A Wandering Late Evening Prayer

Oh, God.

It's late and I am full of thoughts that need quieting.

I'm afraid for the world, for the people who will be cold and hungry this winter. I'm grateful for the pre-paid oil contract and the trucks that will automatically refill our tank, and I am sorrier than I can say for the people who cannot do this. I've been one of them, as a newly divorced mom of three young kids with no credit. I remember ordering the minimum, 100 gallons, and wondering if I could really afford $85 all at once.

How will we fill the tanks to keep the people warm? When they call the church, how will I know who to help?

O, God, I try to do my best when I wear my pastor's hat, to hear and trust and keep and maintain and open and proclaim. Give me the physical strength to match my desire to serve you, or give me the patience to accept what strength and health I have.

Lord, I'm worried about the church in the world. I'm worried about the way we snipe with people who believe, or even just think, differently. Sometimes people who do not share our beliefs are close to us. Sometimes in churches we find that people may have church values without having belief in anything much else. How can I invite them to go deeper, to get to know you better?

I pray tonight for churches that serve as clubs for their congregations.

I pray tonight for new churches attempting to do good things.

I pray, then, for people who are frightened by change, who think an e-mail newsletter will be for others and exclude them, who cannot imagine worship without the organ, though they know it's hard to hire a person to play it.

And as I drift off, the quick recitation of the names I love will have to suffice. My mind has wandered from one place to another, from one person to another. Be with me, or really, help me to be with you, really and truly.

In Christ's name I pray these things and more. Amen.

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