Teach us to pray

This was the pastoral prayer that I offered after the July 25 sermon on Luke’s report of Jesus’ teaching the “The Lord’s Prayer” to the disciples:

O GodOUR God — we worship you.  You are holy.  There is no other who can claim first place in our hearts, in our lives, on our agenda.  When we recognize you as our God, we also recognize ourselves as children belonging to you.

We pray for the world that you have created to keep on becoming the world that you intended at creation.  We pray for the unity of all people and all nations and all beings.  We pray for the healing of the environment.  We pray for the integrity of each community — each common place — to be a place of joy, bound together in covenant with one another and with you.  We pray for the wholeness of each person, fully participating in your creation, fully confident in your love.  We dedicate ourselves to being people of shalom — peacemakers, embodying loving kindness, creating common ground.

We come to you as the provider of the bread we need for this day.  You are the giver of life and the provider of all that life is made of.  This day, give us — each and every person — what we truly need to live.  Show us how we can share the bread you have provided.  Make us aware of needs we can meet.  And make us aware of our basic human need for you and for each other.

We pray that you will bring healing to the brokenness between persons and between rival groups and factions and between nations.  We ask you to forgive our tendency to make enemies.  We pray everlasting forgiveness for ever naming an “US” by naming a “THEM.”  Where we have not fully forgiven any of our rivals or enemies, prompt us to finish that job — right now, today — with whatever action is necessary.  Where we feel we are still “owed” something by someone, we now fully forgive that debt — and we forget it forever — so that we may be forgiven that very same way.

When trying times comeremind us not to blame you.  When we fall short in being your people, let us not use you for our excuse.  When we forget whose we are and wander away, don’t leave us alone for long.  And when we really make a mess of things because of what we have done, or because of what we have left undone, bring us back to ourselves and to your ways, through Jesus Christ who gave us the way with his life and who shows us an excellent way to you when we pray as he taught us to pray, even in these words: [we continued with traditional “Lord’s Prayer” prayed in unison]

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