O God, we’re here again seeking sanctuary from a broken world. We need a place to rest and breathe, to reflect on the mysteries of life, and to turn our many cares and concerns over to you. We confess our prayers too often sound like a shopping list, asking you to heal this family member, to protect loved ones who are traveling or going through a rough patch. Forgive us when we forget that you already know the cares of our hearts. Let us listen more than we talk in our prayers.
You have sent the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide us; you have provided us with the necessities of life, usually in great abundance. You make it rain on the just and unjust alike, and we know it is not our job to tell you what to do. But just so you know, we really wish you could send heavenly rain to our western states and other dry and arid places where your children are forced from their homes just as the Hebrew people were when they went to Egypt because of famine in Canaan.
Sometimes we get so focused on all the things that are wrong in our lives and in the world that we don’t see the good stuff. We don’t stop to see the roses, let alone smell them. We don’t listen to the bird songs, or marvel at a magnificent sunset; or rejoice over children and youth who have learned to share their abundance with their hungry neighbors. You sent Jesus to give us abundant life, life that cannot be measured in earthly currency. When we lose our way to embrace the abundance you provide, remind us that Jesus is the way and the truth and life we seek.
We long for eternal life, but we don’t have to wait till we die to live that way. Today is a part of eternity, but eternal life is not measured in years or decades or millennia. It can begin right now on July 10th if we let go of the problems that weigh us down; so many things we can do nothing about. Eternal life begins when we trust in you, O gracious God, when we surrender our lives and live for your glory; when we live in such a way that we make disciples for the transformation of the world.
We can never do or say anything enough to express our gratitude for all you have done and are doing for us. Sometimes the only prayer we need to say is a simple “thank you.”