I prayed this Pastoral Prayer in today’s Sanctuary service. It is loosely based on the revival hymn “Softly and Tenderly,”
Softly and tenderly you call us
to turn our faces to you, to come to you,
and to find rest for our souls.
For some of us the distance is great
and we doubt the reception we’ll receive.
For others the distance seems shorter
and we wonder whether we might just linger where we are
a moment longer and start the journey tomorrow.
When we doubt, we fail to recognize all the mercies
you extend to us—that are new every morning.
When we tarry, we ignore the steady march of time toward
Shake us from our ignorance and illusions.
We’ve grown so use to striving, jostling,
positioning, and contending, that we wonder if it is
at all possible to find rest in your love for us.
By your Spirit, press deeply into us the truth
that your love caused you to step out of heaven,
to become just as we are, yet without sin,
and to give your life so that we might be restored,
so that our strivings might cease,
and we might know the Sabbath rest that comes in the Gospel.