Prayers of the People

Sunday, May 14, 2000
Offered by Dana Ferguson, Associate Pastor

Good Shepherd, who makes us lie down in green pastures, who leads us beside still waters, and who restores our souls, your faithfulness is no accident. Your patience is a match for your understanding. You understand the pain that drives us to despair, the child who goes another way, the parent who will not let the child grow up; the spouse who separates; the friends who drinks to ruin; the companion who suffers, the partner who dies. You understand, O God. And you are the one who brings new hope out of despair, resurrection out of defeat, and new life out of death.

God of Sarah and Rebekah, Leah and Rachel, Mary and Elizabeth and countless others of the generations, we give you thanks on this Mother’s Day for those who have long loved us, for those who have mothered us, those who have befriended us, and for those who have taught us. Thank you, O God, for those who loved to play and work by our side; who have caught us when we have stumbled and praised us when we stood; who touched us in trying times, and waited with us through silent nights, who believed our dreams and treasured our hopes, who taught us to have tough minds and tender hearts, who like you clearly have seen our weaknesses and loved us despite them. We give you thanks, O God, and we remember. We remember those who have longed to love a child and for those who long for mothers now past. Greet them with your comfort and your embracing love.

On this day filled with bright construction paper greetings and popsicle stick gifts, we pray for those who are in places we’d rather not think of. For those who can only love their children from behind bars and for those who cannot love their children from drug or alcohol induced lives. And, we give you thanks for those who assume the duties of parenting—for aunts and uncles, for grandparents and cousins, for the many who labor in halls of juvenile justice across this city and across this country. For those who have opened their hearts and their homes to provide foster care and to adopt children.

We would not forget this day, the mothers who mourn—who grieve lost children and children lost to the streets, lost to warfare, lost to political abuse of power. We pray, O God, for mothers who long to feed their children but can find no food. And for mothers who cannot find their children.

We pray that you would inspire us, O God, to serve the cause of justice for these many and more who have not been heard. Just as you have been a faithful shepherd to us, enable us to be faithful to those who walk in the shadow of death, to those who sit at table with enemies. Give us gentle voices and courageous ways to live and work that young people and old people alike might know your loving ways.

Give to all your people, O God, the hope, the confidence, and dignity that comes from being children of God. In Jesus Christ you defined family on the basis of grace and made us all members one of another, members of your family, of Christ’s body. And so we ask that you hear us now as we join together with those in Christ’ household to pray the prayer he taught saying, Our Father . . .

(Portions taken from Litanies and Other Prayers, Phyllis Cole and Everett Tilson)

Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church


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