Prayers of the People

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Pastoral Prayer - September 3, 2017

Based on Matthew 16:21-28

We are deeply grateful, God, for every means by which we are linked to Christ and his followers. In this communion meal, we have shared a feast that binds us together and acknowledges our reliance on your Son. We give you thanks.

We ask, O God, in the aftermath of a violent hurricane and its tragic consequences, that we acknowledge our bonds to those harmed by the storm and those working to heal the harm it’s done. So much destruction is hard to fathom – but, we ask, that you urge us not to look away. We acknowledge that it is sometimes difficult to know what your call to us as Christ’s people entails. Like his disciples of old, we are often more comfortable with basking in the glow of his love and admiring his wonders and miracles, than in following the costly and treacherous path toward the cross. Show us how to rightly walk the way with Christ. Set our minds more securely today on divine than human things, that our feet may know where to step, how to help, who to assist. 

As Christ’s faithful people, keep us ever ready, God, to lose in order to gain – let us lose our illusions, our self-sufficiency, our indifference, our prejudice, our self-importance, that we may gain from you the greater gifts of grace, and hope, and peace, and confidence, generosity, and compassion.

Help us to firmly command any temptations that deter us from Christ’s path to get behind us, where they will not block our vision and our forward walk. For we do choose to walk with Christ through the hard times as well as the good. We choose to pick up and carry that fearsome, costly, precious, and transformative cross that he bore. And we trust in doing so that we shall see realized his promise for ultimate gain. We trust that his gift of new life will awaken in us. We trust that our profit will be something more valuable than the whole world. We trust that we will always find a ready place at his table and the certain hope for eternity. 

We will walk with Christ today. And as his friends and followers, we sing together now the words of prayer he taught us … Lord’s Prayer.

Pastoral Prayer - August 13, 2017

Based on Matthew 14:22-33

We give to you, dear God, with open hands today – knowing that your generous hands are opened to us day by day by day. Take our gifts and let them work for the good of those you love, those who need these offerings most.

Today we pray with special awareness for the role of fear in our lives and the lives of others, when life’s storms batter and bruise. We pray for those whose fears are of war or violence. Grant them protection of body and assurance of spirit. We pray for those whose fears are for an uncertain future or an unwanted outcome. Give them peace in waiting, and calm in relinquishing their worry for what they cannot control or direct. We pray for those who fear for friends and loved ones. Show them how to express their concern, their support, and their hope, while trusting that those they love are ultimately always in your wise care. 

And God, we pray for our own fears… those worries that wake us in the dark of the night and trouble us at dawn… those things that sap our energies and take us on a detour from the path toward you we might otherwise walk with conviction and grace. Teach us how to acknowledge our fears without letting them master us. Let the vision of Jesus’ walk on the water toward the buffeted and battered boat be for us a vision of eternal reassurance. When we are storm-tossed and afraid, in our darkest hours, let us see you with us, coming to us through the turmoil. And let us, whenever we are fearful, recall the words of Christ: “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Let these words echo in our hearts and minds, let them sound above the roar of the storm, and let them nudge us to reach out for support to you, in order that in our renewed strength, we may also reach out to others who are yet caught in the storm. 

We are grateful for every way you come to us, God, and we are especially grateful for your Son, Jesus Christ, whose life, death, and resurrection provides us with the final assurance that we need not fear whatever befalls us. Christ has overcome it all. In his memory we pray, using now his very words… The Lord’s Prayer.