A prayer for Sunday (Karl Barth)
[In honor of the fact that Karl Barth‘s birthday was juts a few days ago, today’s prayer comes from him.]
Holy and merciful God! What are all our words, and what would our most fervent thanksgivings and praises mean compared with what you have done, are doing and will still do for us and with us?—compared with the new covenant, in which we all may already take our place?—compared with the grace by which you will put your law within us and write it upon our hearts? Enter our hearts! Clear away whatever might prevent you! And then speak further with us—lead us further along your path, the only good path: even when after this we once more separate, to return each to his own solitariness and tomorrow to his work!
So further your work outside this building also, and in the whole world as well! Have mercy on all who are sick, hungry, exiled or oppressed! Have mercy on the powerlessness with which nations, governments, newspapers and alas! even the Christian churches, with which all of us face the sea of guilt and trouble in the lives of present-day humanity! Have mercy on the lack of understanding because of which any of the most responsible and powerful of men see themselves driven to play with fire and to conjure up new and greater dangers!
If your word were not at hand, what would be left for us to do but despair? But your word in all its truth is at hand and so we cannot despair, and we may and indeed we want to feel assured, so that even if the earth is moved under our feet, all things in their entire course are in your strong and loving hand and at the very last we shall be allowed to see that you have reconciled us and our dark world to you, that you have already brought its salvation and its peace despite all men’s arrogance and despair: in Jesus Christ your son, our Lord and Saviour, who died and rose again for us and all men. Amen.