Sunday, July 22, 2012
Offered by Judith L. Watt, Associate Pastor
God of glory, God of grace, God of might, tender God, our hearts are full. We come before you with our usual mixed bag of joys and blessings, sorrows and challenges. But on this day, we carry renewed feelings of pain, anger, and despair because again people have lost their lives to senseless, seemingly random violence. And we hardly know what to pray. So first we ask, for ourselves, that you would use our pain and our worry, our anger, in ways that bring redemption. We ask that news of shootings in a movie theater in Colorado would open our eyes more fully to the pervasiveness of shootings every weekend in our city’s neighborhoods. We pray that you give us the courage to stay with our pain over the violence of this world, that you wake us from the tendency to shut down because it all seems too much.
We pray for your comfort for the families of the victims, for signs of grace and hope for new life in the midst of death. We pray for comfort for the shooter’s family, too. And we pray for healing for him at the deepest levels of his being. Use our anger and sadness as fuel—fuel that would increase our love, fuel that would help us stand firmly against violence at every level of human relationship. Fuel us as a people, as your people, to be careful stewards of the gifts you have given us to use—our minds, this earth, science and technology, our hearts, our words.
Gracious God, we thank you for so many things: For a time of prayer with Christian community. For this Sanctuary that gives us respite from stresses beyond our coping. We thank you for family, for friends, for the beauty that is all around us, and for the gift of life itself. We pray for those among us who are ill, who struggle with new diagnoses, who worry about end-of-life decisions. Provide, we ask, O God for those who have no employment or little employment. Give an extra measure of strength and humor to those parents with special needs children. Be especially with parents of children diagnosed with mental illness.
For those who are suffering because of the widespread drought, we ask for relief for them. Keep in your care the people who produce the world’s food and the policy makers who think about food distribution and each one of us as we consume food. Help us to envision a world where there is enough for everyone—enough food, enough shelter, enough justice, enough love.
Especially we thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus the Christ, who has shown us the meaning of servanthood and sacrifice and who constantly reminds us that all people are made in your image. We pray all of this in his name, praying together the prayer he taught, saying Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church