Prayers of the People

Sunday, January 16, 2000
Offered by John A. Cairns, Dean, Academy for Faith and Life

God of new years and new moments, we acknowledge this morning that in the middle of January we are still sorting things out. There has been so much talk about newness that we are a bit apprehensive about what lies ahead—not sure how much innovation and technological advancement we really want. Yet while some traditions seem critically important, some of our patterns highly valued, we know others are shopworn and cry out for fresh breath. Loving parent, we know that you are an intimate part of yesterday, today, and forever. Help us find handles for the past and perspective for the future, and help us to become more complete in the present.

Creator of all the worlds that are, we would celebrate with you this world. Open us to its fresh opportunities, rescue us from its old dilemmas. Replace the weariness of pain and sadness with the possibility of hope and joy.

As we look and listen to the world around us, our prayers go out for little Ilian Gonzales, caught in a struggle that is political as well as familial. But we would go on to pray for all your children, particularly those who never appear in our newspapers or on our TV screens. We pray for their health and safety; for strong families and a chance to learn for those hundreds of thousands who will never be given a puppy to play with or a trip to Disney World; whose days are spent scavenging for food or crying in hunger. O God, embolden us to find ways to help the least of these—the children, who are precious in your sight.

In the midst of this prayer our thoughts leap back and forth. There are so many concerns; so many possibilities. All things are open to us, Generous God, but not all things are beneficial. Help us to make choices that:

Honor all people as your children
Encourage the weak and the weary
Work toward the establishment of justice
Opt for proclamation of the good news over silence

Walk with us each day this week. Steer, guide, nudge, shape our decisions and be present in our responses, our conversations and our silence. And at days end, let us know the comfort of your strong arms, for we pray in the name of the one who shares our life—even Jesus Christ—who taught us to pray together saying, Our Father . . .

Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church


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