from our wicked ways is to stop what we know needs stopped in our thoughts, words, and deeds. We have now the forgiveness we need which comes from Jesus. It is ours always and forever as a free gift of grace. The “land” that is healed today I would say is our hearts! Our hearts are healed when we pray.

You do not necessarily have to have a prayer closet or a specific place you pray although many do that. Some like the constancy of a certain space, but God hears our prayers always no matter where we are, how we pray, or the words we use. And that’s a beautiful thing for us today in the midst of the challenges of life and the press and stress of daily living. Either develop a “war room” in your home or take your “war room” with you as you go! And take some time this week to see a movie that will really touch your heart….as only God can do!

Peace,

Join me in prayer for pilgrims to come and make weekends, for all of us to have boldness to ask people to come make a weekend, because it was so good for us! We just can’t keep it to ourselves….

Peace,

Pastor Doug Givan

Staff Chaplain

Clay, Brazil

Seton, Indy

dgivan@stvincent.org