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Last week, Jane Zwart posted the intercessory prayer she wrote and offered as part of Sunday worship at Church of the Servant in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where we both attend.
I was scheduled for the prayer this past Sunday and struggled with putting that prayer together in light of everything that the Christian Reformed Church and our nation are going through. Jane’s prayer helped focus my thoughts, and I know that I wasn’t the only one uplifted by it. Though I am no poet like Jane, I share my own prayer here in case it might similarly be useful for folks. There are some connections between my prayer and Andrew Mead’s sermon, which is definitely worth listening to.
It is hard to know how to pray.
Prayer should unite us — to you and to each other. But we are not of one accord, instead biting and devouring one another.
Meet us, God, in our particularities, giving us each the goods that we need for this coming week.
For those of us in despair, give us hope.
For those of us in grief, give us comfort.
For those of us who are made to feel unwelcome, give us a place to belong.
For those of us facing oppression, give us liberation.
For those of us barely hanging on, give us another day.
For those of us with righteous anger, give us the prudence to know where to direct it.
For those of us drowning in uncertainty, give us clarity.
For those of us who are content, give us solidarity.
For those of us for whom your presence is felt and trust comes easy, enable us to come alongside others and share it.
For those of us who lead, give us wisdom.
For those of us engaged in your work, give us perseverance.
We know that we are not one, as we should be.
We’re reminded that false unity is grounded simply in the absence of external conflict rather than the presence of your shalom.
Unite us around the table of your body and blood. Unite us with our siblings and kindred — with every single one, since that is who you lived and died and rose for.
Make us one; make us your body.
You’re still moving, and still you will redeem. So we praise you, God so faithful.*
*From the Lectionary Psalm 77 that we sang earlier in the service.