Good Lord! Our world. Our nation. Our health. Our society. Our common ground. Our differences. Our understandings. Our misunderstandings. Our anger. Our past. Our future. Our emotions. Our disappointments. Our fears. Our failures. Our faults. Our shortcomings. Our sin. Our salvation. Our only hope.
As a pastor, when I say, “Good Lord,” it is not an exclamation of negative exasperation. No, it is the beginning of what is always the most appropriate way to move forward in a difficult situation, and that is to pray.
Many thoughtful and helpful words have been written by wise Christian leaders offering great counsel and encouragement in light of our many and varied current events. Among these are Rick Warren, Tony Evans, David Jeremiah, Dr. James Dobson, and a name you many not recognize, B. Keith Haney, an African-American pastor with a new study, “One Nation Under God, Healing Racial Divides in America” found on cph.org.
I know in addition there are many capable Christ-centered women and men who have penned helpful analyses and constructive plans for a way forward. I yield to their offerings on these.
As I have said above, when I say, “Good Lord,” it means one thing, that I can and must pray and lead prayers to our “Good Lord,” especially about the heavy matters of our hearts and lives.
And so, as I only know how, I lead us in prayer.
Let us pray.
“Good Lord, we come before You today in prayer. We acknowledge and praise You for Your great goodness. We thank You that in Your goodness You have invited us to bring the totality of our lives to You in heart-to-heart conversation with You. We thank You for giving us this great privilege. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
“Good Lord, we pray for our world. We thank You for Your marvelous creation, not only of our planet Earth, but for the entirety of existence in the vast universe, which is all a gift from Your all-powerful word of creation.
Where our world is in any kind of peril or danger, we ask You to continue to bring Your life-giving power and protection to preserve what You have created. And empower us, the human race, to fulfill Your assignment of caring for our precious home. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
“Good Lord, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues, we ask for Your great Hand of Healing. Give to doctors, nurses, all medical personnel, and all scientists and researchers Your wisdom, skill, and capacity to bring health and wholeness to those infected.
We ask for Your protection and provision for all those so adversely affected by the shut-downs and closures. Make us all mindful and aware of our opportunities to be of aid and support for these dear ones. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
“Good Lord, we pray for our society gathered together here in our United States. We are so thankful for our form of government and the opportunities intended by it. We ask that we might find a way forward by which all our citizens might recognize and enjoy the same and equal “pursuit of happiness.” Help us to do as You, O Jesus, have commanded, “Treat others as you want to be treated,” and to do as the Bible calls, “Be slow to speak and quick to listen.” Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
“Good Lord, lead and guide us all together as one nation under You, O God, to move forward as President Abraham Lincoln envisioned, “with malice toward none, with charity for all … to (again today) bind up the nation’s wounds.” Help us all to be a loving part of the solution, and not a hateful part of the problem. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
“Good Lord, help each of us to confess to You and to one another that we are a fallen sinful human being. Help us to confess our failures, faults, and shortcomings. Help us confess the sin that lies in our hearts and shows in our lives. For the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, each of us asks for forgiveness and newness of life through His cross and in His glorious resurrection. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
“Good Lord, help us believe and live out that You, O Jesus, are our only hope through our problems, big and small, our world-and-nation-sized problems and our personal-and-family-sized problems. And we ask You to grant us this hope and the joy that goes with it. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
“We ask all this in Your Name, Good Lord, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen”
And I just couldn’t leave this time of prayer without offering the wonderful Prayer of St. Francis of Assissi.
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I 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,
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned.
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
I’ll close as has been my custom through forty-four years of ministry, “God loves you! And so do I!”
[Kollmeyer is Pastor Emeritus at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Fayetteville. Follow Pastor Scott Ness and find out about this exciting ministry at www.princeofpeacefayette.org.]