Thank you for bringing us through 5/6 of this year. Thank You for the ups and downs, the wins and losses, and the fact that we are still standing. Or more accurately, in my case, sitting, usually on the couch.
Lord, it is November 1, and we are approaching the holiday season. During these times, families often get together to celebrate, reminisce and share their love for one another.
I say 'often' because this time of year can also bring feelings of anxiety, stress, worry and even bitterness. It can also underline estrangements in some families, that often seem intractable.
Lord, this prayer is for those families who are not united.
For those whose love for one another has been overshadowed by grievances of varying shapes and sizes.
For those who have spoken words they cannot un-speak, and for those who cannot un-hear them.
For those who have done things they cannot un-do, and for those to whom those things were done.
For those whose pride or pain or fear of rejection prevent them from taking the first step toward reconciliation.
For those who need forgiveness but cannot ask for it.
For those who are hurt and are unable to forgive.
Dear God, help us to realize the unending mercy, grace and kindness You have for Your people. How You forgive us, and love us and continue to bless us despite our many failings.
Help us to realize that Your love for us overshadows our sins, weaknesses and flaws. And with this in mind, let us show mercy to those who have hurt us, and that we humbly, lovingly ask forgiveness from those whom we have hurt.
Let us put aside our arguments, our disagreements, our intentional or unintentional hurts, slights and insults.
Some will say that the hurts are too painful, the insults too indelible, the grievances to horrible to overcome. This will be their excuse not to try, and to construct additional excuses for not trying. They may let the bitterness defeat them.
Lord, soften the hearts of your people, removing their various defenses and trusting You to protect and shelter them.
Lord, You shower us with blessings, and our families are one of these. They should be a source of mutual support, encouragement, strength and, above all, love. Help us to plan our holidays with reconciliation, love and united purpose in mind.
As we approach this festive season, let us remember that You are with us, and that You love us and that You want us to love one another. Especially our families.
In Jesus's name I pray, Amen!