How Did We Get Here?

(A Pastoral Prayer)

Heavenly father, there are times when we find ourselves full of disappointment and heartbreak.   Sometimes it comes when we find ourselves in places we never thought we would be.   The people we have become are not those we expected, and we wonder how we got here.   The lives we are living are not what we wanted or hoped for and we wonder when we let our dreams fade.

Way too often that disappointment leads us to do silly, stupid, or selfish things.   Sometimes we pretend to be the people we should be and end up fooling no one.  Sometimes we crush ourselves being jealous of the lives of others.   We let the success of others be our reason for disappointment.

All too often we let the hopelessness and the regret take over.   Too often we set the anger or bitterness free.   Other times we push it so far down inside of us that we hardly realize it’s there.   All the while it rots us from the inside out.

Lord, we ask for your help.  Help us to embrace the anger and the dissatisfaction that will lead to the change that we hope and long for.   Help us to put away the anger that leads us to regret and nothingness.   Help us to look at our lives and our world and see possibilities.   Help us to embrace hope.

Remind us continually that hope abounds.   Help us to see it in the moments of our celebrations; be they birthday parties, accomplishments, or job promotions.   Help us to celebrate the hope that is found in our moments of joy such as the birth of a new baby, a dream fulfilled, or a return to health.

Even more importantly, Lord, we ask that hope be seen in our dark moments when we hurt, suffer or struggle.   Let us find the hope of your promise just as near us in these moments as they are in our moments of joy and celebration.  Let us never forget that your hope is always here for the taking.

In those times when the pain around us is not our own, we ask that you help us to become your presence to others.   Remind us we can be faith and belief, for those who believe neither is for them.  Help us to be the face of Jesus to our neighbors.

Along with all the concerns of friends and family that we raise to you continually, we pray that we can be hope for one another in their dark times.  We pray that we will always remember to be present.   We pray that we can be a source of encouragement and hope, and be seen as proof positive as to how much you truly love each of us, no matter the moment or the challenge. 

In you we put all of our trust, all of hope, all of our love, and all of our prayers,  Amen.

The Way Down the Mountain

A Pastoral Prayer.

Heavenly father,   There is a memory I have of climbing to the top of Mt. Monadnock with my daughter.  On the way up to the summit, I didn’t take my eyes off the rocks and path in front of me.   Each step was deliberate, and I was sidestepping twisted roots and wet leaves. It was a struggle and I was continually afraid of falling.

When we finally reached the top, we were tired, but we celebrated together.   From the place we stood we could see for miles. The landscape seemed like something out of this world.  On the top of that mountain, it was as we were standing in the clouds already.

Yet the true beauty of that day and that mountain wasn’t experienced until we started back down.  It was then that the vista which was behind us on the way up now spread itself out before us.  The view was breathtaking.  It was as if a artist had created masterpiece fresh with each step.   Although the journey down the mountain was at times even tougher physically than the way up, it didn’t matter.  It didn’t matter because we were lost in the wonderful canvas painted for us.

Heavenly father, help us to learn from that moment on the mountain.   Help us to learn from the way up, and the way down.

When our attention is on the rocks and the hazards right in front of us, keep our eyes open to your presence. It’s in those moments that we want our steps to be deliberate and steady, but we ask that you remind each of us that by putting our trust in you, we can rest assured that everything will be all right.

Let us find your hope, your promise, and your peace in all those moments where we can’t seem to see beyond a few feet before us.    Let us find these things in you, and hold on tight.

When we overcome and move beyond the struggles of right now, and when we reach our mountaintops, remind us that we can celebrate together.   Let us find strength as a community in the celebrations of our neighbors.    Let us enjoy each other’s blessings as our own.  Let us jump in joy when any scale the mountain.

Lastly, as we move down from the summit, and we move beyond the struggles of this moment to those of the next, let us not lose sight of the beauty that is all around us, all the time.   Help us to find your grace and your love in all these moments.  Keep us from thinking that your blessings are fleeting.

In the day to day of my life, please God, remind me of the trip down the mountain.   In your name and promise I pray, Amen.

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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