Friday Prayers: Hope

“Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.” (Psalm 80:7)

How do we find hope when all around us is sadness, despair, and lament? When we hear words of pain, when we see images of violence, we wonder where hope has fled. Psalm 80, Prayer for Israel’s Restoration, reminds us that hope is found when we join together, rather than be split apart by difference, hatred, and anxiety.

We are not alone when we seek a common answer to sadness and fear. That does not mean that we all have the same experiences, but it affirms our common human feeling. Hope is found when we are courageous and bold in finding community, in working together for the common good, when we intentionally seek an alternative to quick fixes, alternative news, and fear. It does not mean that we ignore pain and suffering, but it does acknowledge the strength that gets us through those times.

Hope is real when, like the Israelites, we give our trust to God and extend that trust to each other. In this world, the God of hope calls us beyond disappointment and fear into compassion and love. We find hope when we help each other, when we are kind to neighbours and strangers alike, when we care for the earth.

Hope takes practice. It is a spiritual muscle to be developed. May you find hope in this movement, in this prayer, in the knowledge that you join others in this prayer. May God’s hope be unwrapped in us this Advent and Christmas season.

Body Prayer: Hope

Download this prayer with illustrations [PDF]

Repeat the following prayer, using the actions to inspire movement as you are able:

Holy One (reach up and out)
May your hope (widen arms)
Encircle me (circle both arms from one side, over head, to the other side)
May your hope (widen arms)
Grow within me (hands on heart)
May your hope (widen arms)
Reach beyond me (stretch arms in from of body)
AMEN (head down, hands at prayer with palms together)

The Rev. Catherine Stuart ministers at Bedeque United Church, Prince Edward Island.