Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People February 10, 2019

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Based on Luke 5:1-11, “Cast your nets”

God, you bless us again and again.  We find we have received far more than we can justify or deserve, by your open hand.  And so with deepest gratitude, we offer some of the bounty in our midst back to you.  Let the gifts we bring today spread the abundance of your goodness and grace where they may be needed most.

 We know there is widespread need for your gifts, O God.  There are people and places in need of such simple essentials as food and shelter.  There are people and places in need of healing – body and soul.  There are people and places in need of a comforting word, an outstretched hand, an encouraging spirit.  Wherever your people are in need, God, let your voice be heard – directing, uplifting, empowering, so that needs may be met and hardships overcome.  Where we may be your agents in delivering your help, show us how to proceed.

We remember Jesus’ disciples of long ago, so wearied by work that had proven unproductive, and simply uncertain of how to proceed.  But they listened to Christ’s assurance that plumbing the deeper depths would change everything.  He showed them how to cast their nets another way, in another place, and drag in the catch of a lifetime.

We, too, need some redirection and guidance, from time to time.  Let us hear the quiet voice in which Christ’s spirit may yet be heard, urging us onward to deeper and more meaningful pursuits.  If we are casting in the wrong direction for what will fill our nets and bring blessing – then may Christ’s voice prove persuasive to us.  Let us listen carefully for his words, “Put out into the deep water, don’t be afraid.” 

Help us learn to distinguish his voice from other noise in life, and discern his message of guidance.  Perhaps he is calling us to redirect our energies, or refocus our efforts, or reenergize our commitment.  Help us to trust that when we heed that voice that steers us with infinite tenderness and patient love, we will find ourselves entrusted with blessing upon blessing – like fishermen venturing out into deep and bountiful waters, raising a net from the dark depths, filled to overflowing.

Keep us restless until, in our lives, and by Christ’s guidance, we too have succeeded in bringing forth the catch of our lifetime: a true abundance of goodness, of joy, of hope, of compassion, of humility, of forgiveness, of faithfulness.  Let our willingness to pull these gifts from the deep demonstrate that the church is not some archaic and irrelevant institution, but the extraordinary gathering of people who are willing, in Christ’s service, to go wider, and go deeper.

We pray all these things today in the spirit and the memory of one who taught us to fish, by first catching us in his net of unbreakable love.  We pray using his very words, as we now say together … Lord’s Prayer.