Pastoral Prayer: Epiphany 5A

Here’s a pastoral prayer inspired by Jesus’ teaching about salt and light in Matthew 5: 13-16.  It comes from the Ministry Matters website.

Pastoral Prayer
(inspired by Matthew 5: 13-16)

Gracious God,
we thank you for the light that shone in Jesus,
revealing unto us your holiness and our righteousness.
We deplore this gap, yet we rejoice
that you chased the darkness that kept it hidden from our eyes.
By your light we are both encouraged and condemned.
We are reassured to see your face turned in our direction,
bidding us to come unto you.
But we shudder at the sight of us turning our backs on you,
resisting the light that could mirror your glory.

We thank you, O God, for leaving your light in the world
even though we have not always heeded your summons
to become the light of the world.

Instead of illuminating your character, we have blurred it.

You have commanded us to love you with all our being,
but we have consigned our love to the pigeonhole of religion.

You have commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves,
but we have been too preoccupied with ourselves to find them.

You have called us to be peacemakers,
yet we have encouraged the arms makers
with our fears and our fortunes.

You have summoned us to be wall breakers,
yet we have supported the wall makers
with our silence and our sympathy.

We have seen the light, but we have refused to walk in it.

Yet we long, O Lord, to keep your law and do your will.
We ask forgiveness for our rebellion,
not merely for the sake of the joy we have denied ourselves,
but also for the joy we have denied others.

Keep ever before us the needs of the world into which you sent Jesus
and for whose sake he gave himself to the uttermost.
Let us feel its pain as our own,
seek its good as our own,
and work for its transformation
in the name and spirit of him who came into the world
not to condemn but to redeem it.

We listen now, O God, for your word.
Let its message illumine our minds
that we may will as Jesus willed.
Let its spirit quicken our hearts that we may love as Jesus loved.
Let its power speed our steps that we may do as Jesus did.