Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People March 17, 2019

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Based on Luke 13:31-35 

An amazing grace flows lavishly into our lives by your hand, loving God.  And we are humbled and grateful for every way it has come – and especially for its offer to us through Christ.  Whenever we gather to recall his work among us, we are mindful of his astonishing and gracious generosity.  He gave his concern, his guidance, his protection, even his life, for us.  Today we give a portion of our own treasure in response.  Use our offering, we pray, to spread your grace beyond our walls – beyond our families and friends – into those hurting and broken places most in need of it.

Like all those who strive to be Christ’s followers today, we call ourselves Christians, hoping that as we claim his name, so we will live as he lived and love as he loved – with some of the same amazing self-abandonment.  Help us to grow to share the breadth of Christ’s concerns, the depth of his compassion, the strength of his commitments, the selflessness of his service.  Let us be especially mindful to spread our concern today, God, to our brothers and sisters in Christchurch, New Zealand, as they struggle to heal from the unthinkable gun violence that took so many innocent lives last week.

Whenever, wherever the foxes prowl threateningly, let us meet the danger as Christ did – by standing firm, with a protective instinct that never abandons our responsibilities to those less capable, less self-sufficient.  Enable us to meet these challenges by trusting in your strength, God, as greater than our own.  Borrowing that strength, let us bravely offer care and compassion, despite the cost and inconvenience, to any who would otherwise face the foxes alone and ill-equipped.

And help us to see that we, too, are held, no matter what our age or our place or our life circumstance, beneath Christ’s protective wings.  Let his spirit go with us from this place today, giving us courage and commitment for whatever we must face.  Send us out with the knowledge that just as you, O God, bet on Christ to defeat the fox, Herod, so you are counting on us, to prevail over anything that threatens the spread of the amazing grace and the sheltering love which Christ bestows upon the world. 

We pray in the memory of the one who gathered us selflessly, protectively to himself, and who stands with us yet, as we say together now the words he taught us … Lord’s Prayer.

Prayers of the People March 10, 2019

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Based on Matthew 4:1-11 The Temptation in the Wilderness

Receive our offering today, O God.  We acknowledge that there are others whose needs exceed our own.  We pray that through our gifts their burdens may be lessened, or their healing may begin, or hungers may be satisfied, or hope may be re-instilled, or a new beginning may unfold.  Use our gifts in ways that best serve your people in need, we pray.

This day and every day, keep our attention closely focused upon our constant friend and companion, Jesus.  Filled with your Holy Spirit he endured forty days of testing and temptation alone in the wilderness; then he returned to resume his ministry, filled with power.  In this Lenten season of forty days, may we, too, be filled with an awareness of your Holy Spirit – alive and alert, strong and supportive in our midst, empowering us to engage our world and meet its tests and temptations.  

We admit that our temptations may stretch from forty days to forty years, and still we have difficulty learning to meet them.  Whether we yield to them or deny them, bury them under distractions or mask them with demonstrations of our goodness, all too soon we find new temptations surface to trouble us.  When we feel we are in a wilderness of tests and temptations, teach us to meet them as Jesus did: simply, directly, and confidently – always weighing the quick fix and easy satisfaction against the bigger picture of faithfulness to you, God. 

  • Jesus has told us that we do not live by bread alone. So when we are tempted to accept temporary satisfaction, let us acknowledge that the gifts you offer us, God, are far more lasting and satisfying. 
  • Jesus has told us that we are to worship and serve only you, God. So when we are tempted to offer ultimate allegiance anywhere else, stop us and reorient us to you.
  • Jesus has told us not to put you to the test, God. So when we are tempted to exploit your generosity and graciousness, make us accountable.   Help us to live with humble integrity before you and others.

Through every test and trial, God, shape our faithfulness.  Help us forgive our own and others’ failures to withstand temptations, even as we become, slowly and surely, more resolute and capable of meeting them.  Help us wear the scars of our encounters and triumphs over temptation with certainty that you see them as our finest trophies.   

We pray today in memory of the one who leads us safely through every wilderness and points us toward your eternal realm, saying now the words he taught us to use when we pray … The Lord’s Prayer.

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