Pastoral Prayer

Pastoral Prayer

October 15, 2017

Blessed are you O Lord our God, who sustains this world you have made,

              and who tirelessly and generously loves all the human family made in your image.

It is you who holds the hurts and struggles of the world close to your heart;

              It is you who sees the tears and the pain and is filled with compassion and comfort;

                             It is you who is at the margins proclaiming justice and healing.

              And it is you, you dear God who invites us and nudges us to join you

 in the wonder and mystery of this life, in the days we have been given.

 

We are caught up short by your mercy and grace, that withstands our uncertainty or indifference;

We are grateful that even in our hesitations your tenderness softens our hearts toward compassion,

                             and melts our criticisms into trust.

We become more fully alive, and thus more fully human,

              when we join you in the work and the wonder of transforming fear and resistance

                             into humble forgiveness, the breaking of barriers, and the restoring of relationships.

 

At the center of it all, at the core of what matters,

is the love you have for us and this love that dwells deep in our hearts for you and our neighbor.

We pray not in despair or desperation but in a deep,

abiding hope that you dear God can and will release us;

release us from what keeps us huddled in the shadows

 and help us step into the light of your ways and the joy of your communion.

 

We pray for the impulse and the will to pay attention in the midst of our shortcomings;

We know too well the trappings of purity, of right belief, of ‘proper’ behavior, of doing it all ‘right’;

Yet when these are placed above our love of you and neighbor;

              when these become the litmus test instead of heartfelt dignity and respect;                           

                             when they get in the way of healing and wholeness

                                           then we are out of step with what matters – the love of you and others.

 

And so we pray dear God, out of deep gratitude and a ready thank you for the growing awareness

              of your love for us, your care for all of us,

                             and the answer of prayer through us by giving us this wild and wonderful life

                                           lived with and for one another.

Help us to see your grace;

to discern what matters.

Let us not falter in generosity and love of you and neighbor;

Help us to welcome one another each day, each joyous and wonder-filled encounter,

and offer the grace and mercy and love extended to the whole human family, through the merciful, loving grace of Jesus Christ, in whose

name we would pray and live.  Amen.