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1 Kings 17:8-16 (17-24); Psalm 146; Galatians 1:11-24; Luke 7:11-17
Gracious God, creator of the universe and giver of life – your majesty stretches beyond the galaxies and beyond our limited comprehension. We are each but a grain of sand in the desert. Despite our littleness and frailty, you care for each of us. You give, and give, and give O God. We have received the ultimate, sacrificial gift in the form of your only Son and our only hope and Savior, Jesus Christ. Though we have been given precious new life, we often instead hold on to all the wrong things: money, power, praise and attention. Turn our hearts to releasing, to giving away anything or anyone who might come between us and you O God. As we consider the depth of your mercy and grace, let us contemplate the state of the world today, and the brokenness that so desperately needs our prayers and your healing O God.
You have claimed us, redeemed us and remade us through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice – this is our singular identity and source of life. Nothing else should ever divide our desires or attention – let us always be devoted to you and you alone. Let us live in continuous joy, humility, and gratitude, praising you with our minds, our hearts and our very lives. Amen.
Almighty loving God,
Father – Creator of all the world and Source of abundant life; Son – Redeemer of all peoples and Word made flesh; Holy Spirit – Sustainer for all time and fountain of eternal love, you have called us by name and claimed us to be yours. You know us completely, and we belong to you.
Thank you Lord for the gift of your love. Thank you for the blessing of the greetings of friends. Thank you for the sights and sounds of our children, eager to love and be loved. Thank you for the gentle touch of loved ones. We thank you, Lord, for the gift of prayer, and in the hope of knowing that your promise and your love for us far outweigh our brokenness.
The Psalmist said “I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God all my life long.” We confess today Lord that we as your people have not lived that way. Instead of singing constant praise, we have turned away, covered our faces, been distracted. And still you claim us. You call us. You love us. We thank you, O Lord, for loving us so much that you sent your Son to save us and to forever connect us to you.
Lord, here in Charlotte and all over your earth, we ask that you place your protecting hand over those who are exposed and vulnerable. Many have no place to lay their heads, no place to call home, no idea where their next meal will come from. We ask that they may find the comfort that we so often take for granted. For our neighbors, both known and unknown to us but all known to you, that live in fear and in constant danger around the world, we pray for justice and peace. For friends who grieve the loss of loved ones, or who are anxious about illnesses, or experiencing the uncertainty of a job loss, we humbly ask for your strength. And Father we lift up especially those whose stories never reach our ears. We know, O God, that you hear them and hold them close.
We know and trust, oh Lord of hope, that you are always with us. Your loving embrace will never let us go. Amen.