God, I know that when I am overwhelmed or depressed taking a bath or a shower seems insurmountable.
It feels like work, to wash things away.
And yet, when my kids are having a hard day or feel unwell—I immediately offer to give them a bath (or a shower).
I will start the water and be sure to add soothing bubbles. I’ll set up the towels and usually set out pajamas no matter what time of day it is.
I wonder if you knew that the disciples were feeling poorly after the long journey to Jerusalem, your tumultuous entrance, and your Frank discussion over dinner about what to expect in the next few days.
I wonder if you remembered how good it felt for Mary to wash your feet.
I wonder if you said to Mary—remember how you washed my feet? Can you help me do it again? Let’s make the water ready together.
As you knelt at the disciples feet and demonstrated how they can live one another did you blink back tears? Or did you tell silly jokes and remiss about your ministry I keep the tone light?
Remember me you said.
Love one another you said.
Stay awake with me, you said.
Let us all strive to do the same I pray. Amen.
Feel free to share/adapt/use with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta
God teach me how to take the target off of my Asian neighbor’s back.
I am torn by grief that the stereotypes and the racial violence continues.
God help me to fight against the idea of a model minority.
Help me to interrupt, to disrupt, to work against any and all micro-aggressions. Strengthen my resolve and spark my curiosity so I never stop learning about how they creep into my perception of the world.
Do not let any of us call a horrific pandemic the China or Kung Fu virus. For it is racist and wrong. It is evil, let us denounce it as so.
Help me to confront, and not dwell in shame or embarrassment, so I can address when I participate–in the Asians are smart-compliant-good-at-math-“Asian”-stereotypes.
And be with those communities that have received injuries or death in the United States. Help those who are Asian–whichever of the more than a dozen countries that means–find community and connection. Help those who are citizens and those who are not to get the help they need I pray.
Give them sanctuary.
Help us to be more of a sanctuary. Help us not to proclaim ourselves as “safe” but instead teach us how to actually be and enact safety and hospitality.
God I know there’s a target on my Asian neighbor’s back and it makes me want to weep and rage. Teach me how to stop this targeting, I pray.
Show me how each individual is uniquely and beautifully made in your image.
And help me to do the White work I need to do.
In the name of Jesus Christ I pray.
Please feel free to use/share credit to Pastor Katy Stenta
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.
Feel free to share/use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta
God, I confess that sometimes I treat Christianity like a graded activity.
And it is all to my loss, because inevitably there is a typo in the bulletin, or a phone call I’ve forgotten to make or an email with the wrong attachment two or three times.
And sometimes, then I feel bad that I can’t do all of the things or help in all the ways I want to help.
And Lord you know, that my subconscious is telling me that points in my Christianity grade are being taken away.
But that’s not how it ever works God. You never ever take points away from us, but are always ready to give us points and credit.
You fill our hearts with joy when we can help out! You create in us a celebratory spirit so that we can wish one another happy birthday, congratulate people on joyous life moments: like graduations, jobs, moves, babies, becoming heatlhier in any way.
God, you built us to encourage one another. To sit with one another when we are grieving and to cheer one another on, whenever we need it.
You give us all of the credit when we notice kindness, or build one another up, or remember to practice gratitude.
Christianity is the place where it should always be safe to ask for help.
And through your love, I am reminded that Christianiy has never been a graded activity. It is, after all, a place for the least of these to thrive.
Christianity is a place where sitting at the right hand of Jesus is not the goal, and washing the feet of those who need it the most is.
It is a place where perfection is admitted, up front, to be impossible, and trying our best is all that is required.
God, we know that your have designed the world, so there is no such thing as perfect faith, You will not give us a hundred on our Christian works.
Instead, you send the Holy Spirit to change our faith even as we change, and somehow still count it as valid.
Teach us again God that as faith changes us, we change our faith. We pray the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit prays us. Tomato, Tomato–God’s grace allows us to get all the credit.
Help us to practice the grace of Christianity, we pray. Suspend our judging nature, help us to let go of perfectionism and checklists and to instead be relational and growing in how and why we do this Christian thing.
Melt us, mold us, heal us, use us for your grace–whether we call it Christianity or not–let this be the way we live closer to you.
And when we fumble–remind us that Jesus Christ fully believes in the practice of extra credit.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.
Feel Free to Use/Share/Adapt with Credit to Pastor Katy Stenta
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.
Feel Free to Use/Adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta
God, I know that I am supposed to pray without ceasing.
Prayer is like oxygen. Prayer like breathing. Thrusting all that I am and have and do upon your mercy. Over and over again.
Sometimes it looks more like a raging Psalm, and sometimes it is the endless search for how to pray today.
But God, I have asthma, like most of my family, and breathing is severely underrated.
Too often, I can’t catch my breath. Too often I am trying to hiss a prayer out between my teeth. Feeling like no oxygen is going in…making it hard to breathe or speak or pray.
Stress, might I add, doesn’t help.
And sleep is shaky at best. We joke that everyone has insomnia, and try not to be awkward with one another over our devices, all alone, on little sleep and little breath.
I’ve been angry, I’ve been sad. I’ve dealt with loneliness, depression and hopelessness.
And I keep trying to catch my breath to pray. I know I do not need to speak to pray God, but you understand what I mean.
Here I am. Praying the “I don’t know” prayer, surviving.
I love to pray until the Holy Spirit prays you. Meditating deep enough that your soul find equanimity and respite in prayer.
That’s not the kind of prayers that are going on these days. Its more gasps and sighs, gutterals and selahs. With shoulders hunched over computers, or a quick plea as we rush through the day, or the pondering that keep you awake at night.
Lord, hear my prayers, all of them. Connect the dotted lines of prayers in my life–so like my asthma, even when I struggle there is enough there.
And if I need an inhaler for praying, please provide it to me as soon as possible.
Lord, it’s been quite a week: Elections and Infections and Insurrections. To say we are tired is an understatement. We are stuck, numb.
The prayers that fall from our lips are entreating. Please God make a way for us. Clearly we are lost, squabbling in the desert.
Please. Let us not freeze in this moment. Help us to do justice, and remind us the the doing will take a while and a lot of work. Help us go love mercy—not cheap forgiveness carelessly given, but the deep mercy given to marginalized communities who need the mercy of equity.
And the mercy given to the oppressors after the truth is told.
And Lord if these lessons are what we need to learn to walk humbly, where we do the needful work of God’s without quid pro quo or expectations of reward.
Let us not freeze up—as we have done in crises time and time before, set our hands and minds and feet to do the work. Encourage and en-courage us to try. To move forward inch by inch. Help us not to be alone in the work but to find others, partners in Christ’s service, who are inching with us we pray.
Remind us that God knows we can only see a dim reflection of ourselves, and that we only see in part and know in part. His knows this, and still tells us to do the work.
Sing us to sleep at night, grant us some Sabbath and sanctuary so we can nourished and empowered for the work we pray.
In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Feel free to use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy
With credit to Margaret Aymer Ogrt for her poignant call.