By MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN
Children’s Defense Fund
I share below two wonderful prayers by my dear friend Rev. Frederick J. “Jerry” Streets, Senior Pastor of Dixwell Congregational Church in New Haven and former chaplain and pastor of Yale’s Battell Chapel. He is a licensed clinical social worker and an anchor, and we are blessed to have him as a co-chaplain-in-residence at the Children’s Defense Fund’s Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry at Haley Farm. These prayers were nurtured by CDF’s virtual Proctor experience and they are prayers that will nurture all of us now as we face both the COVID-19 pandemic and the continued atrocities of this administration.
A Prayer for Us
We Come to God
You are our God during our weary years, and you are with us during our silent tears. You have provided a bridge for us over our troubled waters. Thank you!
A virtual call to worship summons us to an approximate togetherness. Sometimes we come to you with Zoomed prayers and parking lot praises.
Our joyful noise can hide from the world the complaints of our souls and our aching hearts. With sorrows too wrenching for words, we moaned and breathed deeply our prayers to you. We speak to you in our music, our poetry, our dance, our art and in our silence. From a doctor’s office, hospital room, or our kitchen table or from a pew in a sacred space, or on sidewalks or street corners, dirt roads or concrete pavements, on our jobs or standing in an unemployment line, we never cease calling upon you, because wherever we are our very daily living is our prayer of hope to you.
We listen for you in our anguish and in our joy.
We listen for you in voices crying for justice, for peace, for health and for strength.
We listen for the healing of our wounds and feelings of woundedness that are found in our reading and hearing your sacred words, and in the grace-filled actions of those whose gifts make us laugh and feel good about being alive.
We pray for our nation that this time of its crisis be an opportunity for an old dream to have new life. A renewal to our mutual commitment that all of us have life, liberty and freedom to pursue our happiness. Let us lay down by the riverside our burdens and all
forms of human oppression and war.
We come to you O, God, as we are and with all we hope to be in this world.
We come to you O, God, standing on your promise to be with us always and to make a way when there seems to be no way to go or turn.
We come to you O, Lord, for in our faith in you we find strength to endure today and hope for tomorrow.
We come to you merciful God, to a holy pause in which to find rest for our souls.
We come to you with decisions to make and to celebrate our thanksgivings.
We come to you, our Creator, so that we can come to ourselves and know that we are precious in your sight.
We come to you with humility and yet also with the boldness of one who is your beloved and for this we give thanks. Amen.
We will laugh again, without caution.
We will smile again, without constraint.
We will embrace again, without defense.
We will speak again, without muted sounds.
We will, again, side by side, look at the stars.
Again, we will gather in places and spaces unsoiled by our anxiety and fear.
We will freely breathe deeply, again.
We will dance again with our cheeks close enough to hear our whispering to one another.
We will mourn again, openly.
We will greet each other again closely, without suspicion.
Children will hug us again.
And we will hug children, again.
We will invite solitude, again.
We will imagine again without desperation.
We will again feel the joy that hope brings.
We will play together again.
We will sing together again.
We will cheer together again.
We will pray together again.
We will feel each other’s hands and arms,
Marian Wright Edelman is founder and president emerita of the Children’s Defense Fund. For more information, visit http://www.childrensdefense.org.