A Prayer of Lament
Let me be at peace, Lord.
I have struggled in my own heart — living with a “spiritual arrhythmia” —unable to rest my soul in your bosom.
They tell me I do not belong to your flock, that I am no Christian,
that I should hate myself, feel shame, or else repent and change,
or else be prepared to burn.
But Lord, I have already done all those things:
hated myself, felt shame, tried to change, repented,
turned my life over to you, accepted you as Savior,
prayed without ceasing that I might not displease you
and that I might not have these feelings.
Let me be at peace, Lord,
so that I can again feel my feelings.
My guilt and shame have desensitized me so much
that I do not feel joy or hope or love or compassion either.
I cannot live the life you promised I would have abundantly.
Have my prayerful efforts to wash away my own “sins”—
to scrub the spots from my soul that others tell me I have—
simply washed my entire being down the drain
and left little behind except scum on the shower floor?
Is this what pleases you, Lord?
Let me have a share of your peace
without obsessing that my “lifestyle” is not Christian,
without hating myself, my lot, my fate, my body, my heart—
and all that negative spiritual energy that (can we talk, Lord?)
has done nothing but drive me away from your presence.
Let me live a life of joy and peace,
secure in the knowledge that your grace fills me,
that nothing I have done or desired or worried about
can erase your love for me,
that you bid me come “just as I am.”
Let me hear your voice for my life, Lord,
not the voices of hatred, rejection and prejudice.
Lord, hear my prayer
and let my cry come to you.
Let me be at peace. Amen.
A dove returns to the Ark,
bearing in its beak the fresh leaf
of an olive branch.
“No more,” God promises, “will I
destroy the creatures I have created.”
“It is finished,” the Savior cried in his last words—
his work done, his ministry of reconciliation
completed—upon the Cross.
Throughout the Scriptures, throughout the Church,
the “bottom line” of our faith in God
is the truth—for the sake of Jesus Christ
—that we are reconciled.
“Tell her that her warfare has ended.”
So speaks the prophet to a beleaguered city.
And on one clear and singular night,
so long ago, in one holy birth
heaven and earth joined hands,
the world and God drawn again into one.
“Love and faithfulness have met together,
righteousness and peace have kissed one another,
and God has restored what is good.”
It is God’s will that all be saved,
and come to the knowledge of the truth.
“What is truth?”
Above and beyond the teachings of Christian faith—
whether very deep or utterly simply,
whether contention or consistent,
open to debate, subject to interpretation—
one truth rises: we are—all of us—
reconciled in Christ,
and in him we have life, light, joy and peace.
In his reconciling love, let us sing,
let God’s unfailing love give us full voice.
Blessed are you,
when you kneel to help those who have fallen,
when you climb up to bring down evil and oppression,
when you stand as a barrier against hatred and violence.
Doubly blesed are you
as you live in gratitude,
when you are moved by love,
and if you can fill others with hope.
And you are triply blessed
when you go into the world as builders of spirit,
as bearer of compassion
and as the makers of peace. Amen.
A Prayer for Openness to Faith
I do not so much seek You as to open myself to be found.
I, who am finite, open myself to the infinite.
I, who am contemporary, open myself to the Ancient One and the Future One.
I, who am limited, open myself to the one who is unlimited.
May I become transparent to your color, your strength, your Spirit.
May I have an ear ready to hear your Voice.
May I have legs to follow where You lead.
May I have a life ready to live in You.
Let Your Life infuse my life.
Let Your heart be the beat within my heart.
Let Your Light illuminate wherever I have darkness,
and Your Joy replenish my emptiness.
Let your compassion shape my compassion,
your power be my own power,
your grace become my graciousness,
your love awaken love within me,
and your forgiveness teach me to forgive others.
Let these things be so! Amen!