Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Pastoral Prayer

Dear Father,

I come before you today on behalf of a broken world. On the one hand, I am grateful for the evidences of your presence in our world. It is unmistakable and readily discernible. Certainly we see your handiwork all around us. How we marvel at the beauty of your creative genius. The stunning images recently broadcast from the International Space Station reveal a world filled with splendor and majesty. The scale of your design that extends out into our universe and beyond escapes our comprehension.

We also encounter your touch in the innocence and wonder of curious children exploring their world for the first time. We hear whispers of your voice in their laughter and in the innumerable expressions on their faces as they learn new things and invite us to join them in their daily journeys.

We are reminded of the power of love as we see it extended through real relationships across the human family. An elderly couple walking through life hand-in-hand and coming to the end of their journey with an eternity full of memories. A dedicated single mom working two jobs and gingerly pacing herself as she juggles all the responsibilities of her life – all the while relishing the benefits of self-sacrifice through the health of her children. Generous people going above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that others have the daily necessities of life. 

So – yeah – we see you hand at work in the midst of a busy, complex, broken world. Truck drivers, Traffic Cops, Carpenters, Cooks, Barristers, Brokers, Programmers, Pot-hole repairers, Engineers, Educators, Musicians, Marketers, Homemakers, Heart Surgeons, Insurance Agents and Industrialists ----- all show up at work every day and contribute to an ordered society that bears the imprint of your design that allows us to creatively express your image in our world.

And yet – I am easily reminded of the brokenness of it all. This past week, as Americans we paused to express our thanks to our veterans. These champions of liberty. These servants of a civilized society. In fact, we paused to remember Armistice Day – when the freedom of Europe was secured at the end of WW I. And yet, we know our history. We know that WW I was quickly followed by WW II and a host of other wars and conflicts that have wrought havoc across the human family.

By Friday of this past week, we were bitterly reminded of just how fragile freedom truly is. The darkness of the actions perpetrated on Paris continues to shock us today. We are stunned again by just how evil human beings can be. 

So, Lord, I ask you to bring healing to families who are hurting today once again because of the violence committed by fellow human beings. I ask you to bring comfort to those who need it.

I also ask you to bring hope where it has been lost, joy where it has been tarnished. Peace where there has been conflict. And yes, even life where there has been death.

Certainly, Lord, I ask you to provide wisdom for the leaders of our world—especially those who do not seek your counsel. I ask you to give them insight beyond their human ability and courage to implement plans that will provide for security and stability for human beings to live in an ordered society. I ask you to give our leaders the wisdom and collective will to confront the web of terror that blankets our planet.

Also, Lord, I would be remiss if I failed to admit the darkness that lies in our hearts as well. We may not be tempted to take an AK-47 and take aim against innocent human beings, however, we still struggle with our own temptations. We are often characterized by malicious actions, critical spirits and the expression of vindictive motives. We often succumb to the temptation to answer darkness with . . .  more darkness.

Help us to learn the lessons from your Word. The only answer for darkness is light. May we be forces for good as we reflect the light of the Gospel in our world. May we be harbingers of hope. Messengers of peace. Examples of transformation. May we experience your power in our own lives so that what is broken within us might be restored so that we can bear Your image in this world.

Work within us and through us so that we might truly be the people of God.

In the Name of Jesus, have mercy.