Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People September 1, 2019

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Matthew 14:22-33

God of all creation, we give you thanks for the healing, hopeful gifts of this table.  You give to us in abundance and your gifts grant us a security we so often take for granted.  Yet today we are reminded about what we so readily forget – that for many, the simple structure of life – its weather, its water, its safety, it resources – is precarious.  We pray today for all those who scramble and strain daily, in their environments, just to assemble life’s necessities for themselves and their families.  We pray for the shooting victims in Texas and for their worried or grieving families.

Today we pray with special awareness that as the hurricane passes, there may be many who are left to face upheaval and devastation.  For those who will face damaged property, ravaged hopes, tarnished dreams, we pray for restoration.  

And if we, ourselves, must face losses, ever-vigilant God, teach us that your sacred presence, here today, is always among us, even when we least suspect it and our destiny seems least clear.  Strengthen our trust in you and our devotion to you.  If we still find ourselves storm-tossed and afraid, let us envision you with us, remaining calmly beside us through the turmoil.  And let us recall the words of Christ: “Peace!  Be still!  Why are you 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 from others, and from you. 

Then, with our strength renewed, may we reach out to others who are yet caught in the storm.  We pray for the grace to share your love and concern, letting it pass from neighbor to neighbor to neighbor, encouraging stability and healing to begin.  Then, when windswept trees finally bud and re-green, may we acknowledge that our hopes, too, sprout and bloom anew when we trust that the future holds new promise in the security you grant us. 

We pray all these things today in the name of the One who calms the storms with a word.  We pray in the memory of the One who calls to us saying, “Be not afraid.”  We pray in wonderment of the One whom even the wind and the sea humbly obey.  We pray in gratitude to the One who tells us we shall never walk alone.  We pray as disciples who echo the prayer of our Christ, as we sing his words of prayer together… the Lord’s Prayer… Amen.

Prayers of the People August 25, 2019

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Based on John 4:4-42, The Woman at the Well

These are our gifts, O God, brought for this day of worship, representing our appreciation for the lavishness of your gifts to us.  We are, indeed, astonished by your generosity, O God.  Your world teems with life and blooms with blessing.  We ask that you help us to utilize our share of this abundance with your dreams always in view.  We acknowledge that your dream is for our compassionate human interconnection and outreach.  Show us how to realize that dream.  Where we may still hang on to anger, resentment, mistrust, or indifference, remind us of the better way to which we are called as Christ’s followers.  Remind us that we cannot rest with harboring lesser motives than love.  And so we ask your help in better loving our world, our neighbors, our families, and in better loving even ourselves.

We do find we are often doubtful of ourselves, our place in your world and in your heart, O God.  Teach us to trust your compassion that we might know ourselves as your beloved children.  Reassure us that when we come to you for forgiveness or for redirection, that you gladly forget our faults and failings and help to reorient our lives. Show us that those things which worry us are so often small matters beside the power and permanence of the healing gifts you long to give us.

Convince us, we pray, of the futility of all our wearying excursions to our own wells, dragging bucket after bucket, attempting to fill and re-fill our lives with those things which never fully and finally satisfy.  We try to get our fill of success, or our fill of the esteem of others, or our fill of diversions and entertainments, and we find we drag our empty buckets back to those wells all too soon, dissatisfied, empty, thirsty for something more.  So let us trust in your offer to fill us with things that do satisfy.  Let us turn the tap of the inner well that bubbles over with your spirit.  Let us drink of that living water.  Let us stand in its shower and be bathed in the stream of grace that knows no end. 

Yes, we’ve come to sit beside your well today, where your spirit, your truth, your goodness, and your love may fill us to overflowing, and enable us to share your abundance.  We pray these things as Christ’s people, and in his words, we say together … the Lord’s Prayer …

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