Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People September 16, 2018

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Based on Mark 7:24-30, Jesus’ encounter with the Syrophoenician woman

 

Take these gifts, God, which we have brought with deeply grateful hearts to you today.  In giving them, we acknowledge we owe everything to you --- and that we give back but a part of what is yours.  We pray you will continue to bless us, as we seek to rightly share what you have entrusted to us.

And we pray that we, along with your children across the globe, may learn to share more than resources.  We pray we may find ways to share the loving, compassionate, hopeful and affirming spirit of Jesus.  Where there is warfare, terrorism, or political strife, let his spirit of reconciliation emerge among us and prevail, calming bitterness, anger, and vengeance.  Where there is hunger, homelessness, joblessness, hopelessness for the future, let his spirit of confident expectation grow among us, quieting fears.  Where there is illness, loneliness, regret, or grief, let his spirit of healing and renewal suffuse the hurting places within us, as your soothing balm. 

And remind us that Jesus consistently looked beyond the customary boundaries of social obligation, and offered all his astonishing gifts of grace to those who would have been easy and acceptable to ignore.  Help us, then, as his followers not to take the easy, customary paths if more might be asked of us.  Let us step out, and offer whatever gifts of hope and grace we have to share, with whoever needs them most.  Let us, like Jesus, acknowledge that while the world might label people in ways that diminish their significance, we need not continue that practice.  We, as Jesus’ own friends and followers, have the capacity to acknowledge the “realness” of each person – each one’s dignity, unique potential, and inherent worth.  For Jesus has seen each of us as real in this light.

And so, dear God, wherever we might see as Jesus saw, with the light of love; wherever we might speak as he spoke, with nourishing words; and wherever we might act as he acted, overcoming divisions and claiming friends among every group and family; urge us to do so, God.  If we are tempted to be satisfied with anything less, remind us that it’s never good enough to delay kindness or moderate compassion.  Let us offer swift and substantial help, where we can, and feel the privilege of doing so in Jesus’ name. 

We pray these things today with gratitude that Jesus has awakened us to our own worth and that of each person we meet.  We all stand as sisters and brothers, we all stand as your children, God.  And so we pray to you, our Father, in Jesus’ own words of trust and hope, as we say together: The Lord’s Prayer.

Prayers of the People September 9, 2018

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Based on Luke 9:28-35

 

With gratitude and with humility we have come today, God, to offer you our gifts.  We hope that they demonstrate our participation in your dreams for our world – where those with too little may be satisfied, and those with enough may share willingly and generously.  May all we do and all we give, bring you pleasure.

For we are reminded today that you took great pleasure in your Son, Jesus.  And you have asked us to listen to him.  Help us, day by day, to listen for his voice in every way it may come to us… in the smiles, the laughter, the cries, the pleas, of all those we meet… in the music that washes over and through us… in the moments of quiet reflection and prayer that help us hear his words to us.  Help us to learn to turn consistently toward your son to witness what is most holy in life.  Uncloud our vision and show us the dazzling brilliance of love made flesh.

And give us courage, dear God, to face the fullness that life offers us: both bright mountain-top moments and walks through the dark valleys.  Help us to face our own seasons of darkness and defeat, knowing, by faith, that though clouds may overshadow us – or those we love – yet your love shines through to encourage us, and to instill the confidence we need to believe that ultimately, your light for the world shall not be overcome.  It cannot be overcome by poverty, or illness, or grief, or terrorism, or war.  For your goodness shines through, even these hardships.  Make us appreciative and attentive to all the ways you offer to uphold us.  Grant us the gift of awe before your grace.

And help us, through your transformative spirit, to become, like your beloved Son, open people, whose inner goodness is readily visible, a mirror of your own bright and shining image.  Keep us mindful always of the identity with which we have been imprinted and the high calling that accompanies it – we are your beloved children.  Let our lives sing with joy at that awareness. 

Now hear us, O God, as we use the very words that your beloved son taught us, as we say together … The Lord’s Prayer.

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