Saturday, September 22, 2012

Weekend Thoughts: Prayers beyond Party

I'm late to the party, but this prayer came across my "world" after the DNC Convention in North Carolina.

I was really impressed by the words spoken by Jena Lee Nardella, executive director of Blood: Water Mission during the evening benediction prayer.

Nardella started the ministry - which focus on combating the HIV/AIDS and water crisis in Africa - at 22 with Jars of Clay, a Christian music group I LOVE.

While I wasn't familiar with Blood: Water Mission before I listened to Nardella's prayer, hearing the eloquence of her words sent me to the group's website: to learn more!

What really struck me, is that while Nardella was praying at the DNC convention, she prayed for BOTH candidates and their families. Her prayer was not partisan, it was CHRISTIAN.

To me, Nardella represents someone who is not only "talking" about her faith, but she's "doing something" to help others. Her prayer was an amazing reminder of how we need to embody the text of Matthew 25:35-40., regardless of our political party or platform.

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (NIV)

I think the prayer says it all.
It's a prayer I'm thinking about today - as I type this post.
May God bless us, during the time leading up to the election.
May he make the words of ALL of our mouths be pleasing to him.
May we take care of those who are less fortunate than ourselves.
May we see ourselves not as "Republican" or "Democrats" but as Americans.
May we shine light into darkness, and hope where it seems hopeless.

Thank you Jena, for an amazing prayer.
May God bless your ministry in rural Africa.

I've embedded the video below - and also printed the text (as I found it online) for the prayer.

(If the link above doesn't work, click here)

Nardella's prayer
God, I stand before you and ask that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing unto You. 

I pray for our President, Barack Obama. May he know your presence, O God, as he continues to serve as a leader of this nation, as a husband to Michelle and as a father to his daughters. Help him to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with you.

I pray as well for Governor Mitt Romney. May he know your presence, O God as he continues to serve as a leader, as a husband to Ann and as a father to his sons and their families. Help him to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with you.

I pray for our country in the next nine weeks leading up to this election for those of us here and for our fellow citizens who met last week. May we make our children proud of how we conduct ourselves. 

We know our human tendancies toward finger pointing and friliousness. Our better selves want this race to be honest and edifying rather than fabricated and self-serving.

Give us, O Lord, humility to listen to our sisters and brothers across the political spectrum because your Kingdom is not divided into red states and blue states. 

Equip us with moral imagination to have real discourse. 

Knit us, O God, as one country even as we wrestle over the complexity of how we ought to live and govern. 

Give us gratitude for our right to dissent and disagree for we know we are bound up in one another and have been given the tremendous opportunity to extend humanity and grace when others voice their deeply held convictions even when they differ from our own.

And give us wisdom, God, to discover honest solutions for we know it will take all of us to care for the widow and the orphan, the sick and the lonely, the down-trodden and the unemployed, the prisoner and the homeless, the stranger and the enemy, the thirsty and the powerless.

In rural Africa I am witness to thousands of HIV positive mothers, fathers and children who are alive today because Democrats and Republicans put justice and mercy above partisanship. Help us to keep that perspective even as we debate one another.

God, I thank you for the saving grace of Jesus and for the saints who have humbly gone before us.

I thank you for the words of St. Francis of Assisi whose prayer my husband and I carry with us both in our home in East Nashville and in our work across rural Africa. 

As we enter this election season, I pray St. Francis' words for us all:
Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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