Help Us To Move Beyond: A Pastoral Prayer

Help Us To Move Beyond: A Pastoral Prayer

Holy God,
part-er of seas, liberator of captives, forgiver of all,

We tell the old, old stories,
passing them down from one generation to the next,
trusting that there is something to them,
Yet still, we are amazed when they leap off the page,
when they speak into our lives and name the very reality we know.

It seems we are not so far distant from the Israelites:
We too know what it is to feel stuck between a rock and a hard place,
between an Egyptian army and a sea of water.

We, too, long for your presence to hide us from the encroaching threads that seem always to be gaining on us—the work that never ends … the declining health of parents … the ever-present worry about children … the reality of a world where there never seems to be enough and the unending bad news is enough to send the happiest person back to bed.

We would like for our story to be one in which you wipe away all that threatens to overwhelm us and drown out all that keeps us from seeing you.

But you do not always act as we would hope.

We would like a bridge, holy God—a path over the troubled waters that lie in front of us. But your path forces us to go through the waters. An army of concerns and pressures stand behind us and the path before us looks as though it could come crashing down at any moment, and your call is to trust. To trust that you will stand between us and that which threatens to overtake us, to trust that you will hold back the tides of the world, to trust that the path forward is indeed through—uncertain or unwise as that may seem.

It is not as easy, not as simple, as we would like.

Help us to risk. To trust. To remember the stories of those who have gone ahead of us, both in Scripture and in our very midst. Help us to listen to the witnesses who tell of your faithfulness. Your trustworthiness.

Help us to meet the steadfastness of your promise with the daring of our own faith. To trust beyond seeing. To risk beyond common sense. To forgive beyond calculation. In the name of the one who loved beyond death, Amen.

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