Prayers for Pastors

When it’s hard (a prayer for pastors)

simpsons_church_sign_closed_for_summerLord,
when it’s hard,
when the words do not come easily,
when the pews empty for summer,
when the night was short,
hear our prayer.

Lord,
when it’s sad,
when the hopes we had are dashed,
when the miracle does not occur,
when death comes despite our efforts,
hear our prayer.

Lord,
when it’s frustrating,
when we love process but the church does not,
when we thought it was a call, but no,
when we look for you but cannot see you,
hear our prayer.

Lord,
when it’s late,
when it’s too soon to say so,
when it’s early days but not really,
when it feels entirely futile,
hear our prayer.

Lord,
when it’s painful,
when we realize it’s a mismatch,
when we see there is nothing we can do,
when we wonder why you wanted us here,
especially then,
hear our prayer.

Then, Lord,
remind us
you cried out, “My God, my God,”
you spent three days in a tomb,
you knew the chill of darkness,
but then the light came
and a new day.

Remind us, Lord,
and please,
hear our prayer.

Prayers for Pastors

Sunday after Easter, in my study (a prayer for pastors)

Sometimes the texts for the day are perfect.
Sometimes the texts for the day are perfect.

My Lord,

It was exactly the right morning to call a town meeting.

The sun was shining, and the roads were clear, and the people came. I thank you.

Thank you, too, for showing up on that evening of the first day of the week, for showing up despite locked doors and shuttered windows, for showing up and blowing your Spirit into our spiritual ancestors, the ones who first shared the good news beyond the inner circle, once they got themselves together to go back into the world again.

Our churches, dearest Heavenly Parent, are so often locked like that room. We proclaim that all are welcome, but we feel shy to ask people in, or we kind of hope no one *too* new or different will turn up, or we have lost hope that there is any life in the Old Girl we love so much but fear may die soon.

Please show up, we pray, please show up again, and blast through our leaded windows and our safety doors and the firewalls around our hearts. Breathe your Spirit into us, a spirit of courage and daring and imagination and whimsy and practicality and wonder and skepticism and childlike faith, for we need all these qualities to serve you in this world today.

Show up, Mother of us all, and baptize us with your Spirit.

Please.

We are ready.

Amen.

#amwriting, Books, Ministry, RevGalBlogPals

There’s a Woman in the Pulpit

RevGals book coverI’m excited to announce the publication in April of There’s a Woman in the Pulpit: Christian Clergywomen Share Their Hard Days, Holy Moments & the Healing Power of Humor (SkyLight Paths Publishing)

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

It was a joy to edit this collection of stories and prayers written by me and over 50 of my colleagues who are members of RevGalBlogPals. We represent 14 denominations, 5 countries, and more than a dozen seminaries. Our stories will bring both laughter and tears as well as a unique perspective on the number and kind of plates clergywomen keep spinning in amazing fashion.

“In ministry, we constantly balance the sacred and the ordinary, juggling the two as expertly as we manage a chalice and a [baby] bottle. Even as we do things as simple as light the candles, set the table, break the bread and pour the wine, we invite people into a holy moment…. The women [in this book] not only have a wellspring of deep wisdom, but they also have the ability to dish out their knowledge with side-aching humor…. I am thrilled that their great wisdom and intelligence will be bound into the pages that I can turn to, lend and appreciate for years to come.”

—from the Foreword by Rev. Carol Howard Merritt

Intended for laypeople, women hearing a call to ministry and clergy of all denominations, these stories and prayers will resonate with, challenge, encourage and amuse anyone who has a passion for their work and faith. A group reading guide will be available on the SkyLight Paths Publishing website – consider choosing it for your book group!