JUNE 22, 2020 | Prayer by Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner
NCNW National Chaplain and President of Skinner Leadership Institute
Loving God of all creation, clothed in splendor and majesty, how beautiful is the world you created for our habitation, reflecting the magnificence and power that is yours alone. In our sin-filled hearts and souls, we, your creation, earnestly desire to love as you love. Truthfully, we cannot even begin to grasp or even attain God-like capacity to love unconditionally, accept absolutely, or receive into our hearts completely all your children. Sadly, even our family and friendship ties are too often gift-wrapped in quid pro quo, conditions, and transactions.
Almighty God, we need your strength to love in our world wrought with human against human pain, suffering, exploitation, hatred, violence, and alienation. Your greatest commandment – ‘to love you and every neighbor as we love ourselves’ - is a daily indictment in a nation morphed into tribal separation by color, class, culture, generation, gender, and politics. God, forgive me for shutting up my love as in a bottle, dribbled out on those I judge worthy to receive it whether among family, workplace associates, those who happen my way, or in the broader world. Remind me that you love me so much that you have protected, blessed, healed, restored, sustained, favored, and provided for me through countless crises, and yes, you have also saved my sin-filled soul, while pouring out your love on me every day.
Merciful God, your word haunts me daily, “for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” Help me now to draw on your strength that is made perfect in my weakness. Give me your strength to love, not only those who love me back but also those who may be indifferent or even hostile to my wellbeing, that I might help turn the stench of this world’s hate into the flowering essence of your divine love. In your magnificent and mighty name, I pray, Lord God. AMEN