“What it can do — what prayer, at its best and at our best has always done — is help us to live consciously, honorably and compassionately…. As long as prayer helps me to be more loving, then I need prayer. As long as prayer serves as a potent means of sharing my love with others, I need prayer.”
– Kate Braestrup
I serve a politically diverse mainline Christian congregation in northern Colorado, and this summer I am preaching on the prayer that Jesus taught. The template for what Christians know familiarly as “The Lord’s Prayer” can be found in the books of Matthew and Luke in the Christian Bible. As I reflect on this prayer specifically and prayer more generally, it can seem a bit futile. In the midst of the incredible cruelty and sin occurring at our border, in the midst of ever-more-troubling news about the changing climate, in the midst of what feels like so much chaos and violence in our nation and our world, sometimes it can seem that prayer is pointless.
And yet, there it is, the call to live consciously, honorably and compassionately. The call to open ourselves to vulnerability and suffering – our own and others’. The call to look beyond ourselves for courage when we are afraid: to speak, to reach out, to give, to do, or simply to be ourselves.
Prayer is not the answer. It has never been the answer, but it is a way of living into the questions. It is a way of opening ourselves to the divine and to one another in humility instead of self-righteousness and pride. When we begin with prayer: honestly speaking, lamenting, thanking, celebrating, asking, and listening, I believe that we will find ourselves led to spirit-filled, courageous, loving and compassionate action.
In this season, I need prayer. Through it, may we be empowered to live consciously, honorably, courageously and compassionately.
Rev. Thandiwe Dale-Ferguson,
Pastor, First Congregational Church, Loveland UCC
Northern Colorado Faith Leaders Caucus