Continued Prayers

for 

Our Broken & Fearful World

A Prayer for Our Nation in the Event

of Another Shooting

Good and Gracious God,
Yet again,
our nation grieves.
Yet again,
the life of a child
has been cut
dreadfully short.
Yet again,
we all rally to our political centers
to cry out
for our guns,
for our rights,
for our safety,
for rational thought...

and...
we forget.

We forget
that a child who should be here with us...
is not.
We forget
that a family,
a community,
a nation mourns.
We forget
that our decisions impact lives
and that impact has
a ripple effect.
We forget
that life is more important,
more central,
more valuable,
than anything else we have.

and...
we are far too ready
to hand life away.

We are far too ready
to miss the emphasis to which you call us.
We are far too ready,
to let our political allegiances distract us from
the things you desire.
We are far too ready to turn to our TVs and internet
for what to think
rather than to the love to which you call us.
Yes,
we are far too ready
to hand life away –
the lives of others –
and even,
the life to which you call us.

And...
we must change.

We must change our focus.
Let us no longer
focus on others as the target of our convictions
but rather let us
focus on others
as the target of our
concern,
and caring,
and love.
We must change,
the national dialogue
from one of disagreements, dismissals
and disingenuous “debate”
to one of truly listening,
thoughtfully considering
and deeply loving those we may have once
seen as “the other side.”

And...
we must learn.

We must learn
that there truly is only one side –
the side of humanity,
the side of life,
the side of love.
We must learn
to bracket out all of the voices
that ask us to focus
on anything other than each other.
We must learn
that love is the only thing that can
cure this illness that plagues our nation.

And...
we must act.

We must act
now.
Not after another death.
Not after another leader is injured.
Not after another misguided child
hurts themselves and others.
Not after another family
spends a lifetime mourning.
Not after another survivor
struggles for full recovery.
Now.
We must act

and...
we must do it
in love.

Not divisiveness.
Not political posturing.
Not disrespectful dialogue.
Not parroting the talking heads on TV.

We must do it
one on one
with open hearts,
with open minds
and a willingness
to see the humanity
of those with whom we disagree.

Only then
can this illness
which has a grip on our nation
begin to be treated.

So we ask
that we might be filled with the Spirit
and that from all of us
there might come
a great outpouring of love
on a scale like never seen before –
because our friends matter,
our family matters,
our children matter –
your children matter.

Amen.

Mark Sandlin currently serves as the minister at Vandalia Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, NC. He received his M. Div. from Wake Forest University's School of Divinity and has undergraduate degrees in Business Administration and English with a minor in Computer Science. He's an ordained minister in the PC(USA) and a self-described progressive.

Holy God, we cry out to you as we grieve the brokeness of our world.  We place our trust in you, that you will hear our prayers, with mercy and tenderness.  Take our fear, our anger, our frustration and our weary souls.  Embolden us as your disciples to share love of Jesus Christ in these days. It is in the bold confidence of this love that:

 

We pray for peace - 

   Not with easy words that make no demands,

   but the peace of the cross,

   where we bear agony in love,

   overcoming divisions,

   being the bridges of love in Christ.

   Where enmity and fear

   give way to forgiveness.

 

We pray for hope - 

   A hope that spring from resurrection,

   not founded on human solutions,

   but the hope that is in the One

   who has and will come again.

 

We pray for power -

   The power to endure

   the long night of waiting,

   that we may be faithful to the end.

   The power to be unmoved

   when evil appears triumphant

   and the battle for truth seems lost.

   The power to love

   when hate explodes into violence

   and we are tempted to see violence

   as the only way.

   The power to start building again

   when all we trusted in is crashing around us.

 

We pray for courage -

   The courage to be a pilgrim people

   traveling into the unknown

   in the confidence that the way is know to God,

   The courage to be the body of Christ,

   so that all who have sorrow

   may know the love of Christ through us.

  

Amen.

 

(adeated by Sara Lisherness from the Presbyterian Church of Irelenad - found in Who Do You Say that I Am? World Alliance of Reformed Churches)

 

 

 

A Prayer from the Streets of Charlottesville

written by seminarian

Lauren Grubaugh

To the God whom we have forgotten;
To the God who is not male and is not white;

To the God who takes no pleasure in violence;
To the God who is Love;
To the God who is tender-hearted

and warm embrace;
To the God who is not deaf to Her children’s cries and is moved to tears by their suffering;
To the God whose law is love of neighbor, hospitality for the stranger, care for the weak;
To the God whose touch is healing, whose gaze is compassion; whose way is loving kindness;
To the God who is Justice;
To the God who tramples fear and hatred

under Her feet;
To the God who convicts our hearts,

stirs our spirits, transforms our minds;
To the God who revels in the joyful dance of community and invites us to do the same;

To the God whose own child’s lynched body

hung limp on a tree,
not by Her own hand,
but because of the fear and hatred

of those human beings
who feared the kind of world they were promised would be ushered in
and hated the changes

they would have to undergo to get there;

Our memory is so short:
Our failure to remember the sins of our parents,
Our aversion to repentance,
Our refusal to make reparations,
Is killing us.

Our souls are wasting away.
And black, brown, female, queer, trans, Muslim, differently abled bodies
Are dying.
Every day, so many.

O God whom we have forgotten,
We do not even know how to call on your name.
We have not seen you in the faces of our sisters and brothers.
We have not felt you in the pain of our neighbors, strangers, friends and enemies;

O God whom we have forgotten,
Do not let our imaginations be infiltrated by war-mongering forces of violence.
Do not let our spirits be colonized by the depressing fear of our oppressors.

Transform our minds that do not know how to think of you
Existing without these heavy chains we have placed on ourselves
and on each other.

Amen.

https://allsaints-pas.org/a-prayer-from-the-streets-of-charlottesville-from-seminarian-lauren-grubaugh/

Refuse to fall down.

If you cannot refuse to fall down,

refuse to stay down.

If you cannot refuse to stay down,

lift your heart toward heaven 

and like a hungry beggar

ask that it be filled,

and it will be filled.

You may be pushed down.

You may be kept from rising.

But no one can keep you from lifting your heart toward heaven;

only you.

It is in the middle of misery

that so much becomes clear.

The one who says 

nothing good came of this

is not yet listening.

Clarissa Pinkoloa Estes

Because you made the world,

and intended it to be a good place,

and called its people your children;

because, when things seemed at their worst,

you came in Christ to bring out the best in us;

so gracious God, we gladly say:

   Goodness is stronger than evil,

   Love is stronger than hate,

   Light is stronger than darkness.

   Truth is stronger than lies.

Because confusion can reign inside us,

despite our faith;

because anger, tension, bitterness and envy distort our vision;

because our minds sometimes worry small things 

out of all proportion;

because we do not always get it right,

we want to believe:

   Goodness is stronger than evil,

   Love is stronger than hate,

   Light is stronger than darkness,

   Truth is stronger than lies.

Because you have promised to hear us,

and are able to change us,

and are willing to make our hearts your home,

we ask you to confront,

control, forgive and encourage us,

as you know best.

Then let us cherish in our hearts

that which we proclaim with your lips:

   Goodness is stronger than evil,

   Love is stronger than hate,

   Light is stronger than darkness,

   Truth is stronger than lies.

Lord, hear our prayer,

and change our lives

until we illustrate the grace

of the God who makes all things new.

   Amen.

                                    Iona Community

Blessing When the World is Ending

 

Look, the world
is always ending
somewhere.

Somewhere
the sun has come
crashing down.

Somewhere
it has gone
completely dark.

Somewhere
it has ended
with the gun,
the knife,
the fist.

Somewhere
it has ended
with the slammed door,
the shattered hope.

Somewhere
it has ended
with the utter quiet
that follows the news
from the phone,
the television,
the hospital room.

Somewhere
it has ended
with a tenderness
that will break
your heart.

But, listen,
this blessing means
to be anything
but morose.
It has not come
to cause despair.

It is simply here
because there is nothing
a blessing
is better suited for
than an ending,
nothing that cries out more
for a blessing
than when a world
is falling apart.

This blessing
will not fix you,
will not mend you,
will not give you
false comfort;
it will not talk to you
about one door opening
when another one closes.

It will simply
sit itself beside you
among the shards
and gently turn your face
toward the direction
from which the light
will come,
gathering itself
about you
as the world begins
again.

—Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace

Do you have a prayer request?

 

You are welcome to submit

a prayer request at any time.

 

At your direction your prayer request is either

      1) shared with the congregation so that all can  be united in prayer;

      2) offered silently by the pastor while being held in confidence

      3) shared with a small group of members who maintain a prayer chain.  

 

 

Prayer shawls, created by loving hands and blessed by our Prayer Shawl Ministry, are also available upon request.

 

 

All prayer requests can called in to the Deacon vociemail box (732 329-2463 ext. 4), and will be shared with the pastor.  Please indicate which of the 3 ways listed above this church can pray for you.

 

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