Disentangle Us

Pastoral Prayer**
Broadway Baptist Church
Chris Caldwell

Disentangle us, Lord, for we are tied in knots, trapped in nets, 
We are lost in the web of trivial and sinful things.

Forgive us, for too often we are not who you called us to be.

Instead, we are

Gullible Gullivers, tied down by Lilliputian ropes anchored a thousand times over in the shallow soil of trivial, little, busy things.

We are

Lady McBeth, pulled forward by chords of compulsion, driven to have even more, and even more.

We are are Raskolnikov, our minds twisted every tighter by self-centered calculations and crazy self-deceptions.

We are Willie Stark, slyly turning others into pawns who can help us gobble up things that hold the seeds of our own destruction.

And so, disentangle us, Lord.  Free us.

Free us to be

KIng David, who grew to greatness only after he said honestly, “I have sinned against God.”

Free us to be Mary, who made great things possible when she humbly followed an unclear path.

Free us to be Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who refused to bow to a power unworthy of their devotion.

Free us to be Esther, who refused to give in to the power of sinful coercion.

We confess, Lord, that our sins have tied us down, but we also come to  you for help, because life sometimes weighs us down.

We are weighed down by debt or by unemployment.
We are weighed down by lost friendships or relationships.
We are weighed down by pressure at school or at work.
The hatred of others burdens us.
The costly mistakes of loved ones burden us.
Cancer burdens us.
Alzheimer’s burdens us.

And so we have come, in prayer, to lean upon you and to ask you to help us to carry our loads.  

Disentangle us from our sins, Lord.
Help us to carry our burdens. 
And lead us toward better days.
Remind us that on the other side of the sin and weight of the cross, there is resurrection.
And grant us faith for the living of these days, and hope for better days to come.



This prayer grew out of reading George Herbert’s “The Reprisal” in Jim Orrick’s A Year with George Herbert.


        I have considered it, and find
There is no dealing with thy mighty passion:
For though I die for thee, I am behind;
        My sins deserve the condemnation.

        O make me innocent, that I
May give a disentangled state and free;
And yet thy wounds still my attempts defy,
        For by thy death I die for thee.

        Ah! was it not enough that thou
By thy eternal glory didst outgo me?
Could'st thou not grief's sad conquests me allow,
        But in all victories overthrow me?

        Yet by confession will I come
Into the conquest. Though I can do nought
Against thee, in thee I will overcome
        The man, who once against thee fought.

by George Herbert 1593-1633
source: The Poetical Works Of George Herbert, ed. George Gilfillan. Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1853