Skip to content

Living in the Rhythm of God's Kingdom.

Posts from the ‘Prayer’ Category

Story of Wonder

June 23rd, 2015

Rhythm Team

We learn in 1 Chronicles 16 that telling stories of God’s goodness and giving thanks was at the center of Hebrew worship. The Israelites set aside time to practice gratitude within their worship by speaking of God’s mighty deeds and remembering his blessings, wonderful works, and faithfulness.

We’ve been asking folks in our community to share their Stories of Wonder at our public worship. These are stories of God working in our midst, speaking, leading, and providing for his people. This gives us an opportunity to rejoice in and recognize God’s powerful deeds, and it also trains us to pay attention to how God might be at work in our own lives. This one is from Brandon.

When I was one year old, my dad left and didn’t come back. Then my mom abandoned me. She would come back in the picture every once in a while, but it was my grandmother and aunt that raised me.

My dad somewhat came back into my life when I was in 4th grade. I would see him sometimes on holidays. But holidays were hard. For example, on Christmas a bunch of the extended family would get together for dinner and to open presents. All the kids would have their names in a hat, and someone would pull out a name to see who would open presents next. But my brother and I never had our names in the hat. We never got presents. Sometimes my dad would give us a present, but my brother and I knew that our aunt had bought it. That might not sound like a big deal now, but as a kid it made me feel like I wasn’t wanted. I didn’t feel like I belonged.

Then when I was in high school, my dad came to us and said he had settled down and we could move in with him. My grandmother told me I should give him a second chance, so my brother and I moved to a different town, two hours away, to live with our dad.

But it wasn’t good. I felt like my dad was always critical of me. He was always negative. My senior year of high school I ended up getting into a big fight with him and so I left.

As I became an adult, we slowly began to have a relationship again. But there was always something holding us back. I think I carried a lot of resentment and I think he carried a lot of regret.

Getting to know God is what began to heal me. I realized that someone had loved me my whole life but I didn’t know it. I can now look back and see how my Heavenly Father took care of me all these years.

Then there was a sermon preached here on reconciliation back in February. God really spoke to me through that. I realized that because God loves me unconditionally and has forgiven me of so much, I need to love others the same way. I thought, “If Jesus can sacrifice himself for me, then I can sacrifice my anger for my dad.”

I also realized the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. That you can forgive a person – but unless you tell the person that you forgive them then there isn’t true reconciliation. At this point, I had forgiven my father but I had never told him that.

Well, last month I was talking on the phone with my dad. I had not planned on doing this, but as we were talking, I felt something was pushing me to tell my dad that I’ve forgiven him. It was hard for me to come out and say it, but I did. I told him, “Hey dad, I want you to know I forgive you for everything. The past is the past. I love you dad, and I wouldn’t trade you for any other dad in the world.”

Even though this was hard to do, I feel like something was lifted off my chest that day. When I finished the conversation I felt so good. And it seems to have made our relationship a lot closer. It finally feels like it’s becoming a real dad and son relationship now.

I saw the kingdom break in through that conversation with my dad. And I believe God wants to keep using me to show my parents what his love is like.

Journey With Jesus

February 16th, 2015

Rhythm Team

We invite you to journey with Jesus during the season of Lent. Beginning in the fourth century, the church began observing Lent as a forty-day period of reflection and preparation for the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is a time of repentance, of considering Christ’s sufferings, and rethinking how we are called to take up our own crosses.

One way we’re living into this season as a community is through our Lent Devo Guide (you can download it here). Each day there is a Psalm and Scripture passage to read, and we encourage you to take 5-10 minutes to reflect either by journaling, sketching, or just thinking. While reflecting, give God space to speak to you. Then close by praying the Lord’s Prayer and personalizing each part of the prayer for what you are experiencing that day.

Poetry and Prayer

January 2nd, 2015

Rhythm Team

These words are attributed to Oscar Romero, a Catholic bishop in El Salvador who was martyred for his faith. We offer them as a way of reflecting on the past year and praying for the new one.

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view. 

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an
opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

Dial In For Justice

December 18th, 2014

Rhythm Team

In light of Eric Garner’s death and other cases that have come to surface about the treatment of black people in our country, Rhythm is hosting a Dial-In for Justice this Saturday morning at 10 am in the chapel. We’re going to pray together since we believe prayer is a powerful weapon and one of primary means by which God brings his kingdom. We will then be calling the U.S. Department of Justice to express our desire, as a community of faith, to see systemic reforms to policing in America.

We will also take some time on Saturday to listen, learn, and share. We understand that for many in our community, especially our African-American members, the emotion is raw and the discouragement may seem ever-present. In humility, we want to open our hearts and minds to listening and learning from one another. We are called to be a church that embodies and displays the good news of how God is reconciling us to himself and one another. Such a display is deeply needed in this moment.

We expect the event to last one hour. Cell phones are needed to participate, and a script will be provided for the phone call. If you have any questions, please contact Liz Matos.

Story of Wonder

October 28th, 2014

Rhythm Team

We learn in 1 Chronicles 16 that telling stories of God’s goodness and giving thanks was at the center of Hebrew worship. The Israelites set aside time to practice gratitude within their worship by speaking of God’s mighty deeds and remembering his blessings, wonderful works, and faithfulness.

We’ve begun asking folks in our community to share their Stories of Wonder at our public worship. These are stories of God working in our midst, speaking, leading, and providing for his people. This gives us an opportunity to recognize and rejoice in God’s powerful deeds, and it also trains us to pay attention to how God might be at work in our own lives. This one is from Josh.

In 1999, I was diagnosed with cancer. At the time, I was single and although I had some relatives by my side, no one really knew how scared I was or how I was truly feeling. Sadly, this was nothing new for me. That was simply how I led my life. I was an emotional loner. Thankfully, all went well and I received a clean bill of health in 2004.

Given my history with cancer, I make it a point annually to get a physical, complete with blood/lab work. My last physical was in September of this year. I left my doctors office unconcerned as I always do. Three days later, I received a call from my doctor. This time, my blood work was abnormal.

A test for tumor markers came back high, really high. My doctor referred me back to my oncologist for some additional tests as a precaution. I hung up with him and immediately called my wife. I tried to be strong, but broke down and told her how scared I was. You see, just one year earlier God’s grace and love tore down the walls around my heart that kept me from being vulnerable with others, even with my wife.

This time I was open and honest. I was scared. Trust me, I love life but I was void of any selfish feelings. In fact, the overwhelming feelings revolved around my wife and my son. I wanted to live for them, to care for them, to serve them.

I then shared my fears with my friends and brothers from Rhythm. I asked for their prayers that God would restore my health so that my family would not suffer. They prayed over me and kept encouraging me daily, something I will never forget.

A few days later, my wife and I were in my oncologist’s office. He ordered a CT scan and additional blood work. Within a week, I received the awesome news that I was cancer free. My blood work was still elevated, but cancer was definitely not the culprit.

Once again, God came through in the clutch. I truly believe in the healing power of prayer. There is something to be said about a community of Christians praying for one another. I assume this pleases our heavenly father. More importantly, God has transformed me beyond just this one pivotal event. I continue to learn new things each day because of God’s grace and I can’t wait for the new lessons that lie ahead.

Grieving together

October 17th, 2014

Rhythm Team

Our community is grieving the loss of our friend, Bob Heath. His death has come as a surprise to all of us. For all who knew Bob, this is a great loss. He was a wonderful man and he loved God deeply.

As a community we share both our joys and sorrows, so during worship last Sunday night we took some time to express our grief together. The memorial service for Bob will take place at 11 am this Saturday (Oct 25th) at Plymouth Congregation Church in Coconut Grove.

We want to do a good job of caring for Lisa and their two children, Doug and Julie, during this time. If you’d like to provide dinner for them sometime in the next few weeks, you can sign up for a meal here. And we especially ask you to join us in praying for the Heath family, that God would comfort and console them in this difficult season.

If you have any questions or would like to help in some other way, please contact Liz Matos.

Lastly, here is a simple prayer to say whenever we think of Bob as a way to express our love for him through our grieving: “May Bob, through the mercy of God, rest in peace and rise in glory.”

The Dance Has Begun

September 20th, 2014

Rhythm Team

The Christian life isn’t about believing all the right stuff or living by a set of moral principles. That doesn’t come close to capturing what being a Christian is all about. The Christian life is much more like being swept into a divine dance with the living God. At Rhythm we’ve created a mentorship program to help those preparing for baptism understand and more fully experience this dance they’re now a part of.

Each baptism candidate is given a “dance instructor.” This is a normal, everyday man or woman from our congregation who has experience in living the Christian life. You can’t learn how to dance with only books; you learn through observing good dancers and trying it for yourself. Similarly, the manner in which most of us became Christian was by looking over someone’s shoulder, emulating some admired older Christian, and saying yes to and taking up a way of life that was made real and accessible through the witness of someone else. So the best way to learn the divine dance is through practicing with those already moving to God’s groove.

Over the next three months, these candidates and instructors will be working through a one-page list of learning activities – or to keep the analogy going, dance exercises. These range from studying scripture together to serving soup to the poor. The goal is not just to learn about the faith but to live it out together.

The three month program ends on December 13th with us baptizing our friends and throwing a party in God’s name. A lot is asked of both the candidates and instructors. So take a moment right now to say a prayer for them and the journey they’ve embarked on. Pray that they would come to know Jesus on a deeper level, experience the warmth of our community, and learn the tools they need now to be disciples. Amen.

(If you’re interested in doing the Divine Dance in the fall, email Matt Alexander.)

Lots of Love for you Miami

May 6th, 2014

Rhythm Team

In Jeremiah 29, God tells us to seek the welfare of the city in which we dwell. This means we’re called to not just live in the city, but to love the city. Take a minute to slow down and pray for our city and its people.

You see the beauty that lies beyond our brokenness.
Lord, help us see beyond the brokenness of Miami to the beauty that lies beneath.

In your amazing grace, You forgave all our sins and the sins of all who are repentant.
Lord, make us instruments of your forgiveness as we show the grace you showed us to our fellow Miamians.

Through your death and resurrection, You created new life in us.
Lord, let us die to ourselves and instead seek the common good of Miami above our own comfort and desires.

You created every language and tongue, and you hear the cries of all your children.
Lord, make us an instrument of your love, patience, and peace to all people in Miami.

You renew us daily and promise to complete the work you began in us.
Lord, renew in us daily a steadfast spirit to love Miami.

You defend the cause of the fatherless and the widow.
Lord, make us instruments of your justice in Miami.

You tell us to love the foreigners residing among us.
Lord, make us instruments of your love to all ethnicities, races, religions and classes of Miamians.

O Lord, you love everything and everybody in Miami. Miami is yours. Help us to be your hands and feet in our city and communities.
May your kingdom come and your will be done in Miami.
Que tu reino venga a Miami (Spanish)
Venha o teu reino a Miami (Portuguese)
Vin tabli gouvènman ou Miami (Creole)

Journey With Jesus

March 5th, 2014

Rhythm Team

We invite you to journey with Jesus during the season of Lent. Beginning in the fourth century, the church began observing Lent as a forty-day period of reflection and preparation for the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is a time of repentance, of considering Christ’s sufferings, and rethinking how we are called to take up our own crosses.

One way we’re living into this season as a community is through our Lent Guide (you can download it here). Each day there is a Psalm and Scripture passage to read, and we encourage you to take 5-10 minutes to reflect either by journaling, sketching, or just thinking. While reflecting, give God space to speak to you. After reflection spend time praying for others, for your family, those who are suffering in our world, and thank God for who He is and how He is working in you.

Praying in the New Year

December 30th, 2013

Rhythm Team

As a community we have much to celebrate from the previous year and much to anticipate for 2014. In the midst of our celebration of the past and excitement for the new, take a moment to pray for Miami. In Jeremiah 29, God tells us to seek the welfare and shalom of the city in which we dwell. In the end our goal is not to have a great church but a great city.

The following prayers were written by our community. We invite you to start the new year with us by praying for Miami and its people.

Holy God, we thank you for the beauty of this city – both in nature and in what your creation has created. We are blessed to live around such a diverse beauty. We pray that the people of Miami would recognize this beauty and give you praise for it.

Almighty God, we pray for all the migrant workers in the city. Many work in hotels, restaurants, or clean homes. We pray for their well-being and that they would be treated with dignity. Care for them as strangers in a foreign land.

Jesus, we pray for all the teachers in Miami. Being a teacher here has its challenges. We pray that you would encourage our teachers and refresh them as they prepare for the spring semester.

Dear Lord, we pray for Wynwood and all the artists in the city. Thank you for the beauty and creativity coming out of Miami today. We pray that artists in our city would know the Author of creativity and would use their work as a way to show your glory.

Our Father, we pray for all the religious people in Miami who try to earn your approval through their devotion and good works. Please break through their layers of religiosity with the warmth of your love and the power of your grace. Show our friends and family that Christianity is not about a religion but rather a relationship.

Loving God, we pray for all the lonely single people in the city. May friendships be offered to them, and may they come in contact with genuine Christian community that welcomes them with open arms.

Dear Lord, we pray for your one Church in this city to be strengthened this year. As we gather throughout the week at different times and in different places to worship you, may you align our hearts toward your mission and more toward unity. Let us encourage and spur one another one – and may our unity be a benefit to the city.

Holy God, we pray for the young people in our city, specifically those in middle school and high school. There are many lures and temptations that come along with growing up in Miami. We pray that you would counter these temptations by showing our young people the pleasure and delight of knowing you intimately.

Jesus, we pray for Miami’s government officials, the mayor, and the five city commissioners. We pray that they would truly be “civil servants” and do what is best for the city. Help them to act with integrity and humility, and to remember the poor and others who are often forgotten about.