Jan 27, 2012

Prayers of the People: Learning to See

Here’s a thoughtful prayer of intercession written for January 29, 2012, but appropriate for any time.  If I were going to use it in corporate worship, I’d revise it to be plural (we, our) instead of singular (I, my).

Prayer of Intercession
Gracious and loving God,
as I come to you in prayer
I lay my heart before you.
 
I admit to you my own shortsightedness.
But you already know,
I think more of myself than my neighbor next door,
let alone my neighbor that lives around the world.
I get so caught up in the needs in my own house
I forget to think about, much less pray for
people whom I’ve never met.

As I try to pray for starving children
in countries I cannot place on a map,
as I attempt to join in solidarity with women
being sold into slavery,
as I struggle to comprehend the motivation of men
who abuse or neglect their families,
the chasm between my quiet, sheltered life
and their lives of turmoil becomes clear.
I struggle even to SEE the other side of the divide.
How, O God, can I believe that I know how to pray for their needs,
when I honestly have no idea what those needs may be?
 
And so, humbled, I come before you now,
placing my faith wholly in you,
trusting that you know those needs
which are obscured to my short-sighted eyes,
believing that in your love and mercy
you will reach out and touch the lives I cannot comprehend.
As I pray, Holy One, I feel your call on my life.
As clearly as the disciples mending their nets,
“Come, Follow me.”
My soul resonates with the challenge to shift my focus,
from perch and bass, to women and men.
I know with every fiber of my being
that you are calling me to be part, somehow,
of your healing, life-giving touch,
both in my community and around the world.

Lord of Life,
may my squinting glance
across the chasm of miles, language and culture,
my desire to see your will done on earth as it is in heaven,
my prayer for my neighbor,
not end with these words,
but continue day by day, moment by moment,
in my actions.

May this prayer, through your grace,
become for me the way I am connected through your love
with all creation.
May my prayers transform my life.
And may all my words and deeds,
all of my being,
be an offering to you.
Amen.

— from World in Prayer, a ministry of the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist in Lodi, California, USA.  Weekly prayers are written by a team of writers representing different denominations throughout the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. Visit their web site at http://www.worldinprayer.org/

For more prayers of intercession on this blog, click on Intercession in the list of “Labels” at the lower right side of the page.  For a scriptural index of prayers, see the Scriptural Prayer Index at the upper right side of the page.