Praying the Sermon (Sermon on the Mount)

Expansive God, we pray for you to stretch us. We feel so constricted by our experience because these patterns of sin and death are all we have ever known. Though you tell us, we have a difficult time imagining any other way to function, we cannot imagine any other way for things to operate.

We compete with our neighbors and we hate our enemies. We dwell in darkness and are content with such stale lives. We pray from positions of strife and enmity with our brothers and sisters. We dehumanize our neighbors with our thoughts. We prefer comfort over honesty, we would rather destroy the whole world than sacrifice any of our entitlement. We lie, we retaliate, we put on a show, we love our money, we close our eyes to the needs of others, we worry, we judge, we build our lives on the shaky soil of this old earth.

Stretch us God, expand our vision beyond the four walls of this stormy society. Make us again in your image. Make us lovers, even of our enemies. Make us the salt and light of the world. Make us peacemakers, people who see and affirm the humanity in others. May we be honest about ourselves and sacrificial for the sake of those around us. Make us honest, forgiving, generous, and compassionately aware of the need that surrounds us. Give us peace, humility, and passion to cry for your kingdom even here, even now.

We pray in the name of Jesus, to whom belongs power and glory forever. Amen.