This prayer was written as a way to acknowledge the many losses of Covid-19 as a congregation, but it could be easily modified for use in other settings. For this prayer, dissolvable paper is called for. If you are unable to find/purchase dissolvable paper, you may substitute any kind of paper. Then, instead of dissolving the papers in the baptismal font or other designated bowl of water, you could invite people to toss their papers into a bonfire, lay their papers at the foot of a cross, or drop the papers into a bucket or other deep container. Please feel free to use this prayer corporately or individually in whatever setting is meaningful for you.
During this prayer, you are invited to take some time to write on your dissolvable paper the losses and pains you have experienced over the last year. May the Spirit stir in our hearts as we do this. As we seek God’s leading into the future, we begin by acknowledging the heavy and difficult things. And then, I will invite you to come forward and drop your paper into the baptismal font. When we release these things, they do not go away, but instead we do this as an act of offering our losses to God – the only one who can help us hold the griefs we bear.
Let us pray.
Mighty Creator God, you are higher than the heavens. Your ways are higher than our ways. When we look at the vastness of the world you have made and of the expansiveness of the universe, we are humbled and we stand in awe. And yet, in the gift of your Son Jesus, you showed us that you are also right here with us. Open our eyes to your presence, and move in our hearts so that we might experience your loving embrace.
Lord, this last year has been so heavy. We are weary and exhausted from what we’ve endured, and we thank you for carrying these burdens with us. Without your steady hand, we would have been crushed.
We offer to you our griefs, our pains, and our losses:
The disruption to our routines.
Milestones that were taken from us – graduations we couldn’t attend, weddings and funerals that were postponed or done in ways we never imagined would be necessary, accomplishments that went uncelebrated, traditions that anchored our families that disappeared in the blink of an eye.
Changes to our health – either as a result of Covid, or due to other things that have happened to us over these many months.
Conflict and division among our family and friends. Relationships that have been strained or even ended during this time.
The loss of our loved ones – either due to Covid or other causes – and the struggle to name and grieve these losses in this uncertain and ever-changing world.
In the silence, receive our heartaches and griefs.
After a time in silence, invite those present to come forward when they are ready to offer these things to God. After the last person has come forward, continue with the prayer.
Gracious and compassionate God, we offer these griefs to you knowing that they will never leave us because they have changed us, but also knowing that we need you to guide us and direct us in the days to come. As people who have been transformed over the last year, we need your direction and your vision. Take our hands and usher us into the future that you have prepared for us.
Together as one we lean into the promise from your servant Isaiah:
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God’?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:27b-31
And now hear us, Lord, as we join our voices together with the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, saying,
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 debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,