Prayers of the People

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Pastoral Prayer - October 22, 2017

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Based on Exodus 33:12-23, Cleft of the Rock

Wondrous and everlasting God, we thank you for your solidity, your strength, your majesty. We thank you for being to us a rock of ages, that shelters us year after year after year, through all that assails and threatens to overwhelm us. In these times of uncertainty and discord, our anxieties all too often seem to run high, and our doubts to run deep. And yet we have come here today, to acknowledge once again that your guidance can see us through life’s storms and trials. We acknowledge that our link to you is the anchor that prevents our running aground. After all, you tether us to eternity, when we would otherwise wander, lost in the confusion of our daily lives, caught in the press of each day’s worries.

And help us, we pray, to worry a bit less about charting our forward movement, and remember to take a backward glance now and then, to find the pattern of your loving care and presence woven into the fabric of our lives. Help us connect the dots that then point us faithfully and trustingly to you – who shoulders the world with ease – and shelters us all in your grace.

When life’s uncertainties weigh upon us, O God, we pray that as we feel concern for our own futures, we will not fail to recognize the needs of others which vastly outweigh our own. If there are those about whom the world couldn’t care less – teach us to care, as you do. If there are those in need of help with whom the world can’t be bothered – show us how to serve them, for your sake. Just as you seek the lost and shelter them, so let us find a way to offer spaces of comfort and care.

All these things we bring to you today, dear God, knowing that even when we cannot see your face, and you seem distant and disinterested, yet, you stand near us all the while, protecting us as in the cleft of the rock – shielding us by your mighty hand. With this assurance, we bring our prayers today, offered in the name of the One who felt certain enough of your nearness to call you, “Father,” and taught us to say together when we prayed … the Lord’s Prayer.

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 …