This prayer is a version of a prayer I have used at a service of Installation for a new pastor. A version of this was originally prayed over me as I was ordained at First Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque in 2008.
I used this version in a worship service on the RevGalBlogPals cruise this past week and am sharing it here with thanks and gratitude for those women. (And yes, it was a continuing education cruise. If you are a clergy woman, you should plan to join us next year!)
Here’s the prayer:
Gracious and eternal God, we give you all thanks and praise with great joy, gratitude and love in our hearts.
Throughout the ages you have been faithful to your covenant people. In every time and place, you have chosen servants from among your people—to guide them, to point the way, to help others see the Good News in their lives and in the world.
We are grateful for these ancestors in the faith, who followed despite their fear and misgivings, placing their trust in you alone.
We pray, especially, this afternoon for each other, for the sisters and friends and colleagues and mentors and midwives in this space and in the RevGals.
We ask that you would give us the endurance of Noah’s wife, whose name we never learned, but who participated faithfully in a building project that must have seemed like folly.
Give us, O Lord, the cunning and brilliance of Shiprah and Puah, who were willing to risk their own lives to help others bring life into the world.
May we have the faith of Moses’ mother, recognizing God’s call to let go of what we love, trusting God will guide our reed baskets to safety.
Please give us the strength of Esther, who was willing to speak truth to power. May we know that it was for just such a time as this that we have been called to serve your people.
We ask for the faith of Hannah, who was willing to take her complaint before God and who loved her son enough to trust his very life to God.
Give us the strength of Deborah who led the people Israel as judge and prophet. May her wisdom give direction and courage and guidance to the people we lead.
We seek the faith of Mary, who sat at your feet. And the faith of Martha, who showed her love in service and hospitality. May we never judge each other or ourselves for being more like one than the other.
We ask for the honesty of the woman at the well, who was willing to ask questions, and who answered in truth. Give us her courage, O Lord, to leave our water jars by the wells that will never satisfy, so we may trust in your Living Water and may run off to share the news of your grace with all whom we meet.
May we be like Euodia, Lydia, Dorcas, Phoebe, and Eunice—women who recognized the Good News in Jesus Christ and joined Paul and Peter in spreading the Gospel across the world.
And may we have the faith of Mary, who received startling news from the angel and put aside her fears, worries, and doubts to live with boldness into the life God was dreaming for her.
For all the people who have paved the way for us, we give you thanks. For parents, pastors, teachers, friends. For all who helped us hear the call in our lives, we give you thanks.
And, for your son, who came not to be served, but to serve; who came to give his life that all may have life, we give you thanks.
Bring your Holy Spirit upon us all now, that we may be for you a holy people, baptized to serve you in the world.
May your transforming grace equip us to be your servants in this community and in the world.
In Christ’s name we pray,