A Mother’s Day Pastoral Prayer

There are too many prayers to name on Mother’s Day.  Our Mothers, Grandmothers, stepmothers, and others who act as mothers play such important roles in our lives.  We are grateful for their love, care, and understanding.  We remember the example of Jesus, even while upon the cross, caring for his mother’s needs.  May we be aware of the needs of our mothers and the women who care for children and families in our community.

Today we pray for those in the paths of natural disasters.  We especially remember our sisters and brothers in Hawaii.  Earth is not ours to tame or control.  God of creation, calm the chaos and provide time and space for those who are in danger to be moved to safety.

We pray for those who were injured last evening in attacks on churches in Indonesia and on the streets of Paris.  Hate is not a divine calling.  We pray for the victims of violence everywhere.

For those who suffer, seek medical treatment, and dwell in the thin places of life; we pray for their comfort and healing.  Gracious God, bring peace and assurance to them in moments of uncertainty and pain.  Help us to be ministers of presence and people who listen.  We are not called to have the right answers.  Help us to ask the right questions. Help us remember that we are to be present and aware.  May we become living instruments of your grace and mercy.  In the silence of our hearts, we remember those we have named this morning.

Amen.

Richard Lowell Bryant

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A Political Prayer for the Poor

Gracious God,
Today,
we pray for the poor,
those without,
marginalized,
forgotten,
pushed to the edge,
left behind,
Those who have no health care,
dying at home,
with no go fund me friends,
or investment options on which to retire,
they who live hand to mouth,
those who sleep unsoundly,
and are surrounded by fear and violence,
isolated,
lonely,
beaten,
and most of all,
I pray for those
made uncomfortable,
by praying this prayer.
May these words remind them of your teachings.
Gracious God,
be with the haves,
to seek mercy,
be with the have nots,
who need mercy.
In the name of one who became poor for our sake, Jesus the Christ,
Amen.

Richard Lowell Bryant

A Prayer for Today

God,
Save us from ourselves.
Save us from others.
Save us from visions of grandeur.
Save us from the soft bigotry of low expectations.
Save us from seductive lure of apathy and self-righteous indignation.
Save us from our sinfulness.
Forgive us when we speak hollow words dressed in the guise of the prophetic language.
Forgive us so we may forgive others.
Forgive us for seeing the worst in others.
Forgive us for missing your point to focus on our agendas.
May our witness stand in contrast to evil,
May we give until we are empty,
Until we are completely dependently upon you,
For our joy and hope,
Compassion and empathy,
Reason and being,
Vision and movement,
Life and death.
As Resurrection People we pray,
Amen.

Richard Lowell Bryant

A Palm Sunday Prayer

Gracious God,

I’m not really a “parade person”. Crowds make me nervous and I’m always afraid I’ll mess up the group chant. I never get the “wave” right in stadiums. So Palm Sunday, as you might imagine, makes me a little nervous. Who am I kidding, I’m terrified! I’m not sure when to come in with my, “Hosanna in the Highest, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”. As I stand in the crowd on Sunday morning, I ask you to hear my prayers, spoken from the silence of my heart:

Help me, in the days to come, to focus on what matters most,
Help me to see beyond the crowds and look to you,
Help me to find ways to block out the sounds of crowd,
Help me to listen to you when others put words into your mouth,
Help me to offer my heart when others offer their cloaks,
Help me find a place to be where you need me most.

Amen.

Richard Lowell Bryant

Pastoral Prayer for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost

Gracious God,

It seems as if every week is “one of those weeks”.  There is little time to breathe, think, respond, or react amid the news of more chaos in our world.  We are not separated from the most pressing needs of humanity by our television screens or computer monitors.  In the past week, death came to our door. In this sanctuary we celebrated the lives of two beloved members of our community.  And yet, as we gathered in grief, hospitals in Puerto Rico still lack water and medicine.  Families are no closer to answers as to why their loved ones were murdered Las Vegas.  Firefighters watch the uncontrollable power of nature destroy lives and homes in California.

Suffering does not respect geography, wealth, or any boundary.  Safety is in scarce supply.  The world proceeds as normal but we know something is amiss.  Like a nausea that will not go away, we feel it.  We are the lucky ones because we can pretend everything is fine.  Our children are in school, our water is running, and our homes are not burned to the ground.  Our grief is manageable because our sense of community is strong.  It is not so easy for our neighbors.  It is for them, those whose ideas of normalcy and safety are forever shattered, we pray.  There but for the grace of God are we.

God, we come to you this morning in a spirit of dialogue.  Here us as we clear our minds and open our hearts to the thoughts beyond our words.  Search our souls as we find gratitude and thankfulness among our requests and petitions.  Place within us a desire that forms our prayers into tangible actions.  May our “amen” be the next step in creating a partnership with you to help answer our prayers instead of passively waiting on you to do all the work.  You need us as much as we need you.

Amen

Rev. Richard Lowell Bryant

A Prayer for The Tragedy in Las Vegas

 Gracious God,

Our hearts are weary.  Our tears have no place to run and hide.  When we open our eyes, the blood stained idea of innocence lies broken before us.  In what seems a never ending silence, we hear the unimaginable sound of evil taking aim at humanity.  Yes Lord, we are weary of death, violence, and unanswered motives.

We give thanks for those who risk their lives to save lives in the face of evil.  For we know they too feel these strains.

We pray for those who are grieving and mourning.  There are no words to say which can adequately address this tragedy.  May your Holy Spirit be a comforter and prompt those friends, family, and caregivers to speak with a single word, gesture, or act of mercy.

The tapestry of our souls feels frayed, O God.  Weave us back together.  Take the frayed ends of our lives and entwine the fiber of our spirits into a community which is strengthened by its connections to each other.

Untangle the knots and cut us free from the entanglements we have created, so that we may be a tapestry which covers a multitude of sins and comforters all who need warmth.

Lord we know your will is not death, violence, storms, or disease.  You call us to love one another.  Let us reject evil, the powers of death and division, and plant the fruits of the spirit in places where death has tried to stake a claim.

Hear us as we pray,

Amen

Richard Lowell Bryant

When I Think of Taking a Knee

I think of prayer.  I think of active resistance to the principalities and powers, those of which the Apostle Paul wrote in the letter to the Ephesians.  I think of the place I go when I have nowhere else to turn.  I think of looking up when I have been made to bow down.  I think of the foot of the Cross.  I think of emptying my words, heart, dreams, and hopes, on the ground before me.  I think of the worn carpet before the altar.  I think of the old wood floor beside my desk, I think of the gravel in the driveway.  I think of the grass by the side of the road.  I think of everything and nothing.  I think of the words I want Jesus to hear and those I am afraid to say.  I think I can withhold nothing from Jesus .  I think of what must be brought to light.  I think I am not alone.  I think of the prayers before me,  around me, and waiting for my knee to bend.  I think.  I speak.  I weep.  I mumble. I give thanks.  I listen for God.  I listen to God.  I feel God’s creation beneath my knee as touch the Earth.   I bend my knee in love.  I pray in peace so I may serve others as the disciple Jesus called me to be.  I take a knee because Jesus taught me to pray from my knee so I might minister with my hands, arms, feet, and legs.  I think of prayer.

Richard Lowell Bryant