Sunday, June 22, 2014
Offered by Judith L. Watt, Associate Pastor
God of creation, God of the ages, God of this very moment, thank you. Thank you for singing birds and long days of light. Thank you for miles and miles of lakefront. Thank you for outdoor music, even in the midst of rain. Thank you for friends who have sustained us. Thank you for questions and doubts that heighten our attention. Thank you, O God, for the people sitting close to us now, each one with a host of cares and concerns. Thank you for our hearts beating together in this one place—this one place where we have come seeking your grace, hoping for strength, wanting to be reminded of your love, wanting to witness sparkles of your holy presence.
We give you thanks for Presbyterians from every corner of this country who gave their time last week and struggled through tough issues and made hard decisions, bringing joy to some of us and grief and anger to others. We ask that you bind us together, now with even greater bonds, always remembering that you call us to speak our truths in love, always remembering that we are a people of reconciliation and grace. Help us now to focus on supporting all those who enter into the serious commitments of covenant relationship. Help us now to strengthen the relationships we have with our Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters, to listen with deep respect, to be bearers of peace here. We pray for an end to the suffering endured by both Israelis and Palestinians, an end to violence on both sides. O God, we pray for the peace of this entire world we call earth.
For ourselves, we ask for a relief from fear and anxiety, no matter what challenges we face. Some of us need help with the care of aging parents. Others need strength in daily decisions about children. Some wonder whether to enter into a certain relationship. Jobs have been lost. Income is a worry. For some there are griefs that are almost too painful to bear. Give us strength, dear Lord, and greater trust in you, for by your hand we want to believe all shall be well.
We pray for this congregation, that you lead us with joy into our unknown future and that you pour out your Holy Spirit upon this place and its people so that through our faithfulness to you, more of your people will come to know your grace and glory and sustaining love.
Most of all, Holy God, grant each of us the gift of grateful hearts—grateful for life, grateful for the gift of Jesus and all that we know about him, grateful for the promises of faith, even those we don’t quite understand, grateful for the promise of forgiveness, grateful for your love, which cannot and will not remain dead and buried. We pray all of this in the name of Jesus, who taught his disciples to pray daily together, saying, Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church