An advertisement for a trip in May 2022 to Israel and the West Bank

Dear God, save us from our self-centeredness, willful ignorance and unfounded fears that weld us to attitudes and actions that do not reflect the grace and mercy we find in you. Strip from our lives those things that rob us of meaning, purpose and joy.

You have blessed us with brains — for which we are glad.

Often we testify to being “remarkably and wonderfully made” — even created in your own image. We hear your resounding affirmation that we among the created order are indeed “good.”

Yet, so often we lazily treat our minds like mere sponges — soaking up nonsense, sensationalism, hate mongering, and gross misrepresentations of others and you.

We fail to love you with all of our minds — resting instead in the comfort of untruth in hopes it will salve our self-inflicted wounds.

You have gifted us with the capacity to learn, grow, analyze and choose wisely. Forgive us when we fail to think as deeply and creatively as you have given us the capacity to do so.

You have blessed us with hearts — for which we are glad.

Again and again you have not only shown us astounding love, but have generously invited us to enlarge our hearts accordingly. Yet, we are afraid of the cost of loving unconditionally.

The kind of love we receive from you is rarely conveyed to others with such risk and abandonment. Too often we contract our hearts that you seek to expand.

Help us to eagerly seek and willingly accept your great love for us — without putting limits on who else can share in such wonderment and acceptance.

Forgive us our trespasses of adding qualifications of our own to the radical love and forgiveness you offer to all but we desire only for ourselves and our kind.

You have blessed us with Jesus — for which we are glad.

What a gift! We do not have to guess what you are like. You have shown us.

While our finite minds can never grasp your infinite presence, we know that what we don’t know is consistent with the glimpse of the divine, revealed in the word made flesh.

Yet, what you have unveiled so clearly in Jesus is more than we are willing to embrace. We want the part that washes our hearts clean enough to pass through heavenly gates — but not the ongoing call that requires taking up our own crosses.

Forgive for the ways we seek to create an alternate and more convenient savior and recruit him to our causes — rather than faithfully following Jesus who is the way, the truth and life.

You have blessed us with fresh starts — for which we are glad.

Why you have not given up on us — with all of our well-hatched and misguided messes — is beyond our human comprehension. Your tolerance and forgiveness astound us.

We have been talking about and admiring Jesus throughout our lifetimes and have even confessed with the saints of old that he alone is lord. Yet, our commitments to him wane and are reshaped into priorities and privileges he gave his life to counter.

We have heard the call to “Follow me,” and responded favorably with our voices. Yet, even when filled with good intent, we have bolted down other paths lined with false promises and a failed sense of security.

Forgive us when we know the way to go, but choose another route — often turning the sign to suggest that our way is your way.

Give us the courage to admit to ourselves and others when we have tried to create a “better” approach to faithfulness than the way you have shown us. Grant us the sacred and needed gift of redirection.

In the name of one who provides the better way, we pray. Amen.

Share This