During our Zoom coffee hour this past Sunday, a participant brought up her longing to pray for country, for its healing and for safety for all during this time leading up to and during the presidential inauguration tomorrow. She was longing for an in-person vigil, knowing that this is not possible because of Covid-19 restrictions. I heard her deep longings in my heart. If you heard my sermon on Sunday, you will understand when I say that her longings made my ears “tingle.” What can I do, I wondered, to help us gather in prayer?
I was reminded first of the beautiful hymn by Fred Kaan, “For the Healing of the Nations,” thinking particularly of our nation today. (Click the link in the title to hear it sung.)
For the Healing of the Nations
For the healing of the nations,
Lord, we pray with one accord;
for a just and equal sharing
of the things that earth affords.
To a life of love in action
help us rise and pledge our word.
Lead your people into freedom,
from despair your world release,
that, redeemed from war and hatred,
all may come and go in peace.
Show us how, through care and goodness,
fear will die and hope increase.
All that kills abundant living,
let it from the earth be banned:
pride of status, race or schooling,
dogmas that obscure your plan.
In our common quest for justice
may we hallow life's brief span.
You, Creator-God, have written
your great name on humankind;
for our growing in your likeness,
bring the life of Christ to mind;
that by our response and service
earth its destiny may find. 
And I was also prompted to have an impromptu 20-minute prayer service this evening at 5:00 this evening on Zoom. Join me if you can! A Zoom link will be sent in a separate email coming just after this one. (You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the link.) We will join together in an adaptation of the healing service in our UCC Book of Common Worship. A printed order of service can be accessed at plymouthucc.org/bulletin if you can’t make our time together, but still want to pray with your family or on your own at another time.
We all pray together when we come before God in confession and intercession. Time knows no bounds.
With you on the journey,
 Words © 1968 Hope Publishing Company, 380 S Main Pl, Carol Stream, IL 60188 Reproduced under One License #A-709014
The Rev. Jane Anne Ferguson, Associate Minister, is a writer, storyteller, and contributor to Feasting on the Word, a popular biblical commentary. She is also the writer of sermon-stories.com, a lectionary-based story-commentary series. Read more