Sunday, July 29, 2007
Offered by Dana Ferguson, Executive Associate Pastor
Gracious God, hallowed be your name and may your kingdom come. You beseech us, “Ask and it shall be given; search and you shall find; knock and the door will be opened.” And so we are knocking, knocking at the door of prayer, at the door of uncertainty, at the door of need, at the door of unwelcomed change. We are not sure what to expect, for you speak to us in different ways at different times in different voices. So unfold for us, we pray, the ins and outs of this thing called prayer. Teach us to wait at the door. Teach us to stand at the door in hope, hoping it will be opened; to be ready for the answer, no matter how long we wait. Teach us to recognize the light of clarity, of new possibilities, of answers; to see the worth of our efforts, the range of our hopes, and the meaning of our deeds.
Teach us, too, that the world is not ours for us to conquer, but yours for us to tend! Convince us that we are not to retreat from the world, but return to it, filled with your compassion. Empower us, Lord! As we commit ourselves to you in this place, remind us that our commitment is meaningless if we do not exercise it in other places. As we dedicate ourselves to you in this hour, remind us that our dedication is unacceptable if we do not express it in other hours. Let your will be our will; your kingdom, our kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
We ask much, O God, for you beseech us to ask. And yet we wonder, shall we ask only for ourselves? Shall we stand at the door alone, or would you have us bring friends and neighbors, enemies and strangers alike—their burdens of grief, of loss, of fear, of frustration, of destitution, of hopelessness, of indifference? Would you have us bring them? We can only answer yes. Scripture tells us yes, tells us to ask a friend and ask for a friend and to do so without shame. And so we are here now asking with persistence—for peace and justice in places where all hope has gone away; for joy and laughter in places where grief and loss have eclipsed the light for generations; for progress where stalemates are all that can be remembered.
Speak, O God. Whisper into the broken places of life your grace and truth. Shine forth in the darkest corner your light of new life. Proclaim boldly the year of your own jubilee, that captives might be freed, sight regained, and greed ended. Proclaim now the full release to faith and hope and joy and peace. Proclaim now the reign of your kingdom. Shall it come in us and among us and around us now, always, and forever. And hear us now as we ask in one voice the prayer Jesus taught us, Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church