Prayers of the People

Sunday, April 19, 2015
Offered by John W. Vest, Associate Pastor

God of mystery and love,
like Jesus’ first followers
just two weeks out from the startling events of Holy Week,
we struggle to make sense of all that has transpired.
The death of Jesus on the cross
shatters not only our preconceptions of what it means
to proclaim that Jesus is the anointed one,
but also our foundational beliefs about you.
How could a God of love let this happen?
Was this part of your plan?
Even more perplexing,
what does it mean that you yourself died upon that cross?
Reflecting on the miracle of Easter,
the stories we have heard of an empty tomb
and the reports that some have seen the risen Christ
challenge our fundamental notions of how the world works.
We long to believe that it is true,
but some of us are haunted with doubts.
We believe, Lord; help our unbelief.

Looking back on these events that changed the world,
help us to see your love revealed in surprising ways.
Help us to recognize your love in the freedom of will you grant your children.
Help us to recognize your love in the self-emptying humility of Jesus.
Help us to recognize your love in the trauma of the cross,
a suffering you share with all who suffer.
Help us to recognize your love in the risen Christ.
Help us to recognize your love in faith that transcends belief.

Even more, gracious God, help us to embody your love.
Make it a part of who we are and how we live.
Help us to love you with our entire beings
and to love each other as ourselves.
Where there is pain and suffering, may we respond in love.
Where there is loneliness and grief, may we respond in love.
Where there is sickness and death, may we respond in love.
Where there is hunger and homelessness, may we respond in love.
Where there is inequality and oppression, may we respond in love.

Not only this, O Lord, but give us also courage to speak your love;
to articulate what we believe even as we speak our doubts out loud;
to confess our failures and share our fears;
to proclaim the good news of your love in Christ;
to testify and bear witness to the ways you have changed us
and the ways you continue to change us.

Even now, we are bold to pray in public
for the coming of your kingdom,
using the words Jesus taught us.

Our Father . . .

Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church


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