Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People January 5, 2020

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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 all those terribly troubled locations in the world.  Be with those in the midst of upheaval, or chaos, or storm.  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 this 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 have greeted us today at this table where a holy meal has been served, and we have savored your presence.  You show us that you are, in fact, with us every day in wondrous ways. 

So help us dust off the visions we thought had grown stale, and let us see them again now, 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, renewing, and life-directing grace – so that we might share it lavishly with all those we encounter.  Hear us as we join our voices in the prayer he taught us … the Lord’s Prayer.

Prayers of the People December 29, 2019

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Based on Luke 2:8-20 The Shepherds.

Eternal, astonishing God, what language shall we use to express the wonder of this season?  We struggle to tell the extraordinary story of your birth among us, your walk among us, your place in our very midst, and in our own human form.  Words seem to lack the grandeur needed to convey this story of grace and truth - and so we tell it as best we can, over and over again, in glad songs, in shared dreams, in hands held, and visits made, in Christmas meals, in gifts given, and even in the offerings we bring here today, Lord.  Let the Good News ring out among us – and let our words and our very lives bear witness to our conviction that the story is ever fresh, ever true, ever needed to soothe the weary world, and bring it hope.

In this season, as we wonder anew about the old, old story, of heaven’s special bond to the earth, help us to note the characters who played their parts at the angels’ bidding … Joseph, Mary, the wise men, and the shepherds.  Help us to appreciate the legacy of honest faithfulness and durable love that their lives have left for us.  Let us, in memory of all those who first nurtured the Christ child, find our own ways to welcome him today, to protect his Spirit among us, and to further his work in our world. Like those who first welcomed Christ to the world, help us to reject harshness, to welcome the outcast, and to offer compassion and hope even when doing so asks more of us than is easily given. 

We know the need of our world for the timeless Good News Christ offers, so let heaven and earth ring out with the message that your holiness, O God, is not a distant dream, but a living reality.  A Child has been born to us to demonstrate that you do not simply watch us from a distance, but dwell with us, loving us all – from the greatest to the very least.

Let the bells ring.  This is the season of Christmas.  Let our joy be complete.  The whole world rejoices, for its King has come – humbly and gently, as a fragile little child.  Hear our prayer today, God, offered with Christmas wonderment, and concluded with Christ’s own words, as we say together his prayer… the Lord’s Prayer.

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