Prayers of the People

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Pastoral Prayer - September 17, 2017

Based on John 13: 31-3, Post Hurricane Irma

For these gifts, that you have first given to us, dear Lord, we are grateful. Take them, we pray, as our offering today, and let them now become a source of blessing and joy for others. We share, with the realization that it is in giving, that we receive the greatest of your gifts.

We are mindful today of those in need across the face of the earth – and we pray your support, your comfort, and your aid for them. We pray most urgently for the survivors of Hurricane Harvey, and now Hurricane Irma. We pray for those whose lives have been permanently altered by destruction from wind and wave, those who struggle to recover, those who
offer their hands-on practical and much-needed assistance, and for those who serve us in positions of leadership that will especially now require your wisdom, courage, and compassion to be their guides in effective and purposeful decision-making on behalf of others. We are mindful of all these needs in our world, and more. 

Indeed, today we have come to this sacred place with much on our minds and in our hearts. And so we also pray for our community …. our church … our friends … our dear ones … and ourselves. You know each need even before we ask for your help, God. Trusting that you will orchestrate all things to work together for good for those who love you, we entrust our dearest hopes and dreams to you, with loving hearts.

We have learned the significance of love from your Son, O God, who told us that we were, above all else, to love one another, as he has loved us – that our identity as his people may be obvious to all. And so, though love may be costly, let us love. Though love may be challenging and trying, let us love. Though love may test our patience, our gentleness, and our selfcontrol,
let us love. For faith steadies us. Hope sustains us. But love is greater yet. Love is your way with the world, and the pattern you have left for us to follow. Let us love, though it be the simplest and most excruciatingly difficult of all commandments to fulfill. Let us love.

We pray in the name of the One who commands love, and offers it with gracious and wondrous self-giving. Hear us as we say together the words of his prayer … the Lord’s Prayer.

in Prayer

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.