Pastoral Prayers

 A parishioner challenged me several days ago.     

She reminded me that I often begin moments of prayer in our worship with the reminder that prayer is not only the most important part of our worship, it is often the time when we are truly practicing what it means to be people of faith.    We, as followers of Jesus, have been called back into a communion with God, and that communion is most wonderfully and completely reflected in the times we enter into conversation and presence with him. 

The parishioner told me that she could sense my commitment to this belief and felt that some of the most moving points of our worship, was when we entered into prayer.   Not sure where she was going with this, I agreed and thanked her for her critique.

Without allowing the compliment to settle, she then quickly and abruptly asked why were none of the prayers posted to the Blog?    If they are that important, why leave them out? 

At first, I tried to suggest that perhaps it was that prayer felt most right, when it was in a setting of reverence, such as found in a worship setting.   

But her reply was equally as matter of fact.   She said (and I paraphrase) “I would imagine the prayers that matters most, are said when we are not at our holiest… I think I would like a copy of some of those prayers when I am fighting on Tuesday.” 

I thank God that I am blessed with a church that calls me out, and continually challenges me, even if I don’t realize it at the time.     

So, as of this post, and from time to time, I think I will be posting some of our prayers.    

Lord Jesus, this past week I have found words that have stuck with me, that I have been unable to shake.   They are a Navajo proverb which says there is no rainbow in the soul, without tears in our eyes.  This morning I ask that you remind me that your light shines greatest in my dark moments. 

You bore the sins of a world who failed to listen, and you returned to show us all the power of your sacrifice and the power of our faith… You  showed us that we are of infinite worth, worthy of forgiveness, and treasured beyond belief…no matter the garbage we find ourselves in or among. 

Forge in me, and each of us, the will to always remember that we are God’s Children, and that each of us deserves the other’s respect, love, and compassion.  Remind us that all of God’s children deserve the fullness of the church and what she can offer.  Keep us from forgetting this when the world beats us up….and help us to help others to remember it too.  Forge in us that passion to serve you, and to worship you in those unique ways, with our unique gifts, and utilizing our unique passions. 

We raise the names of friends, neighbors, family, and others who need to sense your healing presence around them.     Allow them to find both assurance and comfort in you.    We ask for healing and a return to wholeness, for those who hurt.    If it is your will…we ask for this healing.   If that healing is not possible, we ask that we all remain true in the face of our grief.   

Allow those who are sick, to find strength in you.   May they face the challenges of an uncertain time, with a certainty of you.    May they find the strength to keep fighting, and to not give up. 

May each of us take the opportunity to comfort those who hurt.  Let each of realize that one of the greatest gifts we possess is the gift of being a shoulder for another to lean upon.   Allow us to realize that when we provide comfort for the hurting, we are providing comfort to you.   Help us to reach out and grab hold of those who struggle.   Allow each of us the blessing of being another person’s strength.

We pray for your comfort and presence in all times, be they times of joy or times of hurt.    Help us to recognize that as we put our trust in you, that you will not fail us.   Help us to see you standing alongside each of us, during not only the challenging times of our lives but the mundane as well. Help me to remember, that through my many, many tears, there will be rainbows.

Thanks be to God, Amen.

(Note:   I have several a couple of emails on this that has authorship of the “Rainbow” quote as being from John Vance Cheney, a prolific poet who died in 1922, and others that claim he stole the quote from a common Navajo proverb.   In the end, it remains a question mark for me).

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