Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People November 27, 2018

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Based on Mark 2:1-12 

Generous God, we have brought you gifts today, that the work of your Son may be accomplished among us.  Guide us and guide the use of our gifts for all his purposes, we pray.  We recall today that his purposes are for drawing us trustingly, hopefully together, and for healing us and our world.  When Jesus saw the trusting, hopeful faith of the paralyzed man’s friends who had carried him to Jesus, healing was the result.  Jesus told the paralyzed man to stand and walk.  And he did.

Merciful God, we, too, have friends who suffer from various sorts and degrees of paralysis.  Today, in our prayer, we carry them with hope and trust before Christ.  We bring friends and family members paralyzed by grief, or illness, or hardship, or anger, betrayal, or loneliness.  The world wounds so many, and yet we know that Christ’s spirit bears a healing grace capable of raising lives to new beginnings and offering fresh starts.  Bid our friends and family members, paralyzed by their wounds and their losses, to stand and walk, we pray. 

We also pray, Holy One, that the healing grace of Christ may find its way into all those places paralyzed now by the tragedies and catastrophes of recent days.  We pray for the victims of California wildfires, whose homes are businesses are in ashes.  We pray for lives touched by gun violence, whose world has been forever altered by senseless rage.  We bring them to you, O God, and ask that you will help them stand and walk. 

And finally God, we pray for ourselves, and for our own paralysis.  Each of us knows those parts of our lives that need Christ’s healing touch.  Eliminate any pride, any reluctance on our parts, and let us show up before Christ with humble willingness to be lifted up again. 

And if we’ve been negligent, or idle, or simply unwilling to befriend others, whoever they may be, who need us to carry them somehow toward healing, remind us that our human interdependence is not a dreary responsibility to bear, but a gift you’ve given us.  Show us that when we befriend one another in Christ’s name, we all stand a little more firmly, walk more confidently, pray more selflessly, serve more effectively, and heal more fully.

We pray all these things in the name and the memory of the One who bids us stand and walk with him, for he is ever-ready to abide with us.  As his followers, we use now his words of prayer, as we say together … The Lord’s Prayer.

Prayers of the People November 18, 2018

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A Thanksgiving Prayer

God, we lift up our hearts this day in thanks, and ask that you make us, every day, a more grateful people:

For the silence of the night and the bustle of the day, make us grateful.  For the splashing rains and the peace of quiet seas, make us grateful.  For laughter that comes unbidden and helps us lose ourselves in sudden mirth, make us grateful.  For the tears that flow through our lives, marking sadnesses and showing us our deep need for you, make us grateful.  For the links to friends that grow through mutual appreciation and glad obligation, make us grateful.  For family whose bond to us is of flesh and also of love, make us grateful.  For bountiful food, grown, shipped, prepared, cooked and served for us, make us grateful.  For your presence among us, that teaches us that we may trust your provision for us always, God, make us grateful.

And for your greatest gift, the gift of love revealed to us through Jesus Christ, make us especially grateful.  Let our appreciation for the gift of your Son reprioritize all other commitments and values.  Help us to measure the bounty of our lives, as he did, by the depth of our loves, the breadth of our friendships, the sincerity of our faithfulness.  And then let us stand in awe at our riches – a grateful people whose faith in you has healed us from lesser loyalties and saved us for communion with you.

As we look forward to sharing a splendid Thanksgiving dinner, remind us that a feast is more than food.  For we have learned at Christ’s table, that even a simple taste of bread and cup satisfies our deepest hungers.  So let our Thanksgiving meal be a reminder of his perfect meal, where your love for us reaches out to fill us, to comfort us, to heal us, and to satisfy us.  Let our Thanksgiving meal this year be a feast of splendid proportions – full of your healing, hopeful, saving love.  And let our gratitude be for us a double blessing.

Hear, dear Lord, the thanks of our peaceful and grateful hearts today.  And hear us as we say together the words of prayer your son taught us … the Lord’s Prayer.  Amen.