Sunday, October 24, 2010
Offered by Adam H. Fronczek, Associate Pastor
God, we give you thanks, for you have created us. We are left speechless in the shadow of your greatness, and yet we try to speak, for we are amazed that you have come among us in Jesus Christ. We praise you for the strength you have given us for our everyday living and for the mercy you show us in the midst of our everyday failures. What are we that you are mindful of us? But yet you are. Knowing your compassion for us, we bring our prayers before you.
We ask your forgiveness, Lord, for we are often not who you created us to be. We are creatures of addiction and stubbornness; we have learned well how to be anxious and cruel. We are trapped by depression and paralyzed by fear. Sometimes we are too quick to conclude that we are stuck and cannot change things for the better; other times we live carelessly and recklessly as if we are invincible. Save us from ourselves, God. Help us to admit that we cannot live as we should, so that we can truly turn to you for help.
Even as we pray for the things that we suffer, we ask that you would grant us the compassion to look beyond ourselves to the needs of others.
We pray for members of our armed services throughout our world and particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. Keep them safe. Help them to be gracious and merciful even as they stand among charred body parts and witness the depths of human pain. We pray for disaster victims, for people who continue to recover from natural atrocities around the world. We pray for people in Pakistan and Indonesia, the Gulf Coast and Haiti. We pray for victims in places that are no longer on the front page, places we have forgotten, where the suffering goes on.
We pray for challenges closer to home. For children who have returned to school and parents who find themselves lonely in an empty house. We pray for people whose lives have changed due to an accident, a disability, or an illness. We pray that we ourselves would take notice of the people around us, that we would notice their pain and their suffering, and that we would understand how best to help and comfort them.
There is much to be concerned about, but miraculously, God, there is much for which to give thanks. The sun breaks on the horizon each day; the leaves change color. Grandchildren grow and thrive; the moon and the stars appear in the night sky. We go for an afternoon walk and are greeted by a warm breeze. A loved one greets us and offers a hug.
We give you thanks, for we are not always miserable offenders. Often we see the good and we accept our responsibilities. Often we are better than we thought we could be. Often we make a difference for those who will come after us. Often we help a stranger or give generously. Often we choose to do the right thing, even in the face of risk or loss. Often we overcome our old issues and grow into the people we hoped we would be. In those times you have been with us, and because often we resist giving you the credit, we pause now, in silence to say thank you . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church