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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.

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