How often do we implore God to give us that which has already been given, and in abundance? I’m struck by that question each morning when I come to a little responsive prayer in our Daily Office that seems to ask of God what is already ours, and I wonder if God, sounding a lot like Jackie Mason, doesn’t’ shrug his shoulders in near disbelief and say, “Alright, already, I gave it to you! Pick it up and use it dummy! What’s your problem?”
Grant us your salvation: Haven’t we already got that pretty well established in Christ?
Clothe your ministers with righteousness: The clothes are in the closet, put them on!
Give peace in all the world: Everything needed for peace is ours already, it’s just that we like war better.
Guide us in the way of justice and truth: And what would that guidance look like if not the gospels and prophets?
Let your way be known on earth: Is that the same thing as saying something like, “Lord, I’ll just sit here in my study while you go out and do some work spreading the news about you. Let me know when you’re done.”
Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten: “There are some needy people our community God, or at least so I’ve heard. Someone really ought to remember to do something about that I hope you will not let them forget to do it.”
Nor let the hope of the poor be taken away: I’m astounded that we actually pray this while engaging in deliberate political and economic policies that often trample the hope of the poor while, at the very same time, we extol how anyone can make it in America if they just try hard enough.
Create in us clean hearts, O God: OK, there is one thing God has not yet done.