“In this time of unprecedented, global crisis, we all struggle to hold the weight of it. Worries abound and drastic changes to how we work, parent, shop, gather, worship – indeed how we live – are compounding quickly. We, as Jesus followers, are being called to change our behavior out of love and care for our neighbor. There are many directions to pray in so here are a few we could hold before us today.
Prayers for Leaders and Decision Makers
Abba, the leaders we have in government, healthcare, business, education have exceedingly difficult decisions in front of them. Open their ears and eyes to recognize wisdom. Guide decisions to reflect their positions of “servants of the good.” (Rom. 13:4).
Help our leaders see the breadth of our connectedness – the ecology of the whole creation. Help them hold the truth of our humanity before their decisions.
Guide them with the next right steps in this crisis.
Grant them sleep and health so they can endure the distance they have to go as our leaders during this time.
Prayers for the Vulnerable
God, protect the vulnerable. Some members of our society are more adversely affected than others and we hold them up to your care at this time. We hold the immuno-compromised, the already sick, care home residents, the health care workers and their families up to you. We hold the homeless population and those who depend on food banks up to you in this time of resource scarcity. We hold communities with less resources, doctors, clinics and money in mind. We hold the elderly, the already isolated, the already lonely up for your presence and care. Protect bodies and minds from that which separates us from our love and your love. Help those who can care for the most vulnerable among us do so well. By keeping distance, by staying home, by delivering meals, by making sure our neighbors have ways to stay in touch with us.
And God, help us to remember that injustice around the world still abounds, affecting the most vulnerable most adversely. Help us to see truly in this time.
Help us to know that we are in your hands, and that we are also in each other’s hands. (Lynn Ungar)
Prayers for Uncertainty
God, the myth of certainty is laid bare at our feet. Will you now raise up trust and faith in your unwavering presence?
The myth of certainty has been taken down and we hold the weight of not knowing what the future holds.
Help us to hold our own fears, responsibilities, unknowns with grace.
Give us enough for today, help us to take the next right steps for tomorrow.
Be with those whose livelihoods are at risk -provide for them.
Be with those who are unable to see loved ones – care for them.
Be with those who are not sure how to balance all the new ways of daily living, all the shifts to important plans.
Be with us when we inevitably will feel the fear, angst and weight of this uncertainty—point us to your love in those moments.
Help us not trade justice for certainty, making an idol out of plans that work for us but not for everyone.
Spark in us possibilities and bigger imaginations in a time where what we thought was certain is no more.
Prayers for the Body of Christ
Spirit of the Living God, you have called us to be the embodied community of the living Christ. Help us all take steps away from fear and hostility, bravado and self-righteousness, towards agape love. Towards a love that demonstrates your care to all who encounter us.
Help us to be good neighbors, locally and systematically, within our communities.
Draw us together in new bodies of worship, word and sacrament.
Open our eyes and ears to your Spirit’s movement during this time.
Surprise us and lead us to become communities that bring life to our cities, leaven in the bread.
Help us move through our own fears, naming them, and offering them to you.
Increase our trust in you and increase our love for our neighbors.
Even in a time of social distancing, may the resurrected Body of Christ be truly embodied, alive, pulsing with grace in our neighborhoods and keep doing your work in us in unexpected, subversive and life giving ways.
Give us new songs from this time, that we may sing of how you do not leave us or forsake us.”