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An end-of-year prayer

I decided to take my thoughts about troubling world events, homelessness, crime, addiction and income disparities, and compose a personal, non-denominational end-of-year prayer.
I decided to take my thoughts about troubling world events, homelessness, crime, addiction and income disparities, and compose a personal, non-denominational end-of-year prayer.
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Like a lot of people, I have many thoughts on my mind as 2016 comes to a close. When thoughts turn to words, it can take many literary forms — a memo, an essay, a poem, lyrics for a song or even a prayer. I decided to take my thoughts about troubling world events, homelessness, crime, addiction and income disparities, and compose a personal, non-denominational end-of-year prayer. My hope is that the simplicity and solemnity of the prayer will help us in 2017. Here is my prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for this beautiful day. The earth you created continues to inspire me. I recognize your hand in the sun and the moon and the sky. Thank you.

I’m also grateful for the remarkable people in my life.

And while I feel gratitude, I also feel apprehension. Many things happening in the world make me feel ill at ease. Tonight, I pray for your comfort.

The world faces many challenges. A holiday market in Berlin was the target last week. Aleppo is a target every week. Please God, extend your love and care to the victims, especially during this holiday season. I also pray for the aggressors that their hearts might be changed.

I’m cognizant of people in my own community who suffer. A homeless person was found dead on a street bench recently after temperatures dipped below freezing. His death diminished us all.

God, please help me and my community find the strength and resources to serve people in need.

I must be honest … something doesn’t feel right. Some people have so much, while others have so little. How is it that such a large disparity exists?

During the past year, I’ve noticed several troubling trends. There’s more theft in our neighborhoods. If you leave something out in your yard, it disappears. People break into cars just to steal coins. More and more people are purchasing alarm systems. There are altercations, police brutality, civilian brutality and other serious crimes. Many people do not feel secure.

God, I also see more people asking for money. I want to lend them aid, but I wonder if it’s better to give to the organizations that provide them food, shelter and resources. Too often, people ask for money to feed bad habits.

Every week, in the news, in television shows and in my own chapel, I’m reminded how drug addiction is a scourge on our society. Please God, we need your help.

This addiction is no respecter of persons. Young and old, rich and poor, religious and non-religious … addiction stretches its long arms into our bodies and steals our souls.

I’m not a physician, but I do know this: I’ve had too many friends die from opioid addiction. I know there are medical reasons for prescribing these drugs, but it’s not working. People can handle pain; they can’t handle opioids.

In some ways, it feels like pain is not the problem, but rather the lack of a meaningful life with gainful opportunity. People lose the desire to achieve, to work, to accomplish something. Many self-medicate to cope. It’s understandable, but also sad. We need your guidance and help.

Our society has a stark contrast of need and excess. It makes me feel like a re-balancing needs to occur. Some have too little, some have much, maybe too much. There is wisdom in the saying, “Feed men and then ask of them virtue.”

The challenge is how to do this balancing correctly. God, help our society to possess this wisdom.

God, in the days and months ahead, please bless this land. Bless us with more unity, humility and patience. Help us to respect one another. Help us to improve, even if it’s one step at a time. Bless us with the strength to not only contribute to a more peaceful world, but to more peaceful homes and more peaceful hearts.

This is my prayer this night. I share it with gratitude for my bounteous blessings and with a bright spirit for the coming year.

Amen.