Written by: Rachael Keefe

Bidding Prayer for Wisdom

RCL – Year B – Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost – August, 19, 2012 1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14 with Psalm 111 or Proverbs 9:1-6 with Psalm 34:9-14 Ephesians 5:15-20 John 6:51-58 The …

Bidding Prayer for Wisdom

RCL – Year B – Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost – August, 19, 2012

1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14 with Psalm 111 or
Proverbs 9:1-6 with Psalm 34:9-14
Ephesians 5:15-20
John 6:51-58

The Olympics are over and the feelings of camaraderie and unity they inspired are fading quickly. A man walked into a conservative research center and fired on the security guard. Afghanistan has seen an increase in violence in recent days. Syria is embattled in civil war. There are floods in the Philippines and drought in the U.S.. Obama and Romney fling accusations and insults at each other and fail to address the issues in any concrete way. On any given day, the psychiatric hospital I work at has a double-digit list of people waiting and needing to be admitted. And I am less than 24 hours from vacation.

Therefore, I offer a prayer that is a response to the theme of seeking wisdom, prevalent in this week’s readings. The prayer is written in the bidding prayer format. A bidding prayer is often used in Anglican worship and includes prayers for the church, the world, the nation, people in need of healing, and other concerns of the worshiping community. Each segment can be followed by a time of silence or a time for people to lift up particular concerns and is conclude with a phrase such as, “Lord in your mercy” and the response, “Hear our prayers.”

God of grace and wisdom, I long to live in the house that wisdom has built. If I could eat at her table and drink from her cup, I would seek peace and pursue it with joy. But I am so often distracted along the way by things that should not matter so much. I am distressed by so many who claim to be your followers but manage to spread hatred and anger. Those who stand by and do nothing disturb me just as much. You call us all your beloved children. Let your Spirit blow through the Church, igniting a passion for justice in all your people.

God of unity and diversity, I am overwhelmed by the fear and ignorance that often flows through the world. You created the world and all living creatures. There is beauty and mystery, tenderness and fierceness, vulnerability and strength throughout creation. You made every human being in your image and this seems to be forgotten more than it is remembered. Grant wisdom and grace to all those who find themselves in positions of leadership or power.

God of all times and places, I am fearful of the future of this country. Empty, destructive words splatter here and there while the needs of many people go unseen. Drought, poverty, and despair threaten so many people who have no voice. Remind our leaders and politicians to speak truth and pursue peace not evil and deceit. Grant them an appreciation of the beauty of diversity and the strength of unity that comes from living in wisdom’s house.

God of life and love, my heart aches for all the lives destroyed by war and violence. I remember those killed by senseless acts of violence in recent months. I also hold up to you all the places in the world where war still rages and lives are lost. I cannot make sense of such horrible actions. Turn the hearts of all those who call on you — by any name — toward peace and equity and grant us all the courage to change our ways in all times and places.

God of hope and healing, too many people are lost, broken, or forgotten in the busyness and rush of everyday. Sickness of body, mind, or spirit touches everyone. You are the bread of life. Your body broke for our wholeness and your blood spilled for our healing. No one is denied your love, yet so many are excluded from our churches. Awaken all who worship you to the possibilities and promise of the life and love you offer.

God of the wise and the foolish, I thank you for the gifts of grace, forgiveness, love, and joy you have given me. I am grateful that amidst the pain and struggle in my life and the world, I can turn to you. You bring light even in the darkest times and nothing will change that. Let me follow in the ways of wisdom that I may bring your hope and healing into the world.

With humble gratitude, I pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

You are welcome to use this prayer in worship if it appeals to you. I would recommend that you change “I” to “we” and add things specific to your congregation.

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About Rachael Keefe

Rachael is an author, a pastor, a teacher, and a poet. Her latest book (The Lifesaving Church - Chalice Press) is on faith and suicide prevention. She is currently the pastor of Living Table UCC in Minneapolis, and has launched a spiritual direction practice.

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