In the month of September we’re highlighting culture resources. As we come to the start of a new semester, let’s pray for ourselves in our host cultures. We’ve created two prayers when it comes to culture: one for old hands and one for those new to a culture. At the bottom of this post you can get a downloadable version of each for you to use on a prayer walk, keep in your Bible, or hang in your home. We’re praying for you!
A Prayer for Old Hands in a Culture
God, whether I came here with the plan to stay for years
or one year turned into many,
thank you that I have (or we have)
built a home and life here.
As I look back and think of my first-year self in this place
I marvel at all I have learned
I am humbled by what I arrogantly thought I knew
I see the kind companions you brought across my path.
Thank you for this place, these people, this rich culture.
Thank you for the ways they have
welcomed me in
I see you, oh God, in ways I could not have seen you
without my years here.
You have shown me you are too big and glorious to
be held by any one culture.
And yet you are specific and detailed enough to weave
a glorious tapestry of
flavors, sounds, colors, textures, and smells.
Lord, in my comfort here protect me from
thinking I don’t have much to learn.
Keep me in the posture of a student.
And in those areas of the culture where I encounter
blatant disregard for human dignity,
help me to stay tender towards those I’ve come to serve.
Help me not to harden my heart or shut my hand.
Lord, this place is now a part of me and
I am grateful it has become
Thank you for seeing fit to let me
live, learn, and love you here.
A Prayer for New Hands in a Culture
I am here, oh Lord!
Here in this new land,
in this new culture,
in these new rhythms.
To it, I bring my new hopes
of what you will do in me
and through me
to help bring your Kingdom here to earth.
On the days, Lord when I can exclaim,
“I am here, oh Lord!” help to
protect my joy as I walk or bike or ride the subway
protect my language learning as I stumble
protect my growth in the thinking patterns
and values of these people.
Keep me curious and guard me from thinking
I know that which I am still learning.
On the days when my heart cries out in frustration,
“I am here, oh Lord?!”
and I feel trapped or tricked
by my call
by what others will think.
Help me not to lean on my own understanding.
Lead me to
people I can be honest with
guides who can help me untangle
and shepherds who will tend to me.
Give me patience for all of the new
that can be overwhelming.
God, you have brought me here and in these
early days, weeks, months, even years
help my roots to go deep by
understanding the history
seeing the world as they do
speaking the language, eating the food,
and walking in the shoes of my local friends.
Guard me from quick conclusions and speaking too early.
Help me manage the tension of
listening and learning
while I also
live and invest.
Thank you, God, that I am here.
You can download these prayers to use on a prayer walk, keep in your Bible, or hang in your home.