When the ancient Israelites were taken into exile in Babylon, they longed for the restoration of their lives and their homeland. Such restoration would not come quickly. The prophet Jeremiah told the exiles to settle in: build houses, plant gardens, make a home in their captors’ land. We, too, long for our lives to be restored to “normal,” but that also won’t be happening anytime soon. This prayer is for finding our place in the unfamiliar times we now inhabit.
God of exiles,
of the displaced and the hopeless,
of the disoriented and the fearful,
we find ourselves in a frightening land.
What we knew is left behind.
Who we are is not.
Here, in this place of uncertainty,
we must make our home.
Now, in this hour of unpredictability,
we must establish our plans.
Soften the soil, O God. Ease the labor.
Give us sure feet for this unstable terrain.
Give us steady hands for laying new foundations.
Give us discerning minds for pursuing wisdom over folly.
And when our hearts tremble and tears fall,
give us courageous and faithful companions
with whom to share the struggle.
Keep before us our identity:
your people, your pioneers for peace,
your workers for the world.
Keep before us your identity:
our God, our Help in ages past,
our Hope for years to come.
Here, we will find our place.
Now, we will trust in you.
For surely you know the plans you have for us,
plans for our welfare and not to harm,
to give us a future with hope.
On that hope, we will build.