Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People September 15, 2019

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Based on Luke 15:1-10, parables of the lost sheep and lost coin

Gracious and merciful God, we come before you as we are today, imperfect, yes, but open to your transformation.  We return a portion of the gifts with which you have so richly blessed us, in the hope that they might be used to spread your word of welcome and joy throughout our troubled and fragmented world.

We claim you are master of the whole universe, and so we turn to you with prayers for the whole of creation.  Give our battered world rest from storms, recovery from winds and rains.  Let our earth repair and heal, so that all of us, who rely on its bounty and its beauty, may rest assured our home is safe.

As Jesus’ disciples, we hear with awe the stories of how he calmed storms with a word, healed the sick with a touch, and reoriented lives with simple parables that spoke of your most unexpectedly gracious love.  Let us, like the first to know Christ, receive from him the same powerful words of calm, that same healing touch, and his parables’ same promises, which we need for today.  And help us willingly share his message of healing, hope and grace.

Then, day by day, week by week, and year after year, keep us bonded by our common walk with Christ, by our stand together at the baptismal font, and by the meal we share at his table of celebration.  Let all we do make for a wide welcome and a strong unity among us.  And regardless of the world’s assessment of the worthiness of ourselves or others, let us open our doors widely to all who might enter in here.  Let us not succumb to the idea that some of us are better or holier or more beloved than others.  Let us recognize the eternal and limitless value of each of your people, for then we will be the real church – the place that determines to see and assess not by the world’s standards, but by the stunningly gracious, all-embracing love of Christ.  

We trust Jesus’ pledge that you, God, seek after us all – whether we know we are lost or not.  We trust that all who are lost will be found.  With humble hearts we turn to you, God, accepting that tender care for us, allowing it to give us peace of mind and bring us home to you.  And with one voice, we offer now the simple, grateful prayer Jesus taught us to say together … The Lord’s Prayer.

Prayers of the People September 8, 2019

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Based on Acts 28:1-3. 5-10 

We thank you, God, for the numberless gifts of our lives.  Open our minds and hearts to you, so that in difficult times we might be less prone to worry or despair – and more likely to trust patiently and hopefully that new beginnings are yet possible for us, because you never abandon us or leave us comfortless.  Help us witness all the ways your spirit reliably enters our world and our lives to make all things new.  Let us find peace in that recognition.  

And we pray today for such recognition of you, and such sustaining peace, wherever there is loneliness, wherever there is hardship, wherever there is pain, wherever there is grief, wherever there is disillusionment.  May your spirit enter in.  Solutions to life’s challenges and losses may not come easily and quickly, but let all in need learn to rely upon your spirit, O God, for the unexpected resolution, or the unanticipated alternative plan, or the surprising gift of grace. 

We pray especially today for the people pf the Bahamas and all the others who have been wounded by the fury of Hurricane Dorian.  Let them find hope in you and strength in the caring outreach which will be offered by dedicated and compassionate people.  Spur us, we pray, to bring our kindness, our courage, our empathy, our generosity to the resolution of this crisis.

In fact, spur us again and again to be Christ’s hands and feet, wherever we may find ourselves capable of acting on his behalf.  Direct us toward our next roles and responsibilities, God.  If we are to welcome the stranger, let us throw wide the door.  If we are to heal the broken, let us employ every skill we know to speed a cure.  If we are to forgive an injury, let us set aside our pride and release the anger or bitterness we harbor.  If we are to give of ourselves, as our Christ gave so freely, then direct us in what we may offer and where we are most needed.  We pray the love from Christ to us may flow on and on, that the circle may ever be unbroken and our lives may move to the beat and rhythm of Christ’s heart of welcome and all-embracing love.  We pray now in his memory and in his own words, as we say together … The Lord’s Prayer.

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