Pastoral Prayers in a Shaken Nation and World.

Holy God, we pray for your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven… but sometimes it feels like we are so far from your grace. The pain of nations and people weighs so heavily; the fear people carry overwhelming.

Our hearts are black and blue from the bruising blows we have absorbed this week.
Our hearts are black, and they are blue. 

Our hearts ache for the black brothers and sisters who are our neighbors, for people we know and for strangers, who are targets simply because of who they are, whose fear and outrage are finding voice, and who will not be silenced. We pray that they may live in the same freedom we take for granted and have assumed is there for everyone. We pray that violence toward them may end. Lord, hear our prayers… 

Our hearts ache for our brothers and sisters in blue who are out neighbors, for people we know and for strangers, who are targets because of who they are, who step into places of fear and outrage with bravery and courage. We pray that violence and threats toward them may end. Lord, hear our prayers…

And we pray, Lord, that we will never be inured to the pain of others. That the horrific attacks in Baghdad may appall us just as much as the attacks in Paris. That senseless deaths will never seem normal. That racism or violence or terrorism may never be ‘just the way it is.’ That we will not close our eyes to our neighbors, and simply cross over to the other side, because it’s easier and less painful that way. Help us to live in this world, Lord. This world you came to live in, too. This world that killed you with senseless violence, and this world you rose to redeem. Help us to love this world, too. This world, and not the one we wish we had. 

God, we pray that you would keep our hearts open, our minds open, and our spirits open to your presence. Especially we pray for those whose hearts are heavy with grief; … whose minds are weighed down by confusion or depression… whose spirits are wounded by rejection or loneliness… You know all that we carry, Lord, even those things we would hide from others. And we ask for your healing grace. 

In the beauty and the light of this world, remind us of your goodness. As we celebrate gifts of healing and good, long lives, we give you thanks for reasons for joy. With every breath, fill us with your Spirit. With every step, strengthen us with courage. Your love is the power we trust to set us free. In hope and in faith and in trust now we pray, as we say together the prayer that our Lord Jesus taught us…

Our Father...