The Darkness and the Ache


A Pastoral Prayer

Heavenly father, each of us has an ache deep down that we long to fill.  

For some, exactly when that ache first came is hard to tell.

Maybe it came after a lifetime of hurts and abuses.   Maybe it is from years of being told we were not good enough, not smart enough, or not pretty enough.   Maybe once we started listening to the hurtful words of another, we opened the door for that ache.

Maybe it comes because of that scar that we are unable to talk about – even to those that are closest to us.

At the same time, there are others that remember when the ache arrived as if it was mere moments ago.  

Maybe it was the moment at the hospital when we heard words that took our breath away.   Maybe it was when the person or the thing we loved more than anything was stripped from our grasp.    Whatever the moment was or is, it came too quick and the ache has yet to leave.

In the end, that ache stifles our passion.   It slows us down.   It leads us to become people who are afraid, who are angry, and who cling desperately to the unsteady parts of the world.  We become bitter, hating each other and turning to fault and judgment as our first response.  We find ourselves either stiff legged and defiant, or trembling with uncertainty.   Sometimes we jump between the two quicker than we could ever realize.

We are told by the most well meaning among us, that the sky is always darkest just before the light – but the words ring of empty cliché.   We hope it’s true but things often seem just too dark to believe.    We pray for those who wonder if today they stand on the edge – and can expect a return of light or more of the same ever increasing darkness.   Lord, it is our prayer that you give us hope.    Let that hope lead to not only an assurance of your Grace, but the recognition that we are never truly alone.

Help us to look forward to the many celebrations, joys, and blessings you provide throughout our lives.   No matter how distant those times become help us to recall the feelings of joy, satisfaction, and love that was so powerful in those moments.   Let us rely on the power of those memories and the promise of the many more to come.   Let these times be the light that pierces the darkness, and dulls the ache.

We pray for those in our neighborhoods, families, and community who struggle.  We pray for strangers.   We pray for nations, leaders, and far away places.     We pray that your voice be heard, and that in trust and in hope, the people who need you will turn towards you.   For all the aches, those that we can mention and those we cannot, and for all the joys, both of yesterday and tomorrow, we offer our fullest praise and prayer, and we do so with the very words in which strength for all believers is found….

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be 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 trespasses,

as we forgive those that trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation;

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

the power, and the glory,

for ever.

Amen.

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