A Hard Prayer

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Oh God, Maker of heaven and Earth, Your goodness exudes from the deep, Your glory shines in the morning and never sets on your people. We give thanks for the life you have given as a gift to us.

Though our lives are given to us freely, we confess we do not always use the gift wisely. We squander it through a myriad of ways though some of our brothers and sisters have called them sloth, envy, lust, gluttony, wrath, greed, and pride. There have been times where we let one or more of these life-sapping sins control our thoughts, actions, even prayers. We have let them control our lives, our gift.

And so we turn our hearts to you in repentance. Create in us a clean heart oh God. One which has the eyes to see others for who they really are: precious children of yours. Whether or not we like them, whether or not their lives are ruled by your love, whether or not we find them weird, loud, different, hateful, evil, help us come into relationship with them. Help us to care for and about them. And maybe most radical and intimate of all, help us to pray with and for them.

Your Son spoke about this oh God. He taught his followers to love their enemies pray for those who persecute them. We pray that you would help us live into that calling as individuals and as a community. We know it is hard, it does not make sense, it baffles our deep seeded beliefs, but that is exactly the reason we need your help. Your Son commands nothing less, so help us to follow in his footsteps, sharing with all the love only You can give, both in action and in prayer.

So, knowing full well it is hard, that it feels wrong, that it feels as if we are insulting all the people they have hurt, tortured, and killed, we pray for the members of ISIS. We pray they turn from their death-dealing ways to life-giving ones. We pray they see the wrong in what they do. We pray they be born again into your Love. We do this because we know if they lay down their hate, there will be no more persecution at their hands. We do this because we know if they change their ways, we will no longer have to pray for their victims. We do this because you call us to love our enemies, and you call us to because it is right.

You call us to move beyond our comfort zones of safe nets and security systems. You call us to reach out in love. You call us to work for you kin-dom here on Earth. Help us to mean and live into our words when we pray Thy will, Your will oh God, be done on earth as it is in heaven. So we turn to that prayer your only Son taught his disciples and continues to teach us today,

Our God, who art in heaven…

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