Here’s the prayer I offered in our modified, live streamed worship service tonight. (The words are mine. It was inspired from a prayer in the Reform Jewish Prayer book, Mishkan T’filah—A Reform Siddur.)
Let us pray:
O God, we are in uncertain times. And we are adapting our schedules, our practices, our sports, our meetings, our routines, our habits to reach out our hands in love and touch.
All of this adapting has left us tired. And anxious. And in need of community, but unsure where to find it.
And so we reach for you, our God, for in you our safety lies.
As we stop, may we do so with intention, letting our resentment at lost productivity and lost agendas, subside.
May we stand still, and listen. May your voice reach us through bird calls and barking dogs, through wind in the trees and rain on our roofs, through the silence, through it all.
May we stand still and look. At the beauty of your creation, in the dedication of people working for our welfare and health, in the stories of neighbors reaching out to help neighbors. May we have hearts open to see the miracles in the midst of the worries.
For people whose lives and health have been, and will be, endangered by this virus, and by the further consequences on the health care system, hear our prayer.
For people who face uncertain economic future from job disruptions, and other economic worries, hear our prayer.
For people who have lost their daily meals with school and community center closures, may we reach out in helpful ways to feed our neighbors. Lord, hear our prayer.
For people for whom this social distancing makes their lives ever more lonely and isolated, may we be creative in how we extend community in times like this. Lord, hear our prayer.
Lead us into your sabbath rest. May we use this quiet space to test the balance of our days, the weight of our own deeds against the heaviness of the world’s demands. When the balance feels precarious, steady us with faith. (quote from the Jewish prayer book)
Renew our courage, fit us for the days to come with confidence in your goodness. May we trust each person is trying their best, and may we respond with grace to short tempers and frayed nerves.
May we find strength in silence, and with this strength, may we turn again to your service.