Sunday, August 26, 2012
Offered by Thomas C. Rook, Parish Associate
God of our life, through all the circling years, we trust in you. In all the past, through all our hopes and fears, your hand we see. Through eyes of faith, gracious Lord, we come to see your unceasing presence in our lives. During times when we lose sight of you, you never lose sight of us. You hold us, you carry us, even when we are unaware. But later—oftentimes years later—we acknowledge that you were never absent but always with us, always shaping, forming us for good. Even from the shambles of our fallings, our faults and failures, you bring about our good. Could it be, O Lord, that even those times of your seeming absence—even those times are within your larger purpose of strengthening us and instilling a deeper hunger and thirst for you?
God of the coming years, through paths unknown we follow you. Be for us in life our daily bread, our heart’s true home when all our years have sped. As the days of summer soon draw to an end and the beauties of fall approach, we acknowledge your gift to us of the seasons of our own life; as each ends, so another begins. And one day, when we at last enter our eternal home in your love, for us an end but, profoundly, a beginning of life.
We truly thank you, gracious Lord, for those who today enjoy a sense of good purpose, finding your blessings in their work and play and among their family and friends. And for those who are dispirited in their work or disappointed in relationships, we pray you refresh their spirits and renew their hope and their sense of identity as your own beloved children. We thank you, Lord of life, for those who enjoy good health this day, and we pray your special care for ones who know bodily pain or disability. O God, reassure us all that we can lean on your strong arms to hold us. We give thanks for all who extend a hand to help and a heart to care for ones in need this day. Within this community of faith of the Fourth Presbyterian Church we thank you, O Lord, for all those seeking to be good and faithful disciples of Christ, growing in their love of you. Bless all in this place who give of themselves in wisdom and skills and faithfulness to promote the advancement of your kingdom in our community.
Remembering your promise that you will never forsake us, urge us forward on the venture of life and with recognition of our need for you, expecting, as your people, not some easy way, but finding your presence in the midst of it all. Give us courage and strength for the difficult places, but not so much strength that we feel sufficient within ourselves and look not to you for our greatest confidence. Grant us hope for the way ahead, but not so much hope in our own powers that we locate ultimate security outside you. Give us assurance over our doubts and uncertainty of heart, but not so much surety that our faith is reduced to mere certitudes, claiming a corner on your truth and holding of little account the faith of others. And so, great God, mindful that, at the last, our security lies in you or nowhere and relying not so much on our faith as on your faithfulness, we now pray in one voice the Lord’s Prayer: Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church