Sunday, July 25, 2010
Offered by John W. Vest, Associate Pastor
Gracious and loving God,
across the globe your children gather together to worship you,
to sing praises to your name,
and to come before you in prayer.
Long ago, your Son, Jesus, taught us how to pray.
He showed us the words to say and the reasons for praying.
And so we follow his way this morning as we gather together.
God, you are our creator.
You gave us life
and like a loving father or mother you provide for our needs and sustain us.
You love us unconditionally and teach us to love others in the same way.
Because of this and so much more, you are holy.
God, we pray that the world we live in might one day become the world you intend it to be.
You sent prophets and kings and priests and rabbis to show us the way.
And when we failed to listen, you sent us Jesus
to demonstrate in his life, and in his death,
the kind of community you desire for your children here on earth,
not in some distant future, but right now.
Help us to follow the way of Jesus
so that our world will be transformed into a more just and peaceful place,
a world without oppression or violence or war,
a world without poverty or hunger or homelessness.
There are many this day who are suffering from storms, earthquakes, floods,
and disasters of our own making.
There are those among us who are sick and in need of healing.
Be with them, God, and help us to demonstrate your presence to them in our love.
God, you have given us all we need to care for all your children.
Inspire within us the vision and the passion to take your gifts and use them for the good of all.
God, when we ignore these gifts,
when we ignore this vision,
when we ignore your love for all your children,
we fail to follow the way of Jesus.
We sin against you and against our sisters and brothers.
Help us, God, to recognize our failings
and to seek your forgiveness and the forgiveness of others.
May our goal always be reconciliation.
When others wrong us, help us to be mindful of our own faults,
so that we will forgive others as you forgive us.
God, the way of Jesus is simple, but it is not easy.
We are constantly tempted to give up or take a less difficult path.
Increase within us the mind and heart of Christ,
so that we may truly be the body of Christ in the world,
each of us a gift of God for the people of God.
Hear us now, as we join our voices as one
in the familiar yet unsettling prayer that Jesus teaches,
a prayer we are indeed bold to pray: Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church