God of the ages,
I don’t want to pray this prayer tonight.
It’s not that I don’t want to be with you.
I need to hear your voice.
I need your comfort.
I need to ask “Why?”
And I have no problem praying for
and all of us who have been terrorized
and are trying to not walk in fear.
No, it’s the other part of the prayer that I don’t want to do:
the part where you tell me to love my enemies,
and to pray for those who persecute us.
I want to Lord, really.
I believe that all humans are of sacred worth, deserving of your grace.
I believe that you came, died, and rose for the redemption of all,
that you came as a force of reconciliation,
and that all of us fall short of your glory.
But then I see the results of living in a broken world,
a world in which violence makes us all victims.
I hear the rhetoric of those who believe that their faith
compels them to take the lives of others,
and that all who stand in their way are condemned.
It’s hard for me to pray, Lord,
for their redemption and forgiveness,
when compassion seems absent,
and there seems to be little hope for bridging the gap that divides us.
I don’t want to pray for them, Lord,
but you remind me that love must triumph over hate,
that light will triumph over darkness,
that you came to demonstrate in all your glory
that life can arise in the midst of death.
Like the father seeking healing for his child,
I believe Lord, but I need you to help my unbelief.
I’m not sure of the words to say
nor have any sense of even what to pray for tonight.
But you know what’s needed,
so break my heart for those who suffer,
both those who are victims of violence
and those who perpetrate it.
Know that I may never understand,
and remind me that I’m not called to understand.
My call is simple.
Love and pray.
Help me to do so Lord.
7 thoughts on “The prayer I don’t want to offer…”
Exactly. And profoundly beautiful. Thank you, Jay.
Why aren’t you posting more often. I enjoy your posts whenever you post them. Why?
Thanks Jay, wonderfully written!
Hi, Jay ~ I had “lay liturgist” duties at Hamilton United Methodist Church this morning and I was struggling with an invocation. Then, Dianne Kantorik shared your prayer, and I knew that was it. I took a small amount of poetic license with it (shortened it a tad), but I think it resonated across the congregation. Hap Hewgly told me it was a beautiful prayer and I gave the credit to you. I can deliver them, but writing them is not my forte. Anyway, thanks so much. It IS a beautiful prayer, and captured my thoughts, and I’m sure many others.
Thanks Kathi. Glad to help out.