Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People March 31, 2019

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Based on Luke 15:11-32, the Parable of the Prodigal Son

Receive our gifts God, given to you this day in recognition of your loving outreach to all your children.  May our gifts participate in your open-handedness, by sharing the love you have so readily granted to us.

We pray today, dear God, for our world, shaken by hardships, sometimes of human making.  Help us to be willing and swift to help others.  Let our own experience with hardships and tragedies help us to know how to soften their impact upon others.  We pray relief for those people around the world struggling with violence or grief, political insecurity or illness, abandonment or poverty.  In parable after parable, your Son, Jesus taught us that we are connected to these problems and these people.  Show us how we may help.

We pray for those in our very midst today who are struggling somehow.  May those of us here today who are hurting find new joy, new hope, and new promise here among this Body of Christ.

And we pray for ourselves … We confess, God, that we see ourselves only too clearly in Christ’s parables.  Like the younger son in today’s parable, we sometimes take all we can, focused only on our self-satisfaction.  We may be careless in honoring and protecting our vast inheritance from you.  Like the elder son, we sometimes chafe at the kindness and forgiveness you offer to those less dutiful than ourselves.  We may jealously desire your exclusive favor.  But however we may have distanced ourselves from you, teach us that like all who are lost and then found, by your gracious love we may always be restored to you.  You seek us out with a deep, vast, and prodigal love and gladly welcome our return to you.  You want, above all else, to bring us home.

So help us all, no matter what shape our lives have taken and what turns our paths have followed, to come to you willingly now, to join in the joyous celebration you have planned for all your children.

We pray these things in the name of Jesus, who taught all his disciples to say these words when they prayed together: The Lord’s Prayer.

Prayers of the People March 24, 2019

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Based on Ephesians 4:1-6, Unity in Love

For these gifts, that you have first given to us, dear Lord, we are grateful.  Take them, we pray, as our offering today, and let them now become a source of blessing and joy for others.  We share, with the realization that it is in giving, that we receive the greatest of your gifts.

We are mindful today of those in need across the face of the earth – and we pray your support, your comfort, and your aid for them.  We pray for an end to hunger and hardship.  We pray that here and everywhere, your people may find the wisdom, tolerance, compassion, and courage it takes to steer toward productive and peaceful paths. We pray for renewal and restoration for those places in the world damaged by storms of nature or storms of human origin.  And we pray especially today with a keen awareness of the costly divisions that separate your people, preventing our working together for the good you envision for us.

Let this day be a call to us to rise above the frays that divide us, that we may join hands with sisters and brothers everywhere, acknowledging that however else we may define ourselves, our truest identity is as the unified people described as the Body of Christ, who share the hope-filled expectation Jesus held: that we may come to love one another, as he loved us.  Then, by our love for one another, let us demonstrate our acceptance of your calling to be a strong and compassionate people who are committed to one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God.

And so, though love may be costly, let us love.  Though love may be challenging and trying, let us love.  Though love may test our patience, our gentleness, and our self-control, let us love

We pray in the name of the One who commands love, and offers it with gracious and wondrous self-giving.  Hear us as we say together the words of his prayer … the Lord’s Prayer.

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