Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People Sunday, October 29, 2017

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Reformation Sunday, based on Jeremiah 31:31-34

God of creation, you create still, by offering us this new day, this new chance, this new beginning. Today we have brought to you an offering from the abundance that is ours. Let our offering help to secure new beginnings for others, wherever there is need for fresh starts, we pray.

We join our prayers today, O God, with followers of your Son from across the globe and across the ages who have weathered storm after storm, through his Spirit’s guidance and grace. When life’s uncertainties tempt us to cling for security to projects, purposes, and practices of human design, help us remember that no earthly authority may make a claim to permanence which belongs to you, alone, O God. Help us be willing to let all perishable things pass away, as time sweeps on, with the assurance that you are the imperishable constant that will see us through.

Make us then, not reluctant witnesses to the inevitable cycles of life and faith, but their awed and grateful observers. In fact, help us to willingly participate in clearing away all that is unhelpful, rigid, or unbending. Help us to welcome the new things you are about to do among us. Keep us watching with hopeful anticipation as the cracks appear in old, outworn ideas and structures. Remind us that perhaps it will be through those very cracks that your life-renewing spirit may find room to bubble up and bring restoration.

And allow us, we pray, O God, to be willing to let our own lives be periodically transformed, reformed, and renewed, as well. Let what should recede and depart from us, go. Then write your covenant of grace boldly and lovingly across our hearts – erasing records of our wrongs, claiming us for your own, shaping us to your purposes, drawing us ever nearer to you.

Help us to be, O God, Christ’s reformed people, who are reforming still people of pliable minds and hearts who follow Christ’s call to meet new challenges, to love new people, to care with new depth, to learn new duties, to strive for greater good. And using now Christ’s own words, we pray together saying … The Lord’s Prayer.

Pastoral Prayer - October 22, 2017

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Based on Exodus 33:12-23, Cleft of the Rock

Wondrous and everlasting God, we thank you for your solidity, your strength, your majesty. We thank you for being to us a rock of ages, that shelters us year after year after year, through all that assails and threatens to overwhelm us. In these times of uncertainty and discord, our anxieties all too often seem to run high, and our doubts to run deep. And yet we have come here today, to acknowledge once again that your guidance can see us through life’s storms and trials. We acknowledge that our link to you is the anchor that prevents our running aground. After all, you tether us to eternity, when we would otherwise wander, lost in the confusion of our daily lives, caught in the press of each day’s worries.

And help us, we pray, to worry a bit less about charting our forward movement, and remember to take a backward glance now and then, to find the pattern of your loving care and presence woven into the fabric of our lives. Help us connect the dots that then point us faithfully and trustingly to you – who shoulders the world with ease – and shelters us all in your grace.

When life’s uncertainties weigh upon us, O God, we pray that as we feel concern for our own futures, we will not fail to recognize the needs of others which vastly outweigh our own. If there are those about whom the world couldn’t care less – teach us to care, as you do. If there are those in need of help with whom the world can’t be bothered – show us how to serve them, for your sake. Just as you seek the lost and shelter them, so let us find a way to offer spaces of comfort and care.

All these things we bring to you today, dear God, knowing that even when we cannot see your face, and you seem distant and disinterested, yet, you stand near us all the while, protecting us as in the cleft of the rock – shielding us by your mighty hand. With this assurance, we bring our prayers today, offered in the name of the One who felt certain enough of your nearness to call you, “Father,” and taught us to say together when we prayed … the Lord’s Prayer.