– Rev. Bruce Stanley, Methodist Home for Children President / CEO
Of all the things that Jesus did – healing the blind and lame, multiplying fish and loaves, walking on water – there is Biblical record of the disciples asking him to teach them only one thing. They asked, “Lord teach us to pray.” They knew that all Jesus did was undergirded and guided by prayer.
When I was taught to pray I was instructed first to be careful for what I prayed. It is serious business and God does hear. As a for instance I was told not to pray for God to give me patience, because patience is a spiritual discipline that is developed over time, and if I prayed for it God would arrange for me to have to wait on something. I was instructed second not to pray for something that we can achieve on our own. For instance I was told not to pray for God to give us peace, because peace can be negotiated and mediated and arrived at by us. Instead I learned to pray for transformation of self so that with greater wisdom, forbearance, compassion, and understanding, I might be able to advance the cause of peace.
As George Floyd joined a tragic list of Americans that includes Emmett Till, Amadou Diallo, Trayvon Martin, and too many more to enumerate, our nation has engaged in protest. There are so many things that I do hope will emerge from this moment of action and anguish. I hope our policing standards for application of force will be re-examined and re-defined. I hope that irrespective of the color of someone’s skin, persons will be looked on with eyes of compassion and trust and not suspicion and fear. I hope that systemic racism deeply entrenched will be rooted out and named. Because I hope I know that this can be a turning point for our nation and not just a burning point.
For this to be a turning point I pray and ask you to pray with me for all things needed.
Dear Lord of us all, give us renewed inner vision that our souls might be made clean. We pray for the ability to look upon others and have our only judgment be that they too are created in the image of God. We pray for the forbearance to understand others’ perspective and point of view. We pray for our leaders in law enforcement and government that you will give them all they need to live into the oaths they have taken. Be with us, guide us, and give us all necessary things. Amen.