The Rev. Jimmy Hopper

HOPPER

Suggested Scripture(s): Psalm 138

Usually, I have submitted a prayer such as this around Independence Day each year, but with the current Covid 19 pandemic – national and world-wide – I hope and pray that some or all of the words below –as used with the words of your own prayers – will be helpful due to the many national and worldwide issues begging for God’s divine intervention and guidance at this time.

(Portions of this prayer were composed by the writer of this column and other sections are adapted from an old denominational Book of Common Worship, Philadelphia, 1946, and a more recent BCW published in 2018.)

Almighty and most merciful Father, God of the Ages:

You have always been faithful to Your children and Your creation;

Come to us now, we pray! For even now, remind us that Your Spirit hovers over us, our nation, and our troubled world. May we know as well that Your Holy Spirit is interceding for us all with sighs too deep for words. As chaos and suffering and death from the Covid 19 virus, and the resulting shortages of material and health-aid seek to shatter our lives, give us constant comfort and awareness of Your divine presence, love, healing, and guidance. Stay with us as we wait for news, healing, and for help. May we use the advice of the data and knowledge of scientists, physicians, and informed leadership to do what is most beneficial and safe for our health and well-being and for our fellow citizens and human beings. Guide the hands of medical professionals and emergency personnel as they work to save. Let those who have been made ill know that You are near; give them rest from their pain and symptoms and restore their hope and the hope of those who love them.

Please forgive us, O God, of those national sins which so easily overtake us, both in times of plenty as well as in times of crisis.

Forgive as well: our love of money, contempt for the small and those in need, our worship of the powerful and strong, neglect of those in want, the pursuit of selfish comforts above all else, and for deliberate things done to and in our land and for those things we have left undone You have called us to do –as both the crown of Your creation and as citizens of this nation – seeking justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with You.

We humbly beseech You that with Your help we can always prove ourselves as a people, even during this health crisis and emergency. Even as we need to keep “social distance,” You can enable us to be the hands, feet, works, words, and mercy of Your Son, Jesus Christ, by granting to all of us Your gifts of energy, intelligence, imagination, and love.

So again, we pray that You will give comfort and courage to those who are suffering in any manner or circumstance, and give strength, protection, and skill to all those who work daily and by the minutes and hours to save and to heal. For those who are touched by shock, sorrow, and yes, even death because of this crisis, remind us that nothing, not even death, separates us from Your eternal love in Jesus Christ. So open our eyes, hearts, and minds once again to the movements of Your Spirit that we might be comforted and be Christ’s instruments of comfort to one another. And when You have brought us through this current national and world-wide crisis, bless our land again with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Deliver and save us, we pray, now and in the future from violence, discord, arrogance, prejudice, false witness against those with whom we disagree, political idolatry, and wrongful pride. Save us as well from the confused attitude which says freedom, rights, health, and material success are only for certain citizens due to our own personal accomplishment and benefit and not for our neighbor as ourselves.

Defend our liberties and freedom by fashioning us into one joyous people from the multitudes You in Your providence have brought to this land over the years out of many nationalities and tongues. Endue with Your Holy Spirit the virtues and gifts of wisdom, compassion, righteousness, and truth to all whom we have entrusted the authority of government, leadership, law enforcement, and defense – local, state, and federal – that there may be justice and peace and safety again at home, and that, through obedience to Your ways, we may show forth Your praise and justice and healing among the nations of the earth. In times of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in days of trouble as at present and in the future, help our trust in You to never fail.

All of which we ask through Jesus Christ, Your Son. Amen.