God you are the Author of Life – from before our birth and beyond our last breath – you know us and call us by name.
You have created us uniquely and amazingly in your image – the power that each of us bears your mark of grace and love and faith is often too much to bear, too much to understand. If we are honest, if we were to embrace fully the truth of this – we are, truthfully, afraid of what might happen. Forgive us for our reluctance and our fear to take care of, to take responsibility for, the least of these among us. Forgive us for our inability and our unwillingness to love our neighbors as ourselves.
You have created us and called us to your work: an unceasing call to build your Kingdom – to be agents of your love, mercy and justice in the world. Unsettle us, awaken us, disquiet us to see ways in which we would do your work.
We ask for your blessing this day, but not for blessings of comfort or of complacency. Rather bless us with new sight and new perspective:
Bless us with discomfort – may we not be satisfied with easy or simplistic answers. May we not be content with empty truths or superficial relationships.
Bless us this day with anger – with righteous indignation at all the ways that injustice, oppression, exploitation seem to tell a greater and more powerful story than your freedom, justice and peace.
Bless us this day with deep grief – grant us tears to shed on behalf of others who suffer. We honor the physical wounds of domestic violence, of warfare and of abuse. We honor the suffering caused by famine, starvation, drought. We honor the mental and emotional anguish of mental illness – suffering that often goes unnoticed and unspoken.
Bless us this day with the audacity to believe – the audacity to have faith in your Kingdom, believing, standing on your promises that your peace, your mercy, your grace is big enough, deep enough, wide enough to cover and consume the whole world.
For those among us who continue to seek your healing, we pray.
For those among us who continue to wrestle with the hidden and yet powerful companion of grief, we pray.
For those among us who suffer – silently or otherwise, we pray.
Likewise, O God, we recognize that we struggle to love our enemies – individuals, institutions, other nations, political parties. We pray for the enemies we wrestle.
We pray all these things in the name of Jesus, our Christ, Amen.