Sunday, November 4, 2001
Offered by Carol J. Allen, Associate Pastor for Congregational Care
God, you come among us in many guises. Today, as we come to you in prayer, we address you as “Vulnerable love giver, Christ, wounded healer, Holy Spirit, compassionate friend” [Kate McIlhagga]. By your providence, all life comes from you and to you all life returns. We give you grateful thanks. Draw us back to yourself and turn us again to your ways. In Jesus of Nazareth we have seen “the love that dares to speak out, the love that listens, the love found most powerfully in weakness, the love that heals, the love we need and long for, O God. . . Love that is there when sweetness has gone, love that endures beyond the barriers of pain [and of the grave]” [McIlhagga]. God, “you who love those whom we do not love, you who read the hearts of others whom we do not understand, you who know the inward suffering of those whom we ignore, you who discern the efforts of each one in attitudes that we perceive as deceitful, open our eyes and our hearts. You who know each one of us far better than we know ourselves, who love us better than we love ourselves, teach us how to love with your love” [influenced by Genevieve Graves]. We pray to know your love in all its fullness.
“Where we have been so full of our own importance that we did not do the one needed thing, where we have worshiped the idols of perfection and failed to see your glory in the vulnerable, attaching more worth to the seen than the unseen, and where we have failed to make connections between politics and health, economics and healing” [McIlhagga], God have mercy upon us.
Have mercy on those men and women who influence the life of this nation—those who frame and administer our laws, the president, courts, and congress; governors, mayors, and city governments; “those who mold public opinion through the press, radio, and television, and those who write what many read. May all be influenced for what is good, not evil; for what is true, not false” [Frank Colquhoun]. Give wisdom, O God, to the leaders of all the nations, a sense of justice to those who wield power, that they may do what is life giving, “so that the poor and weak may breathe freely” [Jim Cotter].
Strengthen this congregation in its work and worship, O God, that we may give graciously to places of human need, speak your praise, and conform to the image of your Son. Fill us with vision and vigor, with hope and healing energy, with commitment and caring action that we may challenge what needs changing and feel the possibility of transformation in our attitudes and our actions.
Look with compassion on all who suffer, those with incurable and stigmatized diseases, those denied dignity, those who live without hope, those who are homeless or abandoned. Make the sick whole, give hope to the dying, comfort those who mourn, uphold all who suffer in body or mind, not only those we know and love but also those known only to you. Stand with those whose world has been turned upside down by acts of violence. Be with all care givers, relief workers, and peace makers. Keep them steady, keep them strong, encourage each one and hold out your hope as their guide to going on. In all things for which we pray, give us the will to bring them about, for the sake of Jesus Christ, who taught his disciples to say when they pray Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church