This week the liturgical church remembers Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Christian theologian hanged on April 9, 1945 by the Nazis for his work of resistance. In addition to referencing images and phrases from the lectionary, these prayers rely heavily on Bonhoeffer’s sermons and writings, including a prayer written and shared with other convicts while he was in Tegel prison over Christmas 1943.
Our God, where your church is troubled, homesick, ill, like a bird in a cage, give us vital urge for vital actions so we may be a living rebuke to forces of oppression.
In us there is darkness…
With Thee there is light.
Our God, where we quiver with anger at despotism and petty insults, and anxiously wait for great events, remind us and our leaders that truth is born only in freedom and give us courage to dare peace.
We are feeble of heart…
You leave us not.
Our God, we hunger for colors, for flowers, for songs of birds. Restore your creation again in soul and soil, making a way for rivers in the desert and new things that spring forth.
We are restless…
With Thee there is peace.
Our God, remembering that life is rich and short, help us throw out the rubbish of our false identities and accomplishments to accept, bear, and celebrate one another as we are.
In us there is often bitterness…
With Thee there is patience.
Our God, for those thirsting for kind words, for human company, release to them life’s enjoyment and its good sunshine. Let what they’ve learned from sorrow increase them.
So much is past our understanding…
You know the way for us.
Our God, where the old year torments our hearts, unhastening, and long days of sorrow still endure, grant every power for good to stay and guide us, comforted and inspired beyond all fear.
You, our God, make the way for us.