Walking Our Faith: The prayer we need for the coming weeks | SummitDaily.com

Walking Our Faith: The prayer we need for the coming weeks

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Walking Our Faith
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson

On Tuesday morning, I walked down the steps of the South Branch Library to deliver my ballot. I lingered and asked how many people had come to vote before me? I was told that there were a lot of people Monday, the first day of early, in-person voting.

I took a picture as my ballot was stamped and another as I dropped the ballot in the ballot box. I took a third picture of myself with my “I Voted” sticker. And then I posted all the pictures on Instagram to encourage my friends to vote, too.

Yet even though I had done all I could by voting, I still felt anxious.

I found myself thinking, how will I remain calm until Election Day and perhaps the weeks until we have a definitive answer on who has won?

I considered making a mantra of the word “peace” and repeating it over and over and over every day until the results are announced.

But then I realized Jesus gave us another prayer that will not only get us through the next few anxious weeks, it is a prayer that will get us through every day of our lives because it is the prayer that Jesus gave his own disciples when they asked him how to pray.

Most of us repeat this prayer every Sunday during church services. Unfortunately, because it’s so familiar, we repeat the words without truly considering their meaning.

I believe these words are the comfort and direction we need to find real peace during these anxious times.

In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus told them, “Pray then like this: 

“Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”

To “hallow” means to declare God’s name sacred and our trust in God’s power to change our lives. This is a great assurance in these turbulent times when we have felt powerless.

But pay attention to how we are to think of our holy and powerful God: Jesus tells us to call him “our father.”

What a contrast. We are told that the most high and holy God cares for each of us as his own child. Abba. Daddy. Hallowed be your name.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven.”

Now that our vote has been cast, and we’ve encouraged all in our community to do the same, we must let go of our anxiety.

When we say, “Your kingdom come,” we are inviting God to not only return in all his glory, we are praying that God will bring us the love and peace that only he can provide.

We are saying, “Lord, help us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves; help us to create peace in our communities.”

Thy will be done, Lord, is not a passive statement. We still must vote. We must endeavor to live the Sermon on the Mount. And as we live God’s commandments, we ask God to participate fully with us in creating just and peaceful communities.

We are asking God in his infinite wisdom, that his will be accomplished not only in this election but in our day-to-day lives.

“Give us this day our daily bread …”

Not everyone has been able to return to their jobs; too many people are visiting a food bank for the first time in their lives. Too many are wondering if they can make their next rent or mortgage payment; too many children are being asked to skip a meal because there’s not enough food in the house.

So we pray, “God, give us our daily bread.” We’re not asking for riches; we’re asking for just enough. As we pray these words, we might also look around our community and see where we can help, where our extra few dollars might go toward the Family & Intercultural Resource Center food bank, the Smart Bellies school food program or Thanksgiving to-go gift cards. No matter how little we have, each of us can be the hands and feet of God and provide daily bread for someone in our community.

“… and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

If you spend any time on social media, you know there is no shortage of harsh words and recriminations on both political sides.  

Perhaps we can reduce our time on social media for the next few weeks. What if for every hour we spent scrolling through social media, we spent 10 minutes in prayer for our country?

Imagine what a difference that would make in our community.

“And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

The next few weeks will undoubtedly be filled with anxiety and fear and anger. One side will win this election, and one side will lose. There will certainly be recriminations, and 50% of our country will be upset with the results, which can lead to dangerous behavior.

We must resist the impulse to side with anyone who tries to divide our country. We are all Americans.

We need to pray that God will deliver us from evil. Pray that no matter the outcome, we will work toward unifying our country so that we are once again, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Jesus said, “This, then, is how you should pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
    as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
    Yes. Yes. Yes.”

— Matthew 6:9-13, The Message

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at suzanne@suzanneelizabeths.com.

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