Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People January 7, 2018

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Epiphany Sunday, 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 who must live and work or strive to care for others in the midst of political upheaval or the chaos that follows hurricane, 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 our 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 greet us at this table where a holy meal is served. You show us that you are here with us.

So, help us dust off the visions we thought had grown stale and unpromising, and help us see them again, 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, uplifting, renewing and life-directing grace – so that we might share it joyfully, lavishly, with all those we encounter. Today we gratefully acknowledge our kinship with so many others – all part of Christ’s beloved flock. And we join our voices in the prayer he taught us … the Lord’s Prayer.

Prayers of the People December 24, 2017 - Christmas Eve

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We have gathered this night, God, in expectation. We have come under starlight, to anticipate the uniqueness of the birth that set in motion centuries of celebration. We have heard the ancient stories spoken again, the ancient harmonies raised; their promises renewed, for us and our lives.

We know our need of those promises, God. For like generations before us, we live in a world that fears the desperate acts of terrorists, that struggles with too much poverty, that reels with violence, that endures illness and anger, loneliness and longing, guilt, and sorrow. We have come together in recognition of our needs, and with the prayer that all our hopes and all our fears will be met in your loving embrace this night.

And you have come. This night, God, is most hallow’d among all nights, for it is the night when humanity and divinity intertwine in the birth of your Son, Jesus. We stand amazed that the age-old prophecies are realized in ways we never imagined. You’ve come to us in humility and the simple grandeur of a baby. We welcome the fresh new life born into our midst. We welcome the hope sprung up among us. We receive you tenderly tonight. You show us just how powerful, how enduring, how profound, innocent love can be.

Now, washed in the gentle glow of candles, lighted in honor of your coming, Christ, let us recognize that yours is the only light we hold against the darkness of the night. Let us take your light from here tonight and live by its glow in every succeeding moment. Show us that your light shines more truly and surely to guide us, than the flash and gleam of brighter lights. Let your light sustain us in all our moments of darkness and doubt. We have work to do, until through us, your light shines out to brighten all the world that you so dearly love.

This night is most hallow’d among all nights. We give you thanks and praise, God, for unto us this night, a child is born. Amen.

By Dr. Rev. Casey Baggott

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