Pastoral Prayers for a Hurting Community…

Heavenly Father, as we come before you this day, we recognize that in so much of our lives we are lost and confused.  Just recently we heard the heartbreaking news of a local 8th grader shooting himself in a classroom, and in the moments that followed we found ourselves angry and heartbroken. As soon as we catch our breath, we find ourselves turning to the national news and coming face to face with another similar story.  Then we hear another.   It seems to never end.

 In the aftermath of moments like this, we ask ourselves how and why we so frequently miss those around us who are in trouble or hurting.   How can we help others come to see what we already see so clearly; that things do get better, and there are answers?    How come we find out only after damage has been done that our neighbors need help?   Is it that we are unable to see those who struggle, or do we just chose not to?

Within the darkness of all the battles that are waged in our lives as well as the lives of our neighbors, we ask that your love continue to shine.  We ask for the nudges, sometimes subtle and soft, and other times large and loud, that remind us, that we are not alone.   Let us listen to those nudges long enough to be reminded that we need to be you to those who need you most.  Let us meet the hurting with extended hand, open mind, and welcoming heart.  Let us fight for those who hurt and struggle.

As we take that risk of offering invitation and healing, remind us that we are a part of each other, and we belong together.   We are thankful that we are allowed to grow and care for each other, and to unravel the mysteries of our faith together.  Help us to turn to the person next to us when our knees begin to shake or our lives begin to rattle.  Help us embrace the call to stand alongside each other.

As we try to make a difference, we offer our thanksgiving for all those whose lives and whose stories merge with our own.  We celebrate the simple gift of their impact on the lives of those around them.   Help us to remember, that when we grow weary with one another that they too can be a source of strength, companionship, and hope.  Let us hear the lessons that their lives and struggles have for us.

Today we pray for the other children of this community who cannot see a way out.   We pray for adults who a running away from real solutions and turning to empty promises.   We pray for those who at this very moment, because of hurt, pain, or grief, find joy and celebration a million miles away.    For the people we remember and for those who need prayers yet determined we ask that they all discover the very real and life changing assurance that you are with them.   Provide them comfort, strength, and hope that comes only from that promise.

Lord, let us realize that we are more than bystanders.  We are more than strangers.   We are more than witnesses.   Help us to realize that each of us are your children, in whom has been given the  responsibility and privilege of providing love, comfort, and companionship for the entirety of your creation.   Let us look to your unwavering love as THE example and let us hear, and feel you just as clearly in our day to day as can be felt in the lessons, the words, and the prayers you taught each of us.  It is in that recognition that we seal all of our prayers, spoken or not, by using the words that Jesus gave directly to his followers;  Our Father…

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