Prayers of the People

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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.