Earlier in the week, Valerie asked me if I'd do the Prayers for the People on Sunday, if necessary, because she hadn't heard from the woman who organizes people for that part of the service. I said I would...but only if SHE wrote the prayer. Because I've never written a prayer, especially one I would have to read out loud, and was a bit panicky at the thought of trying to form prayers into words that will speak to anyone other than me. Plus I wasn't feeling all that comfortable with the thought of writing one on such (relatively) short notice. Short notice because I didn't think I was going to have a lot of spare time before Sunday, and also I didn't really know what the theme of the service was (aside from 3rd Sunday of Advent, which is about Joy. And I think something related to the climate change conference - churches are asked to ring bells maybe).
But when we were hanging out at the camper today, Valerie said there was someone already arranged for this week's prayer, so I was off the hook. Part of me was relieved, part of me was disappointed. So I decided I'll just write a prayer anyway. Even if it isn't for my own church family, perhaps it will speak to someone...if not, well I'll just consider it a practice run for another time when I may be asked again. As I said, I've never actually written a prayer before, but...here goes! Let me know what you think. :)
God of light, we are waiting for you.
We pray for your light to bring wisdom and strength to the thousands of people, including representatives from the United Church of Canada, gathered at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
May the Spirit fill those gathered with a sense of joy in the wonders of Creation, that they are inspired to celebrate and preserve our precious earth.
And may those gathered be filled with the Spirit of abundance and with compassion for our children’s future, that they are moved to find common ground and reach agreement on ways to slow the consumption of our earth’s precious resources, to ensure our planet’s wealth and beauty remains for future generations.
We pray for all our sisters and brothers living in poverty, that they may one day know abundance. We pray for our brothers and sisters living and serving in war zones and other areas of conflict that they may one day know peace. Their hope of abundance and peace lies in the promise of sharing…our sharing.
May our eyes be open to see the need of others less fortunate, our ears be open to hear their voices, our hearts and minds be open to understanding that it is sharing that gives meaning and joy to our lives. Sharing with one another and living in harmony with Creation brings us closer to each other and to God.
We lift in prayer all those experiencing loss, the loss of loved ones, of jobs and income, the loss of good health. Gracious God, may your strength and presence help us to gently hold those in pain. To bring light and love to those who feel surrounded by the darkness of sorrow or depression…who feel empty…in hope that they too may feel uplifted and included on this journey, and be touched by joy and hope in this season of promise and celebration.
Grant us the wisdom and grace to not judge the circumstances of those in need. Help us find in our hearts the compassion to reach out to those around us, and the courage to believe in ourselves, to believe that we can make a difference. We pray for the strength to start moving when we are paralysed by the fear that our actions are unworthy, too small, meaningless. We need to remember that what we do fearlessly can touch the lives of others in ways we never imagined; in ways we may never know.
When next we hear this familiar blessing:
May you see the face of Christ in everyone you meet
and may everyone you meet see the face of Christ in you.
...may we hear ALL the words of that blessing…may we do more than seek the Christ in others…may we be not afraid to let the face of Christ be seen in us. For many of us, that is the harder challenge, accepting that we are ourselves worthy of containing the light of Christ and letting that light shine with humility and grace.
Holy Spirit, fill our hearts with the power of your presence; help us to let our own light shine…to live our lives in ways that fill others around us with hope and joy…to be not afraid to show vulnerability or to step out and take chances. Life is about trying and learning, it is about giving and growing, it is about joyfully sharing ourselves with those around us so that we are all uplifted. We are all walking on this earth together, let us actively, joyfully, build relationship and community with one another. Let us honour and cherish the gift of each other’s company. If we all shine together, who knows what might happen? We just might change the world.
God of light, we are waiting for you.