March 29, 2020

Pastoral Prayer

Holy God, like the Psalmist, we cry out to you from the depths. These are trying times, unsettling times, strange and lonely times, and we come to you for healing and holding, for wisdom and patience, for trust and hope. We would never have dreamed that a virus could bring the world to a stop, but it has; and that world cries out to you now in pain and despair. We pray, O God, for the sick: those who are recovering at home and those gasping for breath and waiting for a ventilator; for those who are separated from the ones they love because of fear of contamination or because of the long hours of work they do on behalf of others; for those who have been told to stay at home, and all the challenges that come with that order: loss of jobs, the likelihood of abuse, or simply too many people trying to do too many things in one small space. We pray for those struggling with the loneliness of long days alone, the strain on relationships, the loss of support systems and caregivers, graduations and proms, retirement parties and closure. We pray especially for world leaders confronted with impossible choices, for the World Health Organization and CDC as they seek to lead our response, for the scientists who search for answers and alternatives, and for the health care workers who put themselves in harms way day after day. For all of the truck drivers and grocery store workers, cleaners and cooks, farmers and reporters who continue to work and serve and do what they can to lighten the load for others.

In the midst of all the anguish we give you thanks for signs of hope and beauty, the reminders that come to us day after day of how good people can be, how generous and kind. We give thanks for the helpers who make phone calls, deliver groceries, stop by and check in. For music that reaches across empty alleys and grab and go bags that keep children fed, for the ability to read bedtime stories through Facetime and reconnect with family miles away. For the technology that connects us, even when we’re told to stay apart, and the ways that you work through it all to nurture and bless, encourage and sustain, cherish and embrace.

Holy God, we give thanks for all we can learn in these days about what is important and what is not, how to recognize beauty in the midst of ugliness, how very connected we really are and how our actions impact the lives of people we’ll never know, how little light it takes to soften the darkness, the ways in which the work of the church is not contained within a building, and how your Spirit knits us together with threads we may never see. Thank you for the love you lavish upon us, the hope you plant deep within us, the life with which you bless us, and the peace that is ours because we know you will be with us to guide, bless and protect us each and every day of our lives.

Hear our prayers, O God, the spoken and the unspoken. And hear us as we join together in the prayer that Jesus taught: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

1 comment

    • Marjorie Palmer on July 30, 2020 at 10:16 am

    So good to “hear”your voice, Alice. Your prayer “covers” it all. I too miss the connections, particulary a human real hug. To be alone for months and see but cannot touch my family is frustrating as well as depressing. Things are a bit better but don’t want to become complacent.
    Thanks for reminding us of those we should be thanking.

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