The Rev. Marilyn Butler has served as the priest at Holy Trinity in Buhl, Idaho since 1994. She has also taught math at the College of Southern Idaho and worked for the Idaho Department of Agriculture. She was recently elected to the Standing Committee – possibly the only committee she hasn’t served on in the Diocese.
The “Prayers of Thanksgiving” section of the BCP, starting on p. 814, have been especially important to me. Every day brings sad news about some conflict in the world. I find comfort in the words of the prayers “For All Sorts of Conditions of Men” and “For the Human Family”. How do we as southern Idaho Christians influence the world around us? How can we have an input on events half way around the globe? What do we do in response to nightly news nation, the government probably responsible for their deaths? We can donate to worthy causes of course and we can encourage action on the part of our congressional delegation, but quite frankly our biggest potential impact is most
I also use the Prayers of Thanksgivings for local events. Once a year, the West likely through prayer and we can use the Prayers of Thanksgiving to help us.End Ministerial Association sponsors a prayer breakfast in Buhl on the National Day of Prayer. The community is invited. There is usually a featured speaker, someone prominent in southern Idaho. We, the ministers photos of starving children and pictures of dozens of dead bodies lined up in some oppressive in Buhl, offer prayers for the nation, the state, the community, etc. There are usually four or five of us offering these prayers and we need to be finished by 8:00 am so people can go to work. The scenario is usually as follows: Pastor A from one of the very conservative local churches prays for five minutes for the nation (I’m thinking I could have used a combination of Prayers 18 – 22 and been done in two minutes). Pastor B from an equally conservative local church prays for four minutes for the state of Idaho. We are left with about 8 minutes until we hit the 8 am witching hour. Pastor C prays for another four minutes about the local schools. Pastor D will pray for local businesses and I am left as the last pray-er – praying for the community in general. You guessed is – I have about one minute left. So of course I turn to Prayer 34, “For Towns and Rural Areas”. I can ad lib a little in addition to the written prayer but I can say as much in a minute or two as the others did in five minutes. Bravo for the Book of Common Prayer!
What is it about these prayers that touch our souls? They are complete and comprehensive. They fill our needs in just a few words. They don’t repeat themselves but they cover everything that needs to be addressed. I wonder who wrote these prayers. Was it an individual or a committee? How did he or they have the ability to put the words together in such a way to touch us and lift our spirits? Once again, the work of the Holy Spirit is seen in our BCP, benefiting and comforting us.