A Prayer for Disciples Who Struggle . . .

A continuing series of public prayers, offered in worship at Montecito Covenant Church during the years I was an Associate Pastor there. This one was written for worship of September of  2010, the last year I was there before retirement. But I need this one today. Maybe you do, too?IMG_4869

That song we’ve just sung together, Lord – it’s a really great song. 

The words are strong and compelling and on my best days,

            in my better moments –

                        when I’m feeling well and hopeful and grateful –

                        those words are truly the prayer of my heart:

“Send me out to the world. I want to be your hands and feet…

I want to give my life away, all for your kingdom’s sake.”

 

All of us who love you want that to be the deepest desire of our hearts,

            to pass along to others the great good news of your love and mercy.

So, I begin this morning by saying thank you for that news,

            for that love,

            for that mercy.

The good news of Jesus is truly what gives our lives meaning and purpose and we are grateful.

 

But I also have to admit that there’s another side to me,

            and I’m sure to everyone else in this room, too.

There’s the side that gets tired,

            that gets distracted,

            that gets sideswiped instead of sent,

            that gets waylaid instead of led,

            that gets lost on the way —

mired in the demands of daily life.

 

We are your fickle people, Lord, too ready to give up the best

            for the good enough,

to substitute busyness for purpose,

to listen to the desires of our own hearts

            rather than to the desires of yours.

Forgive us.

Cleanse us.

Help us to turn around and begin again,

            with you in the lead this time,

            with you in the lead.

 

 And we know that you will lead us in two distinctly different

            but equally important directions –

you’ve shown us this in the life of Jesus,

you’ve taught us this in the words of scripture:

            you will lead us out, and you will lead us in

                        out to the world in love and service,

            but also, also,

                        in to the center of ourselves,

where, as the prophet Isaiah reminds us so beautifully,

      “In repentance and rest is our salvation,

       in quietness and trust is our strength…”

       Repentance, rest, quietness, trust…

these are what lead to salvation and strength;

these are what prepare us and position us to

            be sent, to be led, to be disciples.

So…help us, one and all, right now, right here – to repent,

            to rest, to be quiet, to trust.

To take the heaviest thoughts on our hearts right this minute –

            that person we love who is dying,

            that child who is straying,

            that marriage that is foundering,

            that divorce that is looming,

            that illness that is threatening,

            that paycheck that is missing,

            that project that is falling apart,

            that relationship that is churning,

            that school assignment that is overwhelming –

whatever it is that is heavy and worrisome and scary –

help us to hold it before you with trembling hands and say…

            “thy will be done…thy will be done.”

And then help us to open our hands

            and let…it…go.

 

Fill us with your peace,

            free us from our chains,

            feed us from your word,

            empower us to do your work.

For Jesus’ sake.  Amen.

 

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Comments

  1. Thank you, Diana, for understanding where I live. And helping me breathe, listen, and try again on my journey.

  2. I love this. Honesty in prayer is the way forward – and you say it with such grace.

  3. Thank you, Diana, for sharing this heart-touching, tear-inducing (!) prayer. What a profound observation about God: that he leads us IN at the same time he is leading us OUT. Just another example of his astounding ways with us. As I contemplate the truth of your observation, I realize one direction impacts the other. As we are led deeper IN, our impact upon moving OUT is enhanced. As we move OUT, we see God at work, which draws us deeper IN to appreciate him and worship him. With you, I pray: free us, feed us, empower us. AMEN!

    • If you read my stuff often enough, you’ll see me return to the same things, over and over again. And that inward/outward journey is something I deeply believe and talk about with some frequency! And you are absolutely right – they do impact one another. Thanks for your encouragement and kindness, Nancy.

  4. Amen! Such a powerful and honest prayer, Diana, and absolutely what I needed this morning. Thank you!

  5. Oh, Diana, how I needed this wonderful prayerful reminder! It made me stop and think and it made me cry – healing tears, I believe. You write so simply yet powerfully, with grace-laced words we can all relate to. And this verse:” “In repentance and rest is our salvation, in quietness and trust is our strength…” echoes messages God is laying on my mind and heart this year. Thank you!

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