A Prayer for Moving from Brokenness to Healing

 

A few weeks ago, Judson University featured one of my all-time favorite chapel speakers, simkinsRev. Ian Simkins, in a Spiritual Enrichment Week series of messages titled Beauty in the Common, with the word common taking on connotations related both to the ordinary and to that which we do together in community.  (If Ian were the pastor of a megachurch, he’d be an A-lister for youth conferences the world over; he communicates that well.  Connect with him here, if you’re interested: Ian Simkins.)  Ian took four different and seemingly dichotomous word pairings and showed how God brings beauty in each.

I was asked to provide a call to worship for the chapel message addressing both beauty in brokenness and beauty in healing.  I introduced it by noting the fortuitous grammatical inconsistency between the two words.  (Other chapel messages that week featured comparisons between two grammatically similar words: stillness and chaos, both nouns, for instance.)  Brokenness is a noun, while healing can take many forms.  It can be a noun (“I am grateful for the healing God brought to my life”), an adjective (“I want to wade in the healing waters”), or a verb (“Jesus often was found healing the sick”).  I then argued that most of the time, we tend to think of healing as a verb.

So what?  So when healing is used in this manner, it is a present participle, employed most commonly in the present progressive tense, which we use when we wish to articulate that something is ongoing and not finished.  Hence, if there’s beauty in healing, it’s beauty in an incomplete work.  In other words, we are broken people and God, in His grace and mercy, is in the process of healing us, but that work will not be complete this side of eternity.  Thus, whereas we can draw a pretty firm line that separates stillness from chaos, the line between brokenness and healing is quite a bit more porous for Christians.  Embracing this truth allows us to extend grace and mercy to ourselves and, especially, to others along our common journeys as disciples of Christ.

All that acknowledged, there can be a tendency among the young people with whom I work to focus a bit too intently on our common brokenness and miss that the gospel (the “good news”) proclaims our common healing–incomplete, to be sure, but ongoing in God’s perfect timing.  And so for the call to worship, I composed a corporate prayer with responses that reinforced this important understanding of God’s work in our lives.  Recently I was asked to share the prayer as a blog post, and so here it is:

Sovereign God, Great Physician, and Giver of Life,

When the sins committed against us in our childhood—physical abuse, sexual abuse, spiritual abuse, bullying, neglect, abandonment, and many others—when those sins stir up painful memories and cause our souls to grieve, Lord, in Your mercy,

Move us, in Your perfect time, from brokenness to healing.

When the sins that we committed in our youth—lying, stealing, bullying, sexual promiscuity, drug and alcohol abuse, and many others—when those sins come flooding to our minds, when the enemy tempts us to let the past remind us of what we are not now, Lord, in Your mercy,

Move us, in Your perfect time, from brokenness to healing.

 When we agonize over our current lot in life, when we don’t feel as if we have anywhere near the strength we need for today, and we can’t even begin to fathom that You will provide bright hope for tomorrow, Lord, in Your mercy,

Move us, in Your perfect time, from brokenness to healing.

When our burdens feel too heavy to bear, when we sense no one else has ever experienced the depths of despair that we feel, when Your promise to be with us always feels, at best, empty, and, at worst, like a flat-out lie, Lord, in Your mercy,

Move us, in Your perfect time, from brokenness to healing.

When instead of resisting the devil, so he will flee, we invite him into our lives with open arms, believing his lies, entertaining his deceitful manipulations, lending an ear—or two, or even more, when we drag weaker brothers and sisters into our mess—when we lend an ear to the enemy’s destructive falsehoods and nurse and feed his evil thoughts, words, or behaviors, Lord, in Your mercy,

Move us, in Your perfect time, from brokenness to healing.

And finally, when we have, like Job, reached rock bottom, so beaten up—physically, emotionally, and spiritually—that no logical explanation remains for our misery, that we begin to question Your essence and Your character, that we even are tempted to curse You and die, Lord, in Your mercy,

Move us, in Your perfect time, from brokenness to healing.

Sovereign God, Great Physician, and Giver of Life,

Impress upon us Your grace, give us, even this morning, an ever more accurate picture of who You are and an ever more accurate picture of who we are in You, that our responses to those ever more accurate pictures will bring glory and honor to You and Your Kingdom.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

The Lord be with you!

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