I don’t really pray the way I used to pray. The “Dear God, I really need…” prayers I was taught to offer up throughout my day.
Now I meditate. I sit under big trees and breathe. I laugh with family and friends and feel my heart swell. I lament as I listen to the news. All of those things connect me to the Divine and fill the space in my life that my prayers used to occupy.
Recently, however, I have felt compelled to pray the way I used to; to directly petition God to intervene in the world in specific ways on my behalf. Shit is dire out here. The deluge of stories since election day 2016 about how this administration has stripped rights and dignity from marginalized groups, stoked the hatred of white nationalists, removed environmental protections and completely devalued the truth has been overwhelming and sad, and in my Evangelical days, my response to feelings of overwhelm and sadness was prayer.
On November 6, we have an opportunity, as a nation, to reject the hatred, lies and dehumanizing policies of this administration and its allies. And frankly, I’m terrified that we won’t. That bone-deep fear has motivated me to find a way to pray that makes sense to me; to give language to my hopes and fears and communicate them directly to the Divine.
As we vote, bring to our minds the truth that all of creation contains the Divine image.
Remove from our hearts the fear that would cause us to use our votes to protect ourselves; to build fences and walls between ourselves and our neighbors.
Replace that fear with hope that allows us to vote in ways that protect our neighbors and our world, a hope that allows us to envision a future in which all can thrive.
Remind us that there is enough for us all when we share with open hands.
Unclench our fists.
Help us to see you in the refugees seeking asylum, in the oceans filling with trash, in the red-hatted mobs, in the people who struggle to see our own humanity.
Stir our anger at injustice. Let it carry us as we vote.
And after I pray this I do feel a little less afraid.
I’m not expecting a direct response: a pillar of fire or the disappearance of all of the pro-Republican ballots. I’m planning on embodying the answer to my own prayer.
And I hope you’ll join me.