Pandemic Prayers for All Sorts and Conditions
As another wave of the pandemic surges in the US, putting more pressure on individual and national economies, we find ourselves in various conditions. Some cautiously thrive, others struggle, and still, others face terrible loss. Today I offer a few prayers.
Some individuals and families are doing well: employed, working from home, safe, healthy. There is talk of gratefulness around the dinner table and not wanting to complain to those less fortunate.
Some churches are doing well: staffed, contributions committed and continuing to come in, deepening relationships. There is talk of shoring up and preparing for the worst at staff meetings, but there is also an acknowledgment of gratitude. There is a desire to speak of hope and help, but carefulness in the wording of that message so that struggling churches do not feel additional pain.
For those who are doing well, O Lord, we thank thee. And, amid blessings, allow their hearts to admit feeling a pang of undeservedness so that healing may follow, and communication with others less fortunate may flow painlessly.
Some people live on fixed incomes. This time last year, a fixed income could be seen as a potentially restrictive situation. Now it's a blessing. There is enough, sometimes, to help support unemployed loved ones and continue charitable giving. At the dinner table, there are prayers for stock market stability and a delay in inflation. And there is gratitude for the consistent income.
Some churches are doing okay right now, but are aware that certain crises may deal them unrecoverable blows. At the Zoom staff meetings, there is talk of possible future exit strategies and liquidating designated funds. But there is also gratitude that there is time to prepare, hope in the preparation, and thankfulness for savings tucked away.
For those who are doing okay, O Lord, we bless thee. And, while having "enough" right now, we pray there will always be enough, through You. When considering the well-off, let resentment not enter into hearts. When considering the poor, may grace and generosity blossom.
Some people have lost jobs, funds, homes,… everything. Some people are about to. Some people will lose everything in a few months. Families and homes are bulging at the seams trying to make room for their beloved who have lost all else but love and loved ones. Families and households are preparing to bring in loved ones, putting pencil to paper to stretch the budget so all may be fed and housed. At the evening meal, all are grateful for what little they have and consider themselves rich if there is love at the table.
Some churches know they cannot survive, and yet cannot face closing the doors. Some churches hope and pray and are (rightfully) frightened to make drastic decisions for their buildings and staff in case things get better soon. Some use technology and those who can't. But all share what they have, parishes support each other, and most have seen worship numbers rise. All know that it is merely change that is hard. There is nothing lost in Christ. Hope and love remain steadfast, always.
For those who are struggling and suffering, O Lord, we pray to thee. Fill stomaches, heal trauma, cover heads and bodies safely with holy rest and comfort. Open homes and hearts and hands and lead us firmly away from fear and lack. Meet our needs, wipe our tears away, and open a path where we may approach your holy altar anew and alive with your grace and mercy.
These are some prayers. Please offer up your own here, elsewhere, among each other, at the dinner table, and alone with God.