Sunday, January 27, 2007
Offered by John H. Boyle, Parish Associate
God of our life and of our life together, in singing praise to you our spirits are uplifted. In giving thanks to you, we are reminded more of what we have than of what we don’t, of how we have been blessed in life even though at times we are battered by life.
So, O God, we praise you and give thanks to you for your gift of life, for the gift of your reassuring love made known in Jesus Christ, and for the gift of your presence through your Holy Spirit in our midst. We are grateful that these blessings become real for us in the context of community and in relationships of compassion and care forged with others.
In the spirit of that care and compassion, we pray for those whose needs are both great and urgent, whose strength has ebbed, and whose hope has dimmed. In your mercy, dear God, weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen, companion the lonely with your presence, encourage the disheartened, bring healing and relief from pain to the sick, comfort those crushed by sorrow, defer the call of death to those who sit deep within its shadow, hasten death’s call for those weary and worn out who would welcome its call, and arouse the spirit of hopefulness within those plunged into despair.
God of the nations of the earth, we pray for the things that make for peace in the world. We pray for our nation and her leaders during these times of uncertainty, frustration, and whistling in the dark. In our understandable concern about safety and security, help us to be courageous enough to wonder, out loud if necessary, whether the stated desire to protect our nation may for some serve to mask the desire to protect their power over others.
Deliver us from the drivenness of our desire to beat out the other person as though everything were a matter of life and death, on the highway or in the halls of government. Deliver us from the idolatry of either success or failure, lest on the one hand we think of ourselves more highly than we ought, and on the other hand we sell ourselves short. And foster within us your gift of discernment that enables us to distinguish between truth and illusion, between fact and fantasy.
Teacher God, teach us the meaning of a well-spent life that has more to do with service than with celebrity. And remind us that even unfinished symphonies can be a source of hope and joy. Teach us a healthy impatience that galvanizes us into action when confronted by injustice suffered by others and a holy patience that allows us to wait upon you and others. Teach us to care when we don’t feel very caring, to do the loving thing needed for the sake of others, even when we couldn’t care less. Teach us to love others even when we may dislike them or when our resentment toward them may tempt us to withhold our love or to seek revenge. So may we be led to reveal the better version of ourselves.
And now, dear God, drop the still dews of your quietness upon our noisy hearts, ’til all our strivings cease for a time, and let the strain and stress of life give way to your peace and to the beauty of it when our lives are ordered around your truth and justice and love for us all. We pray with thanksgiving for the one who is our peace and with words he invited us to use when we pray, saying, Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church