A Prayer for a Congregation #3

[Prayer Spark: Prayer offered at my church on Feb. 16, 2014]

Dear God,

You are indeed the Lord. And we thank you that we can gather here together and sing your praises, listen to your truths, and celebrate you—the miracle worker—today.

We thank you for the luxuries we’ve enjoyed during this long winter, luxuries that through much of human history and over much of the globe today would be seen as miracles. We thank you for:

The ease and comfort in which we travel to arrive at church

Heat that courses through vents in our homes

Hot water that pulses through pipes

Dryers that dry our clothes and into which we can toss wet snowpants and gloves

Stoves that heat kettles for tea and boil milk for hot chocolate

And though we do thank you for these things, we know they are not true miracles. Heat and hot water can be explained away. And yet, even in that, there is the miracle of the inventors and innovators who are created in your image, the miracle that somehow moves imaginary into reality. And we thank you for that.

Today, Lord, we ask that even as we learn about you—who once walked on earth healing the sick, casting demons out of the distraught, restoring sight to the blind and restoring stature to the outcast—we thank you for the miracles you’ve performed in our midst. We thank you for the inexplicable healings and recoveries, for the interventions, for the rescues, for the discoveries. We thank you for stepping in and changing or saving lives, for turning situations around against all earthly odds. We praise you for the times we’ve seen or felt your hand at work, for our own brushes with your angels here on earth.

But we do also live in the reality that miracles do not always come—at least, not the way we want.

Just as when you walked on earth you did not heal every illness, you did feed all the hungry or end all poverty or all troubles of this life, so it is today that many of us pray for miracles that do not come—and may not come.

We don’t know why your hand intervenes so miraculously sometimes and seems to miss so drastically other times. But we do know that this leaves many of us questioning you, that this drops many of us in dark places, that this leaves us doubting your faithfulness and your promises to us. We wonder why we’ve escaped your good favor. We wonder why blessings seem to dodge us.

God, for those of us in this place, be near. Remind us all of the miracle that is being sustained by you, that is being held by you through grief or pain or suffering. Remind us of the miracle that is grace.

Keep our eyes always focused on the miracle that is you, Jesus, with us.

And, God, we ask that you accept our prayers for miracles once again—now as we spend a moment lifting up a person or situation in need of a miracle—a change only you can bring about.

Jesus, we offer this in your name, alone. Amen.

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