A prayer for Anna on her ordination
I'm thinking today about God's good work in calling a friend to ministry and in calling so many good and faithful workers. Thanks be to God.
God of grace,
We give you thanks for your good work and will in empowering and setting apart particular daughters and sons for your service, and we especially give you thanks for your work in the life of Anna, who you have claimed as your own and who has responded to you with joy.
Praise to the Lord, above all things so wondrously reigning; sheltering you under his wings, and so gently sustaining! Have you not seen all that is needful has been sent by his gracious ordaining? (from the hymn)
We give thanks for the way you work in particular lives, in particular stories, not calling only the noisy or those certain they were destined for you from birth, but graciously tending the field, like a gardener bent over green shoots, that those who did not first imagine your leading them to leadership might come to imagine it and more in the power of the Spirit.
In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy" Acts 2:17-18.
We thank you for the way you shine forth in Anna's person Lord God, so that she becomes more herself as she becomes more like you. We thank you for the testimony and beauty of her unveiled face (2 Corinthians 3:18).
This charge I commit to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies made earlier about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, having faith and a good conscience (1 Timothy 1:18-19a).
Thank you for the many gifts you so freely bestow, equipping your saints for faithfulness, surrounding them with nurture from families of birth and the family of the church of Jesus Christ, granting the fruit of the Spirit and gifts unique to each precious one, called by you and called by name.
For the education which has equipped Anna with knowledge and the wisdom that has grown in her as she seeks that knowledge of you, Lord, we give you thanks; we thank you for professors, for books, for riches from the tradition and the global church throughout time and space, for friends who have encouraged and discipled her on her journey to this day.
O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquillity the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were being cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer)
Holy God, may Anna's love for you and your people continue to grow. May she minister Word and sacrament faithfully, so as to draw others to you as she has been drawn.
May she, like Priscilla and Peter before her, explain the gospel so as to help others see it more clearly; like Phoebe and Paul, offer service and succor; and, like James and Junia, obey the commission of Christ. Though trials will come, may she shepherd your people wisely, secure in the arms of her Good Shepherd.
Shepherdess and Her Flock, Jean Francois Millet, Getty Museum
May the body of Christ do for her as Paul asked the church to do for Phoebe and "welcome her in the Lord, as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require" (Romans 16:2).
Father, Son, and Spirit, bless Anna and all those you call with the confidence of your calling, experience of your empowering presence, and trust in Christ our great high priest and savior.