A Prayer for Courage

I posted this prayer on my personal Facebook page on Monday, but share it here for anyone who needs the courage to take a step out of the boat.

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Dear God, I wanted to share a prayer publicly everyday and now I am struggling to do it. For one thing, it is against my introverted nature. I don’t like putting myself out there too much. It feels like I’ve fallen back into that old trap of worrying about what people think of me. I want to climb back into the safety of my shell. I’m also struggling to maintain optimism. Last night, as You know, I fell to sleep in tears.

I have never lost my hope but sometimes I feel down. I am sad about the people who are sick and about the people who are dying. It’s especially hard to hear about the death of a doctor or first responder. It makes me sad when I see friends who have to visit their elderly parents through a window. I worry about the economic impacts of this pandemic. And I get discouraged because so many people have been deceived and put their trust in people who put a positive spin on this.

Father, I listened to Pastor Andrew’s sermon with only half my attention Sunday morning, but something he said cut through to me. I had to listen to it again.

What’s the difference between a trip and a journey? A journey is long enough to have both ups and downs. We pack up our lives to look like a trip rather than a journey. Saving face. Speaking with impeccably polite language like you’re talking to your grandma when you’re at church but rage cursing when you are in traffic. (That was me, at least when I lived in Denver). Posting one life on social media like everything is okay but never sharing your real struggles with anyone important with you. (Ouch). It can be tempting to pretend like everything is okay. That we don’t feel the pains that are coming.

No matter what hits us, good or bad, we have the assurance that God is with us. Jesus, You didn’t promise to remove our daily trials. Our comfort is not in the absence of trials, it is in the presence of You. You are with us in the ups and downs.

God, I needed to hear that message. I pray for the courage to be authentic. To have the courage to take a step out of the boat and not be afraid to keep walking when the winds come. To put myself out there even if it is uncomfortable. To share both the good and the bad, my hope and my fears.

Amen.

A Prayer for Schools

Heavenly Father, thank you for keeping me and my loved ones healthy. It was just a few weeks ago that I listened to a risk manager at a public school talk about the district’s plans to add a week to spring break hoping that two weeks would be enough time to protect students and employees from the corona virus. Since then, schools across the country have closed their doors for the remainder of the school year. I pray that you will help the teachers, the students and the parents and grandparents as schools transition to online and at-home schooling.

Dear God, thank you for teachers! Thank you for their dedication and commitment to teaching and giving kids a safe environment in which to learn. Thank you for school administrators, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, school nurses and aides, janitors and everyone else who serves in the education industry. I lift up to you friends and loved ones who teach or work in schools: David, Justine, Nikki, Mary, Brian, Darlene, Andi, Traci, Jennifer, Dawna, Suzi, and many more. Bless and protect them from harm.

During this difficult time, I pray for the children. Millions of kids do not get enough to eat at home and are dependent on school breakfasts and lunches. Thank you for all the school leaders and community volunteers who have stepped up to keep school meal programs going. I pray that you will help children handle the disappointments that come from not being able to do the things they were looking forward to. For seniors, like Dakota, who were looking forward to graduating with their classes in May. For kids who won’t get to go on school trips or to participate in sports or other activities.

Lord Jesus, my faithful friend and Teacher, I pray that we will learn important lessons from the things we are going through today. Above all, help us to love as you taught us to love.

Amen,

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Photo by Kuanish Reymbaev on Unsplash

A Prayer for Essential Workers

Dear God, thank you for this day. Thank you for the quiet time I have had during this crisis to reflect on Your love and mercy. The forced solitude has given me time to think about how grateful I am for what other people do for a living and to appreciate how devastating this crisis is to the lives of other people. I pray for those who have lost jobs or gigs through no fault of their own. I pray that You will meet their financial, physical, and spiritual needs and that people will know that they can call out to You.

Lord, millions of workers have been ordered to stay home to reduce the spread of coronavirus. I am fortunate to have a job that lends itself to working from home. Today, I pray for people who are considered “essential” workers who can’t stay home.

There are millions of essential employees and businesses who provide the goods and services we need. Health care workers, law enforcement, and first responders are at the top of my list for obvious reasons. I pray for the safety and protection of those who serve and protect the public.

Food, energy, water, wastewater treatment, and garbage removal are essential needs. Thank you to the agricultural workers and to all food industry workers who ensure that grocery stores and restaurants have food. Thank you to the utility companies and workers who ensure that we have water, gas and electrical service in our homes and businesses. Thank you to those who do the dirty jobs of handling our waste. I pray for the health, safety and protection of those who provide these essential services, like my brother Marion. I pray for food and beverage service employees, waitresses and waiters and bartenders, who are out of work because restaurants and bars have had to close their doors. I pray for the small business owners who may be forced out of business.

Lord, we often take it for granted that someone will make and package and deliver the things we want or need. Thank you to the people who manufacture goods. Thank you to those who deliver mail and packages, like my brother David. Thank you to the packers and movers. Thank you to truck drivers and transportation employees.

I am grateful for those who work in the construction, communication, IT and retail industries. As I walk through my neighborhood and by construction sites, I see men who are still replacing roofs and constructing buildings and repairing our roads. I see cable companies installing service to homes in my neighborhood.

Father, there has been much debate about whether it is more important to keep the economy going or to shut things down to save lives. We really have no choice but to work to keep things going. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. I have learned that suffering leads to perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Give us the strength and perseverance to work through this crisis.

Amen.

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Photo by Fran Hogan on Unsplash