A prayer for the sixteenth Sunday in ordinary time


We tell you all the time what we want from you.

We tell you all the time what we will do for you to get it.

We tell you all the time what it means that you aren’t doing what we want you to do after we’ve told you what we are going to do for you.

“If you heal my dad,” we say, “I’ll do anything for you.”

“I’ve been really faithful,” we say. “I should have that job.”

“I’m doing what you told him to do,” we say. “Where’s my blessing.”

I’m sorry, God,

on behalf of all of us who haven’t been good and faithful teachers.

Where we could have shown people about your presence in suffering,
we’ve taught people ways to spiritual and material success.

Where we could have taught people how to sit with you,
we’ve taught people to look at us.

Where we could have lived in communities, being built together,
we’ve built hollow towers that echo with our praises.

We’ve been the Nathan who agreed with David’s idea and haven’t been the Nathan who gave David your desire.


Forgive our false and inadequate teaching.
Forgive your people who have followed us instead of you.

Help us all, together, forgiven, to follow you.

In Christ our Lord,



Reflecting on 2 Samuel 7:1-14 and Ephesians 2:11-22