Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People February 24, 2019

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Based on 1st Kings 19:1-5

Receive these, our gifts, God, with all our gratitude – and with wonderment for the array and the extent of the gifts you offer us every day.  It is easy, we confess, to take your bounty for granted, or to overlook it.  We may focus on what is lacking from our lives, and miss all the goodness they already contain.  Or we may convince ourselves that we have been the authors of our own success, and neglect to concede we owe everything - our very lives – to you. 

So loosen our grip on the things we are clutching too tightly now, that we may share with others who have fewer of life’s riches; and so that we may, with empty, trusting, open hands, reach for all you have yet to offer us.  Re-orient us to ourselves and our lives: so that peace may be their hallmark, not discord… so that humility may infuse them, not pride… so that kindness may flourish in us, not harshness … so that trust in you may prevail, and not discouragement.

Discouragement is, indeed, a form of bedevilment we have all known, God.  This old world’s endless, vicious cycle of wars and skirmishes is discouraging.  Its unaddressed hardships and injustices are discouraging.  Our apparent inability to reconcile with our foes and forge new friendships is discouraging.  The string of promises to us that have been abandoned or broken is discouraging.  The conditions in our lives that cause us pain, or grief, or worry are discouraging.  And so, God, we are ready at times, like your prophet, Elijah, to lie down in misery and declare defeat. 

Be with us then, gentle and patient God.  Give us bodily rest, for strength.  Show us a wider view than we are capable of seeing through the foggy lens of discouragement, for perspective.  And then motivate us, God, to get up and respond to whatever we must face, with grace and joy at the tasks still before us, and with hope for what lies ahead of us.   Remind us that you are a God of new beginnings, of new life, of resurrection miracles… and we are sure to be recipients of your endless, bountiful goodness. 

We have learned to trust in your promises, for we have responded to the call to be Christ’s followers, and have found that wonders abound in his path.  And so we pray confidently today in his memory, and using his very words, we say together… Lord’s Prayer.

Prayers of the People February 17, 2019

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Based on 1st Kings 3:3-6, 9-12

God of Life, we are grateful for our share in this world.  We are grateful that your creation is abundant, that your gifts are many and varied and lovely, and that our own lives are simple grace.  The best of what we enjoy has come to us unearned.  It has come as a gift by your hand.  We are thankful.  Receive the gifts we offer in return, and put them to use, we pray.

We pray today for places where violence is all too likely, where hunger and heartache are everyday events.  We pray for those whose lives are diminished by hardship and turmoil and pain. Teach us, as brothers and sisters to those who endure in these troubled places, to offer what we can to restore fullness of life.  Let our own lives be nothing but blessing to others.

We pray this morning for those near to us whose concerns and whose joys we know.  We pray with families who grieve, and with individuals who struggle with illness.  We pray our thanks with those who are joyful today, for restored health, for renewed relationships, for fresh hope.   And we pray with those among us here today harboring an unspoken loss, an unnamed fear, a quiet contentment.  Because we are one, as Christ’s followers, we join our hearts together in petition and in praise.

Finally, we pray, for our own lives, especially for all we are unsure of, God, for all that needs our attention, demands our involvement, but for which we are unprepared and unready.  When we are uncertain how to proceed, where to turn, what to do, help us to turn to you for the wisdom we lack.  Let us borrow from the vastness of your vision and insight and boundless love.  Remind us that we need not face our decisions alone.  Let us rely upon your guidance.  Grant us discerning hearts, so that we might live lives whose dignity, value and beauty are clear to you.  Make us wise enough to live faithfully as your children and as companions of your Son, so that you may look at our lives and be pleased.  We pray these things in the name of the one who taught us to say, when we pray …Lord’s Prayer.

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