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

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'

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

I am so angry

I am so angry, she said, and I admit I was surprised to hear the echo of her words in my heart God.

Of course, I know I’m angry God, we all are. Haven’t I been giving permission for people to scream psalms and then wrote out my own about the catastrophe that lead up to and was 2020? But I was still surprised…because I am SO angry, God.

I’m angry God, with little places to process it, and very small chances to even be grumpy (though I am, of course grumpier like most people).

I’m angry that people keep making poor decisions, I’m angry that I don’t know how long I have to stay in survival mode.

I’m angry that my child who has autism works so hard to remain masked when so many capable adults believe rumors and lies and continue to ignore the need to do what is needed to stay safe.

I am angry that we are so, so lonely, while others go out and party.

I’m angry that my family’s mental health is precarious at best, and I’m angry that the priorities of the government and individuals seem to be power and money over safety, and self-righteousness over loving our neighbor.

And I’m angry that my family cannot perfectly keep others safe because there are too many factors and not enough cooperation for us to be able to tell when and how all of this will end.

I am angry that more and more people are getting sick or dying, and all the socioeconomic things–Too many to name even….

I want to be angry God, because it’s a true reaction to what is going on.

Is this how Jesus felt when Samaria refused to welcome him when he finally decided to journey to Jerusalem? Did he have to get over it to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan?

Or did you tell the story to yourself Jesus? Did you tell it to remind yourself not to always be angry?

God, there is nowhere to put this anger. If I put it on mine enemies, and wish them harm or illness, I–in truth–only hurt myself.

And there’s no real way to process it, yet.

Except sometimes I watch a show or I read a book and I cry.

God help us, help me, with this trauma. This mix of delayed mourning, longstanding loneliness and more anger than I realized.

Help us say the prayers, scream the screams, write the psalms and to create the rituals we need in this time of trauma. Help us to create small oases of sanctuaries to process. the hardship we are going through.

I’m tired of being angry God. Please help me in whatever way you can.

Send your Holy Spirit to comfort and renew me, I pray.

Amen.

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

For more Pandemic Prayers here

Christmas Blessing

With Credit to @blackgirlinmain Shay Stewart Bouley on Twitter who congulated those cooking their first Christmas dinner–with full empathy for how nerve wracking it is– her tweet inspired this.

A blessings on all those who had to cook, who aren’t usually responsible for Christmas dinner–blessings for those who did tacos or takeout or didn’t cook at all and just rustled up whatever was around.

A blessing for whom the Christmas rituals were too short this year, missing people and missing traditions, and a blessings for whom they were too long because the holiday is such a struggle.

A blessing for those for whom Christmas is the end of a very long and very tiring season and they are awaiting a little bit of a break or a restart, and a blessing for this for whom Christmas means no break at all, and often means double work and double stress and little grace or gratitude from those around you.

A blessing on those who have experienced a loss, for whom Christmas hits hard and lonely, a blessing for those who are dealing with infertility when everyone is screaming about babies being born.

A blessing for the families who don’t have the money to do Christmas, for the families that are too busy worrying about a roof over their head or food to eat to feel blessed in any way.

A blessing for the sick and those caring for them. In this time of trial, may there be compassion and moments, however brief, of respite.

A blessing for those who aren’t sure if they want to celebrate Christmas, for whom it’s complicated or carries too much baggage or carries too many to do lists or litmus tests of faith.

A blessing for those for whom this is their “first” Christmas of any kind, good or bad, because transition is tough and we need these blessings.

A blessing on those who are tired, alone, trapped, in danger. A blessing for victims of abuse, victims of state brutality, those who are imprisoned and those who are stuck in violent or unsafe situations, a blessing for those in the midst of war in what should be a season to pursue peace.

A blessing for those who are searching for hope: through family or friends or social media, a blessing because the search can be long and hard and you can get lost upon the way and talk to the wrong people as the magi can tell you.

A blessing for those whom I’ve forgotten, those who are at the corners of my mind, but somehow skipped over. I lift you up to God, because God knows your heart. God knows the blessings you need, so I pray that God gives you the blessings you need.

Christmas Blessings be with you all.
Amen.

Pieces of Joy & Thanksgiving

God, I’m a the point in the chaos where I am wondering if I am allowed to be happy

Because the world is shitty right now. People are sick and dying. Politicians and governments do nothing and there is real suffering in the world.

And God knows the last recession, we were living on the edge, skirting bankruptcy, playing Russian Roulette with the bills, the credit cards, the job searches

I remember counting property after property for sale in 2010

This time the hurt is less visible. Those who are sick are quarantined, the hospitals are off limits, and poverty is hidden again and again (like we did) because it is a sign of shame.

I am all to aware the the suffering I know is but a microcosm of what is really going on.

So when things go right, when I realize we have enough room to live in, or we enjoy celebrating the youngest turning 9, or I get in to the program I applied for. I wonder is it ok to be happy?

Lord, I thank God for things like the Nap Ministry and Queer Theology and Black Girl Magic which remind us of the value of rest and joy, and that these things must be practiced especially in the midst of chaos.

Lord I give thanks for a moment to soak in the sun, the opportunity to zoom and pray for one another, and the early Christmas tree lights and carols that are seeping into consciousness.

Lord God I thank you for the beauty of snowflakes, the reminder that safe at home can mean cozy at home and the gifts of pets, hot chocolate, and my favorite music.

Help me to celebrate the little things, God. Help me not to forgo joy, but instead to embrace it, and let these moments strengthen me so that I am more able to go on.

Remind me that you give joy to everyone, even those who suffer, and that denial of joy is not helping anyone, I pray.

This Thanksgiving, please give me, and help me to celebrate whatever pieces of joy might happen. Especially give me the spirit and strength to recognize when these pieces of joy sneak up and surprise me.

Help me to enjoy them.

And appreciate them.

And give thanks for them, I pray.

Amen.

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

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More Pandemic Prayers and Mundane Prayer to Survive the Day to Day

Post Election Prayer

God, you are mighty,

and I feel so small.

Paralyzed as the election approaches–a million years away, and yet it’s coming any minute.

How are we supposed to plan for post-election, for advent and for Christmas when we don’t know what is going to happen?

How are we supposed to plan?

Don’t you know God, writing our sermons and prayers would be easier if we knew what was going to happen.

I’m not a skip to the end personality; but right now I am.

Anxiety is in the air.

God! I feel so small. So here is small prayer.

To survive until the election, to do the things that need to get done, to feed the kids, take care of the church, to stay safe and connected.

Take this small prayer that is in the hearts of pastors everywhere who are preparing to preach in a divided country, where some congregations are divided, or some congregations completely disagree with their pastor.

Lord, take this small prayer, and grow it into the prayer it needs to be for post-election:

I pray. Amen.

Pandemic Prayers

About Me and My Writing

Existential Crises

Holy Spirit, we need to talk about this whole humanity thing.

Because I am plumb worn out from having existential crises about the human race!

Between pandemics, systematic oppression, the continual pursuit of power and principalities that screw the costs, and the whole the earth itself seems to be crying out from abuse thing, my head is spinning.

This is not to mention poverty, homelessness, neglect of those who are addicted, and the deaths of black and brown children, and I am reminded once again of the orphans which (again) have been created and abused by my very own government, oh and there’s a war in Armenia where my Aunt is located– I find I am bone weary.

Can these bones walk?

Holy Spirit, do you sometimes give humanity the side eye when you appear in bird form?

Because I trust in you. I trust God, and I love Jesus. This is not about that.

But I am dried out, cracked at the core when I think of humanity as whole.

I have found amazing human beings on earth. In the Singular I know individuals: gracious and forgiving ones, selfless and devoted ones, tireless and hard working ones. I love many-a-person…

But when it comes to humanity…

Well let’s just say I understand that whole flood thing better now.

Sometimes I wish I could do a reboot too, but we both know that doesn’t fix the inherent issues with being human

And so, here I am, stuck in an existential crises.

Why do we exist?

And, maybe the real existential question is this: if I know we can do better, how are we not doing better? Why?

Ok, but we have to try.

We have to show that those who are poor, or homeless are beloved.

We have to constantly interrupt racism and oppression, and plots to kill people or the neglect that lets people die. We have to stand up to power.

God, I remember a story in the Bible when someone asked Jesus a very political question about marriage, he basically said “that’s a human thing, God doesn’t care about such things”

Immediately this was followed up with a question about what does God care about, and Jesus responds with a simple “Love God, and Love each other” summary of, well, basically everything!

As always, when I have trouble loving other humans, I reground myself in loving you God.

Because I don’t know how to love humanity, and I don’t know why we are here.

So I guess I’m going to have to love you, and trust that you are continually helping us to course correct so that all things work together for good.

But right now, I’m going to snuggle under the covers, and tell myself that its ok that I don’t know how to process humanity’s existential crisis right now, because that’s not my job.

Help me to do my job–

that whole loving thing, I pray

Amen.

Agnusday.org - The Lectionary Comic

https://www.agnusday.org/comics/456/matthew24-36-44

More Mundane Prayers Here, Here is the Link for Pandemic Prayers and Resources

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I’m Tired of Being Part of a Major Historical Event

God, I never realized that historic events aren’t really one thing. Instead they are the combination of humanity’s foibles boiling over to the point of historicity.

I didn’t even know historicity was a real word until today.

And what will bubble up next? Australian Fires, Hurricanes, Derechos, Post Offices. Lord I’m only human, how can I process all this? Or maybe I can’t.

Did racism cause the Black Lives Matter marches and sometime riots? What ingredients meshed exactly right to finally give people the exact things they needed to get out and protest: racism, yes, but also poverty and pandemics, boredom and bereavement, time and trouble.

These sort of things come from the perfect balance, so that the risk you are taking is the best risk possible.

God, I’ve been thinking a lot about risk. Of Hagar the enslaved who risked raising her son in the desert, about Joseph the imprisoned who risked interpreting dreams of his cellmates, of Rahab of Canaan who defied expectations to help Joshua.

What is the perfect risk for us as Christians right now? As we look at this particularly moment in history, how do we decided how to risk, and who to risk, and why?

And how do we risk for ourselves and our community, and yet still practice grace towards all the rest of humanity–who are having to make the same decisions in different circumstances.

Truly we are all weathering the same storm: but in different boats, with different tools and different gifts.

Really God, is now the time to discern gifts? I mean, really and truly God, I want you to know that now is a truly risky time to discern our gifts.

Selah!

Remind us, it’s worth the time.

Black Lives Matter

Remind us, We are worth the time.

Safety first

Remind us, You are worth the time.

God of the poor, the sick and the marginal.

And teach us how to risk in this historic moment, in the best, kindest most gracious way we can.

I pray this with all those who are risking right now. Help me stand with them I pray.

Amen.

Permission to Use or Adapt with Credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Pandemic Prayers & Resources