Yahweh, you listened to the cries of your people when they were slaves of brutal masters, when they were lost in a desert, thirsty and hungry, when they quaked before vast armies, when they were scattered across kingdoms, when they were hunted, persecuted, and killed for following your way. You gave your people what they needed to overcome. We need your overcoming power again.
Unemployment is the new menace, a global pandemic that has left 15 million people jobless in this country alone. We’ve been fired and laid off with little thanks for our contributions. Our economies are propped up on hollow legs of stimulus and complicated relief strategies. The idleness of our hands and minds threatens our self-confidence. We are people of purpose, called to do good, but our days are filled with searches, applications, inquiries and questions sent into an electronic void. We lose a sense of identity as we reduce all the experience and knowing of our lives to faceless lists sent to faceless employers. We work hard to change our situation but few responses come. Some are going hungry.
There are so many of us in need, but not too many for you.
If you can free slaves and guide the hungry to abundance and help a young shepherd overcome a giant, and preserve a persecuted minority to spread good news across the globe, then you can cure this pandemic. This is my prayer, a plea for my sisters and brothers and neighbors around the world that are desperate for help.
Warrior God, be our champion. Conquer our great fear over this time of unemployment that stretches into the shadows of our future. Strike down the possibility of depression. Give wise and workable solutions to our leaders. Train us to buy only what we need. Do not let our present challenges swallow our sense of self, dissolve our confidence, or disconnect us from sustaining fellowship. Let no one steal the joy we have in you. Fight for us and protect us because you love us.
Comforter, give us peace. When the bills pile up and bank accounts run low and anxieties threaten to overwhelm us, stay with us. Pass us your peace because this place makes no sense at all. Bolster us with your presence, your word and friends that encourage. Give us confidence that though we are unemployed, we are not unemployable. Remind us that we are more than a list of experiences, more than the sum total of all the hours we have worked. We are people of great value and you know each of us by name. We are children in need of assurance from our parent. Warm us with your love.
Provider God, provide. Transform us from misers to givers so we can make food pantries overflow. Give the jobless hope that tomorrow there may be another opportunity. Give us energy to endure and search one more day, and then another… Share your patience with us while we wait to hear a yes. Fill our idleness with good things to do and think about. Give us reasons to smile and to laugh in the meantime. Meet our needs.
Merciful One, show mercy. We pray for those who do not know you and those who doubt or blame you. Provide for them so their grudges are erased and their doubts are voided. Show them that your strength reigns in a world of weakness and need. Shower them with your love and provision so they will know the joy of belonging to a God who gives us what we don’t deserve and sustains us with what we haven’t earned.
Amen and amen.