Friday, May 29, 2009

Morning Prayer 5/29/09

Psalm 102

A prayer of an afflicted man. When he is faint and pours out his lament before the LORD.

1 Hear my prayer, O LORD;
let my cry for help come to you.

2 Do not hide your face from me
when I am in distress.
Turn your ear to me;
when I call, answer me quickly.

3 For my days vanish like smoke;
my bones burn like glowing embers.

4 My heart is blighted and withered like grass;
I forget to eat my food.

5 Because of my loud groaning
I am reduced to skin and bones.

6 I am like a desert owl,
like an owl among the ruins.

7 I lie awake; I have become
like a bird alone on a roof.

8 All day long my enemies taunt me;
those who rail against me use my name as a curse.

9 For I eat ashes as my food
and mingle my drink with tears

10 because of your great wrath,
for you have taken me up and thrown me aside.

11 My days are like the evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.

12 But you, O LORD, sit enthroned forever;
your renown endures through all generations.

13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion,
for it is time to show favor to her;
the appointed time has come.

14 For her stones are dear to your servants;
her very dust moves them to pity.

15 The nations will fear the name of the LORD,
all the kings of the earth will revere your glory.

16 For the LORD will rebuild Zion
and appear in his glory.

17 He will respond to the prayer of the destitute;
he will not despise their plea.

18 Let this be written for a future generation,
that a people not yet created may praise the LORD :

19 "The LORD looked down from his sanctuary on high,
from heaven he viewed the earth,

20 to hear the groans of the prisoners
and release those condemned to death."

21 So the name of the LORD will be declared in Zion
and his praise in Jerusalem

22 when the peoples and the kingdoms
assemble to worship the LORD.

23 In the course of my life he broke my strength;
he cut short my days.

24 So I said:
"Do not take me away, O my God, in the midst of my days;
your years go on through all generations.

25 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.

26 They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
and they will be discarded.

27 But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.

28 The children of your servants will live in your presence;
their descendants will be established before you."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Pastoral Letter to the Captives and Other Works

We hear little about it today, even with everything that is going on in the world but the truth is that Piracy and Hostage taking is nothing new nor is it something we have had to worry about in recent days. Since the earliest days of American history, colonialists had found themselves under threat from the Barbary Pirates setting sail from the coast of Morocco.

A Pastoral Letter to the Captives and Other Works tells that history. But more than a theological or historical piece it weaves together a story of faith and hope in the face of adversity, of perseverance and deliverance in the face of the most overwhelming odds. Here Exagorazo Press presents a book that shows God's goodness and His strength even in an age dominated by the challenges and struggle. Set against the age of the Barbary Pirate it delves into the spiritual and offers a unique look at the world in a way still relevant today.

To order your copy go to or search for A Pastoral Letter to the Captives on Available now.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Interview Tonight About New Book

I have been kindly invited to be the guest tonight at 8 pm on the Grizzly Groundswell show on BlogTalkRadio to talk about my soon-to-be published book, A Pastoral Letter to the Captives and Other Works. I am looking forward to this and hope you will join us!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kidnapped Teachers Released in Philippines

Good news from the Philippines, where three teachers kidnapped by Abu Sayaf have been released unharmed. Via Hindu News:
ZAMBOANGA, Philippines (AP) Muslim militants on Tuesday freed three teachers after four months of jungle captivity in the southern Philippines despite a refusal to pay ransom.

The Jan. 23 abductions from a boat off Zamboanga city were among several kidnappings-for-ransom blamed on the Abu Sayyaf extremist group and its allied gunmen.

The teachers' abductions were strongly condemned because they were working to provide education to underprivileged youths.

The Abu Sayyaf militants are still holding at least four hostages, including a Sri Lankan peace activist on Basilan island and an Italian Red Cross worker on nearby Jolo.

Gunmen handed over Quizon Freires, Janette Delos Reyes and Rafael Mayonado to a government negotiator in Mohamad Ajul township on Basilan.

The teachers were brought by speedboat to nearby Zamboanga, where they met their parents in tearful reunions and underwent medical checkups, Mayor Celso Lobregat said.

The three visibly lost weight and were still in shock but appeared to be in good health.

``They're still in a lot of stress but they're fine,'' Lobregat told The Associated Press by telephone. ``We thank God that they're back with us, alive.''

Thank God for this answered prayer! Please continue to pray for Eugenio Vagni, the Italian Red Cross worker held captive by Abu Sayaf, and for all hostages throughout the world.

Abu Sayaf Kidnaps 3 Teachers

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Morning Prayer 5/21/09

Psalm 63

A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah.

1 O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.

3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.

4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

6 On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.

7 Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.

8 My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

9 They who seek my life will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.

10 They will be given over to the sword
and become food for jackals.

11 But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God's name will praise him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Morning Prayer 5/20/09

Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Evening Prayer 5/19/09

We will lie down in peace and take our rest, for it is you, Lord, only, who makes us dwell in safety. You, Lord, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name. Do not leave us, O Lord our God. Preserve us, Lord, waking, and guard us sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace. Amen.

Abu Sayaf Kidnaps 3 Teachers in Philippines

The terrorist group Abu Sayaf, responsible for the kidnapping of three Red Cross workers earlier this year, is now threatening to behead three grade-school teachers they have abducted. Via GMA News:
MANILA, Philippines - After beheading last weekend a farmer it took hostage, the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Basilan province has threatened to behead three teachers it is holding if ransom wouldn’t be paid for their release.

Radio dzXL reported Tuesday the bandits would start the executions in 15 days' time.

The report quoted government's Task Force Trillium, the group organized to deal with the hostage crisis in the province, as saying the bandits made the ultimatum through one Den Mungkay, said to be from the special operations group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Still held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf are Rafael Mayonada, Quizon Freirez and Jeannette delos Reyes, all of the Landang Gua Elementary School on Sacol Island in Zamboanga City.

Please pray for the protection and rescue of these hostages, and for the continued safety of Red Cross worker Eugenio Vagni, still held in captivity after his two colleagues, Mary Jean Lacaba and Andreas Notter, were rescued earlier this month.

Morning Prayer 5/19/09

Lord God, the author of all holy desires, all good purposes, and all righteous works; give to us your servants that peace which the world cannot give; so that we, obeying your commandments and being delivered from the fear of our enemies, may live at rest and in quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Morning Prayer 5/18/09

Let the people of God glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O priests and servants of the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O spirits and souls of the righteous, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

You that are holy and humble of heart, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Let us glorify the Lord: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

In the firmament of his power, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Morning Prayer 5/15/09

Go before us, Lord, in all our doings, with your most gracious favor, and further us with your continual help; that in all our works begun, continued and ended in you, we may glorify your holy name, and finally by your mercy attain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Morning Prayer 5/12/09

We give you sincere thanks, Heavenly Father, for the sleep and rest of the past night, and for the gift of a new day. Grant that we may so pass its hours in the perfect freedom of your service, that when evening comes we may again desire to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Evening Prayer 5/11/09

Lord God, you who know our every weakness, put away from us all worry and anxious fear. Having ended the work and play of this day under your care and protection, we now commit ourselves, and all whom we love, into your gracious keeping; and as night comes, provide for us, we pray, your precious gift of sleep; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

US Journalist Freed in Iran

Good news from Iran: American reporter Roxana Saberi, arrested in Iran in January and convicted of espionage last month, has been freed. Via Fox News:
An American reporter jailed in Iran on espionage charges was to be freed Monday and can leave the country immediately, her lawyer said after an appeals court suspended her eight-year prison sentence.

However, an Iranian judiciary source told Reuters that freelance journalist Roxana Saberi has already been freed from Tehran's Evin jail.

Saberi, a 32-year-old dual American-Iranian national who grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, was convicted last month of spying for the U.S. and sentenced to eight years in prison. An appeals court heard her case on Sunday.

Thank God for this answered prayer! Please continue to pray for American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee who are facing similar trumped charges in North Korea after being kidnapped by guards as they were filming a story about human trafficking along the Chinese border.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Morning Prayer 5/8/09

Heavenly Father, Almighty and Everlasting God, we thank you that you have brought us safely to the beginning of this day; defend us, your humble servants, with your mighty power and grant that we neither fall into sin, nor run into any kind of danger; also grant that, being guided and governed by you, we may do what is right in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Evening Prayer 5/6/09

O God that art the only hope of the world,
The only refuge for unhappy men,
Abiding in the faithfulness of heaven,
Give me strong succor in this testing place.
O King, protect thy man from utter ruin,
Lest the weak faith surrender to the tyrant,
Facing innumerable blows alone.
Remember I am dust, and wind, and shadow,
And life fleeting as the flower of grass.
But may the eternal mercy which hath shone
From time of old
Rescue thy servant from the jaws of the lion.
Thou who didst come from on high in the cloak of flesh,
Strike down the dragon with that two-edged sword,
Whereby our mortal flesh can war with the winds
And beat down strongholds, with our Captain God.

---Venerable Bede, 672-735
Oxford Book of Prayer, p. 125

Morning Prayer 5/6/09

Come let us sing to the Lord; *
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving *
and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.

For the Lord is a great God, *
and a great King above all gods.

In his hand are the caverns of the earth, *
and the heights of the hills are his also.

The sea is his, for he made it, *
and his hands have molded the dry land.

Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee, *
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.

For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. *
Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Evening Prayer 5/5/09

Psalm 31 In te, Domine, speravi

1 In you, O LORD, have I taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame: *
deliver me in your righteousness.

2 Incline your ear to me; *
make haste to deliver me.

3 Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe,
for you are my crag and my stronghold; *
for the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me.

4 Take me out of the net that they have secretly set for me, *
for you are my tower of strength.

5 Into your hands I commend my spirit, *
for you have redeemed me,
O LORD, O God of truth.

Morning Prayer 5/5/09

The First Song of Isaiah Ecce, Deus

Surely, it is God who saves me; *
I will trust in him and not be afraid.

For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, *
and he will be my Savior.

Therefore you shall draw water with rejoicing *
from the springs of salvation.

And on that day you shall say, *
Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name;

Make his deeds known among the peoples; *
see that they remember that his Name is exalted.

Sing praises of the Lord, for he has done great things, *
and this is known in all the world.

Cry aloud, inhabitants of Zion, ring out your joy, *
for the great one in the midst of you is the Holy One of Israel.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Thank God for Stupid Pirates!

Eleven pirates were arrested after they attempted to hijack a ship that turned out to be a French warship rather than the defenseless merchant vessel they mistook it for. Via CNN:
(CNN) -- The French Navy said they seized 11 pirates Sunday after they apparently mistook a French military vessel for a commercial ship and made a run at it.

Two pirate assault boats approached the Nivose "at great speed," Capt. Christophe Prazuck said, but a French helicopter intervened before the attackers had time to fire at the French navy ship.

The helicopter fired warning shots, he said.

The pirates, who had a mother ship as well as the two assault boats, are being held for questioning on the Nivose, Prazuck said. The vessels were carrying AK-47 rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, but the pirates did not fire, he said.

The incident took place about 1,000 km (620 miles) east of Mombasa, Kenya, at 8:30 a.m. local time (0430 GMT) he added.

In the past three weeks, the Nivose has intercepted 24 suspected pirates as part of a European Union anti-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia, which has become a piracy hotspot.

Over the past year, more than 100 suspected pirates have been picked up, Prazuck said. Of that total, 27 have been released, and more than 70 taken to jail in France, handed to authorities in Somalia or taken to Kenya under an EU agreement with the government in Nairobi.

Two other attacks were thwarted over the weekend; one, however, was successful: the British cargo ship Ariana, with an undisclosed number of crewmembers. Please pray for their safety and the protection of all the other hostages being held captive by pirates in Somalia.

Morning Prayer 5/4/09

You are God Te Deum laudamus

You are God: we praise you;
You are the Lord; we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father:
All creation worships you.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you;
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the king of glory,
the eternal Son of the Father.
When you became man to set us free
you did not shun the Virgin's womb.
You overcame the sting of death
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
You are seated at God's right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come and be our judge.
Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Captain Phillips Calls for Armed Security on Merchant Ships

In testimony Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Captain Richard Phillips, who was held hostage by Somali pirates who tried unsuccessfully to hijack his ship, the Maersk Alabama, last month, said that armed security is essential to protect ships and their crews. Via The Boston Globe:
WASHINGTON - Commercial ships in pirate-infested waters need a small team of well-trained guards - preferably former military - to defend them and deter attacks, the famed captain of the Maersk Alabama told a congressional committee yesterday.

"I don't mean a security guard. I don't mean a mall cop," Richard Phillips told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Instead, the ships need two or three special force members each, backed up by the US government, to take on pirates or scare them off, he said.

Neither the committee members nor Phillips - a 53-year-old Boston native and Vermont resident who became a hero last month after he was held hostage for five days by Somali pirates, then rescued by Navy SEAL snipers who killed three of them - offered a definitive solution to thwarting attacks from increasingly bold pirates.

But Phillips and the chairman of Maersk said that arming ship crews would not solve the problem.

International law makes the idea tricky, said Maersk chairman John P. Clancey, since the vast majority of ports do not allow armed ships to enter. Further, he said, arming merchant sailors "may result in the acquisition of even more lethal weapons and tactics by the pirates," putting crews in greater danger.

And while Phillips said he was open to the idea of a small group of senior, well-trained ship officers having weapons on board, he preferred a government-backed team - as long as the security force answered to the captain.

"I am not comfortable giving up command authority to others," Phillips said. "In the heat of an attack, there can be only one final decision-maker."

In the video above, Capt. Phillips also that increased naval patrols and escorts would help, although the area is so vast that it is impossible to cover every possible venue of attack.

Please pray that our lawmakers will choose a wise course in picking a strategy that will protect our shipping from attack without exposing our merchant seamen to even greater danger.

Piracy Archive
Captain Phillips Free!
Captain Attempts Escape But is Recaptured
USS Bainbridge Arrives at Scene of Hijacking
Pirates Seize Ship With American Crew