Prayers of the People

Sunday, August 31, 2014
Offered by Judith L. Watt, Associate Pastor

God of all creation, we are a complicated people. We relish in joy and laughter, and we fear sadness and pain. We thrive on being busy and productive, and we find ourselves uncomfortable when we are given time to simply rest. We want you to be present at our every whim, to hear our every need, to give us signs along the way—signs that we are right, signs that we are loved, signs that we are useful—and yet we race through life, so busy asking for this and that, that we miss so much: the gift of time, the beauty of creation, the signs of love offered, the wonder of the provisions of our land, the sacredness of human caring. And so we ask for your assurance that you understand our human struggles, that you forgive our constant self-focus, that you keep calling us to notice, and that you will not stop pursuing us.

On this day, we thank you for workers, for laborers, for people who keep our cities and hospitals and schools clean, for people who step into violent places on our behalf, for aides who take care of the most basic human needs, for people who work through the night while we still sleep. On this Labor Day weekend, we pray for jobs for the unemployed, training offered for the unskilled, and justice in scales of pay.

We pray for those of any age returning to school, especially those facing a classroom for the first time, those who have had to change schools and are scared, and those for whom learning is so difficult. Give their teachers and professors wisdom and compassion and their parents assurance and comfort. We thank you for the hope offered this city by the Jackie Robinson West Little League team. They showed us how hungry we are for hope and community and innocence.

We pray for this world, O Lord, for you know that it is groaning in travail. We pray for the people of the Donetsk region. For the people of Guinea and Liberia and Sierra Leone and people throughout West Africa devastated by the Ebola virus, bring aid and cure. For the journalists still being held by the Islamic State militants, for the families of those held, we offer up our cries of frustration and sadness and pray for a miracle of mercy and compassion to enter into the hearts of torturers and government leaders everywhere.

For those among us who suffer dread disease and are fearful and for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one and for those who have felt abandoned by you, we pray for support to come from unexpected places and for new knowledge of who you are—that your love would become real to them in ways they’ve never known. In the name of the One who reached out to all who were forgotten, who shared bread with sinners, who gave hope to the poor, we pray the prayer he taught, saying together, Our Father . . .

Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church


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