Richard Groves

| August 15th, 2023

Almighty God, from whom we come, to whom we go, in whose presence we live

and move and have our being —

The apostle Paul confessed in his time what many of us confess in ours: “We do

not know how to pray as we ought.” We need assistance from your Spirit even to know

what to pray for, so troubling are our times.

Nature is in full rebellion, or so it seems.

Your prophets warned us what would happen if we did not tend your garden with

respect and reverence. But we stoned them with silence. We ignored them, ridiculed

them, called them pointy-headed elitists.

Then California caught fire and Washington and Oregon and Italy, and Europe

flooded. And we prayed, “God, help us.”

Mid the ashes of some of our glorious forests and the smoldering rubble of homes

and businesses and parks and houses of worship and bowling alleys and grocery stores,

we stand chastened, humbled before the consequences of our arrogance and ignorance.

An unseen enemy attacked on all fronts and millions of your children died,

including 620,000 of our fellow citizens, friends and family. And we prayed again, “God,

help us.”

You sent saviors in scrubs and salvation in a syringe. And hope seemed on the

near horizon. But some of us said, “We don’t want it. You can’t make us take it.” And it

seems to be starting all over. We’re praying again, as we have prayed for a year and a

half, “God, help us.”

Do you ever get tired of our prayers, Lord? Isaiah said you do. “Even though you

make many prayers, I will not listen.” (1:15) Isaiah said he was quoting you.

Give us what we need, Lord, not what we want. We ask and do not receive

because our prayers are born of fear, insecurity, narrowness of vision, and lack of

imagination.

Transform us, renew our minds, refresh our souls that we might emerge from the

trials of our time better than we were when things were the way they used to be — better

neighbors, better citizens. Smarter, wiser. Better informed. More in touch with you and

each other. More closely attuned to the One who lived for us, prayed for us, died for us

and taught us to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.