One of my favorite things to do in the two churches I most recently served was to write a weekly prayer that went out to the congregation via our “e-news” on Fridays. I incorporated the prayer requests I received from church members that we might hold one another in our hearts throughout the day. While the prayer was communal, it became a personal spiritual discipline that helped me pay attention (thank you, Mary Oliver) – to notice the hungers in my heart, the ways I saw God at work in my day, and the call to appreciate the present moment when it was the last thing I wanted to do. Writing prayers continues to help me find meaning in places where it’s hard for me to do so. It pushes me to love and live with passion.
While I definitely don’t think writing must begin with “Dear God” or end with “Amen” in order to be a prayer, it is a comforting framework that hugs my heartfelt thoughts and collects me into place when I feel distracted, confused, and stressed.
I can’t promise I will post a prayer every week, but it’s a goal to hold with gentleness, and one which I hope is of encouragement to your own soul and journey.
We thank you for your faithfulness in holding our hand each day. As this week comes to a close, we ask, God, for your forgiveness to flood our lives. We recognize in ourselves our own struggles – the same old failures. The things we get too tired to confess again. The things we’ve hidden for so long, we’ve convinced ourselves they’re not so wrong after all. Thank you for your patience, God. Please forgive and free us. Heal our hearts and liberate our minds.
May new springs of healing and forgiveness from your reservoir of grace flow into the relationships we share with others. Reveal to us, Lord, those in our lives we need to forgive. Please birth in us a new kindness. May the pain they’ve caused- even pain they don’t know about – teach us a compassion we would not have learned otherwise. Loosen the hard, rigid bars we’ve put around our hearts, and shape our expectations with your humility and love.
Nurture a warm and supportive community in us. May we provide others a soft space to land with their sore hearts – just as you’ve done, God, for us.
We love you. We need you. May all we speak, all we do, all we dream, and all we confess today declare our commitment to follow you and your way, Jesus.