Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People July 22, 2018

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Based on Psalm 51:1-17

Wondrous God, accept, we pray, the offerings we have brought today to contribute to making our world a better place for all your children.  Direct our gifts that they may help to heal division, strengthen injury and relieve sorrow, restore health and enliven hope.  And help us to give beyond these gifts in ways that will stretch and even test our commitment – by also giving of our store of forgiveness, offering love and kindness and compassion – even where we may not feel they are deserved… for we recognize that we have sometimes received just that generously and undeservedly from you. 

We pray today for our world that struggles on, week by week, year by year, to achieve goodness and justice in fuller ways.  We pray for our nation and its leaders in these contentious, troubling times.  We ask that you guide us all, God, in knowing how we may help to establish peace and fairness, order and mercy, freedom and responsibility.  Keep us watching with hopeful anticipation, even if some cracks appear in our treasured ideas and best-laid plans.  Remind us that perhaps it will be through those very cracks that your life-giving spirit may find room to bubble up and bring the restoration we crave. 

We pray for our neighbors and for this church.  We pray for our loved ones and friends.  You know their needs surely better and more fully than we do, O God.  We ask your presence, your aid, in providing for them, graciously and compassionately, in ways our prayers may not know how to ask. 

And we pray for everything that lingers still in our hearts and minds … our own troubles, our joys, our losses, our successes and yes, perhaps, our sins.  Write your covenant of love boldly across our imperfect hearts – erasing records of our wrongs, claiming us for your own, shaping us to your purposes, drawing us ever nearer to you.  Help us to be, no matter how else the world may define us, Christ’s people -- people of pliable minds and hearts who follow his call to meet new challenges, to love new people, to care with new depth, to learn new duties, to strive for greater good, to receive grace upon grace.

These things we pray in the name of Christ, by whose life we are directed, and with whose words we have learned how best to pray.  Hear us as we say together his words …the Lord’s Prayer.

Prayers of the People July 15, 2018

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Based on Luke 5:1-11, “Cast your nets”

God, you bless us again and again.  We find we have received far more than we can justify or deserve, by your open hand.  And so with deepest gratitude, we offer some of the bounty in our midst back to you.  Let the gifts we bring today spread the abundance of your goodness and grace where they may be needed most.

 We know there is widespread need for your gifts, O God.  There are people and places in need of such simple essentials as food and shelter and safety.  There are people and places in need of healing – body and soul.  There are people and places in need of a comforting word, an outstretched hand, an encouraging spirit.  Wherever your people are in need, God, let your voice be heard – directing, uplifting, empowering, so that needs may be met and hardships overcome.  Where we may be your agents in delivering your help, show us how to proceed.

We remember Jesus’ disciples of long ago, so wearied by work that had proven unproductive, and simply uncertain of how to proceed.  But they listened to Christ’s assurance that plumbing the depths would change everything.  He showed them how to cast their nets another way, in another place, and drag in the catch of a lifetime.  We, too, need some redirection and guidance, from time to time.  Let us hear the quiet voice in which Christ’s spirit may yet be heard, urging us onward to deeper and more meaningful pursuits.  If we are casting in the wrong direction for what will fill our nets and bring blessing – then may Christ’s voice prove persuasive to us.  Let us listen carefully for his words, “Put out into the deep water, don’t be afraid.” 

Help us learn to distinguish his voice from other noise in life.  Perhaps he is calling us to redirect our energies, or refocus our efforts, or reenergize our commitment.  Help us to trust that when we heed that voice that steers us with infinite tenderness and patient love, we will find ourselves entrusted with blessing upon blessing – like fishermen raising a net from the dark depths, filled to overflowing.  May we too succeed in bringing forth the catch of our lifetime: a true abundance of goodness, of joy, of hope, of compassion, of humility, of forgiveness, of generosity.  Let our willingness to pull these gifts from the deep keep us among Christ’s people, always willing to go wider, and go deeper.  

We pray all these things today in the spirit and the memory of one who taught us to fish, by first catching us in his net of unbreakable love.  We pray using his very words, as we now say together … Lord’s Prayer.