November 7, 2016
Some of our churches and other places of worship around the country are offering prayer and communion services as we elect new leaders in our country. Wherever you are today or tomorrow, I invite you to take a few moments to kneel in prayer to God. May these prayers help center our hearts and minds and undergird our voting with hope.
to you all hearts are open, all desires known,
and from you no secrets are hidden.
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
O God of all time and space and people, we humbly come before you as our nation prepares for elections tomorrow. On this day, we remember that our country was founded as “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
The words of Emma Lazarus’ 1883 sonnet, The New Colossus, remind us that a foundational principle in the United States is freedom of religion as well as welcoming all those to our shores who seek safety and asylum. These words are mounted inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
Gracious God, from its very beginning, our country has sought to model your sacrificial love by providing equal opportunities for all people to become who you created them to be. We confess to you, however, that we have not yet modeled your heavenly kingdom. We live in a culture of guns where innocent people are shot and police officers continue to be killed in the line of duty. This week the city in which I live will lay to rest two of our finest officers, Justin Martin and Anthon Beminio, both of whom sacrificed their lives in order to protect us.
we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have failed to be an obedient church.
We have not done your will,
we have broken your law,
we have rebelled against your love,
we have not loved our neighbors,
and we have not heard the cry of the needy.
Forgive us, we pray.
Free us for joyful obedience,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O God of mercy and justice, we confess that our nation continues to struggle with how we treat each other. Black lives do matter, refugees need our hospitality, and all people are your precious children, including Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, atheists and the “spiritual but not religious.” Hundreds of people have joined Sioux Native Americans in protesting the Dakota Access pipeline and centuries of injustice against native peoples. Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church, a black congregation in Greenville, Mississippi, was spray-painted and set on fire last week: a hate crime.
Lord, open our hearts and minds by the power of your Holy Spirit,
that, as the Scriptures are read and your Word proclaimed,
we may hear with joy what you say to us today. Amen.
“When Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.” (Luke 4:18-20)
As we seek to model the suffering love and boldness of Jesus’ mission in our own lives, let us offer one another signs of peace and reconciliation.
Long-suffering God, as millions of Americans go to the polls tomorrow, we ask you to fill us with wisdom and remind us who we are and who you have called us to be. We need a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, encouraging us to choose to love in spite of our differences. Center us in your grace and call us to your vision of the peaceable kingdom that is ever before us.
Because there is one loaf,
we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
The bread which we break is a sharing in the body of Christ.
The cup over which we give thanks is a sharing in the blood of Christ.
“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Lord God, as the election approaches,
we seek to better understand the issues and concerns that confront our city/state/country,
and how the Gospel compels us to respond as faithful citizens in our community.
We ask for eyes that are free from blindness
so that we might see each other as brothers and sisters, equal in dignity,
especially those who are victims of abuse and violence, deceit and poverty.
We ask for ears that will hear the cries of children who suffer and men and women who are oppressed because of race or creed, religion or gender.
We ask for minds and hearts that are open to hearing the voice of leaders who hear your Word, live your love, and keep in the ways of your truth, as they follow in the steps of Jesus and guide us to your Kingdom of justice and peace.
(United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, adapted)
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.