Sunday, January 31, 2010
Offered by Sarah A. Johnson, Minister for Congregational Care
God of love and of hope, in a world that knows pain, violence, political scandal, natural disaster, and more calamity than we appear to have the capacity to endure, it is easy to feel cynical that love is nothing more than the shallow words of Hollywood stars and Hallmark cards; that the only thing that endures is the stuff we read of and despair about everyday.
Lord, into this seemingly changeless reality we are in need of the good news about your transformative love that endures above all else.
We are grateful that you made your love known to us in the person of Jesus Christ. We are grateful that through every kind of human rejection and disaster—jealousy, betrayal, fear, a hammer and some nails—your love remains. Even as it took its last breaths, your love would not, could not cease to be but prayed that supremely loving prayer, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” We are grateful that even when we resent your love, abandon it, leaving it cold and buried in the tomb, death cannot hold it; that even the grave cannot hold the power that created it. Your love is the one thing that endures in us, through us, and for us.
Lord, grant that as your love endures, we might know its presence and its hopeful promise every day of our lives. May it be the catalyst for all life with one another such that we might improve at least a fraction the lot of someone else—ease some pain, some fear, some loneliness. Hover with your healing and mercy over all those who are in particular need of your loving care this day.
We pray for your healing and comfort for all those who are sick, who are facing the uncertainty of illness, surgery, or test results. We pray for those families and friends who have lost loved ones, needing comfort and reassurance in the face of death; for all those whose loneliness, depression, and anxiety threatens to overwhelm them and who are in need of courage in the face of life.
We pray for all those who know the pains of our current world most deeply: for the poorest and the marginalized in our world; the exploited; the cold, the homeless, and the hungry. For all those who face uncertain futures and daily struggles for daily needs.
We continue to offer prayers for our brothers and sisters in Haiti. We pray that your love might continue to be visible in and through the various ministries of aid and healing. Connect us as members of your human family to the needs of our brothers and sisters all over the world. Keep alive in us the longing to work for a world where the inequalities of the human condition no longer exist; keep alive in us the hope that groans for your better, fairer world.
We pray for our nation and for the nations around the world that they might, through the power of your Holy Spirit, act with justice, mercy, and humility.
God of hope, hold us close; keep alive in us the promises of your loving care, that no matter what befalls us that your love may not bear away the pain, it will always carry us through it within your everlasting arms.
And so in the confidence of your love we pray together, Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church