Prayers of the People

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Pastoral Prayer - October 15, 2017

Based on Exodus 32:1-14, Faithfulness

God of abundance and blessing, we thank you for all we have received, and offer a portion this day to this church’s work, with grateful hearts. Although we acknowledge we often overlook you as the source of all the good things we claim as our own, we do strive to be mindful of your place and your purposes, your gifts and your grace in our lives. We ask that you help direct our offering today to those people and places most in need of them. Direct necessary support, comfort, aid, and hope, we pray, to the recovering hurricane victims, flood victims, victims of shootings, and now victims of wildfires. There are more needs, O God, than we know how to meet. More pain than we know how to ease. More injury than we know how to heal. Yet, we are learning to trust that as we turn our hearts to you, you will point us in the way we should go. When we grow restless and eager for immediate answers, results, or rewards, remind us that our zeal must not outstrip our patient faith. Teach us to be humble, thoughtful, and unwearied. Let us not disregard our reliance upon you for all things, by replacing you – the living source of life and love – with idols of our own making. Setting aside our faith and steady trust in you never ends well. So, if we have replaced you with some other source of security, and made an idol of our work, or our assets, or our certainties, turn us back to your strength. If we have replaced you with entertainment and made an idol of our amusements, turn us back to your joy. If we have replaced you with trivial ideas and made an idol of unworthy thoughts and goals, turn us to your deeper wisdom. Keep us humbly aware of our reliance upon you, O God, and patient enough in our faithfulness that we are willing to await your timing and the fulfillment of your plans. For your plans are made with a view toward a horizon we can only dimly glimpse. We envision tomorrow. You grasp eternity. We pray today, holy eternal God, entrusting ourselves to the way of your Son, whose life and whose love still beckons us on, still enlarges our scope of vision for the journey ahead. Using his trusting, faithful words of prayer, we say together: The Lord’s Prayer …

Pastoral Prayer - October 8, 2017

Based on Exodus 20: 1-4, 7-9, 12-20 Ten Commandments

God of blessing and hope, you have given into our care resources that enrich our lives. We bring back to you today, a portion of your blessings, asking that you empower us to put them to work for others, furthering your purposes.

With the shooting in Las Vegas so heavy on our hearts today, we pray for comfort and healing for all the grieving families, strength for rescue workers, vision for those who will work to prevent recurrences, and renewed compassion for so many of us who face the shock and sorrow of yet another devastating tragedy in our midst.

We acknowledge with sadness today that there are still staggering difficulties for us to face, and problems that just confound us. Will senseless violence, betrayal, anger, poverty, and bitterness never cease? Can disease and loneliness and hatred and greed never be overcome?

When we grow weary of life’s most stubborn and persistent problems, frustrated by our inability to solve them, sustain us with the reminder that we are neither helpless nor alone. Teach us again to trust that every little step we are able to take moves us gradually but steadily forward, that no goodness shared is wasted, that no hope of ours goes unheeded or unheard by you.

Show us again, God, that you are near – our eternal source and our salvation, and that claiming us as you own, you have also demonstrated to us the means by which our lives together may be whole, honest, full, more caring, more holy. Encourage our efforts to live in light of your guidance.

Help us to follow your commandments to us. As a gracious gift that defines us as your people and points our way, your commandments stand as a challenge before us for faithful living. In following your wishes for our lives, O God, keep us creative. Make us inventive. Help us be resourceful. And let us strive to fulfill with enthusiasm always, the one underlying and nonnegotiable law we are ever bound to obey – the law of love. Let us dare to act upon that law with whole heartedness throughout our lives. We pray today in memory of the one whose selfless love is our ideal, and whose life of humble service is our goal.

We pray today in his name, and using his own words, as we say together: … the Lord’s Prayer.