Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People December 22, 2019

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Based on Luke 2:1-7 – the Innkeeper


Eternal God, we pray you will receive from us today the offerings we have brought in gratitude to you.  We know that earth’s redemption is your goal, and so we hope we are always contributing in meaningful ways to that redemption – by what we give, by those we serve, by how we live, by the wideness of our welcome. 

As we await the consummation of your dreams for our world, we pray for those whose pressing needs are in our hearts and on our minds – those near to us, and those whose needs we only know by report.  We hold our hopes for them up to you now, in this moment of quiet reflection ….

And God, we also pray for your help for ourselves and our lives.  If we find ourselves a little uncertain or cynical, if we are tempted to close the doors of our hearts, claiming there is no room for anything new to be born here, then gently nudge us to acknowledge you as the God of possibility.  Show us all the compelling evidence of Christ’s spirit already present, already influencing our world with grace, and ready to offer yet more, if we will lower our lives’ barriers to let him in.  Help us to recount all the little drops of grace that have already showered us across the years.  Let us see that we are actually awash in grace.  Strengthen us to fling open doors to make yet more room for it.  Let us rejoice at the Good News that the long-awaited Messiah is prepared to come in and make a home among us. 

Show us how we may be bearers of that Good News to others, until by sharing Christ’s Spirit, no corner of the world will have failed to feel the joyful impact of his presence and the healing miracle of his love. 

We pray all these things with gratitude for our Messiah’s birth.  Indeed, he is the one we have been waiting confidently for, the one we will make room for, the one we’ll leave the light on for – for he brings to us an bright, guiding, eternal light.  Using now the very words he taught us to say when we pray, we say together: The Lord’s Prayer.

Prayers of the People December 8, 2019

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Based on Matthew 1:18-24

God of every time and place, expectancy and hope beckon us along the way to Bethlehem – for there your love was born and lives still, as a reality in human hearts.  Receive the offerings we have brought to you today -- and multiply them and spread them, that the great Good News of Christ’s birth may be celebrated through ample gifts given where they are needed most.

We pray, God, that on this day the many thousands of choices that are made by human minds and hearts may be guided by your gracious Spirit.  Where vengeance and violence are likely choices, gentle the hearts of the angry and bring them a glimmer of a better option.  Where disinterest and dismissal are choices that might be made, help your people everywhere to understand their profound interconnection with others that dares not allow apathy.

May the choices made this day, and every day, be guided less by rigid rules and regulations than by the model of humble, loving kindness we saw in Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth, the one who chose the better way.  He chose to protect Mary and to serve as father to Jesus.  And let our choices today be as self-giving, as trusting, as gracious, as faithful, and as extraordinary as his. 

In this season of wonder, as we move ever closer to Christmas, let us wonder anew about the old, old story, and about all the characters who played their parts.  Help us treasure the legacy of honest faithfulness and durable love that their lives have left for us.  Let us, in memory of all those who first nurtured the Christ child, find our own ways to welcome him, to protect his Spirit among us, and to further his work in our world.

And let us, in the anticipation of this season, remember all those among our congregation, our families, and our friends who need Good News to come to them.  Help us to offer it by a kind word, a small service offered, a slight forgiven, a hope renewed.  Let our insight into the expansive truth of your gracious love, greater than all our limiting ideas and expectations, be the guide we follow in caring for others.  Let that expansive love, a love that lies above, beyond, and behind every other reality, be a gift we are ready to give, always.

With gladness for Christ’s coming we pray today, gathering everything else that lies upon our minds and hearts and offering it to you, God, in Christ’s own words, as we say together … The Lord’s Prayer.

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