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Dear Jesus,

We come before you today knowing that we have nothing on your singleheartedness.
Even as we pass the peace, we nurse resentments. Even as we exalt your name, we preen. Even as we confess our sins, we rationalize our shortcomings.

So change us, Holy Spirit. Inspire us to take heart, sacrificing the stuff of our lives with abandon.

Convict us that there are no trivial idols: that if our first loyalty is to the NRA or to the ACLU, that if our worth depends upon the balance in our IRA or on the initials behind our name, then we as good as worship Baal.
Convict us that Jesus is Lord, and so loose us from the snares of false gods. And free us, too, from the traps set by our demons.
Convict us that there are no sins that can annul divine love.

Yes, may we sacrifice the stuff of our lives, O Christ, and may we reckon with your sacrifice.

And change us, Holy Spirit, in this way too: inspire us to be wholehearted, embracing the stuff of our lives with abandon.

Give us over to joy—joy at newborns’ tiny, inimitable fists and old couples who become look-alikes, joy at the brightness of polestars and sunflowers, joy at lives spared and lives changed—and translate our joy into your glory.
Give us over to compassion. Teach us to grieve with those who grieve. Teach us to bind up the brokenhearted.
Give us over to courage and generosity and love.

Yes, may we embrace the stuff of our lives, O Christ, and may we run headlong into your embrace.

It is true that some of us, this morning, would weep in your arms.
And some of us would clamor for healing.
Some of us would ask you to take us by one hand and lead us on.
And some us would bristle at your touch.
We ask you to hold us all, Jesus.

And even as we ask that you hold us and change us, we ask that you change the world.
We ask that you would quell the violence in our hearts and quell the violence among and within the nations. Stay the corruption and the massacre of protesters in Nicaragua. Reconcile the Israelis and Palestinians; make them, somehow, neighbors.

And keep fear from governing our hearts even as you stop it from governing our country. Make us as zealous to protect immigrant families as we are to protect our own. Make us vulnerable to the hurts that our privilege costs. Make us attentive to the stories of those on the margins of our communities, knowing they are at the center of your heart, purchased by your love. As we are, too. Amen.

Jane Zwart

Jane Zwart teaches English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She also co-directs the college's Center for Faith and Writing.

6 Comments

  • Tom Brandt says:

    Thank you.

  • Jim Payton says:

    Beautifully expressed, moving prayer …. thank you.

  • Dr. Ron Zoutendam says:

    I know this is wishful thinking, but a copy of this prayer should show up in every evangelical church in NW Iowa or better, every such church in Iowa’s fourth Congressional District. I would love to see a copy of this prayer in every newspaper in NW Iowa.

  • Isla Vermeulen says:

    I appreciated a devotional piece among the other commentaries. It will be read often. Thank you.

  • Dave and Jan Stravers says:

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Richard Rienstra says:

    Jane, thanks for praying these words at Church of the Servant on June 10. I was appreciative of your praying (in the congregational prayer) for the work of the Calvin Prison Initiative and for its leadership including co-director Todd Cioffi.

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