During times in my life when I have struggled with what and how to pray, I have often fallen back on the prayers of other Christians who have come before. I have found great comfort and wisdom in these prayers. I have also found that this provides a sense of connection, so that as another’s words become my own, a prayer is shared stretching across time, and binding us together in the body of Christ. Today, as we gather, I invite you to reflect on one of my favorite prayers, written by Reinhold Niebuhr, the author of the “Serenity prayer”:
Look with mercy upon this company of your people, the church. You have called us out of many lands and places to serve you in the ministry of your word. Teach us rightly to divide the word of truth. Grant that our love may grow in all knowledge and discernment. Help us each to walk worthily in the vocation wherewith we are called, forbearing one another in love and endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Teaching us to look not each at his own things, but at the things of the other, so that we may impart and receive from one another whatever gift of the spirit you have given to each. O Lord, bind us together in the body of Christ that we may grow unto perfection, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.