A Prayer for Communion, Written for People in the Midst of Real Life

I record all my public prayers in this space, which means there will be an extra note from me in your inbox today. For that, I apologize. Maybe there’s a way to post without sending an email to subscribers? If so, I have yet to discover it. This is the prayer from last Sunday, when our new pastor and his wife had to leave unexpectedly due to a family tragedy and our associate stepped in at the last minute and asked me to assist him at communion and to offer the pastoral prayer for the morning. This is that prayer.

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Gathered as we are, Lord, around this table, this place of remembrance and celebration and recognition, it seems natural for us to talk to you about how we are, and who we are, and where we are.

And yet, as Pastor Jon has so powerfully reminded us, it’s really all about grace, isn’t it?

It’s not about us so much as it’s about YOU and how you love us.

This is hard for us to believe, Lord, we’ll admit that. We look around our world and see disaster, illness, death, and loss upon loss being suffered by good and innocent people. Ugly politics and greed-disguised-as-business-as-usual seem to rule the day, and we wonder,

“Where are you? Who are you?”

If we’re honest, that’s a primary reason we’re here today, Lord. There’s something about being together to worship you, and to ponder your word, that helps us to remember the answer to those questions of“where” and “who.”

You knew this truth about us, Lord Jesus. You knew that we would need to remember that we are joined together by “ligaments and sinews,” as the writer of Colossians put it. Yes, even when we’re not thrilled about it, even when we’re not sure we even like each other a lot of the time, even when we forget — we still belong to one another.

And we belong to you — all of us together — we belong to you: we are joined to you, for you are our head.

That’s where you are. That’s who you are.

You are the God who is with us, the God who is one of us, the God who calls us to live together in ways that are new and life-giving and graceful. The One who says ‘yes’ over us! Thank you!!

As we prepare ourselves today to receive these elements — the bread and the cup — we begin by agreeing with you that we get it wrong a lot of the time. We misread your call, we sully your design. We try to go it alone, we close our hearts to one another, and to you. Forgive us, we pray.

Remind us that we are better together.

Remind us that you put us together in the first place. Remind us that even when the world gets ugly-looking and the people we care about are struggling and everything seems to be heading to destruction with increasing speed — even then, Lord, remind us that you are good.

That you are the Ever-Present One, that we don’t walk through the tough stuff by ourselves.

And some of us are walking through some pretty tough stuff these days. Many of us are grieving, right here, in these pews. We’ve lost people we love, relationships we care about, our health, our job, our hope. Comfort us, we pray, and use us — each of us and all of us — as members of your body — your arms and legs, your hands and feet — to do that comforting.

We pray particularly today for Mindy Noyes and for her family, in the loss of her twin sister, Mara, this past week. It’s been a long and difficult journey and now a loving husband and two young children are without their wife and mom. Yes, we take comfort in knowing that Mara is with you, restored and rejoicing. But oh, Lord. Those who are left behind are struggling.

You’ve promised that you will walk with us through the valley of the shadow, so we are bold to ask you to do that in ways that are unique and personal to each member of the extended Noyes family. We also ask that you do that for each person in this room who has lost someone they love in recent months, and for each person we care about in our city and beyond, who is facing uncertainty and confusion in days ahead. There are quite a lot of us, Lord. Hear our prayer.

As we make room in our hearts for lament this day, we also want to acknowledge that lament is not the only song we sing. We sing a song of thanksgiving and we sing a song of praise. We sing a song of beauty and we sing a song of joy. We sing a song that includes both dirges and dances, a song that weaves its way into the very sinews that connect us. We sing a song of YES. Help us to sing it well, O God. Help us to sing it true.

For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Diana, thank you for the words you post in this space. I’ve been dropping by off and on for a few years now. I was looking around this morning for more mature Christian female bloggers and came across a post by Sarah Bessey about a list you curated with her in 2012. Unfortunately, the link is broken on her site. Do you by chance have access to this list?

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