Prayers of the People

May 31, 2020
Day of Pentecost

Offered by Matt Helms, Associate Pastor

Loving God, we are in need of a sense of your love and presence more than ever. Our hearts are heavy from news cycles that never seem to stop bringing devastating and heart-wrenching news.

In a week that saw our country pass a grim milestone of over 100,000 deaths due to COVID-19, with over 350,000 deaths globally, we can’t even begin to wrap our minds around the collective sense of grief and loss or wrap our minds around the uncertainty about what lies ahead as our state and country slowly begin to open back up.

These past two months have seen millions without work, whether permanently or temporarily, and because of that far too many families face uncertainty about what the next week or month will bring.

And in the midst of that despair is anger too—an anger enflamed by this rising inequality, feelings of hopelessness, and sharp rhetoric from our leaders. As a city we’re devastated that last weekend was the deadliest Memorial Day weekend in years, and we’re angry that so many lives continue to be taken far too early by gun violence. As a nation we are forced to confront yet another unarmed black man being killed by a police officer, and we’re angry that George Floyd’s life would be taken so senselessly and needlessly.

As protests and riots continue across this country, we remember these powerful words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., even as he condemned the act of rioting: that “riots are the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear?” It is time for all of us to wrestle with that question—and what our role might be in bringing change.

Indeed, Holy God—you who are Creator, Christ, and Spirit—on this Day of Pentecost when we remember the coming of your Spirit to not only begin the church but to each one of us, may your still small voice light a spark within us again that reminds us that you have given us gifts and a greater purpose, and may we be a part of your transformative work. You have given us a call to love radically and fully, sharing a love that can bridge distances, transform hearts, and reshape our world.

In those times when we might be feeling empty, may your Spirit fill us so that we may keep going, for you have indeed promised us that your Spirit will be with us, no matter where we are or whom we are with.

May that sense of your love remind us that we are all part of a shared family and that whatever affects one of us affects us all. May that knowledge give us courage as we make decisions individually and collectively in the days ahead. May your Spirit guide us to do what is right by our neighbors, just as we ever aspire to hold tight to you and your ways.

Indeed, we ask that you hold all of us close this day and every day, and we lift our prayers in the name of Christ, who taught us to pray together, saying, Our Father...

Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church


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