By: Pastor John Leon, Executive Director
I was honored to be invited as a participant in our local National Day of Prayer gathering at the Linn County Courthouse steps. I was asked to pray for unity in our families, the workplace, our community, and cities across our nation. Initially, I struggled with how to pray in a realistic, but practical way for such an enormous request.
Subsequently, I asked the Lord for direction to help me pray for such a request. I believe He guided me to wrap such an assignment around Psalm 23, which thematically offers “a life without lack!” It is a prayer, I believe, that not only applies to unity, but for our daily lives as well. Therefore, I share it with you hoping it will minister to your life right where you are in your journey...
“Heavenly Father, we gather here today, to ask you for no small thing, for unity in our families, with colleagues in our work, for Albany, and all the communities in our nation. Such a request, from our human and limited perspective, appears improbable if not impossible.
For we are a desperate people, because we live in a world in which we are trying to save our lives, and we can’t. Not realizing this truth, this makes us all the more desperate and hopeless, and the more obsessed with ourselves through our futile efforts of self-navigation in order to fix our lives. Tragically, Father-God, we have only become filled with anger, frustration, and more desperation, leading us to attack and denigrate each other.
Heavenly Father, not only do we need you to forgive us for such polarizing toxicity, we ask you to forgive us for trying to be our own savior. Yes, Lord, we are indeed a desperate people, but you can turn such desperation encased in darkness and despair, into an exuberant joy that pervades the well-being of any person who wants you to guide and direct their life.
You have said as much in your eternal word, reflected as the Shepherd who offers a “life without lack” for anyone who wants such a Savior. Therefore, Lord, we acknowledge our healing and the genesis for unity in our relationships on all levels by getting our eyes off our circumstances and ourselves, and instead, on who you are!
For you provide us a wonderful promise…Lord, you are our Shepherd, and we shall not want. You desire to fulfill every need we could possibly have, and heal every deep ache we have experienced, especially those self-inflicted injuries we have tried to fix ourselves. You make us to lie down in green pastures and lead us beside still waters, in which we don’t have to worry or be filled with anxiety and distress.
Jesus, you have a way, and only you, in which you restore our souls every day, in every aspect of our lives. You are able to still our minds and hearts with your peace, even when the storms of life are crashing all around us.
Even when there seems to be no answers, but only confusion, you will lead us on paths of righteousness for the sake of your name. No matter how difficult or impossible our journey may be, you will always provide the right answer. Because you are just like that!
And yes, Father, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, with darkness and despair all around, we will not fear! Why? For you, Jesus, are with us! Your rod and staff, they comfort us. Father, know we are so grateful for Jesus, because we can rely all the time on His protective strength, and not our own. And, we are thankful for His staff that gives us guidance every time, in all places, as we seek Him.
Jesus, you satisfy all our needs, even as you prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies. We know such attendance to us, provides the means to love those who don’t like us very much and can compel us to serve them in love. Only you can create and cultivate such unity that is not mere words or steeped in idealism, but an active reality as we walk it out in our lives because you anoint our heads with oil, causing our cups to overflow with your love!
Father God, we love you because you are still, so willing to rescue us from ourselves, so that we may experience the life, with you that you originally intended for us and every human being. Therefore, we ask, that every family, every person we encounter daily in our community, and communities throughout this blessed nation, which you have blessed, will discover the reality of this wonderful promise, that we can learn to live a “life without lack” with you as our Shepherd, enabling one to say with confidence in you… “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever!” Amen.
Pastor John Leon, Executive Director