Sunday, July 27, 2008
Offered by Dana Ferguson, Executive Associate Pastor
Great is your faithfulness, O God. For whatever we have needed, you have provided—even that which we didn’t know we needed you have supplied and that which we thought we needed but didn’t has not been realized. For your faithfulness there is no match, for wherever we are, there you are. When we crouch in the shadows, you are there. Even when we shout out in anger or cry out in desperation, you are there. You understand the pain that drives to despair, the child who goes another way, the parent who will not let the child grow up, the partner who separates, the friend who drinks to ruin, the companion who suffers.
You wait patiently as we franticly search for a place to lay the blame—at the feet of our partner or the desk of our colleagues or in our prayers of anger to you. You sit waiting upon us with open arms while we cling to lost dreams like warn blankets, fearful to dream again, to be brave enough to hope that things might be different. We gaze upon a world of plenty, O God, and yet wonder how it will ever be enough for us. Assure us, O God, that in you there is plenty—plenty enough love, plenty enough grace, plenty enough courage for whatever the day might bring.
Remind us, again, O God, that what we might deem helpless, the one we might decide is beyond help, you can revive. You can bring from it new fruit—new beginnings and new possibilities. Bid us not pass by an opportunity to share your grace, lest we think there is no hope in it. Bid us not pass by a brother or sister we deem not worth the time. Let us catch those who are about to faint and lift up those who struggle to rise. In those places where others wonder if justice will ever come to them, where people live in loss and grief, where all hope has been discarded, make your spirit to move over lives and lands, grief and greed, and let us and them continue to believe in the power of your spirit to transform.
We pray this day for the places and people in our lives and in our world where despair reigns unchallenged. For those who live in lands of want for the basics—hope and happiness, joy and justice. We pray those who live in lands of violence and warfare, for soldiers who fight on the field, and for families who pray for their safe return. For leaders with complex decisions to make and leaders whose hearts are hardened against the suffering around them.
Let us and them be bold enough to dream the unthinkable, to dream of the day when kindness is complete, justice is uncompromised, truth is absolute, health is full, grief is ended, and joy abounds. As we go about laboring for such a dream, give us grace to live kindly, justly, truthfully.
Send us out this day with child like audacity, with the audacity of the young to believe anything can be and to live believing. We are so bold to pray such a prayer for we pray in the name of the one who came that all might have hope, and together we pray the words he taught the disciples to pray together, saying, Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church