Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People March 24, 2019

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Based on Ephesians 4:1-6, Unity in Love

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 for an end to hunger and hardship.  We pray that here and everywhere, your people may find the wisdom, tolerance, compassion, and courage it takes to steer toward productive and peaceful paths. We pray for renewal and restoration for those places in the world damaged by storms of nature or storms of human origin.  And we pray especially today with a keen awareness of the costly divisions that separate your people, preventing our working together for the good you envision for us.

Let this day be a call to us to rise above the frays that divide us, that we may join hands with sisters and brothers everywhere, acknowledging that however else we may define ourselves, our truest identity is as the unified people described as the Body of Christ, who share the hope-filled expectation Jesus held: that we may come to love one another, as he loved us.  Then, by our love for one another, let us demonstrate our acceptance of your calling to be a strong and compassionate people who are committed to one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God.

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 self-control, 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.

Prayers of the People March 17, 2019

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Based on Luke 13:31-35 

An amazing grace flows lavishly into our lives by your hand, loving God.  And we are humbled and grateful for every way it has come – and especially for its offer to us through Christ.  Whenever we gather to recall his work among us, we are mindful of his astonishing and gracious generosity.  He gave his concern, his guidance, his protection, even his life, for us.  Today we give a portion of our own treasure in response.  Use our offering, we pray, to spread your grace beyond our walls – beyond our families and friends – into those hurting and broken places most in need of it.

Like all those who strive to be Christ’s followers today, we call ourselves Christians, hoping that as we claim his name, so we will live as he lived and love as he loved – with some of the same amazing self-abandonment.  Help us to grow to share the breadth of Christ’s concerns, the depth of his compassion, the strength of his commitments, the selflessness of his service.  Let us be especially mindful to spread our concern today, God, to our brothers and sisters in Christchurch, New Zealand, as they struggle to heal from the unthinkable gun violence that took so many innocent lives last week.

Whenever, wherever the foxes prowl threateningly, let us meet the danger as Christ did – by standing firm, with a protective instinct that never abandons our responsibilities to those less capable, less self-sufficient.  Enable us to meet these challenges by trusting in your strength, God, as greater than our own.  Borrowing that strength, let us bravely offer care and compassion, despite the cost and inconvenience, to any who would otherwise face the foxes alone and ill-equipped.

And help us to see that we, too, are held, no matter what our age or our place or our life circumstance, beneath Christ’s protective wings.  Let his spirit go with us from this place today, giving us courage and commitment for whatever we must face.  Send us out with the knowledge that just as you, O God, bet on Christ to defeat the fox, Herod, so you are counting on us, to prevail over anything that threatens the spread of the amazing grace and the sheltering love which Christ bestows upon the world. 

We pray in the memory of the one who gathered us selflessly, protectively to himself, and who stands with us yet, as we say together now the words he taught us … Lord’s Prayer.

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