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a prayer to share

This prayer posted on David Crumm’s Read the Spirit  moved me, and I had to share it with you on this historic day.  Rev. Woolley was an associate pastor at my church for several years, and I miss her beautiful, poignant prayers!

An Inaugural Prayer for President Obama–and Us
By the Rev. Marsha M. Woolley

 Inauguration Prayer 03     CREATING GOD OF LANDS AFAR AND MINE…
    On tiptoe we stand…expectant, eager, hopeful, anticipating…peering over the edge from what has been and on the threshold of what is to come; longing for, yearning for a better way, a more holistic way, a more gracious way of living in this country and in the world. It seems the whole world is holding its breath, daring to believe that the mess we’ve created is not permanent; that you have indeed raised up in our midst one who can lead us in ways that will restore the values and character upon which this land was once established.

    In this inaugural time, O God, we hold our breath…praying that the good identified in Barack Obama will be used to turn around the hollow systems that have led us down selfish paths, to mend the broken bureaucracies that have led to inertia and inaction, to discard the worthless wasting of precious resources, and to pave new avenues of liberty and justice for all people. Yet, keep us from holding our breath… as if this one appointed man can or should — or is even expected to — heal this country alone. Indeed, keep us all breathing and alive and active as agents of the change so desperately needed, as aides in the healing process, and as willing participants in the necessary sacrifices required of us all.

 Inauguration Prayer 01     As we breathe in the hope and anticipation of this new beginning, let us exhale and rid ourselves of the well-learned skepticism we hold for government and our leaders.
    As we breathe in our desire for affordable health care and living wages for all, let us exhale and rid ourselves of the sense of entitlement and selfish greed that consumes so much of how we live.
    As we breathe in and hold up this new First Family, let us exhale and rid ourselves of any too-high expectations we have for them to “fix” this country.
    As we inhale and realize our desire to know all about them and to watch them at all times, let us exhale, and respect their need for privacy, and grant them the gentle times of family togetherness.
    As we inhale and confess our expectation that this new President will be wise and powerful and able to live up to the promises of his campaign, let us, in our exhaling, come to understand that he will only be as wise and powerful as we allow him to be; that the only change that will happen is the change we all choose to make happen together.
    Indeed as we breathe in, recognizing that we are inspired and motivated by what we’ve heard from this elected one, let us also slowly breathe out and realize that what we have really heard is a voice being given to the stirring of our own hearts.

    Oh, it’s true, O God, we are on tiptoe…as expectant as anyone can be…praying that you might be able to create in our midst a new way of living that better honors your creation, that more fully respects your desire for community, that more urgently works for peace and justice for ALL.

    To that end, we dare ask that your hand of blessing be upon President Obama — chosen not for the color of his skin but for the content of his character — that he might guide and lead us in the ways You would have us go. Thru him and with him, make us all agents of good…in our homes, in our communities, in our country and in this world.
    Gracious God, for all the possibilities, promise and privilege of the freedom we enjoy and celebrate this day, we humbly offer our thanks, not only with our lips, but also with our lives.
    In earnest hope that a new day has indeed been inaugurated in our midst, we pray.

Amen.

**Addition:  Tess at Anchors and Masts posted Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson’s invocation at the inaugural concert on Sunday.  It’s worth a read.**

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3 comments to a prayer to share

  • This is lovely, Pam. May he be held in all our prayers, great and small.

  • Hi Pam, This poem is troubling on several levels. Although, I am holding my breathe to see what happens next — expectant, yes — hopeful, even yes but also filled with many doubts. The line that trips me up the most:

    “that you have indeed raised up in our midst one who can lead us in ways that will restore the values and character upon which this land was once established.”

    There is little that President Obama has concretely demonstrated (through policies and official positions) that preserves the “family” and precious gift of marriage. In his Inaugural Speech which echoed the founders of the Declaration of Independence he left out unalienable right to “Life” and and the words “Creator” and “created” but left in “equal” and “freedom”/liberty.

    The verdict will be out for a while how God chooses to use this man who I believe He ‘permitted’ to win the election.

    Again, Pam, you demonstrate that you are a woman with a deep and loving heart — but just as we decide boundaries for our children out of LOVE –so does a loving God give us boundaries outlined in Scripture. God knows that living outside His ordained ‘boundaries’ will not bring us joy but misery. Sharing Truth is loving someone. Telling my child the truth — as straight forward as possible is loving them — not giving them the information or not clearly or not ‘the whole story’ is the complete opposite of love. AND it is not easy for parents but extremely painful at times. Blessings, judy

    judy’s last blog post..Biblical Femininity in a Post-Christian Culture

  • pam

    Judy,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughtful concerns. I knew this prayer might be provocative and want this to be an open place for thoughtful discussion. I respect that many good people are concerned about some of President Obama’s positions, just as many were troubled by policies of the previous administration. Our leaders are human, our policies are complex and no single person can represent all “good” points of view. All the same, while I may not support 100 percent of his decisions, I do enjoy the spirit of hopeful renewal that comes with this change, and I echo this prayer for blessing on our president.
    Thanks again for voicing your concerns with such kindness.

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