Sunday, February 28, 2010
Offered by Thomas C. Rook, Parish Associate
Lord of all life, as we come before you, quiet our noisy thoughts, calm our anxious hearts. In these moments of prayer, let us sense your presence.
Ages ago, as voices and stones of judgment were raised against one covered in shame, you transformed that occasion into one of compassion. So we look to you today, O Lord, in hope and expectation of your mercy and help. Through all our regrets about the past, uncertainty about the present, fear for what lies ahead, may we too experience your sheltering love and grace. In all our places of need—our concerns about health and finances, about responsibilities and relationships—be present for us, faithful Savior.
How often our highest moral aspirations are mocked by our failings. Seeking to be loyal, we can betray ourselves and others. Wanting to live in self-giving love, we yet serve our own ends. Reaching for courage, we often sacrifice the good for the safe and expedient. Even as a nation, while holding high ideals of freedom and justice and equality, we often accept much less and leave the scant leftovers for the weakest among us—the children, the poor, those unwell in body or mind, the alien. Help us to see within others, no matter how outwardly different, that they share the same needs and hopes that lie within ourselves.
And so we look to you, gracious Lord, knowing that you “can sympathize with us in our weaknesses, you too having been troubled, tempted, and tried, enduring shame for our sake.” As our lives can take us in directions that we don’t understand and where we do not want to go, we find comfort that you, precious Lord, have been there too. By your grace, grant us hope to believe that your guiding hand still draws forth new and unexpected life, even from the dark soil of loss and pain and regret. We are grateful for all those who are helpers in our lives, who give us sound advice, who encourage and uplift our spirits.
While we may not know everything, we can know you and your love, faithful Lord. And so we give you thanks that you are our merciful Lord of the second chance, of new beginnings, and “though afflicted, we are not crushed; perplexed, we are not driven to despair; struck down but not destroyed.” Reassure us that within the economy of your grace it is possible to fail and yet not be a failure and that our falling does not prevent you from loving us. Call us forward, renewing our trust in the One in whom our highest good is found, our deepest strength grounded, even in our faithful Savior Jesus Christ, who brings triumph out of tragedy and life out of death and who urged us to pray in these words which we now say together, Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church