A Divided Nation. . . A Prayer When We Are At The End of Ourselves. . .

God does great things when we are at the end of ourselves. Actually, God does great things all the time. Perhaps we notice them the most when we can no longer rely on ourselves and we must throw ourselves. . . helpless as we are (all the time really, although we don’t recognize it). . . at his feet. My greatest times of growth are always preceded by the realization and admission that “I’ve got nothing.”

baltimoreI’ve been a bit off the grid over the last couple of weeks. Family responsibilities and time away have kept me out of the loop. I haven’t been able to follow everything, but I do know that something’s going on with Pokemon, and on a much more somber note, racial tensions and shootings of all sorts are in the news. Once again, I’ve watched the floodgates of “weighing in” open up on social media, especially in regards to the racial issues. Everybody seems to have “something”. . . at least to say. . . many because, I think, they feel they have to say something or they might be left out of the social media loop.

For me, I’ve got nothing to say at this point that would add to the discussion. Sure, I do have plenty of  thoughts. But I think the prudent thing to do right now is listen and learn. And when we do speak, I believe we need to fall to our knees and speak humbly to our God. I was reminded of this again this morning when I turned to and prayed the day’s prayer in Scotty Smith’s Everyday Prayers.

So in light of the divisions in our country and the mind-spinning complexity of the issues that are front-and-center in the news, here’s today’s prayer (and I’ve highlighted some words that jumped out at me):

      Dear Jesus, though it’s not fun, it is a good thing to come to the end of ourselves—to be in situations where all of our resources, all of our strength, all of our wisdom are simply not enough. Indeed, it is a gospel thing to feel the pain of realizing that whatever worked in the past is not working in the present moment; to feel the confusion of not knowing what to do next; to feel the helplessness of being out of control.
     For only in those times do we fully abandon ourselves to the God who alone can part Red Seas; overthrow whole Midianite armies with three hundred gun-less soldiers; take down Goliaths with a pebble; feed multitudes with a few fish and pieces of bread; raise a dead man for the salvation of his people and the transformation of the cosmos.
     As much as we’d like to be, we’re simply not enough on our own. Being our own savior is doomed to failure, Jesus, so we abandon ourselves to you today. For you are that dead man who now lives; the King who now reigns; the Bridegroom who is returning.
     Jesus, you are the One who is redeeming his bride and making all things new. It is your unfailing love that we can, and must, hope in. There is no other supply sufficient to the need. There is no other strength sufficient for the task. There is no other balm sufficient for the pain. There is no other rest sufficient for the exhaustion. There is no hope sufficient for the crisis.
     We bring our broken hearts to you. We bring our struggling marriages to you. We bring our divided churches to you. We bring our conflicted relationships to you. We bring our wayward children to you. We bring our unbelieving friends to you. We bring the needs of our community to you.
     We bring our out-of-job, out-of-time, out-of-knowing-what-to-do selves to you. We bring it all to you, Jesus. We will trust in you and your unfailing love. You have never failed us, never. Astonish us by bringing much glory to yourself. So very Amen we pray, in your merciful and mighty name.


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