God we come in prayer seeking as Paul suggests, to wake from sleep. Our sleep has looked strange; for few of us it isn’t sleep, but a foggy version of reality that sometimes we recognize and other times not. The events of this year and especially this month have put us in a strange cycle of hyper awareness and a sense of hopelessness. We go from elation to devastation and frankly, Lord, we are exhausted. We go from news of an effective vaccine to announcements that the second wave of COVID is upon us. We wonder if December and January will be like March and April. We wonder if we can do that again. We wonder if we can balance the demands of the reality outside with the demands of our own lives and families and struggles. Even as we feel that heaviness we hear the promise from Paul: the night is far gone, the day is near. The darkness and despair and feeling of helplessness has had its time, the light is near. Help us in faith to reach for it with conviction and with hope.
God help us as we seek to turn this new leaf. Encourages us to enter into this season with the gratitude of a wide-eyed child. Help us see that each bite of food, each blade of grass, each breath in, each step forward, all are gifts. Simple, but gifts none the less. With the wonder of a child may we see and celebrate each of these simple gifts, and in celebrating may we give thanks to you the creator and giver.
God we pray for all those in our community, country, and beyond for whom these simple gifts are not a reality. For those who wonder where their next meal will come from; who make decisions between which bill they will cover this month and which they cannot; we pray for those who recover from surgery or struggle with cancer or illness; for those whom walking is a great victory. We pray for those who grieve; whether they grieve the loss of a spouse or parent or child; we pray for those who grieve the loss of a job or a dream, or an ability.
Finally God we pray for our world. We pray for the groans of creation that cry out to be cared for more fully, respected, and cherished. We pray for our enemies, for those with whom we vehemently disagree. We don’t want to, it’s hard, it’s easier to respond to them with snark or dismissal or a list of reasons we are right and they are wrong, but that is not what you have called us to. You have called us to be ambassadors of peace and of light, of justice and of truth. Those require patience and humility and perseverance. We will need you to help us with all three of them. We need your help to hold onto the light that is promised. Help us to hold fast to the promise that the light is near so that we may, with the way we live and work and pray, guide others to its warmth. These and all our prayers we offer In Jesus’ name, Amen.