Between the lines, more truths (a prayer for preachers)

Holy One,

When we stand before the congregation,
We carry our whole selves,
Our whole lives.
(Things we don’t show willingly.)
Between the lines of a manuscript
Lie more truths.
In the back of our minds
Worries raise a hand.

Hear the prayers we may not share aloud:
For dying mothers
And ailing daughters
And difficult in-laws
And chronic pain –
And chronic pains,
You know where.

Hear the prayers we hold tight close:
For solvency, ours,
And the church’s too.
For relief of anxiety
For them and us.
For mutual forbearance
Where there is now chaos.
For some sense of sense
In the rules we follow
And courage to speak up
Where there is none.

Hear our prayers for peace:
Of heart and mind
Of nation and world
And here at church
Between wardens and elders
And deacons and trustees
And random e-mailers
And need-to-retire staff
And long-loved pillars
And fresh-joining members.

Hear our prayers for the words we write
And the words we speak,
And the ones we never.
May they provoke
And comfort the people
At the same time they honor you.
In your holy name. Amen.

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