Dear People of Grace,
Many people have asked me “Won’t you be glad when it’s over?” Their “it” is Election Day, November 3. Yet, don’t we all know that “it” will not be over on November 4?
Our nation will not be healed on November 4. There is a great possibility that we will be torn asunder even more.
The pain is real.
The divide is real.
The danger is real.
The danger? Yes, the danger that our wounds are so deep, so personal that we do not want them to heal; so personal that we want to hang on to them as a way of to reinforce ourselves and our “being right no matter what.”
My friends, my dear, dear friends, we cannot, we must not allow this to happen. We must be willing to let our wounds heal rather than scratching at the scabs and causing them to fester and become more infected. We must…for ourselves to be healthy and whole again as Americans, for our country to be healed and serve as a light to the nations. We must…for future generations to give them what will be to them, history, as how our nation torn asunder, could and did, with God’s help, patience, fortitude, and guidance, heal itself.
So I ask this of you in the days to come. If you haven’t voted, please vote. It is one of the greatest gifts we have in this country. Please don’t waste it or think it unimportant. If you have already voted, thank you.
And here is a suggestion for the days ahead. From the ancient practice of praying a novena, (novena means 9), Forward Movement/Day by Day has designed a novena to be used for all, beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, October 27 and continuing through at least Wednesday, November 4. Of course, you can keep this up for as long as you wish. Before I give you the prayers suggested, which you can print out and use each day, here are some suggestions:
– Create a sacred space, a table top, a bureau top, somewhere that is accessible to you daily.
– Add a candle or a little battery tealight…something to chase away the darkness.
– Add a symbol of our country: a small American flag (or draw one), a map you downloaded, a coin which says “In God we trust,” a photo of one of your favorite places in this country.
– Add a symbol of faith…a cross, a photo of a butterfly representing resurrection and new life, a rock to symbolize our faith is grounded. You chose something that is important to you.
– Each day, spend a few moments at your sacred space and pray for our country. Pray that our country will be healed.
And now, with gratitude to the people at Forward Movement/Day by Day, here are their prayer suggestions for each day through the novena. The invitation to pray these nine prayers is being offered to people throughout the world. Please join in this time of much needed prayer.
NINE DAYS OF PRAYER
Tuesday, Oct. 27: Pray For the Nation
Book of Common Prayer, p. 258
Lord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and in peace: Give to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Wednesday, Oct. 28: Pray for Every Human Heart/Social Justice
Book of Common Prayer, p. 823
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thursday, Oct. 29 Pray for Those Who Influence Public Opinion
Book of Common Prayer, p. 827
Almighty God, you proclaim your truth in every age by many voices: Direct, in our time, we pray, those who speak where many listen and write what many read; that they may do their part in making the heart of this people wise, its mind sound, and its will righteous; to the honor of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Friday, Oct. 30 Pray In Times of Conflict
Book of Common Prayer, p. 824
O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Saturday, Oct. 31 Pray for Guidance
Book of Common Prayer, p. 832
O God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light riseth up in darkness for the godly: Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what thou wouldest have us to do, that the Spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in thy light we may see light, and in thy straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Sunday, Nov. 1 Pray for Guidance/Direction from God
Book of Common Prayer, p. 832
Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings with thy most gracious favor, and further us with thy continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in thee, we may glorify thy holy Name, and finally, by thy mercy, obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Monday, Nov. 2 Pray for Discernment
Book of Common Prayer, p. 827
O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Tuesday, Nov. 3 Pray for The Election
Book of Common Prayer, p. 822
Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Wednesday, Nov. 4 Pray for Our Own Work for the Common Good/Vocation in Daily Work
Book of Common Prayer, p. 261
Almighty God our heavenly Father, you declare your glory and show forth your handiwork in the heavens and in the earth: Deliver us in our various occupations from the service of self alone, that we may do the work you give us to do in truth and beauty and for the common good; for the sake of him who came among us as one who serves, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. All prayers are taken from The Book of Common Prayer, pages 231,
I add one of my favorite prayers:
A Prayer for our Country
Book of Common Prayer, p. 820.
Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will.
Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend
our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust
the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth.
In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Blessings and peace to all the children of God.
Monday, October 26, 2020