Thursday, June 18, 2009

A few prayers

I've been praying for my entering class and our futures both as individuals in Israel and as aspiring physicians, and figured that I would share a few of those prayers with you so that you can join in in agreement if the Spirit leads...

This is a Jewish prayer I stumbled upon called the Hoda'ah.
Your might, O G-d, is everlasting;
Help us to use our strength for good and not for evil.
You are the Source of life and blessing;
Help us to choose life for ourselves and our children.
You are the support of the falling;
Help us to lift up the fallen.
You are the Author of freedom;
Help us to set free the captive.
You are our hope in death as in life;
Help us to keep faith with those who sleep in the dust.
Your might, O G-d, is everlasting;
Help us to use our strength for good.

Another prayer I found that really struck a cord with me is from the episcopal medical missions foundation:
Where there is disease, make us instruments of healing

Where there is brokenness, make us the tie that binds

Where there is pain, have us bring relief

Where there is death, let us bring assurance of life in Thee.

May we receive the sick with compassion

May we treat the sick with competence

And so reflect the Master Physician

That they go with Thanksgiving and a new understanding of
Our Savior's Mission.
This prayer is offered in the Name of the Divine Physician who heals us all.

And then my prayer for the Christian's in my class in particular is that we would be united in love, for Jesus said that the world would know that we are His disciples by our love for one another. From what I have learned about Israel so far, both the Jews and the Muslims have watched the Church to see evidence of its love and have come back disappointed. And so, the last prayer that I will post today is Jesus' own prayer for His followers:
"I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17:20-26)

Leaving Santa Barbara

Well, I officially have 5 weeks until I will be leaving the United States for a land that will be my home for the next 3 years. Right now everything is kind of surreal. It's hard for me to believe that the hike that I went on today is probably the last one that I will go on in Santa Barbara for at least a few years. Even being stuck in traffic on the 101 becomes something to rejoice in when I realize the beauty of this place and the opportunity that I have to look upon this city and pray.

Over the past 4 years here, I have had a love/hate relationship with Santa Barbara; it's been a place of immense growth but also deep anguish. I can't deny that being here has drawn me close to God, forced me to trust Him more, and opened my ears to hear Him calling me closer to Himself. Being here has also broken my heart as my eyes have been opened over the years to the materialism, complacency, and worldliness of my home. My heart breaks when I realize that many times Ezekiel 34:3-4 applies perfectly to us: "You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them. " We, the church, have failed in many ways, choosing to live quiet and secure lives instead of being proactive in addressing issues of injustice and need. On one hand, I'm happy to leave this place where finding a Christian in name is so easy, but one in action is a lot harder to come by. On the other hand, I wish I had so much more time here, time to invest in people, to serve, to pray. Today, as I sat atop a rock just a little below the top of Saddle Rock Trail, my heart was torn over this place like never before, and I think that for the first time, I actually was a little reluctant to be leaving. However, the Lord gave me comfort that like Israel in the time of Elijah, the Lord has His children here who have not bowed their knees to idols, who love Him, and will be active in seeing change brought to this coastland.

There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He said, "I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away." And he said, "Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD." And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He said, "I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away." And the LORD said to him, "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him."
(1 Kings 19:9-18)

My prayer for the followers of Christ on this coastland boils down to four simple things: That they would shamelessly love their God with their whole being and seek Him above all else, that they would love those created in the image of God without reservation and expectation that they would ever receive anything in return, that they would remember the forgotten people of this land and seek to serve them with joyful hearts and the mind of Christ, and that they would wake every day with a passion to pray over this land that they have been blessed and ordained to live in. May His name be glorified among His people and among the nations.