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A prayer offered in Sunday Worship
at Newton Highlands Congregational Church, UCC
Kenneth F. Baily
2010  January 24

The prayer is based on these four movements:

Praise God
Please, God
Help, God
Help God

God of unfathomable Grace, God of unending love, God of heaven and earth and us, listen, please, as we seek again to speak.

For what you have created in us, O God, thank you. For what you have inspired in us -- a yearning, a hunger, a resistance, a question, a hope -- for all that, thank you. For your assurance, for your touch, for your covenant, your liberation, your mission, your future, thank you. Thank you for being our God, for making us Christ's body, for baptizing us into audacious vision, and for confirming us into community. Thank you for heaven, even in the face of hell. Thank you for Holy Spirit; thank you.

But, to be honest, it is not easy to be your body. It is not easy to know what to do, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, to love our enemies. It is not easy, and sometimes we do not want to. We do not want to pray for those who persecute us or to see you forgive them, Father, when they know not what they do. We do not want to share because we are hungry and worried that if we give we will not get. So, please, God, help us with this. We sometimes ask that you change your message. But perhaps you can help us messengers. More than perhaps -- please: help us with this mission, your mission. It is not always so easy. But it is good. Help us with your good: your good news, your good work, your good way. Help us, because the yoke is not that easy and not that light. Until you help.

Help with our sadness and grief and anger as we send our prayers to Jacqueline. Help with our adjustment as we pray for Christine. Help with our shock as we hear the diagnosis of Carol's sister Dee. Help our endurance as we continue to help in Haiti. Help with our voices when we long to speak together. Help with our mission and stewardship and ministry as we conform our practice in being church to your call to be Jesus' body.

And let us help you, O God. Help you when you are vulnerable, as a newborn. Help you when you are criticized, as disproven, irrelevant, or dead. Help you as blamed, as cruel, vindictive, or absent. Help you with our own hands and heart and action and money and community to nurture Jacqueline, visit Christine, sustain Dee, work for Haitian resurrection, preach good news to the poor, release to the captive, liberty for the oppressed -- help you stronger because we are together with you, help you because your Jubilee is our abundance, help you because Jesus is with us, God of unfathomable Grace, unending love and heaven on earth, God who listens and who calls us to listen, even to the words we ourselves speak, even to your words as we say, together, Our Father, who art in heavenů