As you quiet yourself for this brief time, be willing to be open to God, however that may take place.
Daniel 9:15-19 (NRSV)
“And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and made your name renowned even to this day—we have sinned, we have done wickedly. O Lord, in view of all your righteous acts, let your anger and wrath, we pray, turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain; because of our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors, Jerusalem and your people have become a disgrace among all our neighbors. Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his supplication, and for your own sake, Lord, let your face shine upon your desolated sanctuary. Incline your ear, O my God, and hear. Open your eyes and look at our desolation and the city that bears your name. We do not present our supplication before you on the ground of our righteousness, but on the ground of your great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, listen and act and do not delay! For your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people bear your name!”
Daniel clearly loved his city, his ancestral home, Jerusalem. So he prayed earnestly for it. He asked that God’s anger and wrath would cease, that the judgment for past and present sins would come to an end. He hoped in his supplications that God’s merciful face would shine on its streets once again. His city needed forgiveness, a new start, and God’s blessing.
How much do I love my city? I live in a small town, and we aren’t suffering as much as Daniel’s Jerusalem. But if I love my place, won’t I pray for it not only in its difficult moments, but throughout the course of my life?
Too often I take my town for granted. Rarely do I hold it up to God in my prayers. It’s easy and convenient for me to be cynical about its leadership, dismissive of its claims on me, and ignorant of my need for its health and vitality. But if I love my place, surely I will get on my knees for it.
How does your city need your prayers? Not just your anger toward it masked in prayer, but its truest needs lifted up to God. God calls us to know our place, to care for it, and to pray for its well-being.
O God, look with mercy on my town. Work for its healing and health. In Jesus’s name. Amen.
Go with God.