Sunday, July 15, 2001
Offered by Dana Ferguson, Associate Pastor for Mission
All knowing God, you discern our thoughts and are acquainted with all our ways; before a word is on our lips, you know it altogether. You guide us throughout our journey’s length, forgiving our waywardness, equipping us to serve you, and fulfilling our needs. Nothing we can do escapes your eye; there is nowhere we can hide from you. You are within and without, before us and beyond us. And yet we try to test your wisdom with our questions—What must we do? How shall we serve?—and then we try to earn your love with our works. Silence us with a parable, we pray, tell us wondrous stories of Samaritans: of people who dare to touch those whom others have judged untouchable; of people who rise above long-held prejudices to kneel at the side of the wounded; of people who sacrifice time and comfort and even pride to save a stranger from pain.
Unfold for us a parable, O God, and hasten the day when our love for you matches your mercy toward us. Enlarge our hearts to the dimensions of your mercy and help us to return to you a measure of the love you give to us. You have charged us to love our neighbors, O God of grace. And so give us the mind of Christ as we encounter your children. Let your Spirit descend upon us, and like the Samaritan, we shall pour it out upon a suffering world. Empower us, God of compassion, for it is your grace that enables us to love someone besides ourselves; to be patient with the pain of others; to rejoice in the relief of suffering, no matter what the cost. Help us to stop abandoning to others the fate of the world while seeking privilege for ourselves; help us to begin acknowledging our responsibility to care, before the opportunity to care has passed us by.
And so it is in your name and in the name of others that we lay before you prayers for friends and strangers alike. For those who face the end of life and those who celebrate new life; for those who grieve a loved one and those who discover a new love; for those who await test results and those who have completed successful treatments; for those who are hungry and those whose hunger no human can fulfill; for those who serve in your name and those who await being served. For all of these and more, O God, we pray this day. Bring healing and hope; joy and generosity; peace and participation in your kingdom. For it is your kingdom we long to see before us; your kingdom we long to serve; your kingdom we long to be part of. So we ask all of these things in the name of the one who came that your kingdom might come. Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church