Sunday, October 31, 2010

October 31, 2010 - Prayers of the People

Eternal God, in whom there is no shortage of grace, we thank you with heart and soul, that we’re here today in a place called Covenant.
We’re here, O God, because you have called us unto yourself, you have cleared away the debris of sin and made your way to us, when we were too weak, too tired, too broken, to find our way to you.

We are like the lost coin and you found us.
The lost sheep and you carried us.
The confused boy with tattered clothing and selfish soul, and you welcomed us home with royal robes and fine rings.

We thank you, O God, as best we can.
That your love is greater than our love.
Your grace bigger than our repentance.
Your mercy larger than our promises.
We thank you, O God, that our salvation doesn’t hinge on our faith, strong as it may be sometimes.
But hinges on Christ and his Cross, always strong, always good, always faithful.

We pray today for our nation.
We pray for the candidates.
We pray for all who will cast a vote.

We pray for the nations of the world.
Nicaragua, Swaziland and Tibet.
China, Russian and India.
Nations large and small, rich and poor.
Grateful, O LORD, that all the nations belong to you … that, in the weal and woe of history, in our best and in our worst, your hand remains upon us all … that you remain steadfast in your love for the world you created, and firm in your determination to save us, even as humankind proves itself unworthy of your love in our warring and wasteful ways.
Forgive us, we pray, and hold us accountable even as you move us to better days.

Raise up for us, we pray, women and men of compassion.
To heal the wounds we inflict upon one another.
To stem the tide of disease and ignorance.
To bring good news to the poor.
To lift up the fallen.
To bring hope and peace to wearied souls.
To challenge the powerful to be powerful for good.
To challenge the values of materialism and wantonness.
To lift high the cross of Jesus Christ.

We pray, today, dear God, for ourselves and those we love.
For friends in need, and families in distress.
For loved ones in faraway places.
For broken hearts beset with disappointment.
Minds besieged with worry and fear.
Souls bent low with the burdens of envy and anger.
For the healing of all such things, we pray.

Give us your goodness, we pray, that we might be good for the world.
Give us good humor, so that we can have a good laugh now and then at ourselves.
Grant us peace within our souls.
And prosperity in our labors.

In the name of our LORD Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray, saying, Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven …

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Prayers of the People – October 24, 2010

Whatever our momentary mood, O LORD, whatever our fortune may be, charge our souls with gratitude, that we may always find cause to thank you … and have reason to flood heaven with our praise! For great is your name, and vast are your blessings, and blessed are we to be a part of Christ.

We thank you, O God:
For unwise prayers you denied, sparing us the pain of desires not yet mature.
We were angry when you said No! … but we give thanks for making us wait and think and grow further into our life.
We thank you, dear God, unexpected trials that come our way, releasing within us capacities for patience and love …
For the ancient words of Scripture that burn with passion and invite us to the foot of the cross.
For Jesus of Nazareth, who finds the lost sheep and stills the raging sea …
We thank you, loving God, for a remarkable mercy that holds us when we’re hardly worth the holding.

We pray today for world leaders …
For women and men who bear arms …
For those who wear the robes of justice and those who wear the badge of enforcement …

We pray today for religious leaders and spiritual teachers …
For artists and poets …
Dancers and singers …
For those who entertain us … and make us laugh and cry.

We pray, O God …
That we might have good hearts … to see the world as you do, with mercy, love and hope …
That we might have good minds … ready to wrestle with tall ideas, thinking long and hard about what love means.

We pray that when hard times come our way, we’ll meet them with some dignity and peace of mind, for you are at work in all such things … near to us in the hours of our need.

We pray that we will keep our eyes on Christ … neither blinded by glitter and glamour nor discouraged by the troubles of the day.

We pray that the love of Christ will guide us through the days of our lives … until we come to stand before your great throne, O God, gathered with all of humanity and all the angels, in a new heaven and a new earth, where tears are no more, and the sun never sets.

In the name of our LORD Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray, saying, Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

With thanks to Ernest T. Campbell and his prayers; in them, I find much inspiration.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

October 17, 2010 - Prayers of the People

Almighty God, it is right and good for us to be here today – to give you thanks and praise:

Thanks and praise:
For the church of Jesus Christ …
For the bud of love in the human soul.
For visions of a just and peaceful world …

Thanks and praise:
For our breath and for our bread.
For our ability to remember and our capacity to hope.

Thanks and praise:
For serious minds who grapple with tall questions …
For fun-loving souls who grace our world with humor, and remind us to laugh at ourselves.

Thanks and praise, O God, for the rescue of the Chilean miners …
In such moments, O God, we learn a little bit more about life and love … what we can accomplish when we work together … and put our shoulders to the wheel for the common good.

Almighty God, creator of the heavens and the earth, we pray now for the church around the world …
Bless the church with a generous spirit …
Save the church from preoccupation with nickels and noses …
Guide the church to an ever-deepening understanding of Christ …
Open wide the hearts and minds of your people, to receive more of your love and to welcome everyone in the Spirit of Jesus Christ our LORD.

Specifically, we pray for those near and dear to us.
Some are walking through the valley of the shadow of death and wonder if the dark clouds will ever recede … stay near to them, we pray.
Some have lost employment and fear for their future … watch over them, we pray.
Some live and work in far-away places … keep them safe, we pray.
Some are burdened with harsh memories and bitter regret … with your Holy Spirit, O God, minister gently to their wounded souls … and lead them by your hand to safe places of healing.

For all of us here, dear LORD, enough grace to make it through the day … enough hope to keep a bright spirit … enough peace to be a peaceable presence in our world …

In the name of our LORD Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray, saying, Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven …

With many thanks to the prayers of Ernest T. Campbell that have, of late, been such an inspiration to me.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Prayers of the People - October 10, 2010

We thank you, O God, for a time and place to gather …
To gather our thoughts and lift our hearts toward you, Creator of the heavens and the earth.
We thank you for those who have gone this way long before we were born.
For women and men of faith and vision.
Who looked upon Christ with gladness and joined the brave procession that has made this world better …
They plowed the good earth and planted the seed to feed millions.
Built schools and hospitals.
Saw the horrors of slavery and called for its abolition.
Watched children labor in dark and dangerous mines and factories and came to their defense.
They labored and lobbied for shorter workweeks and the 8-hour day, for a minimum wage … for health care, pension benefits and safe working conditions, to honor the dignity of work and to preserve the wellbeing of our families.
They organized and marched to give women the vote, to insure for all life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, free of gender constraints and prejudice.
For all of who have gone the way of faith, hope and love, we join our voices with choirs of angels, giving thanks, and praising you, O God, for your grace poured out upon humankind, a grace that still stirs the conscience to see the world with the eyes of Christ, a grace that yet calls young and old to follow him, the Christ who bore upon his back the cross of our condemnation and was raised on the third day in the glory of your divine confirmation.

We pray today for those in the banking industry: guide them, dear God, to sort out their priorities, because every mortgage is a family, every paper they sign is someone’s life.
Deliver them, and deliver all of us, we pray.
We pray for schools and teachers – who work in crowded classrooms, in buildings too often ill-kept, with meager supplies and the pressures of the day: with too many children poorly nourished who cannot concentrate; children who are anxious, because family life is hard … and frustrated families caught in the machinery of too much work, not enough time, and the economic turmoil that troubles all of us.
Deliver them, and deliver all of us we pray.
We pray for our President and his family, those who counsel and protect them.
Our legislators and our judges.
Our governors and our mayors.
Firefighters and police officers.
A host of folks who sit at computers keeping track of 310 million people.
Watch over them all, dear LORD, and keep them in your care.

We pray now for Covenant on the Corner:
And all who gather here in worship.
Our shut-ins and those who live far away.
Elders and Deacons, and all who serve.
Youth leaders and the youth under their care.
And the impact we have on the city around us.
Give us, we pray, a lively sense of mission.
The ability to choose our priorities.
The grace to love one another in our differences and distinctions.
The faith to trust you in all times and places.
And the hope of the Gospel.

In the name of our LORD Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray, saying, Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done …