The Last Mile Prayer

God what is it about the last 15 minutes of a trip, that causes incessant squabbling? Doesn’t seem to matter if the trip is 1 hour or 15 hours, the last miles are the worst.

What is about seeing the top of the Mountain, that makes me think, well I almost did it, maybe it counts and I can turn around and go back down?

Or sometimes, when I’ve almost reached the place that I am going, I take a wrong turn. And it feels so unfair, not to mention embarrassing, to make a mistake when I am this close to the end.

And, I know that after every event is over, I feel exhilarated and happy, but then, somehow, there is still clean up to be done.

God, I know we are coming to the last miles of the crises. I so, so, so wish that this is like the perfect bicycle ride where we can glide downhill from here.

But experiences has taught me that finishing things can be at least as hard, if not harder than starting them.

Only you know God, how much I really am out of breath, and tired, and so you understand that I am not really looking forward to the work after the crises.

Because I know there are changes that need to be made, and that we can’t give up now!

Is this how Moses felt as he and the Hebrew people came towards the end of the journey through the desert? Was he somewhat grateful to leave the final steps and close up to someone else?

Is this how Mary and Martha felt as–I assumed they were stuck with– cleaning up after the Last Supper? The feeling that things are almost over, but somehow not.

Is this how Noah and his wife and children felt when the floods had receded and the real work of rebuilding the house, the family and replanting all of the food began? The knowledge that survival is not enough, now they had to build things better than the first time so that this type of apocalypse would never happen again?

God, I know we aren’t done yet. There are many obstacles in the way, and there is much to be done.

Strengthen us as we work towards this new world.

Inspire us as we try to figure out how to rebuild

….and soften us, help us to unclench our jaws, remind us to continue the hard work of breathing in and out

and give us the ability to be vulnerable with one another as we enter into a time where compassion must continue and openheartedness will be valuable in leading us the right direction.

Sustain us with your Holy Spirit we pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen

Feel free to use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

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Bear in Norway balances on branch 50 feet in the air | Daily Mail Online

Trauma Prayer

Here is a prayer for the survivors, who were left by those who got sick and died.

A prayer for the workers who were deemed essential–and never got a break from the work, the breath, the spit, the talk, the-show-up-to-get-your-paycheck.

It’s a plea for those who were “let go” told that they weren’t important enough to keep getting paid.

It’s a recycled prayer for the homeless and the hungry, who are the same as ever, only worse.

A love note for the queer fam, whose barriers only increase when people become stressed.

Here’s a prayer for the black and brown people the Native Americans, the Asians, the Immigrants…the ignored, habitually mistreated and forgotten. The “inaccessible” for healthcare, the ones who always have to sit on the bottom, except for deaths in the pandemic where they ride high.

Here’s a chant for Black Lives Matter–words that start, but don’t do enough to create a structure for reparations.

Here’s a prayer for the abused, alone and trapped.

A prayer for the addict, who is living the days, and the nights trying to figure out treatment in tough times.

This is a cry for the lonely: the elderly, the singles, the disabled, the sick. Lord, you know there are too many ways for us to feel lonely in ordinary times. Here’s an extra cry for them.

Here’s a prayer for a moment–for all those who are caretaking or parenting, those who have had not respite and no relief, for whom the to do list has lengthened and the how to list no longer exists.

This is a prayer for the children, who know in their bones what they are missing, even when they don’t know what they are missing.

We are praying for all of the world together–because this is our traumaversary–a moment when we look at the world that has ended, and has not yet a world to look towards.

We have to relive the trauma of the loss, and we still haven’t learned how to Cope with it Lord.

This is a prayer for me Lord,

Because I’m tired and lonely, and I don’t even know if I’m hungry or bored or just dealing with depression. This is a prayer for my family, because “okay” is all we can go for right now.

This is a prayer for the traumatized. Help us, we pray, Save us, we pray.

Amen.

Feel free to share/use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Trauma Anniversary Info: https://www.mentalhelp.net/ptsd/anniversary-reactions-to-a-traumatic-event/

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

A-Part: A Prayer

God, I am tired of being in parts.

My family is scattered in different States

My church is scattered across the city

And the pieces and parts of myself that were for friendships and socialization are hard to find.

And we are all in the parables of the lost–we’ve all lost money, and our flock and family.

We’ve lost a year. A year of birthdays and friendships and fun. A year of school and work and experiences. A year of community. All of it has sucked, and been sucked our of it and we are all left in pieces, in parts.

I am so tired of being apart, God.

And I keep thinking, how we keep trying to be community!

First with the loving works given to us by artists, then with rainbows, then we bells ringing and neighbors singing, and parking lot hangouts and drive by parties. Bubbles and postcards, phone calls and chocolate, zoom calls and google calls and Skype calls and FaceTime calls–all to ad nauseum.

Look how we are all trying to be together while we are a part.

I think of my congregant in Japan who sends us masks and face shields,

I think of my congregant in Western New York who sends us articles and prayers

I think of our friend in Pakistan, or Dubai (depending) who edits our YouTube.

God we are trying, so hard, and I can’t wait to try this community again.

In the midst of being prodigal children, in the midst of being lost, we are trying to find one another!

God, be with us.

Inscribe on our hearts the lessons of essential workers and the inadequacy of disability checks of the skewed value of work over health, and the indelible effects that racism has on every single system we have.

God, I can’t wait until we can be in person together.

Then we will rejoice: we have found our coin, our flock, our family!

And until we are there, help us God, please help us to continue to look for community.

Because Church happens whenever we seek, find and are a community.

Don’t let us give up. Sustain us like the widow, like the shepherd, like the stubborn (and possibly too recalcitrant) prodigal family.

Help us to Find one another we pray.

Amen.

Feel free to use/share/adapt/ with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Pandemic Prayers & Resources

The Kingdom of Heaven Prayer

God, my heart is so happy whenever I hear or see that anyone has received the vaccine. It makes me want to throw a party.

So God, today the kingdom of heaven looks like everyone being vaccinated and going to a party.

No one is too early and no one is too late to join the party.

We are all dressed like we want God, to the nines or comfortably.

No one is jealous or pushing in line, no one is worried that there is not enough food or glamour or belovedness to go around.

Every single person is called by their name and preferred pronouns are used without a misstep or a blink of surprise.

God, today the kingdom of heaven looks like Spring with kids playing freely, unbothered but the stresses of the pandemic.

Homes are warm and dry and safe and accessible; everyone has one to go to and no one is afraid to go home.

People are supported: their status is not defined by their age or gender or class or marital status. Every person is celebrated.

People’s traditions and roots and experiences are valued and validated. Science is no longer, ever, seen to be in conflict with faithfulness.

And Faith is in the room. Faith that word which is almost never used to refer to a singular person’s set of beliefs, but instead is a word that honors the system of the community that glues them together through ritual and hope. Faith is abundant.

God, your kingdom come, your will be done. I pray now and forever.

Amen.

Feel Free to Use/Adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

You are not Alone: A Prayer

God, as a I sit in the weak winter sun of upstate New York, breathing in the stillness of my house on an (extremely) rare day where everyone else is out. It’s comforting.

Yet, in the solitude, I know that what has kept me going all of this time is the deep knowledge that you are not alone.

As my tiny church struggles with a smattering of people, some older and some with young children: to stay connected, we tell each other with cards and phone calls and zooms and socially distant visits: you are not alone.

When I walk with my eldest and he worries if he ever gets to see his friends again, I echo he promise you are not alone.

As I read stories about baby animals and bunnies who want to run away from their mothers, I hear the subtext of the story: You are not alone.

As people supported black lives matter marches, and black individuals and as February brings knowledge of what has been done and what has been undone, and as people of color look for opportunities for a vaccine–I try to sound out the call, you are not alone.

And as institutions struggle: great nonprofits, huge church governmental structures, civic infrastructure and the congress itself–I struggle too to remember, you are not alone.

And when Southern states get caught in vortexes and power outages, when great wrongs are done to profit at the expense of the poor: then mutual aide, food banks and phone banks, tweets and emails and other communications all reach out to tell those who are suffering: you are not alone.

God, I am grateful that in the midst of a half a million deaths, that we do not mourn alone. I am grateful that when fascism and bigotry rears its nasty head, we are able to take one another’s hand and tell each and every dreamer, immigrant, person without home, black and brown person, LGBTQUIA individuals, those who live with disabilities and more–that every time we help one another, we are proclaiming the truth. You are not alone.

God is with us, and if God is for us, who can be against us. And God coaxes us, with this truth, to live out the gospel as it should be: one where no one is alone.

Let us continue to preach the good news. And maybe, when its a hard day you can whisper it in my ear God, or put it on a billboard, or reflect it in my friend’s eyes so that I remember that the good news is mine too, and we are not alone.

Make your presence known to us we pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

May be a cartoon of text that says ''m too tired to do anything except fall straight into bed i had a bad day dinos $ comics and tell me about it i'm here as long as you need'

500,000 people: Ashes

God, we are walking into the dusty path of Lent we realize that we are entering into a world of the missing.

The parents, the children, the aunts and uncles, the neighbors and friends and mentors.

God we have lost 500,000 people.

We have lost them. They slipped through our fingers of selfishness and greed and individualism.

We have lost them, like coins scattered upon the ground, they slipped through our finger–a treasure sunk into the ocean, never to be recovered.

We left our fellow sheep upon the rocks, and didn’t protect each other from the lions and the snakes.

We have forgotten that we are herd animals.

God, we no longer just taste ashes on our tongue. We are consuming them daily–in the news of black and brown people’s continued suffering under racist structures, in the habitual “forgetting” of people with disabilities and their extra isolation and danger in this time of contagion, in the news day after day after day of new infections and new deaths, in the cry of an entire state left in the cold for profit.

God I am afraid I am getting used to the taste of ashes.

I’m becoming bitter like Mara, convinced that normal wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and yet longing to go to a time where I didn’t know death as intimately as I do now.

I feel lost without those 500,000 people.

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

And I know that each of us are grieving in our own way.

And when things implode, and my kids are frustrated beyond my comprehension, or little annoyances seem to take over the day, or it’s hard to get going in the world. I remind myself that we are all living with ashes.

Gather your Sheep, Good Shepherd.

Coax us, tempt us and hook us into the herd.

Tell me its ok if I am a Mara today. It’s ok that I feel too much, and want too much and still somehow dare to dream of a different way.

Remind us that you know each of the 500,000 by name. We have lost them, you promise they will be found. Like coins or sheep, precious and beloved treasures of God.

And my job is to keep walking, to keep finding the rest of my herd, to love those who are lost and to love those who are found.

Help me to keep walking the road to Jerusalem with 500,000 ashes on my tongue I pray.

Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

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Back to “Normal” A Prayer

Jesus, when you were born. A political and religious refugee in the midst of a religious apocalypse, in an occupied country, with no citizenship or even personhood to be acknowledged. Brown Hebrew child born in the frailty of a human skin, did you ever long for normal?

When you scared the, excuse me, BeJesus out of your parents and taught in the Temple, did you wish that you could have been a normal boy running with your cousins where your parents could easily find you?

When you preached your first sermon and almost got thrown over a cliff, when your cousin John the Baptist was arrested and beheaded, and as you wandered around with a bunch of smelly disciples who were really great guys but who didn’t really get it. Did you worry about humanity’s obsession with being normal?

When you healed on the Sabbath–taking the withered hand into yours, touching the forbidden flesh with your flesh, ignoring the precepts of the day. Did you think, but yeah normal is overrated.

When you reached out to the Samaritan woman and banqueted with the tax collectors and enjoyed the miracle of feeding thousands of people with meager faire, is that when you thought, in your anachronistic, asychrononius way that normal is only a setting on the washing machine?

I bet that when you told the storm to shut up, when Mary bathed your feet in perfume, and when you climbed the mountain to hang out with Moses and Elijah you really embraced that your normal is counterintuitive and counterculture and anti-institution land anti-nationalism.

I bet flipping those tables felt really good, Jesus.

So here is my prayer, that we don’t go back to normal, not really. Because normal saw a lot of wrong and a lot of idols and a lot of vanities. Normal was all about the have and have-nots and racism and inequity and cis-hetereo-patriarchy was the name of the game.

I hope we know, that THAT game is already lost. Because Jesus promised, has and will always win.

And there ain’t nothing normal about that.

Thank you Jesus, for all that you are, and all that you stand for–fix our fixation on normal, and focus our eyes on you and all that you stand for: equity, sanctuary, healing and love, we pray in your mighty name Jesus.

Amen.

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calendar but the as the return to wholeness, health and peace in the community ‬

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Confession of a stiff-necked person

God, my neck has been cracking all day.

And I don’t think it’s the 12 minutes of yoga I did last night. I think it’s years of stress.

Years of permission giving to racists, bigots and white supremacists, years of Christians defending heinous actions, years of children being separated from their parents, lgbtqia abuse and state violence against black and brown people.

And a year of a pandemic.

Makes me rethink those stiff necked people in the Bible God. Those who you confront.

Full Confession Jesus: I did not know that I was a stiff necked person. Though I am in good company with Hebrews in the desert, who time and time again were too obstinate and stubborn to listen.

What have I been unable to hear these last 4, 5, 6 years? As I tensed my shoulder blades and endured many headaches, where was I stubborn (in ways I did not realize) to survive.

It is a relief to let go a little bit, to roll my neck a little bit, to confess a little bit and to loosen my soul a little bit.

So here is a little bit of a hallelujah–as I watch the snow swirl and listen to music.

A little piece of hallelujah that you have opened things up, and that the yoke of life rests easier today.

Thank you, alleluia, Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Please Share/Adapt with Credit to Katy Stenta and Please contribute to my Doctorate of Ministry with a Donation  I have PayPal https://paypal.me/KatyStenta?locale.x=en_US Venmo www.venmo.com/Katy-Stenta or Google Pay to Katyandtheword at gmail. My go fundme is gf.me/u/y8n94m

Pandemic Mourning

God, I don’t have enough tears for 400,000. If I cried for forty days and forty nights, it wouldn’t be enough.

So instead I’ll light the candle–and watch the flame gasping for breath.

And when I blow it out, I’ll bathe my face in the smoke. I taste ashes on my tongue.

Grief is never enough. The lives cut short, every single one of them, is a tragedy.

Anger rises, and I let it wash and let it go, because this anger is sadness in disguise.

I breathe in, and out, and feel the prickles of oxygen that others can no longer breathe.

God I don’t have enough tears for 400,000 people.

But you do. Mourn with me please I pray. Every tear for one of your beloved. May they fill the ocean with the salt of sorrow, so that we can never again let people die because they are essential or forgotten.

Mourn with me, I pray.

Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Pandemic Prayers & Links to Support my Writing

To do Lists: a prayer

Dear God, here I am obsessing over the stuff that isn’t getting done again.

I woke up late and left the bulletins on the printer at home (because we took our printers home) to photocopy at church, and a letter, and a million other things.

All week it’s been forgotten lunches and badly timed doctor’s appointments (first I have to drop kid number 1 at church and bc its closer to the dr and he can still do class then run to mine then pick up kid number 2 from school then repick kid number 3 to take them to the dr). This is a hard day off, Lord.

And I can’t reschedule anything because it will harder later.

So I’m checking in with people as best I can, even tho my phone is broken, and finally taking down the church Christmas decorations.

And tho I am getting just enough done this week, all week, I am haunted by all the things I still need to do.

God, you know that I thought it was Friday on Wednesday, when I turned in the workshopped, filled out and returned in a day paperwork for the grant we need so, so badly.

My brain is fuzzy. My brain is fuzzy, and its hard to put anything off, because it will make it harder to catch up on it later.

So here I am. Knowing I kept the eldest home on the one day this week that was supposed to be in person, knowing that I threw a little fit this week from sheer overwhelmedness

and knowing that you are there God.

Thank God your there God. Because, I am hanging on only by your strength. I am doing and grasping and loving and surviving, only by your will.

I have no extra oomf, but by the grace of God I am still here.

Hang to me God, because I might lose my grip for just a second. Hang onto me I pray.

Amen.