A Prayer for Us, for Today
We pray for the in-breaking of the Spirit for the disruption of the Way Things Have Always Been, the upending of status quo and toppling of spiritual wickedness in high places.
Gather in, scootch over, let’s make some room for each other here. I’ll get us started but I’m not the only one here at this circle so feel free to lift up your voice too. Let’s go now.
I know the way I pray may not be the way that you pray and that’s okay, there’s room for both of us here.
So come close. Here we go. God, would you be both strength and comfort for us? We know you are One who doesn’t separate the two, that you can hold both for us and do. I pray we would each, in these days, have a friend who knows us, a friend who knows how to sit in silence, a friend who doesn’t ignore or placate or “but what about…” to us.
I pray for endurance in our hearts and in our minds and in our souls and in our strength. I pray for perseverance beyond what we ever knew we could bear. I pray we would be the ones who do not give up and go home in silence but continue to take up the space and authority and dignity you gave us when you made us in your image.
I pray for comfort. I pray for warmth in our homes. I pray for cook-outs and for twinkle lights under the moon, for good books and for movies, for long walks in the darkness lit only by street lights or stars. May our voices still crack with tears when we sing somehow, inexplicably now, how it is well with our soul. May we fall asleep humming good songs of hope. We are trying to sing in our sorrow, sing in our rage, and would you bless that bravery?
I pray for courage. No one ever told us how much courage it takes to live whole-heartedly, did they? No one told us how brave we would have to be. And yet here we are. I pray for courage to rise up in us so that we can get up out of our beds for another day and do what we need to do to carry on. I pray for an appetite to eat good food and I pray we’ll go to bed on time and sleep well. I pray we’ll be good to our own selves in the midst of all this. I pray for our hands to find work that has meaning and goodness and for respite from even that.
I pray for protection. Yep, totally going there - Jesus, be a hedge of protection around every protester. Give your angels charge over us, be a pillar of fire by night as we wage peace for the sake of your creation. Give us companions in our marching, audiences with legislators, cell phone cameras for accountability, and tear down every thing, every leader, every one, who lifts a hand against your beloveds.
I want to give us the space to lament. To truly grieve what we have lost, what this has cost us, the toll this is taking, the unnamed and uncelebrated and unnoticed ones who are beloveds of Christ. Take the time you need to howl, as you sit in your sackcloth and ashes. And may you know the presence of Emmanuel there, in the ashes with you, God with us.
I pray for us to learn to love the world again. May we be awakened, Creator, to the herons and the eagles, to the wave and the shore, to the colours of sunrise and the opening of every peony. May we be nourished by creation, body and soul. May our feet sink down into the grass once in a while, may we remember to lay on our backs and watch the clouds drift one afternoon. May we plant gardens even though we are in exile.
I pray for us to know the intimacy and companionship of the Holy Spirit in these days. I have often found that it is in the wilderness and in the darkness and in the loneliness that the Spirit draws nearest. I pray for the active and intimate presence of the mystery of God to be close in ways we couldn’t name or explain or understand. We pray for the in-breaking of the Spirit for the disruption of the Way Things Have Always Been, the upending of status quo and toppling of spiritual wickedness in high places. I pray we would never lose our capacity for dreaming, for hoping, for longing.
I pray for peace in us and through us and about us. I pray for glimmers of reconciliation. I pray for bad jokes and for the kind of laughter that makes us want to whoop and pound the table a time or two. I pray for friends who become family and I pray for family to become friends.
I pray for God to be near in ways we never could have expected. I pray that this will give birth to a great compassion, a love for our suffering world like we’ve never known. Jesus, would you redraw our geography of the Kin-dom so that we know, truly know, that the margins are not the margins to you but the centre of your sacred heart.
May we, as the company of the people of the unanswered prayers, hold both hope and grief together.
I know there is something for which you cannot even pray, there is no faith left in you for it: I pray for that unnamed thing, too, I have a bit of faith today and you can have it. I don’t know what it is in you but I know you carry it and the better thing is that God knows.
I have always been so thankful that Jesus is described in Isaiah as a man of sorrows, a man acquainted with grief. This is a man I can let into that inner chamber of grief: he is acquainted with our sorrow and he will deal so gently, such a good mother, with our broken-hearts.
I pray for hope to rise, unbidden and unforced and surprising, like a flower breaking through the cement in a parking lot. I pray we would be a people who tend that tendril of hope like a gardener, protect it, let it grow wild and unexpected into the places people least anticipated.
I pray for opportunities to serve others in our lives, not in general but in particular. I pray for Mother God to bring us people whom we can love. I pray for eyes to see the company of the broken-hearted and angry around us and that we will become a place of rest for each other.
I pray we will all find something or someone to love in these days.
I pray for real reciprocity of relationship – that for every good thing we receive, we are able to give someday. I pray for the prayers of children to be spoken over us, the songs of the world to call us forward.
We call out the sins of racism, cruelty, transphobia, and white supremacy. No more. We name the economic injustices, the educational inequalities, the maternal mortality, the rotten root of patriarchy, the movements and systems designed to oppress and murder, all of the countless ways that the image of God is abused and mistreated and broken or diminished. We call it out and name it for what it is – sin! powers! principalities! systemic evil! injustice! – and we cast it down, in the name of Jesus. I pray that we would continue casting it down with our whole lives, every corner of them. We pray that these powers and principalities will be weakened in the world, cast away, broken, and dismantled forever. May we work to call these things out and to dismantle them from our world’s systems… and from our own hearts.
I pray that the places where this world has broken us, where evil has left its mark, where we have felt abandoned and broken and hurt, where we are in pain - that those very places would become a wellspring of healing and wholeness for the world. I pray for the desert to bloom with flowers. I pray for the dry parched earth to be filled with cleansing rain and healing waters. I pray for our collective healing and I pray for our wholeness. I pray for our boldness, I pray for our voices to rise. May we witness a new thing brewing.
And I dare to pray for joy. I pray that everything we are sowing in grief, we will reap in joy. It will be a different sort of joy, we both know that. There is the uncomplicated joy of those who haven’t suffered and then there is the joy that is born of suffering, the joy that is deeper for the loss that preceded, the joy that is in seeing redemption and yet knowing the scars we bear from the wounds are beautiful to those with eyes to see.
So may we go forth in peace, in power, in song, in solidarity to topple empires, to gather up the lost and lonely into the great family of God, to plant gardens in exile, to turn swords into ploughshares, and make peace.
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Photo by Sharalee Prang Photography.