I’m not praying for you.

Post Author: The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

I’m not praying for you.

“I am not praying for you,” poem copied in walnut ink.

I’m not praying for you.

I’m not praying for you.
As if your tears don’t carry the weight of your hurt,
and God is somewhere else
waiting to be paged by the righteous.
As if the mother alone in her room-
partner gone and babies asleep-
crashed into the mattress and eyes closed before she offers her thanks
is ungrateful.
As if the someone in the mass grave is any less loved
than the one with the power who put them there.

I am not praying for you.
As if my words are more connected, holier, or more well-received.
As if the right sentence- a seance of spirits or those who have “the gift”-
will unlock salvation.
Like those who have spent time in the book, in the books- wrote them.
Or the posture matters.
You will not find that heavier words
Sink in faster.

I am not praying for you.
I cannot.
I will not appropriate your relationship with God.
The One who knows the prayer of each step.
The One who is there in the grief and
the sparks of joy.
Prayers for -is a control I do not want.

I am not praying for you.


I join in the silence and in the screams.
I do not replace the forgets and the not readies and the unknowns.
God is already present- I am an addition.
I am not praying for you.
I cannot.
But I pray with you.
With you.

The Rev. Stephanie Kendell is the Executive Minister at Park Avenue Christian Church (The Park). She received her Master of Divinity with an additional certificate in History, Theology, and Ethics from Brite Divinity School. Ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Stephanie is passionate about justice-seeking ministries that aid in the value and understanding of intersectional perspectives. Currently Stephanie serves The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as their First Vice Moderator. Before her call to ordained ministry, Stephanie was a Producer and Operations Manager for an international theatrical marketing agency based in Los Angeles.

Image by: Amber Inscore Essick
Used with permission
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