Here’s a pastoral prayer inspired by John 11: 1-45, where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. It was written by Martha Spong, and posted on Reflectionary.
(inspired by John 11: 1-45)
O Lord, we hear you calling,
but we are bound in the grave-cloths of earthly expectations.
We believe in you,
but we listen to the world’s call and think we cannot follow.
We must study for the right degree,
apply for the right job,
buy the right house and furnish it just so;
we must, we must, we must.
All that seems true until the day something terrible happens.
All that seems true until we lose someone we love.
All that seems true until we love someone we can’t be with.
All that seems true
until the body we relied on
to carry us from one place to another,
fulfilling the expectations,
falls ill or stops working the way we think it always will.
Hear our prayers, O Lord, for we are in pain.
We are ill.
We are dying.
Unbind us from expectations.
Give us strength to live through disappointments.
Grant us courage to overcome obstacles.
Fill us with your presence
and make us living carriers of your love to others who need it.
Hear our prayers, O Lord, for those we have named.
(We speak those names.)
Hear our prayers, O Lord,
for those we have not named,
the stories we cannot tell
and the woes we do not even know.
(We pray in silence.)
Hear our prayers, O Lord, for the wider world,
for the people of Japan and the people of Ivory Coast,
for the people who have lived with war and violence on a daily basis,
in ways unthinkable to us in this quiet town.
Hear our prayers, O Lord, for ourselves.
(We pray again in silence.)
Call us out of the caves in which we dwell.
Help us to roll away the stones for each other.
Bring us to new life,
we pray in the name of Jesus, the Ever Living. Amen.
~ written by Martha Spong, and posted on Reflectionary. http://marthaspong.com/category/lent-5a/