Monday, February 28, 2011

A Prayer

I have a cousin that is a public school teacher in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Like other public employees he will be significantly effected by the outcome of whatever happens in Madison, whether the bill passes or not. He wrote the following prayer. Amen, and amen.

Father, Our state and our country are in conflict. We are torn apart over how the wealth of our state should be used. We are experiencing a growing sense of anxiety because we feel those things we value and believe to be our right are being threatened. At times like this it is easy to embrace fear, anxiety and contempt. We confess that we have focused too much on our positions on the issue; and those news reports that feed our bias and stereotypes. We have looked for evidence that justified our belief that those on the other side of the issues are wrong; and more than wrong they are worthy of contempt, slander and misrepresentation. We have questioned motives and assigned blame and spoken with confidence about things for which we have inadequate information. We confess that this week we have often forgot civility, humility, respect, love and service. We have given voice to our inner fear and embraced worry. We have not sought to understand before being understood. We have exaggerated, mislead and ignored issues important to others.

Father, we admit that we have been angry, afraid, hurt, prideful, selfish and not as honest as we should be. Father, as your children we ask you to heal us. Give us the courage to rise above the fear and the pride. Give us the wisdom of your Son. The Prince of Peace. May we begin every day in your presence through prayer. May we pray over every issue. May you help us to pray for those who, in our heart, we have come to believe are our enemy. People who we have characterized as them, others or stranger. May you give us hearts and eyes to see and believe that they are neighbors, brothers and sisters and children of God.

Father, I confess my greed and trust in wealth and the fear that my wealth will be taken away. Forgive me for bowing down to this idol.

Father, we pray for those who you have called into service of this state. The police and firefighters. The civil servants and public sector employees. These men and woman are our neighbors and our friends. People with families who this week has felt accused, and even attacked. We ask you to bless them, comfort them, and give them courage. We pray you protect their jobs and give them the ability to provide for their families. We are thankful for them remembering that when they do their work of service they serve you as well.

Father, we pray also, for those who serve the children of our state. The teachers, coaches, administrators and support staff. Those who clean and maintain the schools. And all those who make our schools stronger and better. We pray for those who serve our kids when they are in crisis. The social workers and the social service employees. They stand in the gap and serve you by serving the young. This week they have felt unappreciated, blamed and disrespected. We ask that you bless them. Remind them that as they serve they serve you. Let them know that we love them, appreciate them and know they sacrifice in ways very few see. Speak comfort to them as they face cuts in compensation, operation budgets and the possibility of losing their jobs. Please, protect their jobs, provide for their needs and give them the means to provide for their families. Protect their hearts from discouragement, resentment and contempt.

Father, we pray for the leaders of our state. We pray for Gov. Walker and all the men and woman of our legislature. Father, we ask you to give them a spirit of courage and compassion. Give them divine wisdom to lead us through these uncertain times. Give our leaders a spirit of respect and consideration for each other’s ideas, values and priorities. Change the political discourse from one of adversaries trying to win, to servants together trying to heal. Forgive me, for slanderous statements I have said out loud and cherished in my heart towards some of those who are called to lead our state. Forgive me for spending more time criticizing than praying for our leaders as you have commanded. Rise up not the leaders we deserve but the leaders we need. Elevate their hearts and their words. Help them lead us through this season of uncertainty

Father, May you give us all the courage to share the burden of these uncertain and difficult times. May we all adopt a spirit of service and sacrifice. Father, glorify yourself by making peace, bringing healing and causing us to prosper in every way that really matters. We ask this in the name of your son Jesus Christ. Amen.

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