A Prayer for Beginnings…

written by Diana R.G. Trautwein
for worship at Montecito Covenant Church
January 3, 2010

Today’s table prayer will be longer than usual
and will include several opportunities for silent prayer.
Will you come with me, ‘down to the river to the pray,‘ this morning?

It’s a ‘back to the basics’ kind of day today, Lord.
A small window of time designed
to help us cut through the complicated web of
activities,
commitments,
appointments,
and just plain ‘stuff’
that we tend to gather around us like so much
heavy luggage,
a time to push away from all that insulation
that too often causes isolation,
a time to breathe a little bit more calmly,
to slow down,
to remember who we are and whose we are,
beloved children of Almighty God.

And we need that kind of breather about now.
It’s important for us to just stop here for a few minutes,
isn’t it, God?
It’s important to reflect quietly on where we’ve been,
and on where we’re headed.
And in the process of that reflection,
it’s good for us to say some simple, basic,
but very important, words to you,
basic words that loved children
say to a loving Father.
So we’ll begin with these:

THANK YOU.

Thank you, thank you, thank you
for the goodness and beauty of life,
for the power and promise of our faith,
for the joy of knowing you,
and of being known by you.
Hear us as we offer silent prayers of thanksgiving
for those people and experiences
in the year just past which have given us glimpses of your love.

— Silence —

We continue our time of quiet reflection
with another set of basic words, Holy Friend,
and here they are:

WE’RE SO SORRY.

We are very sorry for the words,
spoken and unspoken,
for the deeds,
done and undone,
for the thoughts,
silent or expressed,
which have caused pain for others or ourselves
and which have gotten in the way of our
relationship with you.
Hear us now as we offer silent prayers of confession
in this moment of quietness.

— Silence —

For the wondrous reality of grace in our lives,
for the confidence that our sins are forgiven,
we rejoice and give you praise.

And as your thankful, forgiven children, Lord God,
gathered round the family table this morning,
ready to dip our fingers in the waters of our baptism,
ready to remember all that you’ve promised,
we also need to offer these really basic words:

LORD, HAVE MERCY.

There are so many in our midst who are struggling today,
people we love,
people we care about,
maybe even we ourselves.
And there are so many others,
whom we don’t know,
whom we don’t love –
except in the most abstract possible use of that word –
people who are caught in messes
that are beyond our power to comprehend,
who are suffering in ways
we have trouble even imagining.
They, too, need your mercy.

So today, before we eat this bread or drink this cup,
before we swirl the waters,
before we participate in these holy parables of love and promise,
we pause to remember that you are God,
the God we know to be loving and merciful and just.
So, hear our prayers for mercy, O Lord, as we offer them to you
on this day of new beginnings, in the silent temples of our own hearts.

— Silence —

Holy Trinity –
Father, Son, Spirit,
Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer,

Thank you!
We’re so sorry!
Have mercy!

Back to the basics, indeed.
We pray today in the sweet name of Jesus,
using that most basic of prayers,
the one he taught us, 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 have sinned against us.
Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil,
for thine is the kingdom and the power and glory forever.
Amen.


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