Prayers of the People

Sunday, June 15, 2008
Offered by John H. Boyle, Parish Associate

God of majesty and mercy, before whom we are in both fear and fascination, awe and wonder, we worship you not to placate you, but to partner with you in the care of the creation and of one another. We are at the mercy of both your majesty and your mercy, O God. Teach us to appreciate that our fear is the beginning of our knowledge of your majesty and that our fascination is what opens us to your mercy.

We praise you, O God, that in your mercy you laid aside your majesty in order to come to us in Jesus Christ, the embodiment of that mercy. We give thanks for all those who in their dealings with us have laid aside any pretense to power in order to be companions with us in the common ventures of life. For loved ones and friends, for fathers and mothers, for colleagues and strangers, for neighbors and acquaintances who in any way have touched our lives with compassion and care and who inconvenience themselves in order to be with us when our hearts are broken, our spirits dampened, and our bodies aching in pain, we are grateful, dear Lord. For they, too, have been and are the embodiment of your mercy.

Day after day, gracious God, we are made aware of the enormity of human suffering throughout the world as a result of nature’s fury, the fury of the lethal combination of human hatred and greed, and by the sudden onset of illness and death. In the face of such human misery all around us, it is easy for us to be unaware of or to deny the evidences of human grandeur and of your grace all around us and to assume that there can be no good when and where there is so much bad, much less when paradoxically they sometimes seem to occupy the same space and time. Help us to see what our sorrow cannot and our frustration will not, that though the wrong seem oft so strong, you are still the ruler and sovereign over life and all creation.

God of compassion, grant to those who have lost everything but their lives the reassurance that they are not ultimately forgotten or forsaken and that it may be possible, by your grace and in a surprising way, for a new life to be resurrected out of the wreckage of their old one. Bless all who suffer, and bestow upon them, dear Lord, through those who have answered your call of service, such aid and comfort as they may need.

We pray for the church and for our nation, each of them blessed, blemished, and broken. May they, by your word and Spirit, each in its own way be the earthen vessel and the cup of blessing that contains and offers to the world the treasure of your grace and love for all. Envelop with your protective care and sustain with your love all who live at high risk in the service of this nation, and grant that where war is waged, peace will soon reign.

Grant, O God, that the sight we sometimes are so sure we have not blind us to that which the heart alone can see, and so rule our hearts that we not conclude that they know everything, lest in either case we claim an omniscience that is yours alone.

Open us to the unreasonableness of faith that replaces the laughter of unbelief with the laughter of awe and wonder and joy at the surprising and marvelous things that you do when we least expect them. Above all, good God, help us not to let our altogether-understandable concern to find an answer to the scream of “Why?” that arises within us when tragedy overtakes us and others keep us from lifting up our hearts and from reaching out our hands to do what we can to care for and to comfort those who live in the arid wasteland of pain and sorrow. So may we help the flower of your grace bloom in the desert of the impossible. We pray in the name of the one you sent to us and whose birth was heralded by an angelic chorus and the words, “Behold, I bring you a surprise,” even Jesus Christ our Lord, praying together as he taught his disciples, saying, Our Father . . .

Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church


126 E. Chestnut Street
(at Michigan Avenue)
Chicago, Illinois 60611.2014
(Across from the Hancock)

For events in the Sanctuary,
enter from Michigan Avenue

Getting to Fourth Church

Receptionist: 312.787.4570

Directory: 312.787.2729



© 1998—2023 Fourth Presbyterian Church