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.