Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People January 7, 2018

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Epiphany Sunday, based on Matthew 2:1-12

Wondrous God, we thank you for the gifts of this table, and we wonder anew today at all the gifts by which you sustain us. We thank you for visions, for light by which to walk, and for your love. May all the gifts we, in turn, offer in gratitude, like the gifts offered by the wise men of old, demonstrate that we willingly bring our best to you and others – confident that you will wisely put to use whatever our trusting hearts and open hands provide.

We pray this day for those terribly troubled locations in the world. Be with those who must live and work or strive to care for others in the midst of political upheaval or the chaos that follows hurricane, fire, and flood. Let your guidance be felt, that spirits may be strengthened and futures may shine with assurance and the promise of better possibilities.

We pray for all those who grieve today, or long for healing, or find themselves concerned for their family’s welfare, their children’s safety, their future dreams, their past mistakes. Let your healing presence wash over these troubled places, renewing confidence, restoring hope.

We pray today for our church family and its future. You know all the needs we have dear God – better, surely, than we do ourselves. Keep us focused on worthy aims. Keep us watching for all the signs and signals you offer to lead us onward. Let us be ever more surely drawn to you and your purposes.

And finally, God, we dare to pray for ourselves, knowing that no matter where we have been, or what we have done or failed to do, you open your arms to us, gladly. You greet us at this table where a holy meal is served. You show us that you are here with us.

So, help us dust off the visions we thought had grown stale and unpromising, and help us see them again, by the light of the star of Bethlehem that shines to guide all seekers toward your Son. Help us, as Christ’s followers, to claim his restoring, uplifting, renewing and life-directing grace – so that we might share it joyfully, lavishly, with all those we encounter. Today we gratefully acknowledge our kinship with so many others – all part of Christ’s beloved flock. And we join our voices in the prayer he taught us … the Lord’s Prayer.