God’s Time…

Sunset-Ted Vassar-Gladys VA April 2015

photo: Ted Vassar

(an acrostic prayer)

Glorious God, Father, Spirit and Son, we come to praise You with our worship this day.

Odor us with the fragrance of Your Son, Jesus Christ, Father. May we smell like You as the world comes into contact with us today.

Decorate us with the adornments of Your Spirit, Father. May we be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control as we live our lives in this world, O God!

Seclude us from the temptations of the evil one, even as we come to worship, that we might see You and revel in Your presence.

Temper us in the fire of Your will and on the anvil of Your word, Father, as we seek You daily.

In Your time, Father, show us the way of righteousness that You have for each of us to walk. May Your time become our time, O God!

Mingle us with those people who need to see, to hear and to smell You as they walk with us daily, Lord. May we be You on exhibit as we live each day!

Equip us in this time of worship to see Your time; where You want us to use it each day; how You want us to allow it to shape us for Your use, and to whom we are to take You, O God!

         In the name of the creator of time and all of creation, we pray! Amen!

The Path Continues…


In Celebration…

Sunset-Gladys VA
(an acrostic prayer)

In the morning of this Your given day, dear God, we come together to worship in spirit and in truth.

Needing to say publicly, “We Love You, Lord,” we have come, as part of our witness to You and to this world, to this place dedicated to Your worship, Father.

Cleanse us of the stains of our sins, Father, as we come to celebrate You, as Your children around Your table today.

Enlarge our capacity to see You in Your word today and to understand Your will for us, O Lord!

Lead us from our self-seeking, to seeking You in all we do and say as we examine ourselves as you tell us to do as we celebrate today, O God!

Embrace us again by Your Holy Spirit and help us to see Your will for each of us, even as we worship today. Open our eyes, Lord.

Brace us against the winds of Satan today, Father, as we live our lives.  We are weak without Your strength, Father.

Remove the attitude that is so prevalent in our world today of “I” and Me,” and replace it with “You” and “Us,” O Lord.

Align our thoughts with Your thoughts, dear God. We know Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts, Father.  Raise us to understanding, Father!

Together, Father, we long to be together with You! We sense Your presence more deeply as we worship, Lord.  Hear our prayer, O God.

I” seems like a strange word to use as we have come to worship, but Jesus, “I just want to say, Thank You for all you have done for me.” I celebrate You today!

Open us to Your grace and Mercy, Lord, even as we worship just now in this place.

Nearer to You, Father, that is our reason for this celebration of worship today. We love to be near You, O God. Accept our celebration, today!

We pray in the name of the one who invites us to come, remember and celebrate today, even Jesus Christ Your son.  Amen!

The Path Continues…

He IS Risen…

Sunrise-Christy Wright-Sept 25, 2013
photo: Christy Wright

(an acrostic prayer)

High and Holy God, Father of Your Risen Son, Jesus Christ, we come to say thank you for this day; the day we once again celebrate Your love and grace for us.

Emerging out of the fog of our sin-filled night of denial before Your resurrection, we long for eyes to be opened so that we may see You in Your glory, O God.

Imperishable You are, Father. You have promised that we can put on imperishableness as we come to You in repentance and humility.  O Lord, we come today!

Support in the overwhelming flood of sin in which we live and are exposed to each day in this world, Father. We sink without Your hand to save us.

Remake us in the mold of Your Son, Jesus Christ, O Lord! We long to be like You in this resurrection day, O God. We know we are not gods, but You are the one and only God and You have the power to remake, to cleanse and to renew us.  Thank You, Father.

Individually we ask for forgiveness even as we view Your love for us in the risen Christ. May we show Him to this world through the life You call us to live and to lead in the light of His resurrection.

Story us, Father, with Your will and Your way. Put into us Your story for the people You have for each of us to share You with today.

Empty us of our selfishness and our desire to be number-one and indwell us with Your Spirit that we may seek Your face on this resurrection day and each day that you leave us here on this sod.

Number us among those who believe in You through Your Son, Jesus Christ through the power of Your Holy Spirit, dear God. He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed! Amen and Amen!

The Path Continues…


Anne Coates Photo 1

photo: Anne Coates

(an acrostic prayer)

Heavenly Father, we are here in Your holy presence with praise on our lips as our hearts feed our expressions with hosannas and joyful worship!

Opulent is the feeling of Your supplying our every need that we may have, O Father. Your presence is all we need.

Send us from this place, still basking in Your presence, to sing to the entire world Your arrival in our hearts today. May we be instruments in Your hands for the building of Your kingdom!

Abet our weary souls by Your grace and mercy, O Lord. May we seek Your face even in the midst of the world’s discouragement.

Naked we stand before you, clothed only in our sins and unrighteousness. Look on us Lord, and clothe us in Your love and righteousness.

Nullify the world’s alluring temptations with Your holy word, O God! Cause us to remember and to live Your will for us written in Your blood.

Acclaiming You, O Father, we lift up our songs, our prayers, our confessions and our intercessions to You. For You are the only God who hears and answers and saves through the blood of Your son, Jesus Christ. Hosanna. Hosanna. Hosanna, in Your name, O God!

The Path Continues…

On Grave Digging…

Jewish Men Digging Grave

I must confess that I have not thought of digging graves for a very long time. In fact, it has been over a decade that I have actually thought about the process of digging a grave.

This morning on a Facebook post from a cousin, there it was, a statement wondering why TV murders always dig rectangular shaped graves to bury their victims. Well, that simple question set my mind to thinking about the actual, physical digging of a grave.

My mind revisited thoughts and images that it hadn’t remembered in several eons. (I am a product of the last century. That may explain part of it.) My mind, simple as it is, brought back scenes and remembrances of graves and those people that dug those graves from years past. It seems that grave digging is no longer a “relationship” kind of event as it was in the rural area in which I grew up. Let me explain, if I can.

When I was a young boy in the rural, Edge community of Campbell County, Virginia, it was common for ordinary people to dig the graves of friends, family members, church members and other people in the community. (It was not only in Campbell County, but in every community.) I can remember my father, Preston Coates and Mr. Melvin Glass, Mr. Russell Dudley, Mr. Sam Farris, the Holland brothers, Mr. Harry Hale, Mr. Joe McIver, Mr. Tom Bomar, my brother-in-law, Phillip Elder, and even my brother, Preston Coates, Jr., as well as others, who would meet at a cemetery to physically dig the grave of a person. (Parenthetically, I realize now that I did not ever participate in the digging of a grave. I wish I had!) These people would do this as an offering of help to the family of the deceased. There would be no payment required. It was done out of respect and love for the individual and the family.

I can remember the group of men had a kind of order to their process. One man would have a couple of picks, another a shovel or two and then one would have finishing shovels (square end shovels as opposed to pointed shovels), one would bring an axe to cut roots and the occasional tree limb, another would have tarps to put the dirt on, still others would just be there to help and encourage. Somehow, when they arrived at the gravesite, the implements that were needed would arrive with the individuals. It was an interesting event. I can hear my dad saying that Mr. Glass was a very good finisher of the grave. (I have no idea why these thoughts suddenly flood my mind, but they do.)

I think you can see that when I called this a “relationship” event, it really was. It was a social event for these men as well as for the family of the deceased. It was a time of cooperation between funeral director, family and friends. It was just the way it was done. I hate to call it a “social event,” but it was, in the good sense of the word “social.”

Occasionally, the funeral home would arrange for a mechanical, backhoe, kind of grave digging. But that was always an added expense, so for the rural area, it was a done by groups of men and women, who saw this as a ministry, if you will, to the family involved.

I could see in these groups of men and families a generational passing-down of a skill and a way of life. Sons would accompany their fathers and even grandfathers to the gravesite and would learn the way of their ancestors. It was an important family dynamic in those days. It taught a certain humbleness and certain respect for life and for each other.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this, except to say that I miss the ritual, but more so, I think we as a generation have missed more than just knowing how to physically dig a hole in the ground called a grave. I’m not advocating we go back to the times of men gathering around a gravesite and throw dirt onto a tarp. That’s not what I’m advocating.

If there is anything that comes from my remembrances this morning, it is that we need to pass along the remembrances, if not the actual events, of our past and not let them die with us. I cannot pass along the actual events to my children and to others, but I can pass along my remembrances and emotions that the events brought to me. What they, or you, do with them, is up to them and you. But I feel an obligation to help preserve some of the past for future generations. Not that a significant amount of people will read this, but who knows, some might.

So, “On Grave Digging”, thoughts have been running through my mind today. They chose to “sit a spell’ and pull me over to the side of the road and have me remember. Maybe they will do the same for you.


As always…The Path Continues…


photo: Aubrey Wiley

photo: Aubrey Wiley

(an acrostic prayer)

Precious Lord and Savior, Father of us all, we worship You today in the wonder and awe of Your presence.

Remove the guilt of our sin, O Father, for we ask for forgiveness as we earnestly pray today.

Accept us, O God, as a father who accepts his children as they come to him for guidance and comfort.

Yearning to be with You and to know Your grace, we come in prayer to seek cleansing as only You can cleanse, dear God.

Envelope us in Your loving arms, O God! We long to be hugged by Your Spirit and feel Your grace dripping all around us.

Rescind the reticence of our hearts to seek You and replace it with a willing, pliable heart that bends and reshapes in Your will, O God.

We pray in the name of the one who hears and answers prayers, even Jesus Christ, Your son. Amen!

The Path Continues…


Lindsey Parnell Tree

   (photo: Lindsey Parnell)

(an acrostic prayer)

Almighty, powerful and loving Lord, we come to worship You; to praise You; and to adore You, Father.

Sacred is Your presence, Father. May we be assured of Your presence as Your Spirit interprets Your word to us, O God.

Safe in Your Arms, Father, we love to worship with Your children and to know You are our assurance through Jesus, Your Son.

Under Your wings of mercy, grace and forgiveness, we come to nest in Your love, O Lord.

Remove the fear that this world brings to us daily, Father. May we live in Your perfect love that casts out all fear.

Assure us, once again, Father of the grace that we need to walk the path that You have for each of us.

Narrow our focus from this world’s wide roads to the smaller roads of Your will, O God.

Center us, O Lord, in the midst of Your will for us. Help us to know the peace that living in Your will brings.

Elevate Your kingdom, Father, as You make us to be who You want us to be, so that Your kingdom will come, and come quickly!

         In the name of Your Son, our assurance of salvation and life, we pray. Amen!

The Path Continues…