Sunday, May 18, 2008
Offered by Dana Ferguson, Executive Associate Pastor
As we come to prayer, we are mindful of this day being Dedication Commemoration Sunday here at Fourth Presbyterian Church. Beginning with this building’s dedication on the third Sunday in May 1914, under the leadership of Pastor Dr. John Timothy Stone, the congregation continues to annually remember that occasion and give thanks.
Let us pray . . .
God of all people, your love amazes us. You have been faithful throughout all generations. You have loved people of all languages and lands; you have lifted up the inhabitants of all countries and races. Your help extends to the sinner and the saint; your voice beckons to the wicked and the good. Your love never fades or fails.
We would ask, O God, that you would make us worthy to be your own. But you do not ask the impossible of us. So instead we pray that you would make us wise, that we might see what is possible. In Christ you have made us one and placed in our hands the lives of one another. And yet we are human, and many are the broken pieces of relationships among us. But even when we have given up on one another, you never give up on us. We pray that you would enter into the places where friendships are broken, communities are divided, family members alienated, children of yours forgotten—for we are all too quick to dismiss those who have hurt us, who have not loved us enough, who have not reached out to us as we thought we needed. Grant us hearts that yearn not eye for an eye but grace and forgiveness where there is anger and hurt.
We pray with loud and compassionate voices this day for all of those across this globe who have suffered horrific loss in natural disaster, for those in Myanmar and China. For families and communities that face loss the worst of which they never imagined. For those this day who stand simply stunned and those who go about the work of relief. We pray for those who must bury the dead and those who wonder how they will go on living. We pray for those with no homes to return to and no remaining family members to comfort them. We pray for leaders with important decisions to make about caring for survivors and those who work to bring necessities of food, water, clothing, and shelter in the midst of great challenge. Comfort your people, O God, comfort your people. And give us things to do and ways to act that all the world might know of your great abiding love.
The world in which we live suffers for want of many things. But the one thing it needs above all others is the love with which you have loved us and call us to share. Give us, Gracious One, the will and the wisdom to heed this summons. Restore and renew our faith and grant us the courage to boldly proclaim that gift. Let us not go as we came. Let us leave with spirits renewed and hope refilled, that we might greet the world at work as you have greeted us this day. Hear us now as we pray together the prayer Christ taught the disciples to pray, saying, Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church