Hear our prayer, O LORD:
for the relief of the suffering,
for the judgment of the malicious
. . .
and we are both,
sometimes one more than the other,
and most of all we are selfish and self-sufficing.

Hear our prayer, O LORD,
that you would have mercy on us
as much as on Nineveh for we too believe
. . .
without ashes
or sackcloth if possible,
for we would prefer to believe reputably.

Hear our prayer, O LORD,
for satisfaction that does not steal and
for joy that does not need another’s impediment
. . .
because we delude ourselves
chasing a ladder without room for all,
wanting righteousness at the cost of calamity.

This we pray as Jonah.
This we pray as Ninevites.
This we pray as we wait for our own will to be done.

Overthrow our hearts, overthrow our lives, for heaven’s sake. Amen.


Rachel G. Hackenberg is a United Church of Christ minister, blogger, and soccer mom. Her upcoming book, Denial Is My Spiritual Practice (and Other Failures of Faith) with co-author Martha Spong, wrestles for God’s answers to the hard questions of life.


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