During my first month serving in South Bend, I was invited to offer the invocation at the monthly City Council meeting. I was honored to do so, but I’ll be honest that I wrestled with what to pray for. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what to say, but how to narrow it down to just a few words within the time they gave me.
It is important, actually it’s essential for us to be praying for our city. While many of us live across Central Indiana, we are still invited to pray for not only where we live, but the City of Indianapolis too. This is our worship home. This is where we choose to worship and for many of us where we work. Therefore, we are invited to pray for all of our communities; where we live, work, play, and worship.
If you had the chance to pray at the City Council meeting here in Indianapolis, what would be top on your list?
Here is what I wrote for South Bend a few years ago:
“I thank you for this opportunity to lead us in prayer tonight. I will offer a prayer in the Christian tradition, but I invite you to pray in a way that is comfortable to you.
Let us pray:
Holy God, thank You for the many blessings of our South Bend community. Tonight, we pray for those who are in the offices that govern this community and county and pray that they would make wise decisions which are always in the best interests of the community and decisions that bring equality and justice for all people.
Together, we pray for all those who serve our city, as we also pray for all families, schools, and the faith community. You are found in the beautiful diversity found in our city, so help us to embrace this and celebrate this, for this is a gift that you have given us, help us to receive it as the gift that it is.
We pray for peace on our streets and reconciliation between neighbors. We especially pray for the family grieving their loss from yesterday’s gun violence and for those recovering. Give us the grace to listen to one another and then to work together to build a community where everyone feels safe, loved, and wanted here.
Help us create a place where everyone has a sound employment, a roof over their heads, stomachs filled with goodness, and hearts filled with love. This is a vision of your Kingdom and our prayer for this city. May it be so.
In the name of Jesus our Christ we pray. Amen.
I received a thank you or two from City Councilors present. Then they went about their mundane, yet essential work for the city. I wondered what they might have heard in my prayer. I hope they heard something hopeful yet challenging. I hope their hearts were stirred to seek the peace and prosperity of the city. May our hearts be stirred as we pray for our city.
“Seek the peace and prosperity of the city,” Jeremiah 29: 7 (NIV).