A Prayer of Thanksgiving for Zoom

This prayer marks the transition from online back to in-person worship. You are welcome to adapt to your context.

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for Zoom

Holy God, we give you thanks that we can worship you together in-person in the church building as of next Sunday!

At the same time, we mark this last service together on Zoom, and we give you thanks for this software platform. Thank you for giving your people the talents and skill to develop this communication tool.

For over a year, Zoom has enabled us to safely have and be church from home in the midst of a terrible pandemic.

We give you thanks that we have had access to computers, phones, tablets, and stable internet.

Of course, it hasn’t always been easy – we learned a great deal along the way. There were those times when someone not being muted led to a phone ringing or a dog barking during prayer or the sermon.

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A Prayer for the Waiting

Do you like waiting? I write about how in dealing with infertility, you are often stuck in two-week increments: two weeks to ovulation, two weeks of waiting. Repeat. Only, it isn’t always so simple either — long cycles or short cycles, closed clinics or other disruptions. For 53 months, I felt like I was endlessly waiting. Advent is celebrated as the liturgical season of waiting, waiting for Christ to come again. But waiting is exhausting. It’s even demoralizing sometimes. The following prayer does not romanticize the waiting but seeks to be open to God’s presence in the midst of it.

God who wipes our tears away, hurry up already. The weight of waiting has left me spent, unable to focus. I have no control, no reasoning can get me out of this, and scrolling often makes it worse. I want you to swoop in and zap my struggles away. I want you to lift up the lowly, now. I want you to make the world new, now.

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Advent Family Prayers

Advent 2020

For my daughter’s first Advent and Christmas, my husband and I got an Advent wreath for our home, wanting to expose her to a tradition that has been spiritually meaningful for us over the years at church. During her toddler years, it was chaotic to light the candles in a place she could see but not touch, and it was nearly impossible to try to get her to focus for just one minute on saying a prayer.

But last year when she was four, one night at bedtime she told me, “Today was hope candle day. And next week is peace!” She remembered joy and love too. This year, with a five and three year old, we light the candle(s), share answers to a question, and say a short prayer. In response to the hope question, my older daughter inevitably answered, “I hope I get everything I want for Christmas.” Before we could talk that through, our younger daughter chimed in, “I hope for Mama, Papa, Eve, and Rose to be happy.” The girls looked at each other, then us, and then the purple candle burning, and it was quiet for one sacred second of kairos time.

I offer the prayers and questions we’re using this year for you to adapt in ways that fit where you are and who you’re with this Advent season. May they point you to the Light of the World, the One who is already here and who is on the way again this year, yes even in 2020.

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A Prayer for World AIDS Day in a Time of Coronavirus

The author with faith community leaders at a Methodist HIV/AIDS awareness and response event in Durban, South Africa in 2011

Bonjour, mon Dieu.  Comment ça va?

(Hello, my God.  How are you?)

Je suis triste aujourd’hui, mon ami.

(I am sad today, my friend.)

 

But God, you knew what this plague was, as we floundered and feared for years for explanations.

And God, you know what this plague is, as we struggle and stumble to disperse treatment.

 

And you know us – so well – every fragile sinew and cell of our being.

 

And we know you –

we know you to say that if one suffers, we all suffer as one.

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A Prayer for Unseen Parents

Today, we offer a prayer for those individuals and families who grieve the absence of a child due to death, infertility, or other loss. The absence of a child does not take away the coveted title of “parent.” Love for a child, seen and unseen, is what makes an individual a parent and what forms a family. We pray that all of these parents and families feel God’s peace this season.

 

In this season focused on joy and hope, we pray for the unseen parents, carrying the hope and prayer for a child out of the sight of others…

Aching as they send another Christmas card, filled with adventures and excitement but missing the laughter of a little one…

Looking past the dinner seat where a high chair should be…

Struggling to be thankful when so much seems wrong…

Grateful for a reason to miss a family party where they will feel forced to celebrate another new baby, not their own…

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The author prays over her morning coffee.

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

The author prays over her morning coffee.

The author prays over her morning coffee.

Holy One,

Source of all good things in this world:

Let’s be honest. It’s 2020.

You’ve seen this year happen.

In a year of pandemic, and politics,

and isolation, and exhaustion,

we feel a lot more like saying,

“How long, O Lord?”

instead of “in all things, give thanks.”

 

Give us eyes to see your wonders, O God,

even in a year like this one.

Give us hearts that overflow with gratitude

for the ways we’ve made it through.

For binge-worthy shows and new crafting skills,

for fresh pots of coffee and surprise deliveries of wine,

for fires to burn and rooms to paint,

Good Lord, we give you thanks.

For decent internet connection and love-to-hate-it Zoom,

for the ding of a text and long phone chargers,

for online shopping and unemployment checks,

Good Lord, we give you thanks.

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2020 Thanksgiving Prayer

“Thanksgiving Drive” by katmeresin is licensed under CC BY 2.0

God of all of us,

Life as we knew it has changed.

Thanksgiving as we knew it is different this year.

We have lost people we love.

We have lost gathering in the ways we used to gather.

Some of us have lost jobs or trust or optimism.

So we grieve today, even as we give thanks.

We lament today, even as we hold onto moments of joy.

You are a God who hears and knows our lament.

We also lament the state of our nation and the division among us.

We don’t want to move too quickly to unity

without addressing the pain that lies under that division.

We give you our hurt. We give you our anger.

May your hearing of our prayers and our pain

open the way for healing and new hope and restored community.

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A Prayer for Essential Workers

“Thank you essential workers!” by spurekar is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Loving God,
While some of us are in the safety of our homes,
you have called others to risk themselves and their families to keep our communities running.
We give you thanks for the doctors, the nurses, the respiratory therapists, and all working in healthcare.
We give you thanks for the store employees, factory workers, and delivery people.
We give you thanks for those who feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and bury the dead.
We give you thanks for the teachers working to raise up the next generation in physical and virtual classrooms.
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A Prayer for the Theatre World as Broadway Stays Dark

Creating God,

The author is photographed here in her role as Salome Musgrove in Grand Canyon University’s 2006 production of The Robber Bridegroom.

Your children are out-of-joint.

They tap dance as they stock shelves,
they sing to themselves as they apply for unemployment,
they recite monologues as they tend their sourdough starters,
the show is stopped, only going on in their hearts.

Your children are out-of-sorts.
The only lights to run are Christmas icicles along November roofs,
the only costuming is for Zoom Halloween parties,
the only makeup done is whatever can be seen above the mask,
the show is stopped, only going on in their hearts.

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A Prayer for Farmers

 

Garlic harvest from June 2019, A Place on Earth CSA farm in Turners Station, KY.

God of all Creation,
we give you thanks for those who cultivate the earth,
for those who wake before dawn and labor in the fields,
for those who care for livestock,
for those who plant and tend with care.
We pray they know they are appreciated beyond measure.

Too often, we overlook the gift of farmers
as we grow ever more distant from the processes
that bring food to our tables.
We pray that we see and know
those who do the planting, tending, and harvesting.
They are a community of sowers
on whom our survival and flourishing depend.

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