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Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24; Psalm 100, Ephesians 1:15-23; Matthew 25:31-46
Lord, we come to you this week with thankful hearts as we celebrate Thanksgiving. Help us to be keenly aware of the many blessings you have bestowed upon us. We acknowledge that some of us will have empty places at the table this year, give us strength and peace that comes only from you.
God, creator and preserver of all, we pray for all people especially those who suffer in body, mind or spirit: give them courage and hope in their troubles and bring them the joy of your salvation. Lord you are our hope and our strength; be close to those who are alone, rejected, unemployed and give courage to all who are without hope.
We pray for our Church, for Walt, for our Elders and Deacons; guide our paths as we seek an associate minister and a youth leader. Direct and use us we pray – to help your church reflect your abundant and amazing grace.
We pray for this world O Lord, for the people of Liberia and Sierra Leone and for the people throughout West Africa devastated by the Ebola virus. Bring healing and peace to them.
We pray for those on our Prayer list this week – and also for those with needs unspoken.
In the name of the One who reached out to all who were forgotten, who shared bread with sinners, and who gave hope to the poor, we pray the prayer He taught saying together, Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL
Good and gracious God, we are gathered as gifted people with multiple reasons to be grateful. Most of us come from comfortable homes, having enough to eat and clothes to keep us warm. Most of us are in good health and traveled here safely. Most of us can read and enjoy the freedom to worship you as we choose. We are grateful for the gift of fellowship with other believers whose love includes us and whose community carries us on our faith journey even when we may be in a season of doubt, fear, or despair.
We are grateful too for works of art, for “sights for sore eyes” and “music to our ears,” for the “sweet smell of success,” and the lasting lessons of failure, for the laughter that tells us how lightheartedly we can carry some matters, for the tears and sighs that tell us how much some people matter to us, for the phone call or email or moment in passing that tells us how much another cares for us.
How blessed we are, yet also needy. We need better eyes to take in the beauty that lies around us. We need better ears for voices weakened by pain, muffled by abuse, and stifled by powerlessness. We need stronger hearts to dare to take bold actions in faithfulness to you for justice and compassion. We need to be able to live with ourselves and be hospitable to strangers. We pray for ourselves and all others who need the peace that passes human understanding that can come only from you; all of us who need your strength and guidance and courage to be good stewards of your earth, of your calling, of your hopes for the world. Transform your church this day, O God, that we may be powerful witnesses to your vision of your reign on earth where no one goes hungry or is dismissed and all people, all people, live in harmony. All this we pray in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray Our Father . . .
Portions of this prayer are based on a prayer by C. Eric Mount Jr. in Let Us Pray.