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An Evening Prayer to the Good Shepherd

An evening prayer by Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, you emptied yourself of heaven’s riches and came to share our lot. You made yourself poor so that by your poverty we might become rich. Though perfect in purity, you submitted to baptism like any sinner in need of cleansing.

Good Shepherd, so many of your flock need your tender care. Tend prisoners, caged and too often abandoned by family members. Tend addicts, trapped by lethal hungers. Tend prostitutes, used by the lust of strangers. Tend refugees, who are footsore, threadbare, and humiliated by their condition. Tend the unemployed and underpaid, your lonely ones, your depressed ones, your wretched ones.

Lord Jesus Christ, wear your look of welcome for sisters and brothers whose calling this night is to die. Escort them with a party of angels into your radiance, and light them up with the rays of your love. Tell them that their sins have been forgiven, and that they are now cloaked in your righteousness. Promise them a future filled with love and joy.

Suffering Son of God, our minds do not grasp the length and breadth, the height and depth of your love for us sinners. Our minds do not grasp your unfathomable love, but our hearts hold it. Our hearts do hold it.

Good Shepherd, I have my loved ones much on my mind. I’m thinking of ______, and of ______, and of ______. Go before them to lead them. Go behind them to guard them. Go beneath them to support them. Go beside them to befriend them. Do not let them be afraid. Extract their fear and replace it with your peace. Let your blessing fall on them and settle in around them. Do not let them be afraid.

Tonight, gracious Lord, it will be time for me to relinquish my awareness and to fall away into slumber. Please push away the frightening dreams, and bring forward the sweet ones, so that I may sleep under the arch of your blessing. Then, tomorrow, let me awaken refreshed and ready for a new day. In your merciful name, amen.

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