Close the Gap: A Prayer for Health Care Justice

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This weekend, I had the opportunity to join in an interfaith prayer vigil with the advocacy group Insure the Good Life, a project of Nebraska Appleseed that aims to urge state legislators to close the Medicaid gap – a gap that currently leaves tens of thousands of hard-working Nebraskans uninsured and without access to quality health care. It was a powerful event of prayer, solidarity, and witness. The bulk of the day’s program consisted in sharing stories – personal or on behalf of friends and family members. I firmly believe that we can quote all the facts and figures we want, but that it is the power of personal stories that is crucial in creating change.

Following these testimonies and words from other speakers, I offered this closing prayer (the inspiration for which came during a midnight stroke of insomnia…the best kind!). I offer it here as a resource to fellow clergy and faith leader colleagues. You are free to use this prayer as inspiration for your own, or in whole with proper attribution.

O God,
you are life,
source of all that is.
By your word
you brought forth sun and moon,
stars and planets,
plants and every green thing,
animals and all that has breath.
By your wisdom
you evolved our fragile home
through the millennia.
By your mercy
you sustain your creation,
today and everyday.
By your might
you guide your people
through sunshine and storm.

In one particular time and place,
you made yourself known to us in Jesus,
whose ministry took him to the margins,
to those whom society had declared
unclean, undeserving, unworthy.
In a spirit of mercy and holy rebellion,
Jesus reached across boundaries
and healed by his touch,
restoring life and life abundant
to those who had been cut off from community.

Your healing is known
across all faiths and among all cultures.
So inspired by the great love you have shown us,
make us agents of that same holy rebellion–
the divine obedience that manifests
your love and mercy for all whom you have created.

Bless the work of our elected officials
and the ministry to which you have called them.
Remind them of the communities they have promised to serve,
and inspire them to strive for justice,
especially for those most vulnerable,
that all may have access to quality health care,
and so all may be strengthened in body and spirit
to serve your planet and your people.

Send us forth with your blessing,
on this assembly gathered here,
to be a blessing to all we meet,
to receive blessing from those we least expect,
to bear one another’s burdens,
and to love, fiercely and unapologetically;
in the strong name of the Holy One
to whom we pray.
Amen.

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