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.


A Pastoral Prayer

Lord, we are constantly reminded that there is no place where you are not with us.   We know that there is no moment that is too scary to feel your presence.  We know we are never alone. We celebrate that there is no alley, no hospital room, no hotel room, or no street corner that is too dark for you.

But God, we ask for your forgiveness when we miss your presence and instead decide to cling to the shadows instead of that truth.  Forgive us when we choose to run, instead of trusting in who you are and the help, safety, comfort and hope you offer.   

Help us to be people capable of standing strong in the those moments.  Hold our hands as we navigate the shadows around us.  When we are confronted with the darkness of this world, help us to be agents of light.    When the darkness hits our own lives; via sickness, anxiety, grief or pain, help us to lift our eyes to you.   Help us to see your light in all places, and find your strength in it.

We ask that you be patient with us.    As we take small steps, know that we are learning to give all, risk all, and trust all.    We are learning that your comfort, your assuredness, and your peace is not fleeting, no matter how hesitant those steps may be. As we struggle to learn that we should never fear the dark. make our hearts courageous. 

Through it all, we ask that you allow us to turn to you in thanksgiving for all the many pinpricks of light that Grace our days.    When all else fails help us to embrace the promise that each of those points represent.   

For the many needs and many hurts of those around us, and for those whom Grace seems far off, we turn to you in prayer.   May we all find the hope of your presence when our hearts break.    May the gift of your Grace be the answer to all our prayers, both those said and those that remain to be spoken.   

Your Grace is certainly enough to pierce through the darkest of nights, and it is what we seek through our prayers.          Lord, Hear this prayer.  Amen.

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