Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People January 13, 2019

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To be named your people, O God, and to receive in our baptisms your Holy Spirit, these are unsurpassable gifts.  And so today we acknowledge them.  We celebrate the assurances of your steadfast care for us, and your unchanging claims upon us as your children.  We find, in our brothers and sisters, reasons to claim pride of family, even when our differences may seem to divide us. 

We pray for your whole family, today, wherever it is facing hardship.  We pray for your children, our brothers and sisters, who face violence and war.  We pray for our brothers and sisters who are ill or lonely, downhearted or distressed, poor or deprived of the riches we enjoy.  Let our pride in being claimed as your people enable us to reach out graciously and generously to others you love.  Let us stand up for them and with them.

We do confess that we may still search misguidedly for other identities for ourselves, that we feel will better suit us, than the identity you grant, God.  We strive for our own success, assuming it will have ultimate power to save us from hardship.  We hunger for relationships that will save us from loneliness.  We ally ourselves to group or faction, clique or community, hoping to save ourselves from the threat of not belonging.  Forgive us these attempts to define ourselves without you, and to save ourselves from anxiousness and uncertainty.  Show us that who we are in your eyes is an identity more to be sought than any we concoct for ourselves.  We are somebody.  We are your children. 

If ever we forget the momentousness of belonging to you, help us to recall the indelible mark we wear upon our foreheads.  As if still dripping with the waters of baptism, let us feel upon us the sign of our covenant of grace with you.  We trust by this sign, that wherever we go and whatever we do, however we may be threatened or in jeopardy, you will never abandon nor betray us.  We are yours – your people.  We have waded deep into the same living and life-giving waters as Jesus, the Son with whom you were so well-pleased.  Be pleased with us, we pray, for his sake. 

Today we pray in his memory, using his own words when we say together now … Lord’s Prayer.

 

Prayers of the People January 6, 2019

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Based on Matthew 2:1-12

Wondrous God, we thank you for the gifts of this table, and we wonder anew today at all the gifts by which you sustain us.  We thank you for visions, for light by which to walk, and for your love.  May all the gifts we, in turn, offer in gratitude, like the gifts offered by the wise men of old, demonstrate that we willingly bring our best to you and others – confident that you will wisely put to use whatever our trusting hearts and open hands provide.

We pray this day for those terribly troubled locations in the world.  Be with those in the midst of political upheaval, or the chaos that follows storm, fire, and flood.  Let your guidance be felt, that spirits may be strengthened and futures may shine with assurance and the promise of better possibilities.   

We pray for all those who grieve today, or long for healing, or find themselves concerned for their family’s welfare, their children’s safety, their future dreams, their past mistakes.  Let your healing presence wash over these troubled places, renewing confidence, restoring hope. 

We pray today for this church family and its future.  You know all the needs we have dear God – better, surely, than we do ourselves.  Keep us focused on worthy aims.  Keep us watching for all the signs and signals you offer to lead us onward.  Let us be ever more surely drawn to you and your purposes.

And finally, God, we dare to pray for ourselves, knowing that no matter where we have been, or what we have done or failed to do, you open your arms to us, gladly.  You have greeted us today at this table where a holy meal has been served.  You show us that you are, in fact, with us every day in wondrous ways. 

So help us dust off the visions we thought had grown stale, and let us see them again now, by the light of the star of Bethlehem that shines to guide all seekers toward your Son.  Help us, as Christ’s followers, to claim his restoring, renewing, and life-directing grace – so that we might share it lavishly with all those we encounter.  Hear us as we join our voices in the prayer he taught us … the Lord’s Prayer.

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