Sunday, September 19, 2010
Offered by Sarah A. Johnson, Minister for Congregational Care
Gracious and loving God, we give you thanks that we are your people, the work of your hands, and the sheep of your pasture. In your steadfast and enduring love, you love us and claim us and call us. We give thanks for that call—for the joy of being a part of your work in this world, for the risk of living differently, for the burden of walking the way of the cross in love and service, for our common identity found in you.
We give you thanks this day for all those whom you have placed in our lives as teachers and friends to provide companionship and wisdom for the journey. We pray for our loved ones from whom we are separated by distance or circumstance. We pray for those whom we have marked as our enemies, offering prayers for your love in all circumstances and remembering that in your mystery you are Lord of all.
God, we know in your calling is the command to do justice. And so we pray this morning for all those whose daily life is a struggle—whether in Pakistan, Africa, Haiti, or Chicago. We pray for all those in this community and the community at large who are in need of work and cannot find it. We pray for those who struggle daily to find adequate food and shelter. We pray for national and local leaders who are in need of the wisdom and generosity to extend the blessings of freedom to all people.
We pray also for those who are sick and in the hospital, those who know the ongoing uncertainly of disease, and for those who await relief in the form of surgery or test results. We pray this morning for those whose hearts grieve the loss of a loved one and are in need of comfort and assurance in the face of death; we also pray for all those whose loneliness, depression, and anxiety threaten to overwhelm them and who are in need of courage in the face of life.
God, marked as your people, having heard your call, and standing on the threshold of our current lives and the promise of our lives as lived in you, we admit that sometimes we are afraid. The obstacles seem too large, the task too big, the risk too much.
So we shrink from the promises of your future, limiting our own potential and the potential of those around us within carefully constructed borders of meaning and purpose.
But through your living Word, we continue to hear faint reminders of a better way. Help us risk being your people, following your better lead for us, you who gives us new place, new mode, new self. Stir us beyond our fear into an abundant future.
Use us, and our gifts, for your newness that pushes beyond all that we can say or imagine. We pray this in the name of the One who broke through all conventional barriers of expectation to give us new life and who taught his disciples to pray together saying, Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church