A Prayer for Yesterday and Today
This morning I came across a prayer I wrote and delivered in May 2008, one year before I retired as dean. It was for our seminary’s special chapel for graduating seniors. It brought a few tears to my eyes, and I decided to share it with you. It isn’t easy to be human, is it?
Merciful, Gracious, and Most High God,
We come to You today just as we are
And because You invite us into your presence.
On this special occasion we lift up our graduating seniors
Our Brothers and Sisters, just as they are—
Filled with anticipation and perhaps a little anxiety;
Filled with excitement and perhaps a little uncertainty;
Filled with relief and perhaps a little dread about what comes next;
Filled with gratitude and perhaps a little disappointment or remorse.
We pray that Your will, not ours, would be accomplished in and through them.
We pray they will grow beyond this place in wisdom, skill and grace as followers of Jesus Christ, regardless of the cost to their reputations or professional standing.
Grant them grace and courage to grow
In and with their families;
In and with their churches and communities;
In and with their spiritual accountability partners;
In and with this world You love so much
Send Your Holy Spirit to keep their hearts soft and open as they move into new roles with more responsibility, and heightened pressure to look competent and successful.
Send Your ministering angels from time to time to remind them of their humanity, and to remind them that they are always beginners, always God’s beloved children still learning what it means to follow Jesus.
We pray that You would keep them and all of us as we learn to negotiate and inhabit this world You love.
A world plagued by natural disasters;
Political, ethnic and religious disasters;
Economic disasters and inequities;
Relational disasters and deep, unrelenting sorrow.
We pray for Your will, not ours, to be done in this world, beginning right here with us.
Your will for justice;
Your will for reconciliation and forgiveness;
Your will for courage to talk about and embody what makes for peace–
Beginning right here on the corner of Lancaster and City Avenues.
Just as we are, we come today to the foot of Your cross—
The cross that illuminates and is illuminated by the life You lived with us in Your son Jesus of Nazareth, and through the power of Your eternal Holy Spirit
We celebrate the degree of wholeness You have worked in us and in our brothers and sisters around the world.
We anticipate Your bringing all things to a conclusion in us and in this world
To Your honor, Your perfection, and Your glory.
To that end, we join our voices, our hands and our hearts as we pray together the prayer Your son Jesus taught us to pray, saying
Our father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil;
For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever.
©Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 June 2018