You changed our lives (a prayer for pastors)

When You called us into ministry,
You changed our lives.

Service became discipleship –
an awareness that any good we do
is from You and for You.

Caring became vocation –
a commitment to love others
on Your behalf.

Prayer became preparation –
a discipline not just for self-improvement
but for Your people.

Contemplation became profession –
an arrangement of divergent strands
for Your glory.

Worship became work –
a commitment of all our gifts,
given for You.

Help us to equip all people
for Your worship, for Your work
in the world.

When You called us into baptism,
You changed our lives.


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a God-shaped mystery (a Trinity Sunday prayer for pastors)

I fear I do not explain You well.

I get the pronouns wrong
when I speak of You;
somehow an “all” creeps in,
suggesting three separate
entities, functions, realities.

The intellectual approach –
(explanations of doctrine,
refutations of heresies,
the specialties of some Internet guy)
feels flat to me:
a demand that truth be granted
and no questions be asked
does not turn a hard concept
into metaphysics, much less poetry.

It seems like a God-shaped mystery
should be felt, not reasoned:
a heavenly triad in three voices;
a sumptuous braid of silk ropes;
a fidget spinner blurred to a circle.

Yet all my analogies fail the test.

Perhaps I am an inevitable heretic,
trying too hard to get it right.

Is it enough to feel awed
by how You loved us into being,
and how You became one of us,
and how You are always on the move?

I hope so.

Amen.

Push Us Out (a Pentecost prayer for pastors)

Pastors and preachers, this is my prayer for you.

O, Holy Spirit,

Help us to interpret you.

Give us speech that tells your truth by transcending barriers, trustworthy and true, convincing and convicting.

Help us to understand each other.

Give us words that mean something to those who listen, bringing the aggressive blur of violence, hate, and fear into focus on your peace, love, and mercy.

Help us to stand in your truth.

Give us a key to read the signs in the dreams and visions you send us, to make your will so plain that all people can comprehend it.

Help us past what feels safe.

Come into the places we meet and push us out into the world with Holy Wind and Fire.

May we speak your words with courage, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Let us pray, Great Holy (a prayer for pastors)

Let us pray,
Great Holy,
for your servants
up in the night
wondering how
to best express
your love,
with an ear out
for sick children.

Please,
have an ear out
for us.

Let us pray,
Great Holy,
for ourselves,
up early,
full of plans
for how to serve You,
counting carnations
and sorrows,
one eye open.

Please,
keep an eye
on us.

Let us pray,
Great Holy,
for this world
full of troubles
for the the oppressed
and the hungry
and the homeless
and the terrified,
all birds in your nest.

Please,
spread your wings and
comfort us.

Let us pray,
Great Holy,
for the change-makers
and the talk-walkers
who inspire us.
Make us more like them:
forthright, courageous,
truth-telling despite risk
unsafe, but secure.

Please,
give that push
to us.

In Christ’s name. Amen.

Out of Steam (a prayer for pastors)

Dear God,

Some days, some weeks
we struggle to serve you.
We are flat out of steam.

We are grieving
for lost colleagues,
friends and family.

We lament decisions
by authorities and
individuals.

We wonder at the rise
of certain kinds
of people.

We know too well
why your gifted ones
languish.

We are dismayed,
disheartened,
flat out of steam.

Our fires burn too low
to keep us
going.

We need you, Lord Jesus,
and the gasp
of recognition.

We need you, Great Spirit,
and the heat of
Holy Flame.

We need you, God of all,
for the stoking
of our hearts.

Light your fire in us
and under us,
we pray.
Amen.

Fierce and Fabulous for Jesus (an Easter prayer for pastors)

When they returned from the tomb, they reported all these things to the eleven and all the others. (Luke 24:9, CEB)

Fragrant were the spices they carried
to the tomb that morning,
pungent and piercing,
like the words of women today
who call on us to speak the truth
not just with our speech
but with our actions.

Fabulous were the angels they saw,
two men in dazzling array,
good news bringers
like the powerful sisters
who remind us the gospel
is not white sugar-coated
but for everyone.

Fierce were the women themselves
in their trip to the garden,
and in their encounter with the men,
like clergywomen of our time
who call lairos on patriarchy:
the powers cannot keep him on the cross;
Christ is free in the world.

Fierce must we be, my sisters,
for we serve that risen Lord
This is my prayer for you:
Be fierce and fabulous for Jesus!
Go out and preach Christ resurrected!
Alleluia! Amen.


I offer this prayer with gratitude for Wil, Traci, Naomi, Kentina, Leila, Denise, Jan, Anne, Laura, Katie, Angie, Marci, Amy, Carol, Hannah, Kwame, Ruth, Julia, Joanna, Sally-Lodge, Mary, and Karyn, and so many others in the RevGals community who speak the truth fearlessly like the women on that first morning. May the world have ears to hear.

Sweet hosannas (a prayer for pastors)

Holy One,
bless your servants:

the new preacher facing palms and parades
and processions and passion,

and the just-back-from-youth-retreat
pastor rubbing sleep from her eyes,

and the artistic ones who
lined the aisle with cloaks,

and directors of congregational drama
handing scripts out at the door,

and small church pastors praying for
the voices to make sweet hosannas ring,

and the brave hearts herding children,
and even donkeys,

and the downhearted preacher
with troubles of her own,

and the displaced wishing dearly
for any pulpit in Holy Week,

and the far-commuting Interim
wondering if the palms even arrived.

“Hosanna!
Blessed is the one who comes
in the name of the Lord!”

Bless us today
as you blessed the world long ago.
Amen.