Sunday, April 15, 2007
Offered by Martha Langford, Pastoral Resident
Gracious God, we give you thanks and praise for the joyous presence of the risen Christ among us. Open the locked doors of our hearts and give us strength so that our prayers and our witness may serve you well and show your steadfast loving-kindness to the world.
In the golden light of this beautiful spring morning, we pray for your world. Today we hear news of flash floods and killer storms, political oppression, bombings and warfare, climate change, poverty and crime and brokenness. Give us the passion to be a tangible witness to our world—a witness of hope and caring, justice and mercy.
As we gather in this beautiful sanctuary, remind us of the disciples who gathered and then dispersed as your witnesses for the sake of the world. Grace your church with the abiding presence of your Holy Spirit, who gives us unity with one another and with you. Let this be for us the breath of life, and grant us the wisdom to surrender ourselves to the Spirit’s strength and obediently follow the Spirit’s lead.
Compassionate God, despite your care, we often face paralyzing fear. Illness and injury, stress of employment or unemployment, anxiety over youth or age, concern for our lives and livelihood and place of belonging. Into these fears, bring your peace and the courage to face each hour, knowing that we are never outside the shelter of your love.
While under the mantle of your peace and love, let us not forget those whose lives are filled with doubt. Give us the grace to be gentle witnesses and humble ambassadors of your holy Word.
This day, we remember all those who are sick and all those who care for them. Bless the hands that tend to them, and grant them gifts of healing and comfort. And give to us as well the tenderness to minister to their needs.
This day, we also remember all those who mourn and whose hearts bear heavy burdens. May they come at last to find your peace. Be, for them, an ever-present help in these times of trouble, and let us be for them strong shoulders, listening ears, and compassionate friends.
Almighty God,whom we have not seen, whose gifts we take for granted, speak to us again your word of peace, that our inner turmoil may be stilled, our eyes opened, our ears alerted, our beings prepared to make faithful response. May our witness be authentic, so that the world may come to know your glory and dominion and love, coming to respond with joyous obedience to your Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray, saying Our Father . . .
(Prayer adapted from Gathered by Love by Lavon Bayler (Pilgrim Press, 2001), p. 89.)
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church