Prayers of the People

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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.

Pastoral Prayer for World Wide Communion Sunday - October 1, 2017

Based on 1st John 4:7-12 ~ unifying love

Generous God, who meets us at this table and throughout our lives with infinite grace, we thank you. So many have gathered today across the globe to remember your eternal gifts, and to taste the love in them once more. Bread has been broken, the cup has been poured, prayers and praise and songs have been offered – all part of our effort for faithful remembrance. To this table we were called and gladly came: for nourishment, for healing, for renewal. And from it you send us back into the world to share the abundance we received here.

Today, in the wake of the tragedies in Huston, the Keys, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and beyond, help us become more committed than ever to searching beneath the rubble of shattered dreams, to sifting through the shards of broken certainties, for the sturdy bedrock you alone offer. Let those whose lives are disrupted and overturned, who grieve deeply this day, find that despite the deepest imaginable loss, there may be hope to be found in relying upon a simple, basic, sustaining trust in you. You teach again and again that when life is over, your resurrection restores. When dreams seem lost, you create anew. And when all is gone, your love remains. For the greatest gift you have given your world, O God, is love – simple, ferocious love. And it is enough.

And so let us go from here, dear God, with the acknowledgement that having glimpsed, through our shared bread and cup, the wonder of your presence and the bountiful loving goodness it offers, we have the encouragement we need to help make our world glow with your transforming love every day. Let our lives spread your love as we reach out to heal broken hearts, to promote justice, to work for meaningful and lasting peace, to rebuild from devastation, and to share in countless ways the comfort and hope you have shared with us – that your gifts may be spread all around the globe.

We ask these things as Christ’s followers, who long to be recognized by a single primary and defining characteristic - our love. Hear us as we sing together the prayer your son taught us … Lord’s Prayer.