It seems I’m frequently asked to offer the closing prayer for my Sunday School class. I guess some are good enough that I’ve been asked to get them down for possible future publication. This seems to be as good a place as any. So this may be the first in what may become a series.
Right now we are studying Rick Warren’s book, “The Purpose Driven Life.” I’m not thrilled about that. Today’s lesson was about making God smile. While I usually try to tie the prayer to the lesson, I didn’t really do that today.
Father God, we stand today at that unique place on the calendar where we shrug off the tatters of the old year, and look forward to a new year with the hope and opportunities offered by new beginnings. Use this time to remind us that because of your unbounded grace, each day can be a new beginning; a re-committment to faith; and a renewal of spirit. Help us learn that same grace that we might forgive those who trespass against us, and while we pray they be few, give that same grace to others that they may forgive our trespasses.
We confess that in the past decade we have allowed our civil discourse to become harsh. We have clinched our fists, crossed our arms, and divided ourselves…not only across geographic lines, but across beliefs, ideologies, and most sadly, religion. We have adopted a dangerous arrogance that we alone are right, and therefore all others must be wrong.
We have been reminded across the ages by the prophets and sages that we are all your children, and as such we are, each one living today, those who came before, and all who will come after, brothers and sisters. We pray for the strength to put aside our petty sibling rivalries, lay down our weapons, un-cross our arms, un-clinch our fists, and open our hearts to that simple great commandment given us by your son, that we love you, and love one another. We ask this in his name…