In a world where the universal measure of poverty used to be hunger – and still is in many parts of the globe – food in our time and place is cheaper, safer and more omnipresent than ever before. We look at pictures of our forefathers and note how slender most were and realize that even poor people can eat themselves to death.
Show us, Lord, what it means to be fulfilled and not just filled full.
We’re grateful for shelter. But many of us have burdened ourselves with debt to buy bigger houses than we need to impress ourselves and each other. We waste our time and treasure in maintaining them, and sometimes it feels like they own us instead of our owning them.
Help us see, Lord, what constitutes “home.”
You have given us security beyond comprehension. We have smoke alarms, burglar alarms, dozens of kinds of insurance, a gazillion safety inspectors, inoculations, ambulance services, emergency rooms, police officers, firefighters and security guards, but sometimes we forget, in our fears about what moth and rust and thieves may do, to “consider the lilies” and to rejoice in “the day that the Lord has made.”
Make us trust in you, Lord.
We’re entertained abundantly, from comedy and drama and spectator sports to video games and limitless music at our fingertips. Let our electronics go dark, though, and we’re as overcome with withdrawal pangs as a drug addict.
Help us to remember that our lives are meant to be shared, Lord, and not just by pirating CDs for each other.
We live in an abundance of information, and we’re grateful for the ability to instantly answer curiosity or concerns about a world of subjects or to get a college education at our dining tables. But give us the humility to remember that information is not wisdom and that this generation’s knowledge will seem as laughably insufficient or wrong in a few years as that of our ancestors.
Teach us that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.”
Omnipresent information causes us other troubles, too, Lord. We’re barraged with bad news 24 hours a day, from countless sources. Help us know when we’ve heard enough about wars, earthquakes, famines and plagues, and to turn off the TV, toss the paper and shut down our iPhones in response.
Help us, God, to embody the wisdom of Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Lord, in a place and time where we are taught that we “deserve” every kind of indulgence, teach us, please, as Paul said, that “godliness with contentment is great gain.”