Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People July 15, 2018

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Based on Luke 5:1-11, “Cast your nets”

God, you bless us again and again.  We find we have received far more than we can justify or deserve, by your open hand.  And so with deepest gratitude, we offer some of the bounty in our midst back to you.  Let the gifts we bring today spread the abundance of your goodness and grace where they may be needed most.

 We know there is widespread need for your gifts, O God.  There are people and places in need of such simple essentials as food and shelter and safety.  There are people and places in need of healing – body and soul.  There are people and places in need of a comforting word, an outstretched hand, an encouraging spirit.  Wherever your people are in need, God, let your voice be heard – directing, uplifting, empowering, so that needs may be met and hardships overcome.  Where we may be your agents in delivering your help, show us how to proceed.

We remember Jesus’ disciples of long ago, so wearied by work that had proven unproductive, and simply uncertain of how to proceed.  But they listened to Christ’s assurance that plumbing the depths would change everything.  He showed them how to cast their nets another way, in another place, and drag in the catch of a lifetime.  We, too, need some redirection and guidance, from time to time.  Let us hear the quiet voice in which Christ’s spirit may yet be heard, urging us onward to deeper and more meaningful pursuits.  If we are casting in the wrong direction for what will fill our nets and bring blessing – then may Christ’s voice prove persuasive to us.  Let us listen carefully for his words, “Put out into the deep water, don’t be afraid.” 

Help us learn to distinguish his voice from other noise in life.  Perhaps he is calling us to redirect our energies, or refocus our efforts, or reenergize our commitment.  Help us to trust that when we heed that voice that steers us with infinite tenderness and patient love, we will find ourselves entrusted with blessing upon blessing – like fishermen raising a net from the dark depths, filled to overflowing.  May we too succeed in bringing forth the catch of our lifetime: a true abundance of goodness, of joy, of hope, of compassion, of humility, of forgiveness, of generosity.  Let our willingness to pull these gifts from the deep keep us among Christ’s people, always willing to go wider, and go deeper.  

We pray all these things today in the spirit and the memory of one who taught us to fish, by first catching us in his net of unbreakable love.  We pray using his very words, as we now say together … Lord’s Prayer.

Prayers of the People July 1, 2018

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God of the ages, the stream of blessings that has flowed to us across the years is a source of our hope and our strength.  Accept these, our gifts for today, in tribute to your generosity and as a pledge of our goal to become ever more generous ourselves.

By your grace, you have preserved us and allowed this country we love to celebrate its birth once more, and your particular blessings upon our nation have been a focus of our appreciation this week.  You are the giver of the purple mountains’ majesty, the fruited plains, the patriots’ dreams, and the shining seas that bless our lives and our land.  Yet, we know, O God, that the ultimate fate of nations across history, even blessed nations, has been varied.  In your sight, nations rise or fall, live in light of your call to righteousness or ignore it, shine as beacons among the nations of the world or harbor shadowy hard-heartedness.  Help us, then, to turn our grateful faces always toward you, and ask for your continued counsel and your assistance, to utilize our many blessings wisely. 

Today we acknowledge that our freedom to shape our nation’s character and future has been a gift to us from those who fought for our freedoms centuries ago, and those who are engaged today in service to our country, whether in this land, or while stationed somewhere around the globe.  We are humbly mindful of these men and women who serve our nation, and ask your protection of them.  Help them to remember in their loneliest and most confused moments, the significance of their efforts.  Through their work, may our world grow closer to becoming the realm you have asked for us to establish – a place where the liberty of all your children is considered to be a treasure beyond price, and a place where freedom gained is used always in service to others. 

And, dear God, we pray this day for ourselves … asking that every time we celebrate our freedom, you might help us also to act on behalf of those near us for whom life offers only limited freedom.  We pray for young people caught up in hopelessness, for men and woman trapped by addiction, for those whose potential has been stifled, for those ensnared by the pangs of grief and loss, for those exhausted by caring for others, for those fearful for the future.  Bring inward freedom to all these made captive by circumstance.  And teach us how we may work to help in setting them free from life’s chains.

Help us always to follow in the way of Jesus Christ, whose strength and goodness and freedom were all invested in you.  May we, like him, use our wonderful liberty not as license to do what we please, but as the opportunity to become what we should.  We pray these things, gratefully, in Christ’s name and spirit, and using his words, as we say together… Lord’s Prayer…

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