Moses said to Aaron, “Tell the people, ‘Draw near to the LORD,'” so Aaron spoke, and the people looked toward the wilderness. (Exodus 16:9-10)

We’re not quite sure, Most Holy God, that we care to face the wilderness
in order to draw close to you. Much simpler for you to find us
where life is familiar and routine and manageable.

We hold in prayer before you the places
that seem to us beyond control
and the people within them:

we pray for those in prison,
we pray for those who are hungry,
we pray for victims of abuse and war;

we pray over pervasive situations of injustice,
we pray for our church through its changing seasons,
we pray for all of us as we wonder what tomorrow holds.

For all that we don’t know, O God of our ancestors, we do know
that you are faithful in every generation and abundant
in love and grace with each new day.

Remembering all that you have done during our times of joy and trial,
remembering that you live within and among us,
we tell your stories with thanksgiving:

We tell of new possibilities, time and again;
of abundant grace even in the wilderness;
of your splendor in everyday moments.

We tell your story of radical fairness,
even while we are learning its lessons,
and of your unceasing welcome to all people.

We count and recount the many ways
you have stood us firm amid the storm
and guided our steps in the wilderness.

There are more stories to tell, O Living God, because you continue
to put a song on our tongues and a call in our hearts.
Make use of us wherever we are, in your mercy,

and our children and their children’s children will repeat
the truth of how you are unimpressed by circumstance
and ever-able to do a new thing. Amen.

A pastoral prayer based on the Narrative and Revised Common Lectionary readings for Sunday September 21.

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