Sunday, July 09, 2017

Pastoral Prayer for the Struggle to Change

based on Romans 7:15-25a

O God, we have so many good intentions. Every day we wake up and think this time it will be different. Today we won't gossip about our co-worker. Today we won't snap at the kids when we're annoyed. Today we won't eat the extra pastry. Today we won't overextend our energy. Today we'll start living better, acting better, turning the corner for our own sake and for the sake of those around us through being kinder, more compassionate, more welcoming, more aware of what we or others need. It's all just a matter of willpower, positive thinking, and inspirational phrases.

But then we're confronted by our first opportunity to do something different and we realize how hard changing our thoughts and actions really is. We want to refrain from bad habits and turn toward better ones, but the good we want to do is more elusive and the bad comes so easily. And so we slip back into what's comfortable, reasoning that we'll try again tomorrow.

The real issue is that we can't do this ourselves. We can't just psych ourselves up in the mirror while brushing our teeth and think it will be enough. We need your Spirit's presence. We need the help and accountability of those around us. We need the community of your church that walks with us, guiding and reminding and praying and on the same journey, stumbling toward greater faithfulness and love.

Divine Helper, we need you. We need others. Show us a way forward that isn't so lonely or dependent on our own abilities; one rooted in companionship and mutual encouragement. We want to move toward what is life-giving and away from what is destructive. By your grace, may real change begin. Amen.