Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People January 21, 2018

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Based on Jonah, chapters 3-4

Please receive the gifts we have brought to our worship this morning, God, and see that they are used wisely and well – to further the best and most significant work of Christ’s church.  With your help, let us:

Share our prosperity, and lessen the pangs of poverty.

Comfort the grieving, and reorient the lost.

Restore confidence, and overcome despair.

Encourage cooperation, and diminish contention. 

Conquer cynicism, and reclaim your dreams for us.

Remember your call, and honor it with our commitment and loyalty.

We pray that you may teach us, and all your people everywhere, what is entailed in our role as your people.  And when we set out in service to you, let our motives be rightly focused.

If, like Jonah, we attempt to run and hide from the tasks you place before us, forgive our hard-headedness and our heard-heartedness.  Bring us back to you and ask us again to do that which we alone are capable of doing. 

If we secretly, like Jonah, harbor resentments, or think that maintaining divisions between ourselves and others is justified, or believe that you must disapprove of others, as we do – then remind us that you can love us fully, and also love others.  Show us how we are needed in caring for the others you love, and put us to work. 

If we are less forgiving than we should be, less caring, less involved, less hopeful, less helpful – then we ask that you intervene to wake us to your vision for our lives.  Focus us on all you hold to be possible, if we will work on your behalf.  Let us play our part, we pray, in bringing to reality your great dream for a realm on earth where Christ’s love indeed, reigns supreme. 

As followers of your Son, we would be his agents, his very body on this earth in this time and place.  So let us walk upon his path, speak with his words, serve with his hands, and love with his heart. 

And in those moments, O God, when we recognize our own limitations in accomplishing all that this world requires to become your shining realm of love and grace, then let us entrust the rest to you – for you are ultimately the healer, the giver, the sustainer, and the renewer on whom we all may faithfully rely. 

We pray all these things in Christ’s name today, using his very words, as we say together now… Lord’s Prayer.

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 …

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