Prayers of the People

Sunday, July 1, 2001
Offered by Carol J. Allen, Associate Pastor for Congregational Care

O God, our creator, we thank you for this earth, our home; “for the wide sky and the blessed sun, for the salt sea and the running water, for the everlasting hills and never-resting winds . . .”; for the stretch of our bodies, the reach of our minds; for healing medicines and healing laughter. “Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty, and save our souls from being so blind that we pass unseeing when even the [commonplace] is aflame with your glory.”* For all artists, musicians, entertainers, and scholars we remember, we thank you, O God. For all who celebrate in what they do and say the resiliency of the human spirit and who turn our attention to signs of your love in the world, we offer up our praise.

In this very context of your world’s wonder and beauty, O God, in Jesus Christ you set your face to go to Jerusalem, to suffer and die and be born again. You continue to invite us to join you on this journey to this very day. Wherever the world lies wounded, wrecked, and tangled up in sin and death, you listen to the groans and whisper to those who stand and watch, “Return to the source of life.”

Where men and women separate themselves from the struggles of others for bread and dignity, where children are abandoned and lost, where self-identity is discounted, and color and gender made a basis for exclusion and injustice, you turn and whisper, “Return to the source of life.”**

Turn our faces toward you, O God, who is the source of our life. Shape our prayers and direct our actions on behalf of those for whom life does not mean freedom: youngsters caught up in gangs, persons addicted to drugs or drink, those who are bursting with stifled intelligence, prisoners of conscience, those coming through the waters of grief and loss, all who suffer at the hands of others or who cause suffering. Turn our faces and direct our actions on behalf of those who are suffering with difficult decisions, exhausted in caring for others, anxious about the future, spirits dimmed by fear. Give each, kind God, comfort and courage and peace in their hearts. Bring inward freedom in the midst of circumstances that keep any one of us captive.

Be among us with your power, holy God. You have instructed us to live as loving neighbors. Though we are scattered in different places, speak different words, or descend from different cultures, we pray to be one people who share the governing of the world under your guiding purposes. Help us to be firm and resolute in doing those things that lie before us. Help us to overcome difficulties and persevere in spite of failures. When we are weary and disheartened and ready to give in, fill us with fresh strength and keep us faithful to our calling in and through the church to do our part in putting an end to greed and war and curbing the lust for power, in order that all may enter the community of your love promised in Jesus Christ.***

Bless this nation and all nations with your wisdom, sovereign God, so the poor may not be denied their basic needs and the rich may not live at the expense of others. Make this a nation that has no ruler except you, O God, and no authority save that of love. As a people made bold in your image, hear us as we pray in the way Jesus taught his followers to pray, saying these words: Our Father . . .

* Adapted and quoted from Walter Rauschenbusch.
**Adapted from “Sacraments and Seasons,” Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, Presbyterian Church (USA).
***Adapted from
Worship Book.

Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church


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