Prayer for the Worried

I tend to worry. As an eternal planner and strategizer, I am often in a position of anxious anticipation about how everything will pan out. I want to know! I want to plan on it, count on it, and expel variations from the plan!

Tonight, I write a prayer for the worried, for those, like me, who feel angst when they don’t know what will come next or where their path will lead. I wrote this prayer because I needed to hear it, tonight especially.

Knower of all destinies, planner of all fates, God.

Comfort us through the long nights.

Whisper your hope and assurance in our very ears and hearts.

Sing us the sweet song of resurrection promised in your Gospels.

Even if we cannot know our future, remind us of what we do know: You, all knowing, lover of humanity, you will watch our steps. You will guide our paths. You are there.

Exalted healer, mend our worried minds. Overwhelm our hearts with your presence and steadfast love.

Calm our churning worries so that we may fall to our knees in desire and commitment to follow your path.

Illuminate the next step and nudge us towards your purpose. Grant us the courage move forward, and the confidence that we walk in your will.

Amen.

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Prayer Through the Journey

I count on my faith to bring me the assurance and comfort that God walks beside me throughout my life. I am not alone or abandoned. I have the sweet spirit at my back, watching to make sure my path is steady (or at least, intentional!).

I am about to get married. I am considering an amazing job prospect, and I am watching all of my friends and community transition to new adventures right now. Today, I thought I should write a prayer for those who need security and comfort on the journey of life. This prayer is part of my ongoing mission to become a better verbal praying person.

Loving, sweet spirit,

All knowing, eternal comforter,

Come.

Come as visions of the future that we can see ourselves in.

Come as a silent, encompassing peace that assures us there is a plan.

Come as the freedom of letting go.

Be with us.

Work through us as we work through the challenges of this world.

Walk with us.

Help us walk in courage towards our next open door.

Embrace us as we take leaps into the unknown.

Hold us as we examine our worthiness and preparedness.

Assure us that you are God, and we are OK.

Amen.

Prayers Out Loud

One of my growing edges as an aspiring minister is the ability to pray smoothly out loud.

In my own religious life, prayers are often wordless. I pray through song, or meditation, or stillness, or through feelings in my heart lifted up. When I do raise words to God, often I string jagged thoughts together in my head, as if I am blabbing to a friend, or rambling on in a journal.

I know that experience and practice will help build my confidence in praying out loud.

When I lead worship on Pentecost, I facilitated the prayers of the people. First, I asked congregants to lift up their joys and concerns. In the safety of my home church, I took a stab at summarizing the prayers of my friends after they were spoken in impromptu prayers ending in “God in Your Mercy”. My nerves sometimes hindered my spirit of worship. I worried about how my words sounded to the congregation, and if I was capturing the precise message in all of the prayers, or simply defaulting to my own prayers and prayer language.

As part of my ministerial preparation, I would like to try to write a collection of prayers that feel authentic to me, and universal in their message. I will use this blog as a notebook for these prayers as often as I can.

Just last January, I was the minister at a wedding between two of my friends. I was responsible for the wedding homily and vow exchange, and I prepared these parts of the ceremony well in advance. Once I arrived at the rehearsal, however, I was asked to say the rehearsal dinner prayer. The groom comes from a Unitarian background and a family that is uncomfortable with language about Jesus. The bride has a tumultuous relationship with Christianity, but a loving relationship with God.

Luckily, just before my journey to the wedding, my dearest friend Elizabeth gave me a book of prayers she has composed throughout her Unitarian Universalist ordination process. I used so many of her images and metaphors for God as I prepared for this wedding.

In conclusion of this post, I will paste the text from my rehearsal dinner prayer below. My experience writing these small words helped build a little bit of courage in me as I continue to pray prayers out loud.

This is the prayer I wrote for the rehearsal dinner, and my two dear friends:

Rehearsal Dinner Prayer

God.

Power beyond us.

All that which is beyond our naming.

On the eve of celebration that will change lives, merge families and knit two hearts together, we call on the prayer collector. Bless this couple.

We lift up our hopes and dreams for Anna and Andrew tonight to the hope of all hope, and to the divine in all of us. Bless this couple.

To the memory keeper, to the great peacemaker, to the breath of life, guide Anna and Andrew through their marriage with joy and understanding.

Bless our table, our meal, and the hands that prepared it.

We thank the 4 directions, and the elements, the ancestors and the generations to come for this moment in time, as we launch Anna and Andrew off on their journey. Amen.

Pentecost

In my home church, I signed up to assist with worship for Pentecost. On this liturgically important day, Hope Church happened to be between pastors.

We said a tearful farewell to our interim minister the week before Pentecost, and, we will not say hello to our new permanent minister until June 6th. In this ‘between’ time, leading worship means providing necessary glue to keep our congregation together as we go through a transformation.

As a worship facilitator, I took responsibility for writing the invocation prayer, making church announcements, leading the congregation in confession, assuring forgiveness after confession, passing of the peace, call to prayer, prayers of the people, scripture reading, and general organization of the service.

In the past, when I preached at Hope Church, I often requested support and supplemental leadership from others so that I could focus on my sermon alone. Pentecost served as my debut as a non-preaching worship leader.

I signed up to assist with worship planning for May 23rd before I realized we would also be celebrating Pentecost. As the date came closer, I began to focus on the significance of this Sunday. As I explored the meaning of this Church celebration, I felt more comfortable with the idea of leading our congregation through prayer, confession, and a spirit of worship.

Pentecost is often considered the Birthday of the Church. We celebrate Pentecost 50 days after Easter. The celebration represents the anniversary of the Holy Spirit entering into the community of the Church.

Through my worship planning, I fell in love with Pentecost. My understanding of the liturgical day deepened, and my appreciation of it reached a new height. I cherish the opportunity to acknowledge the living holy spirit and celebrate the spirit alive in all of us.

Pentecost is a time for all of us to re-awaken our commitment to action, love, and justice. We celebrate the spirit that moves in us and through us. We remember that we have the spark of the spirit within us, and we have the power to act as Christian Disciples.

Here are the words to the responsive invocation prayer that I wrote for Pentecost:

Responsive Invocation Prayer, Pentecost 2010- Hope Central

One: Tender, merciful God, today we thank you for sending your Spirit to do justice through us.

All: Your faithfulness inspires us.

One: Beautiful, almighty God, we thank you for sending your Spirit to unite us.

All: Your faithfulness motivates us.

One: Steadfast, patient God, we thank you for sending your Spirit to move through us and bring us to our knees in service.

All: Your faithfulness gives us courage.

One: Gentle, attentive God, we thank you for sending your Spirit to embrace us with the assurance that hope is not lost.

All: Your faithfulness gives us peace.

One: We pray for continued guidance, strength, mercy, and love.

All: Amen.

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