I was asked to give an invocation at the Midnight Sun Holiday Lunch on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. The honored guest was Senator Lisa Murkowski. Senator Dan Sullivan and Representative Don Young were also in attendance. Giving an invocation is tricky because you're talking to God, but people can hear you.
I wrote out the prayer because I wanted to remember to cover everything that was important to me and I wanted to be sure to stay in my allotted time. I am sharing this with you because it might inspire your own prayers.
Dear God, Holy Parent of all,
We gather today in this beautiful state, in a wonderfully diverse city, and we know that surely you are present here. Not only because you have promised to be where two or more or gathered, but we because we trust that there is a soft spot in the Divine Heart for Alaska as one of the best parts of your creation.
We give you thanks for the opportunity to gather, to see old friends and to meet new ones. We look around and we remember those who are no longer with us and we commend them to you in their eternal rest in light. We rejoice for the ongoing work and community that comes out of this event. Bless us as we continue that work today and tomorrow and into another year.
Holy God, you already know the prayers of our hearts and minds, yet we lift them to you. We cannot stay silent in the face of war and threats of war around the world. The images of children, grieving families, beseeching refugees, and so much destruction are burned into our minds. We watch and we weep and we wonder where you are in all of this and what we can do in your name. Be with all who are working in war-torn regions- those who are offering medicine, shelter, education, those who are working for peace, for hope, for justice, those who donating, praying, and welcoming. Let your holy light shine into all these dark places and let us see that the darkness will not and cannot overcome it.
On our home front, we ask that your life light would bring healing to the divisions in our country, our state, our city, and our homes. Strengthen us to speak the truth and to hear it. Grant us to know, deep in our bones, like an unquenchable fire, what it means to stand with and for those who have been stripped of their voice, their power, their history, their choices, and their freedoms. Help us to remember that in the gospel according to John, Jesus spoke of having sheep in other folds. All people are our brothers and sisters in you. Grant that we may see them as such and work with them toward the healing and renewal of the earth, her people, and her resources.
We pray for those in power, especially those in elected positions who are tasked with the hard work of defending our Constitution, all Americans, and the resources of our great nation. We pray for those who do that task in the uniforms of the Armed Services, especially those who are away from the families and communities in this season.
Lastly, O God, you have told us to pray without ceasing, but people want to eat- so our prayers continue- with the power of the Holy Spirit- rising to you. Prayers for those in need. Prayers for our families and friends. Prayers about health and finances and homes and community. Prayers of joy and prayers of fear.
We lift all these to you and we trust that you hear them and that even now you are working in response, working for healing and restoration. We place all our hope and trust in your great faithfulness. Amen.