Prayers of the People
Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend

Becky Knight

Oh God, mysterious—unfathomable—more vast than we can ever know, or comprehend—thank you for this day, for our lives, our loves, and for each breath.

How grateful we are—for this church—its ministry, and for all of the people whose hands have helped and whose faith has buoyed Kenilworth Union Church for more than a hundred twenty-five years. Thank you for the energy and work of our church ministry and staff—that we can worship and be connected as a community, even now.

We pray for our country, Oh God. This has been a hard week. We are struggling—we are weary.  Please make us better listeners across differences and chasms that seem insurmountable. We stand grateful that our democracy has withstood the rancor and violent differences that rage between our citizens, and we are so thankful for the rare intelligence and adept foresight of our founders in writing our remarkable documents of Declaration, Constitution, and the pillars of our laws.

We pray for the preservation and protection of our government in the coming week. We pray for a lawful and peaceful transition of power at the inauguration, and we pray for those who protect and serve our country, abroad and at home, and most especially our police and National Guard as they protect with their bodies, our elected officials, and our state and federal buildings.

And we pray, Oh God, for an end to the pandemic—for those who are ill or who have been adversely or terribly impacted because of it. We pray for the so many who have died, and for those who grieve and mourn their lost loved ones. We pray for the hungry, the homeless, and the hopeless—for those suffering or lonely or afraid.

We thank you God, for those who worked long and unstintingly for a vaccine. For all the helpers, who work toward solution—who continue their labors, even in harm’s way. We thank you for those who keep things going, for the heroic and those who have persisted forward, constructively, and with fortitude.

Thank you for new life, for the creative ways we’ve found to live safely. We thank you for patience we did not know we would need ten months ago, and we ask you to grow in us: deepened resolve, steady resilience, willing attitudes, singleness of purpose and endurance.  We dare to ask you for all these things—as we wait.

We close in thanksgiving for the life of Martin Luther King. For the gift of his prophetic, poetic and always peaceful words—for his clear and hopeful example of enduring, non-violent protest. We ask for a way through—to reconciliation in our country’s long and very wrong, history of slavery and racial injustice. We pray for those who experience these injustices even now Oh God.

Help us—in our actions—in our words—to be participants in the work of reconciliation and repair in this, our glorious and beautiful country.

We pray all these things to you, in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray with these words: Our Father…

January 21, 2021

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