The Villager Voice ~ from Alan

“A person’s prayer is only answered when we take our heart into our hands.”  (Babylonian Talmud)

We have a rich tradition of prayer at the United Church.  During worship we are bold to raise to God the joys and concerns of our hearts, and our prayers commonly reach far beyond our own congregation and its needs to the needs of our community and our world.  Similarly, our small but devoted Prayer Chain periodically receives requests from you, requests we regularly bring to God in our own personal prayer life.  And we do this because we know prayer works, and have witnessed time and again the many ways God answers.

Our Sunday bulletin reflects our commitment to prayer; every week we list the names of individuals for whom prayer is requested.  But over time, the list has become a bit worn, so at our Deacons meeting earlier this month it was decided to start fresh and build a new prayer list from the bottom up.  So two things are asked of the congregation:  if you would like to be added to the weekly Prayer List, let the church office know; also, if you would like to place someone else on the list, please, first ask them so we may do so with their consent, and again, let us know.  Names will remain on the list for a limited but reasonable time.

Seventeenth century poet and pastor Robert Herrick wrote, perhaps in a conscious echo of the Talmud, “In prayer the lips ne’er act the winning part / without the sweet concurrence of the heart.”   May our prayers always find their birth from deep within our hearts.

Finally, as a kind of postscript, allow me to offer this prayer by one of the UCC’s more prolific writers of litanies and prayers, Rev. Maren Tirabassi; Maren wrote this in response to yesterday’s terrorist attack on mosques in New Zealand.

Prayer for Christchurch

To Allah we belong and to Allah we shall return. Oh Allah, help us in our calamity and replace it with good. (A prayer shared with me by my friend)

God, we weep with you for Christchurch /our hearts torn open

for those who lost family and friends / to this unimaginable violence,

our minds bent trying to understand hatred /our spirits sent in love / to those who must overcome fear.

In trauma, we pray peace /in hospitals, we pray healing;

in schools and mosques / on marae and at churches,

we pray many small and great works of kindness,

not just today but in days to come /in mourning, we pray / a knowing that all the world grieves.

Amen.

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