Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People September 29, 2019

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Based on Luke 16:19-31, the Parable of Lazarus and Dives

Humbled and grateful, we offer you our gifts today, God.  We recognize our blessedness among people of the world: having food enough to eat, having the love and companionship of family and friends, having peace enough to work and plan and pray, having the comfort of one another’s presence here in worship, having the hope of our faith in you.  We ask that we remain always mindful of these treasures, for these great gifts give our lives their context and their character.

We thank you for parables that call us to account for ourselves and thereby call forth the best from us, readying us to refine our lives’ character.  Forgive our casual acceptance of others’ pains and struggles and hardships.   Forgive our willingness to enable chasms of disinterest to separate us from them.  Instill in us a zeal for healing all breaches between ourselves and those we might help.  Make us capable, at last, of successfully distinguishing what “is” from what “ought to be,” becoming your tireless workers for better possibilities.

And heal us, we pray of pride that prevents our acknowledgement of our own shortcomings.  Let us know that no matter how we have strayed, the failings and faults that seem to mar our souls’ sheen need never be cause for your casting us out of your presence, if we will but acknowledge them and ask your help to grow in goodness and grace.  Teach us that we may count upon your understanding, your ready forgiveness, and your redirection for our lives.    

We pray with certainty in your goodness and your forgiving spirit, for we pray as Jesus’ followers.  We trust that his confidence in you is not misplaced.  We trust that his willingness to die for love of us is a statement of the heights and depths and breadth of divine love – a love that will not let us go: a love that seeks us when we have set ourselves apart, a love that wants our righteousness but accepts our brokenness, a love that draws us ever so gently, persuasively, and firmly toward healing friendship with you, God. 

We pray this day in the name of the one who has opened eyes and hearts to your goodness and grace across the ages.  Hear us now, as with one voice we pray in his words … Lord’s Prayer…

Prayers of the People September 15, 2019

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Based on Luke 15:1-10, parables of the lost sheep and lost coin

Gracious and merciful God, we come before you as we are today, imperfect, yes, but open to your transformation.  We return a portion of the gifts with which you have so richly blessed us, in the hope that they might be used to spread your word of welcome and joy throughout our troubled and fragmented world.

We claim you are master of the whole universe, and so we turn to you with prayers for the whole of creation.  Give our battered world rest from storms, recovery from winds and rains.  Let our earth repair and heal, so that all of us, who rely on its bounty and its beauty, may rest assured our home is safe.

As Jesus’ disciples, we hear with awe the stories of how he calmed storms with a word, healed the sick with a touch, and reoriented lives with simple parables that spoke of your most unexpectedly gracious love.  Let us, like the first to know Christ, receive from him the same powerful words of calm, that same healing touch, and his parables’ same promises, which we need for today.  And help us willingly share his message of healing, hope and grace.

Then, day by day, week by week, and year after year, keep us bonded by our common walk with Christ, by our stand together at the baptismal font, and by the meal we share at his table of celebration.  Let all we do make for a wide welcome and a strong unity among us.  And regardless of the world’s assessment of the worthiness of ourselves or others, let us open our doors widely to all who might enter in here.  Let us not succumb to the idea that some of us are better or holier or more beloved than others.  Let us recognize the eternal and limitless value of each of your people, for then we will be the real church – the place that determines to see and assess not by the world’s standards, but by the stunningly gracious, all-embracing love of Christ.  

We trust Jesus’ pledge that you, God, seek after us all – whether we know we are lost or not.  We trust that all who are lost will be found.  With humble hearts we turn to you, God, accepting that tender care for us, allowing it to give us peace of mind and bring us home to you.  And with one voice, we offer now the simple, grateful prayer Jesus taught us to say together … The Lord’s Prayer.

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