Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People July 1, 2018

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God of the ages, the stream of blessings that has flowed to us across the years is a source of our hope and our strength.  Accept these, our gifts for today, in tribute to your generosity and as a pledge of our goal to become ever more generous ourselves.

By your grace, you have preserved us and allowed this country we love to celebrate its birth once more, and your particular blessings upon our nation have been a focus of our appreciation this week.  You are the giver of the purple mountains’ majesty, the fruited plains, the patriots’ dreams, and the shining seas that bless our lives and our land.  Yet, we know, O God, that the ultimate fate of nations across history, even blessed nations, has been varied.  In your sight, nations rise or fall, live in light of your call to righteousness or ignore it, shine as beacons among the nations of the world or harbor shadowy hard-heartedness.  Help us, then, to turn our grateful faces always toward you, and ask for your continued counsel and your assistance, to utilize our many blessings wisely. 

Today we acknowledge that our freedom to shape our nation’s character and future has been a gift to us from those who fought for our freedoms centuries ago, and those who are engaged today in service to our country, whether in this land, or while stationed somewhere around the globe.  We are humbly mindful of these men and women who serve our nation, and ask your protection of them.  Help them to remember in their loneliest and most confused moments, the significance of their efforts.  Through their work, may our world grow closer to becoming the realm you have asked for us to establish – a place where the liberty of all your children is considered to be a treasure beyond price, and a place where freedom gained is used always in service to others. 

And, dear God, we pray this day for ourselves … asking that every time we celebrate our freedom, you might help us also to act on behalf of those near us for whom life offers only limited freedom.  We pray for young people caught up in hopelessness, for men and woman trapped by addiction, for those whose potential has been stifled, for those ensnared by the pangs of grief and loss, for those exhausted by caring for others, for those fearful for the future.  Bring inward freedom to all these made captive by circumstance.  And teach us how we may work to help in setting them free from life’s chains.

Help us always to follow in the way of Jesus Christ, whose strength and goodness and freedom were all invested in you.  May we, like him, use our wonderful liberty not as license to do what we please, but as the opportunity to become what we should.  We pray these things, gratefully, in Christ’s name and spirit, and using his words, as we say together… Lord’s Prayer…

Prayers of the People June 24, 2018

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Based on Matthew 14:22-33

We give to you, dear God, with open hands today – knowing that your generous hands are opened to us day, by day, by day.  Take our gifts and let them work for the good of those you love, those who need these offerings most.

Today we pray with special awareness for the role of doubt and fear in our lives and the lives of others.  We pray for those whose doubts and fears are of abuse or violence.  Grant them protection of body and assurance of spirit.  We pray for those whose doubts and fears are for an uncertain future or an unwanted outcome.  Give them peace in waiting, and calm in relinquishing their worry for what they cannot control or direct.  We pray for those whose doubts and fears are for friends and loved ones.  Teach them how to express their concern, their hope, and their support, while trusting that those they love are ultimately always in your wise care. 

And God, we pray for our own doubts and fears… those worries that wake us at night or trouble us at dawn… those things that sap our energies and take us on a detour from the path toward you we might otherwise walk with bold conviction and grace.  Teach us how to acknowledge our hesitancies and doubts without letting them master us.  Let the vision of Jesus’ walk on the water toward the buffeted boat be for us a vision of eternal reassurance.  When we are storm-tossed and afraid, let us see you with us, coming to us through the turmoil.  And let us, whenever we are fearful, recall the words of Christ: “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”  Let these words echo in our hearts and minds, let them sound above the roar of the storm, and let them nudge us to reach out for support to you, to walk with and toward you.  And with renewed strength, may we also reach out to others who are yet caught in the storm.

We are grateful for every way you come to us, God, and we are especially grateful for your Son, Jesus Christ, whose life, death, and resurrection provides us with confidence, whatever befalls us.  Christ has overcome all.  We may live with bold assurance that all shall be well.  In Christ’s memory we pray, using now his very words… The Lord’s Prayer… Amen.