My contribution to Uncontrolling Love was an essay on prayer. The editors asked me – and others who wrote about prayer – to provide some sample prayers that are consistent with “uncontrolling love” and “prayer in an open world.” The idea was that they could be added as an appendix to the book. Here are two prayers, one personal and one intended for use in a church service. I hope you find them helpful.
A Personal Prayer for the Day Ahead
You have invited Christ-followers to actively partner with you, and with others who share your values. I accept that invitation. I pray that as I journey with you throughout this day, your Spirit will enable me to be more like you. I pray that I will be gracious as you are gracious, forgiving as you are forgiving, and generous as you are generous. Help me be continually aware of your presence and activity in the world, and embolden me to witness to your faithfulness and love. May I be an authentic ambassador of you and your kingdom. May all that I say and do reflect your character and be appropriate activities of your kingdom. I ask all this in the authority of Jesus the Christ. Amen.
A Prayer for Shalom
God of all people, places and situations, we come to you in prayer as forgiven people seeking your strength and peace. We have come to hear your wisdom as we bring our petitions to you. In this time of prayer, enlarge our capacity to love. Sharpen our vision so that we may faithfully work for the well-being of all your people and your world.
We pray for shalom for all of those who dwell on the margins of the economic systems in every country, and who suffer the pain and anxiety that comes with a minimal income or financial insecurity. We pray for the vulnerable, for the elderly and children, and especially for those who are hungry or sick. Help us to partner with you so that our world will more and more reflect the values of your kingdom. We pray for the time when we all acknowledge that there is enough for everyone, and when everything is shared so that all are able to enjoy your creation fully.
We pray for peace, healing, and justice for those struggling in war-torn countries, those trying to survive, who are mourning, or in need of food, water, shelter, and medical help. We pray for those fleeing such regions, especially in Syria and northern Iraq. We pray that borders may be opened and creative short- and long-term solutions to difficult problems may be found.
We pray for courageous peacemakers, and for those people and agencies who dedicate their lives and work and energy to alleviating suffering of any kind, especially those in dangerous situations. Keep them safe and peace with justice bring swiftly. May your kingdom come in all its fullness, and come soon.
We pray for world leaders, that they will act with integrity, wisdom, and compassion for the common good. Our world needs good leaders. Raise up new peacemakers with courage who will partner with you against all forms of evil. Continue to transform us to be effective partners too, demonstrating your love, forgiveness, and hope in our daily worlds. Amen.