Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People February 17, 2019

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Based on 1st Kings 3:3-6, 9-12

God of Life, we are grateful for our share in this world.  We are grateful that your creation is abundant, that your gifts are many and varied and lovely, and that our own lives are simple grace.  The best of what we enjoy has come to us unearned.  It has come as a gift by your hand.  We are thankful.  Receive the gifts we offer in return, and put them to use, we pray.

We pray today for places where violence is all too likely, where hunger and heartache are everyday events.  We pray for those whose lives are diminished by hardship and turmoil and pain. Teach us, as brothers and sisters to those who endure in these troubled places, to offer what we can to restore fullness of life.  Let our own lives be nothing but blessing to others.

We pray this morning for those near to us whose concerns and whose joys we know.  We pray with families who grieve, and with individuals who struggle with illness.  We pray our thanks with those who are joyful today, for restored health, for renewed relationships, for fresh hope.   And we pray with those among us here today harboring an unspoken loss, an unnamed fear, a quiet contentment.  Because we are one, as Christ’s followers, we join our hearts together in petition and in praise.

Finally, we pray, for our own lives, especially for all we are unsure of, God, for all that needs our attention, demands our involvement, but for which we are unprepared and unready.  When we are uncertain how to proceed, where to turn, what to do, help us to turn to you for the wisdom we lack.  Let us borrow from the vastness of your vision and insight and boundless love.  Remind us that we need not face our decisions alone.  Let us rely upon your guidance.  Grant us discerning hearts, so that we might live lives whose dignity, value and beauty are clear to you.  Make us wise enough to live faithfully as your children and as companions of your Son, so that you may look at our lives and be pleased.  We pray these things in the name of the one who taught us to say, when we pray …Lord’s Prayer.

Prayers of the People February 10, 2019

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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.  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 deeper 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, and discern his message of guidance.  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 venturing out into deep and bountiful waters, raising a net from the dark depths, filled to overflowing.

Keep us restless until, in our lives, and by Christ’s guidance, we too have succeeded in bringing forth the catch of our lifetime: a true abundance of goodness, of joy, of hope, of compassion, of humility, of forgiveness, of faithfulness.  Let our willingness to pull these gifts from the deep demonstrate that the church is not some archaic and irrelevant institution, but the extraordinary gathering of people who are willing, in Christ’s service, 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.

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