I was on my iPhone, causally scrolling through my Twitter feed, when I realized that there were a lot of things being said about Paris. I turned the news on, and saw the reports of what would be multiple attacks across the city, killing hundreds. I like many have been in a state of shock over the events. To the point that my journaling was just a list of words or phrases, no complete sentences, reflecting the impossibility of complete thoughts forming.
Today, I attempted to form that list of words and phrases into a prayer:
In the Virginia Conference, today (Pentecost Sunday) is a Day of Prayer. Bishop Cho has asked the churches to be in prayer for renewal and revival for the church. I tailored the prayer of confession in today’s traditional services for the occasion:
Merciful God, we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart. We have failed to be an obedient church. We have not done your will, we have done harm when we should have done good. We have not stayed in love with you. We have not loved our neighbors, and we have not heard the cry of the needy. Forgive us. Renew us. Free us to be the church you have called us to be. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, transform us and shape us so that we may make disciples for the transformation of the world.
This prayer was used yesterday during worship. World AIDS Day, since 1988, has been December 1 and a day to educate and advocate for those persons living with HIV/AIDS.
From Saint Francis of Assisi’s “The Prayer Before the Crucifix.”
enlighten the darkness of my heart
and give me
and perfect charity,
sense and knowledge,
that I may carry out
Your holy and true command.
God of wind, word, and fire, we bless your name this day for sending the light and strength of your Holy Spirit. We give you thanks for all the gifts, great and small, that you have poured out upon your children. Accept us with our gifts to be living praise and witness to your love throughout all the earth; through Jesus Christ, who lives with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever. Amen.
from Tirabassi & Tirabassi’s Before the Amen: Creative Resources for Worship
- I am no longer my own, but thine.
- Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
- Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
- Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
- exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
- Let me be full, let me be empty.
- Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
- I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
- And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
- thou art mine, and I am thine.
- So be it.
- And the covenant which I have made on earth,
- let it be ratified in heaven.
as used in the Book of Offices of the British Methodist Church, 1936
Eternal God, by the birth of Jesus Christ you gave yourself to the world. Grant that, being born in our hearts, he may save us from all our sins, and restore within us the image and likeness of our Creator, to whom be everlasting praise and glory, world without end. Amen.
From the United Methodist Hymnal, number 231.
This is one of my favorite hymns written by Charles Wesley. I use it often as a prayer.
Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set they people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee. Israel’s strength and consolation, hope for all the earth thou art; dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.
Born they people to deliver, born a child and yet a King, born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring. By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone; by thine all sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne.
from the United Methodist Hymnal, #196
In the advent seasons, when the past has fled, unasked, away and there is nothing left to do but wait, God, shelter us. Be our surrounding darkness; be the fertile soil out of which hope springs in due time. In uncertain times, help us to greet the dawn and labor on, love on, in faith awaiting your purpose hid in you waiting to be born in due time. Amen.
from the United Methodist Book of Worship, #253
Merciful God, you sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation. Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may celebrate aright the commemoration of the nativity, and may await with joy the coming in glory of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.
from the United Methodist Hymnal, #201