One of my favorite movies is Groundhog Day. As much as I enjoy that movie, I am not enjoying how much my current reality seems to be mirroring that of Bill Murray’s iconic character, Phil, with every day seeming to be on an endless repeat.
No matter how much déjà vu each day seems to bring right now, one of my favorite daily routines remains my nightly book reading time with our almost-4-year-old, Bates. Each night brings different books, different stories, yet the same snuggles.
The other night, Bates chose a newer book we had read only once before. When I Pray For You, by Matthew Paul Turner, is written from the perspective of a parent, offering words of prayer over her young child. In the middle of her prayer, she prays these words:
I’ll pray you choose hope should you ever face fear,
And seek wisdom with patience when the pathway’s unclear.
That you will love others, whether strangers or friends,
With the same kind of love that God feels for them.
After finishing the book, saying our own prayers and getting Bates to bed, I was left reflecting on those words from that sweet little book. I considered all the ways we are praying for others right now, in this particularly challenging time of fear, when the pathway certainly seems unclear. I thought about who, in the moment, might need those words of prayer and comfort. I realized how much I needed those words of prayer, that encouragement to choose hope over fear, wisdom and patience over anxiety and worry, and love of all people over hate or indifference.
Taking time each day to pray for others is one of the ways I feel hope and find endurance in these challenging days. These words from this little book have become part of those prayers. When I pray for you, Wilshire, these are the words I’m praying: for hope, wisdom, patience and love.
As we prepare for worship together, wherever you are, let us begin with prayer for one another — for strangers and friends, ourselves and others, our community and our church. Who can you pray for right now? What words can you offer them? What encouragement do you need through prayer? As you prepare to worship, may you remember that we worship a God who hears our prayers, who grants us hope and whose abiding love is with us and for us all, now and always.