Wednesday, February 2, 2011


A few weeks ago, I heard somebody say, “Prayer is advocacy.” I found that phrase to be helpful and reassuring. Oftentimes, I don’t feel that I do enough of “speaking for justice in behalf of the poor and oppressed,” which is part of my Letter of Call as a pastor of the ELCA.

When we pray, God is listening, but so are the others in the assembly. We make our concerns collective concerns. I’ve made it my discipline to compile the prayers for worship each week. I try to be mindful of events in our congregation and world. Sometimes the prayers from the hymnal or the liturgy websites are nice, but they don’t always speak to our present situations.

I frequently repeat petitions from week to week. Here are a few that I use almost every Sunday:

Healing and sustaining God, you hold in your comforting hands all those who long
for healing and wholeness. Bring your reassuring presence and loving strength.
We especially lift up in prayer those we name either aloud or in the silence of
our hearts…

Welcoming God, help us embrace a spirit of hospitality.
Give us the courage to visit strangers. Be with those who do not always feel
welcomed in this world.

God of Time and Eternity, you enter our
world and journey with us, even to death on the cross. Your story becomes our
story. Be with us as we tell stories of our lives and listen to one another.

Holy God, we pray for peace. Be with people affected by violence
and disaster. Be with those affected by war and terrorism. Be with those who are
considered terrorists. We pray for our enemies. We pray for those who disagree
with us. Stir up in us the spirit of peace.

I love Wordles because they help us see what words we use frequently in our writing. Here is a Wordle of about thirty weeks of prayers I have written at Amazing Grace. I had expected the words “hospitality,” “peace,” and “lament” to show up bigger than they did. I’m relieved that “God” ended up being pretty big, because it is God to whom we direct our prayers.

1 comment:

  1. Pastor, I pray that you take this wordle to heart. I believe that what you have meant for lament all these weeks in your prayers have been heard by me and others by many of the other words in the wordle, not only the GOD word and not only lament.