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Joshua 3:7-17; Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37; 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13; Matthew 23:1-12
Dear Lord, On this peaceful morning, we are privileged to gather again in this hallowed place as your people and offer our prayers and our thanks to you. Help us to put into practice your teaching on humility. Help us to not put on airs in front of others. Even more, help us avoid puffing ourselves up secretly, self=satisfied, and forgetting that everyone we meet is equally your beloved creation. There is sadness, Lord, in your world and we ask for your strength to endure it. Be with each of us today whose heart is troubled. Let us feel your love and support and help us channel that through our prayers to others who are in need. We lift up to you each person on the prayer list in the bulletin, and each person on the prayer list in our minds. Watch over us and bring us safe home. As we enter the stewardship season, we pray that you will embolden us to walk by faith and not by sight. Thank you for all you have done through our congregation over the years. Make us your instruments in that continued work. Please especially be with Walt, as he shoulder alone a load not so long ago borne by three. Give him strength and wisdom, faith in you and in us, and keep him healthy and strong. Thank you for another day, another week, another year, and all the joy that comes to us as we run the course you have set for us. These things we ask in the name of Jesus who taught us to pray, Our, FAther,who art in heaven, hallowed by 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. And lead us not into temptation but deliver from evil, for thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever. Amen.
(Adapted from Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL; Prayers of the People; Joyce Shin, 4/6/14 and 9/28/14; Matt Helms, 8/17/14; Victoria Curtiss, 1/12/14; and Judith Watt, 8/31/14
Gracious and loving God,
Just as You entrusted Your precious son, Jesus, with the mission to give His life for others, so You have called us to serve, working for the welfare of our brothers and sisters. Use us, and shape our societies, that working through us, we might serve in Your miracle-working: the miracle of feeding the hungry and providing shelter from the cold; the miracle of mediating peace and practicing justice; the miracle of welcoming the other, of forgiveness and reconciliation, and offering hope for the future.
There is trouble, God, in so many parts of your world—in our community, in our country, and in far-flung places we know only through media news reports. Where violence rages, lead people by a firm hand to security and restoration. Where injustice reigns, make the world its witness to bring it to light. Where the vulnerable are left unprotected, reveal the work we are to undertake to keep them from harm and preserve their trust. Where people are overcome by grief and despair, whether our neighbor in the next pew or those half a world away, provide the peace that they need.
We know that You are there, in the midst of each of these situations, sometimes producing bold change and sometimes producing quiet hope. Give us hope that is stronger than our discouragement, and inspire us to live our lives in such a way that we may be a part of Your plan—giving generously of ourselves in a way that builds this world up rather than tearing it down.
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 us, 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 our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.