Yesterday, I was reading another “How to Survive the Pandemic” self-help article that highlighted the importance of creating boundaries and using rituals and routines to differentiate moments of the day from one another, like clearing the table of school and work materials for meal times. Or changing out of your nighttime pajamas and into your daytime stretchy pants.
On this National Day of Prayer, I am reminded of the gift of this ritual, a time set aside so we can lift our praise and petitions to God, trusting that somehow the ordinary meets the sacred when we pray. Even in our isolation, this day offers us solace in knowing there are prayers from all faith traditions across this country naming our hopes, fears, loved ones, and gratitude to a compassionate and gracious God.
Here is my prayer for us today:
God of heaven and earth,
You fill this world with beauty and invite us to bask in it.
Our eyes are drawn to bright blooms in our gardens and the blue of the sky.
Our ears delight in the sounds of laughter.
Our hearts flutter with rich memories of love and friendship.
Still, the beauty of your Creation cannot hide the pain of this world.
We fear the unknowns and uncertainty of our future.
We grieve the loss of community, celebrations, livelihoods, and sense of security.
We ache for precious lives lost in the midst of this pandemic, and
we wonder how, and if, we will ever make it through as a nation.
In your tenderness, O God,
hold our pain in the palm of your hands.
Receive our cries and pleas for your help and healing.
May we know, even in our darkest hour, your steadfast love for us.
Protect those who selflessly serve, those whose jobs and callings require risk.
Cover those who are in harm’s way and guide them to safety.
Break our hearts wide open, so that our false sense of individualism and superiority
crumble at the sight of your children who are hurting.
Strengthen our faith in your infinite wisdom.
We give thanks for new paths of connections we are now paving:
for Zoom dates and prayer chains,
birthday parades and front porch conversations with neighbors.
We trust that you are transforming all around us a world built by love.
May we start to see ourselves as you have made us,
a community of people who need each other.
For it is when we are generous with our love, compassion, joy and grace,
that are pieced together until we are all whole again.
Help us to be generous, for you have been generous with your beauty and love for us.
All praise and glory be to you, forever and ever, our Alpha and Omega. Amen.