Saying No to Death to Say Yes to Life

Before yesterday’s Confirmands (A WONderful group, by the way, who blessed us hugely!), affirmed their faith and said a strong yes to continuing their life partnership with God, they said a firm NO to evil and all the forces that work against life and draw us away from God.
So here’s the thing: On your behalf, Faith Lutheran folk and friends, I daily say no to a few things and yes to some others. Basically, I pray our NO to death and darkness and all their powers and our YES to resurrection life in Christ. This Easter season, I think you should know and consider owning this prayer for yourself and those you love.
I’ll admit, it’s a little odd. This prayer gives weight to spiritual things rarely acknowledged in our current culture. Because it grew from work to heal damage from some particular bad people and spirits, it uses language that may seem strange or superstitious. Mostly, I just take it for what it is: a thorough NO to all things bad for us, and a heartfelt YES to all God’s good. Here you go:
A Prayer of Cleansing and Invitation
Holy One, YHWH, God of All, we are yours and yours alone from before the beginning till after the end. And when I say we, I mean… (name my loved ones, best friends, folks in trouble, our church and its leaders by name, and members of any small groups I’m in).
Since we are yours and yours alone, in your beautiful name I bind and rebuke any spiritual garbage that may be present in our persons, possessions, property, pets, or anything at all that is ours. I ask that you would please send your strong and tender warrior angels to find and contain all unclean spirits of any sort in sight, sound, and smell proof (spiritual garbage stinks!), thought, word and deed proof, harm and escape proof containers, deaf, dumb and blind, stripped of all power and authority, weapons, illusions and armor. If it’s safe to do so, please now send it off to my friend Steve’s parking lot (I really do have a friend who keeps a safe ‘parking lot’ for this purpose) to remain until dismissed. And if it’s not safe to ship it out today, please shrink it down to the size of a particle of an atom and put it where it can’t cause harm. Thank you!
Dear Holy One, please break any attachments in our lives that aren’t serving your purpose today—any connections at all that are causing harm or being used to control or deceive, whether initiated by us or by others, on purpose or not. Please break them off and bend them around to dump any spiritual garbage into Steve’s parking lot, or if necessary, return it as directly as possible to its true source and origin with notice that we’re not playing these games anymore, so if you use it, you lose it or it will bounce back. We hope you don’t use it at all. (This for the particular people I know of, but maybe for anybody messing with our hearts and minds.)
In your Holy Name, dear God, I also declare null and void any thoughts, words, or deeds that have come against me and all for whom I pray that are not serving your intentions in our lives. Whether they came from us or from others, on purpose or not, any thoughts, words, or deeds that do not serve your purposes for us are broken. We will live under their power and authority no longer. Any spiritual garbage attached to us through these things (think anxiety, depression, anger, shame, belief that we are incompetent or never enough) please remove to (you guessed it) Steve’s parking lot to remain until dismissed.
And now, Holy God, please surround me and all for whom I pray with your perimeter of protection today, so that we can live and work in privacy and without interference. Let it be sight, sound and smell proof, proof against thought, word, deed, harm, or any kind of ill will. In fact, let this perimeter be the name and character of the risen Christ—let nothing come into our lives except what is of you. Thank you!
Please fill me and all for whom I pray with the presence of your Holy Spirit. Allow us the fullest possible measure of your healing, guidance, and the gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, and self-control. Let your love drive out all fear, so that in union with all creation we might sing your praise and your love in our lives.
Thank you, Dearest God, for hearing my prayer and the prayers of all your people. Yes. May it be so! Amen. * * *
As I pray this prayer, I’ve become more aware of what is spiritual good and what is spiritual garbage, more aware of my mood and its nature. I’m more aware of the attachments or connections (relationships and desires) in my life, and I try to offer them all to God. I’m MUCH more aware of words, and less likely to give or receive words that dim and discourage, of content or tone that doesn’t seem to match what God would offer. I hope I’m a little more likely to go to God with concerns during the day, to seek protection and support from God’s presence.
So friends, I’d like to keep praying for you even after I cease being your pastor. Because I hope you’ll more and more say NO to death and the dark and YES to God’s life and light. Blessed Easter! Christ is Risen!
Pastor Brenda