Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People January 14, 2018

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Prayers of the People for Martin Luther King Sunday

We ask you today, O God, for inspiration.  We pray in gratitude for all those whose inspired faithfulness arouses our own – the prophets, the visionaries, the humble seekers, and the brave leaders whose lives have been given in service to you and your people.  Give us the high vantage point we need to see over stumbling blocks and beyond discouragement in our own lives.  Inspire us with what we, too, may accomplish on your behalf. 

We ask you today, O God, for justice.  Hunger and hardship still stalk the human community, and we would be your agents in alleviating these sufferings.  Show us how we can extend your goodness.  Discouragement dampens the dreams of the children you love.  Help us bring compassion and caring wherever we can.  Opportunity and fairness are still denied to many who long for better lives, God.  Let our efforts bring dignity to them and let us contribute to solutions to injustice. 

We ask you today, O God for peace.  The peoples of the earth have known such short bursts of peace.  We have had such difficulty acknowledging our differences without judging them to be cause for hatred or even violence.  Teach us a new way, God.  Let the lion lie down with the lamb, the Sunni respect the Shiite, the Israeli and Palestinian claim brotherhood, and peoples of all races and all cultures see beyond the surface to the commonalities in our hearts and souls.  And let us be contributors in the best and wisest ways toward establishment of these glorious visions of peace.  As followers of the Prince of Peace, let us represent Christ’s heart of peace wherever we go and whatever we do. 

And finally, O God, we ask you today for more love.  Visions and dreams, hopes and goals - you have granted these to your faithful people across the centuries, calling to them in your compelling voice, and urging them to work together for your loving will to be done.  Your faithful people have worked to conform their dreams to yours.  Let our dreams reflect yours, as well, so that we may build ourselves into a community recognizable by its love, distinguished by its compassion, unique in its harmony.  We pray as a people whose first allegiance is to your Son, who taught us that though we may differ in a thousand ways, yet we may learn to live together, and to love one another.  And so today we join our hearts and voices in the prayer Jesus taught us to say together:  The Lord’s Prayer …

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.