Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Prayers of the People

The Prayers of the People provide an opportunity for us to pray for specific needs in our congregation. It is appropriate to construct this prayer in your own words. The following are suggestions.

O God, you are the author of peace and lover of concord,
in knowledge of whom stands our eternal life,
and whose service is perfect freedom;
Defend us in all assaults of our enemies;
that we, surely trusting in your Spirit,
may not fear the power of any adversaries,

O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world;
We commend this nation to your merciful care,
that being guided by thy Providence,
we may dwell secure in your peace.
Grant to the President of the United States,
and to all in authority,
wisdom and strength to know and to do your will.
Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness;
and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people;

O God, the Creator and Preserver of all humanity,
we humbly pray for all sorts and conditions of men and women,
that you would make your ways known to them.
More especially we pray for your holy Church universal;
that it may be so guided and governed by your good Spirit,
that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth,
and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life.
Finally, we commend to your fatherly goodness all those who are in any way afflicted or distressed in mind, body or spirit
It is appropriate to name specific people at this point
We give you thanks for hearing our common concerns,
In the name of Christ we pray. Amen

Almighty God,
in Jesus Christ you taught us to pray
and to offer our petitions to you in his name.
Guide us by your Holy Spirit,
that our prayers for others may serve your will
and show your steadfast love;
Hear us as we pray for the world.
You made all things in your wisdom,
and in your love you save us.
We pray for the whole creation.
Overthrow evil powers, right what is wrong,
feed and satisfy those who thirst for justice,
so that all your children may freely enjoy the earth you have made,
and joyfully sing your praises.
Hear us as we pray for the church.
You have called us to be the church of Jesus Christ.
Keep us one in faith and service,
breaking bread together,
and proclaiming the good news to the world,
that all may believe you are love,
turn to your ways,
and live in the light of your truth.
You sent us a Savior, Christ Jesus,
to break down the walls of hostility that divide us.
Send peace on earth,
and put down greed, pride, and anger,
which turn nation against nation and race against race.
Speed the day when wars will end
and the whole world accepts your rule;
Hear us as we pray for enemies.
We cannot love you unless we also love our neighbors,
Remove hate and prejudice from us and from all people,
so that your children may be reconciled
with those we fear, resent, or threaten;
and live together in your peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Hear us as we pray for those who govern us.
You are sovereign over the nations,
direct those who make, administer, and judge our laws;
the President of the United States
and others in authority among us,
that they may be guided by your wisdom,
and lead us in the way of righteousness.
Hear us as we pray for world leaders.
Eternal Ruler, hope of all the earth,
give vision to those who serve the United Nations,
and to those who govern all countries;
that, with goodwill and justice,
they may take down barriers,
and draw together one new world in peace.
Hear us as we pray for the sick.
Merciful God,
you bear the pain of the world.
Look with compassion on those who are sick
(especially on N., N.);
cheer them by your word,
and bring healing as a sign of your grace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Hear us as we pray for those who sorrow.
God of comfort,
stand with those who sorrow (especially N., N.);
that they may be sure that neither death nor life,
nor things present nor things to come,
shall separate them from your love.
Hear us as we pray for friends and families.
Bless us and those we love,
our friends and families;
that, drawing close to you,
we may be drawn closer to each other.
Mighty God,
whose Word we trust,
whose Spirit enables us to pray:
Accept our requests
and further those which will bring about your purpose for the earth;
through Jesus Christ, who rules over all things. Amen.
Gracious God,
because we are not strong enough
to pray as we should,
you provide Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit
to intercede for us in power.
In this confidence we ask you
to accept our prayers.
God of mercy,
hear our prayer.
We pray for the church, that we may proclaim your salvation to all.
Strengthen those whom you choose today,
that they may faithfully endure all trials
by which you conform your church to the cross of Christ.
We pray for creation.
You are the Creator of all,
and you entrusted the earth to the human race.
Yet we disrupt its peace with violence
and corrupt its purity with our greed.
Prevent your people from ravaging creation,
that coming generations
may inherit lands brimming with life.
We pray for the world.
You both the great history of nations
and the humble life of villages in your care.
Preserve the people of every nation from tyrants,
heal them of disease,
and protect them in time of upheaval and disaster,
that all may enter the kingdom that cannot be shaken.
We pray for peace.
You created humanity for salvation,
not destruction,
and sent your Son to guide us
into the way of peace.
Enable people of every race and nation
to accept each other as sisters and brothers,
your children, on whom you lavish honor and favor.
We pray for those who govern us.
We pray for all in authority over us:
for our President, N., for Congress,
for our Governor, N., and our state legislature, (and N., N.).
Deliver them from vain ambitions
that they may govern in wisdom and justice.
We pray for this community.
Deliver your people from jealousy and contempt
that they may show mercy to all their neighbors.
We pray for all families
and those who live alone.
Lead children to honor parents
by compassion and forgiveness.
May all people discover your parental care
by the respect and love given them by others.
We pray for all who suffer any sorrow or trial.
Compassionate God,
your Son gives rest to those weary with heavy burdens.
Heal the sick in body, mind, and spirit.
Lift up the depressed.
Befriend those who grieve.
Comfort the anxious.
Stand with all victims of abuse and other crime.
Awaken those who damage themselves and others
through the use of any drug.
Fill all people with your Holy Spirit
that they may bear each other's burdens
and so fulfill the law of Christ.
We trust that you will answer our prayers with grace,
and fulfill your promise
that all things work together for good
for those who love you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

As God's people, called to love one another,
let us pray for the needs of the church,
the whole human family,
and all the world, saying: Hear our prayer.
That churches of all traditions,
may discover their unity in Christ
and exercise their gifts in service of all,
we pray to you, O God.
That the earth may be freed
from war, famine, and disease,
and the air, soil, and waters cleansed of poison,
we pray to you, O God.
That those who govern and maintain peace in every land
may exercise their powers in obedience to your commands,
we pray to you, O God.
That you will strengthen this nation to pursue just priorities
so that the races may be reconciled;
the young, educated; and the old, cared for;
the hungry, filled; and the homeless, housed;
and the sick, comforted and healed,
we pray to you, O God.
That you will preserve all who live and work
in this city (town, village, community)
in peace and safety,
we pray to you, O God.
That you will comfort and empower
those who face any difficulty or trial:
the sick (especially N., N.),
the disabled, the poor, the oppressed,
those who grieve and those in prison,
we pray to you, O God.
That (insert specific prayer concerns of the congregation) ,
we pray to you, O God:
That you will accept our thanksgiving
for all faithful servants of Christ now at rest,
who, with us, await a new heaven and a new earth,
your everlasting kingdom,
we pray to you, O God.
Merciful God,
as a potter fashions a vessel from humble clay,
you form us into a new creation.
Shape us, day by day,
through the cross of Christ your Son,
until we pray as continually as we breathe
and all our acts are prayer;
through Jesus Christ
and in the mystery of the Holy Spirit, we pray. Amen.

God of heaven and earth,
through Jesus Christ you promise to hear us
when we pray to you in his name.
Confident in your love and mercy
we offer our prayer.
Empower the church throughout the world in its life and witness.
Break down the barriers that divide,
that, united in your truth and love,
the church may confess your name,
share one baptism,
sit together at one table,
and serve you in one common ministry.
Guide the rulers of the nations.
Move them to set aside their fear, greed, and vain ambition,
and bow to your sovereign rule.
Inspire them to strive for peace and justice,
that all your children may dwell secure,
free of war and injustice.
Hear the cries of the world's hungry and suffering.
Give us, who consume most of the earth's resources,
the will to reorder our lives,
that all may have their rightful share of the food,
medical care, and shelter,
and so have the necessities of a life of dignity.
Restore among us a love of the earth you created for our home.
Help us put an end to ravishing its land, air, and waters,
and give us respect for all your creatures,
that, living in harmony with everything you have made,
your whole creation may resound in an anthem of praise
to your glorious name.
Renew our nation in the ways of justice and peace.
Guide those who make and administer our laws
to build a society based on trust and respect.
Erase prejudices that oppress;
free us from crime and violence;
guard our youth from the perils of drugs and materialism.
Give all citizens a new vision of a life of harmony.
Strengthen this congregation in its work and worship.
Fill our hearts with your self-giving love,
that our voices may speak your praise,
and our lives may conform to the image of your Son.
Nourish us with your Word and sacraments
that we may faithfully minister in your name,
and witness to your love and grace for all the world.
Look with compassion on all who suffer.
Support with your love
those with incurable and stigmatized diseases,
those unjustly imprisoned,
those denied dignity,
those who live without hope,
those who are homeless or abandoned.
As you have moved toward us in love,
so lead us to be present with them in their suffering
in the name of Jesus Christ.
Sustain those among us who need your healing touch.
Make the sick whole [especially N., N.].
Give hope to the dying [especially N., N.].
Comfort those who mourn [especially N., N.].
Uphold all who suffer in body or mind,
not only those we know and love
but also those known only to you,
that they may know the peace and joy of your supporting care.
Other petitions may be added in the same manner.
O God,
in your loving purpose
answer our prayers and fulfill our hopes.
In all things for which we pray,
give us the will to seek to bring them about,
for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Hear our prayer as we lift up your holy church, Dear Lord,
that it may be filled with truth and love,
and be found without fault at the day of your coming.
We lift up all leaders of the church,
for our pastors and elders,
and for all the holy people of God.
We pray that within our church and all congregations
that your name would be glorified and that our divisions would end.
We pray for the global mission of the church,
that in faithful witness
it may preach the gospel to the ends of the earth.
We pray for those who do not yet believe,
and those who have lost their faith,
that they may receive the light of the gospel.
We pray for the peace of the world,
that a spirit of respect and forbearance
may grow among nations and peoples.
We pray for those in positions of public trust (especially N., N.),
that they may serve justice,
and promote the dignity and freedom of every person.
We lift up all who live and work in this community.
We pray to you, for a blessing upon all human labor,
and for the right use of the riches of creation,
that the world may be freed from poverty, famine, and disaster.
We lift up the the poor, the persecuted, and all who suffer;
for refugees, prisoners, and all who are in danger;
that they may be relieved and protected.
We remember in prayer the members of this congregation,
that we may be delivered from hardness of heart,
and show forth your glory in all that we do.
Your son taught us to pray for our enemies and those who wish us harm;
and for all whom we have injured or offended,
and so we lift them up into your loving care.
And we also pray for those we love.
For our families, friends, and neighbors;
that, being freed from anxiety,
they may live in joy, peace, and health,
we pray to you, O Lord.
Yours is the majesty, O God, holy and eternal;
yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
now and forever. Amen.
Almighty God,
you have promised to hear
when we pray in the name of your Son.
Therefore in confidence and trust
we pray for the church.
Particular intercessions/thanksgivings may be offered.
O God, enliven the church for its mission
that we may be salt of the earth and light to the world.
Breathe fresh life into your people.
Give us power to reveal Christ in word and action.
We pray for the world.
Particular intercessions/thanksgivings may be offered.
Creator of all,
lead us and every people into ways of justice and peace,
that we may respect one another in freedom and truth.
Awaken in us a sense of wonder for the earth
and all that is in it.
Teach us to care creatively for its resources.
We pray for the community.
Particular intercessions/thanksgivings may be offered.
God of truth,
inspire with your wisdom
those whose decisions affect the lives of others,
that all may act with integrity and courage.
Give grace to all whose lives are linked with ours.
May we serve Christ in one another,
and love as he loves us.
We pray for those in need.
Particular intercessions/thanksgivings may be offered.
God of hope,
comfort and restore all who suffer in body, mind, or spirit.
May they know the power of your healing love.
Make us willing agents of your compassion.
Strengthen us as we share in making people whole.
We remember those who have died and those who mourn.
Particular intercessions/thanksgivings may be offered.
We remember with thanksgiving
those who have died in the faith of Christ,
and those whose faith is known to you alone.
Loving God, into your hands we commend them.
Give comfort to those who mourn.
Fill the emptiness of their loss with your never-ending peace.
We praise you for (N., N., and) all your saints
who have entered your eternal glory.
May their example inspire and encourage us.
We pray for ourselves and our ministries.
Particular intercessions/thanksgivings may be offered.
Lord, you have called us to serve you.
Grant that we may minister in your name,
with your love in our hearts,
your truth in our minds,
your strength in our wills;
until, at the end of our journey,
we know the joy of our homecoming
and the welcome of your embrace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty God,
who taught us to pray not only for ourselves
but for people everywhere,
hear us as we pray for others,
in the name of Jesus Christ.
Inspire the whole church with your power, unity, and peace.
Grant that all who trust you may obey your Word,
and live together in love.
Lead all nations in the way of justice and goodwill.
Direct those who govern,
that they may rule fairly, maintain order,
uphold those in need, and defend oppressed people;
that this world may claim your rule and know true peace.
Awaken all people to the danger we have inflicted upon the earth.
Implant in each a reverence for all you have made
that we may preserve the delicate balance
of creation for all coming generations.
Give grace to all who proclaim the gospel
through Word and Sacrament and deeds of mercy,
that by their teaching and example
they may reveal your love for all people.
Comfort and relieve, O Lord,
all who are in trouble . . .
sorrow . . . poverty . . . sickness . . . grief . . .
especially those known to us,
whom we name before you in silence. . . .
a brief moment of silence may be observed…
Heal them in body, mind, or circumstance,
working in them, by your grace,
wonders beyond all they may dream or hope.
Bring to our remembrance
all those who, having served you on earth,
now sing your praises eternally.
May their endurance give us courage
and their faithfulness give us hope;
through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
Hear us as we pray for the church, that we may be filled with peace, unity and purity. Bless the pastors, the staff members of this congregation, the elders, and all of the leaders and members of this congregation so that we may serve you and one another. Bless not only this congregation, but all those who call themselves Christian, that we may all be faithful.
Hear us as we pray for our nation and world. Bring an end to war, violence and terror, and establish a lasting peace to this world. Bless the leaders of our nation and of all nations, that they may do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with you.
Hear us as we pray for the people of our community, especially for the poor, the persecuted, the sick, and all who suffer;
for refugees, prisoners, and all who are in danger;
that they may be relieved of their burdens and be safe in your protection.
We pray especially for our enemies and for those who wish to do us harm, that together we may learn to forgive and love one another. We pray earnestly for our family, friends and neighbors, that being free from anxiety and worry they may live in joy, peace, and health.
Hear us as we pray for ourselves, that you would be with us throughout this day as we worship you and study your Word. Be with families who gather together for meals and fellowship. Be with us on Monday that those who are employed may be blessed in their labors and that all of us, whether we are retired or employed, in search of work or engaged in training and courses of study, may all be a blessing to others during the course of our weekly routines.
O holy God, great Physician, Lover of all people, we are astonished by your amazing grace. We are captivated by your power and awed by your mercy. In the heart of our hearts, we long to know you more deeply, to touch even the fringes of your cloak, and to know peace and healing. We strain our ears to hear you call us daughters and sons, like so many before us. We pray for the faith that can make us whole.

And we pray for those in need of your healing this day:

For the sick, for the injured and hospitalized, and for those whose illness has isolated them from their community. Give them a spirit of healing and hope ....

For the outcast, and for those whom we have cast out through our action, or inaction. Shine a light on our prejudices, soften our hardened hearts, and transform us for loving service toward every Christ we meet ....

For those who mourn and weep. Let them stand firm in your promises, buoyed by your strength and care. Give them the comfort and assurance that nothing can separate them from your love.

Loving God, we pray for healing and hope to reign in this world. Where there is conflict and war, let there be peace. Where there is hunger and poverty, let there be abundance. Where there is distress and despair, let there be light, warm and unquenchable.

We pray to hear your words: “Follow me,” for they are words not only of discipleship, but of assurance — that as your disciples, we will never be forsaken. You will lead us, all of us, into unexpected places. Give us the courage to follow you each day of our lives. Amen.
11 Emphasis on poverty
Merciful Lord, through the bounty of the sea and the richness of the land, you provide for the needs of all your people, yet not all people get their fair share. Not so very far from this place, there are people who are faint for lack of nourishment.
There are children who go to bed hungry and wake up hungrier still. Closer than we think there are people in pain without medicines because they cannot afford them. Very likely, within sight of this building, there are people who are beside themselves with worry over how they will keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.

Most of us are so blind to the suffering of others. To us, the poor and hungry are often invisible. Unless someone collapses on our doorstep we assume all's well.
When we do confront evidence of poverty we cannot ignore, we are more likely to label it an "eyesore" than to lend a hand. Help us, Lord, by your grace to overcome our hardness of heart. Give us such a sense of your power at work through us that we will dare to make a difference in this community. Show us how and where we may put into action the love we have freely received from you.

Send us to serve those who need a sign of hope in their lives. Help us provide warmth and shelter to those who shiver on our streets at night. Open our hearts and hands to those forced to hunt for their dinner in dumpsters. Lead us to devise practical methods to serve those who languish in tenements with no one to care for them. Unite the citizens of our community in strategies that will give our neighbors the chance to work and to prosper with your blessing. In the name of Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Loving God, gentle Savior, your little ones need you, now more than ever. In this country and around the world, they are suffering in record numbers. Use us, we pray, to answer the prayers and pleas of those too small to defend themselves.

We pray for the safety of children who live with violent adults: Help us be alert to the signs of abuse and brave enough to demand immediate intervention by those in authority.

We pray for children who perish as victims of crime: Give us the will and the wisdom to overcome the gangs and the drugs that destroy young lives.

We pray for children who have been made to endure atrocious acts: Help us protect them within havens of gentleness where their memories can be healed and their trust restored.

We pray for children whose souls have been scarred by horrors they have witnessed: Bless and empower those who work with children in the aftermath of violence and disaster; help the children recover hope and health.

We pray for children around the world who are sold as factory slaves to satisfy the demand for cheap goods: Help consumers and merchants use their financial leverage to insist that child labor not be used.

We pray for children who suffer without adequate medical care, sufficient food, pure water, appropriate clothing or secure shelter: Move us to share with them what we have in abundance.

We pray for families trying their best to raise good children in bad times: Help our congregation find ways to foster the health and strength of families through the resources of faith in our Lord Jesus, who hugged the little children in his arms. Amen.
Just and merciful God: We turn to you in humble prayer on behalf of the men and women who make our laws and for those whose responsibility it is to enforce them.

Favor with good health and sound judgment our president, [name], and the members of Congress. Let petty party politics, mutual recrimination and self-justification yield to courtesy, forbearance and a paramount concern for the public weal. And let our national laws protect the weak, curb the strong and keep our nation as a beacon of liberty and a haven for the persecuted.

We pray for our governors and our state legislators. May they fulfill their responsibilities not in self-willed competition one with another, but as members of a truly United States of America. May the creative handling of a problem by one state stimulate others to comparable creativity; and may the error of any one state serve as a deterrent to all the others.

We pray also for those who govern us closest to home: for women and men whom we have elected to our county and city governing bodies. Keeping informed of the issues in our midst, help us to work closely and supportively with these elected officials, so that their vision of what our community needs may always be guided by what the neediest among us need.

Judge of the nations: We pray for all who are involved in the interpretation and enforcement of our laws. Grant the men and women who sit on our courts of justice a profound respect for our country's Constitution, along with a keen sense of the need rightly to mix justice and mercy. Assist our whole system of justice in maintaining a sensitive balance between the rights of victims and the humanity, flawed though it be, of those who have victimized them.

Righteous God: We offer special intercession for members of the FBI and of our state and local police forces. We give thanks for those among them who have been injured or have lost their lives in our defense. And we pray that they, in turn, may hold on to their humanity, even in the midst of viciousness and vice. Hear our prayer, O God, and help us to be peace-loving, caring citizens of our country and of the world. We pray in the name of him who honored to law of his land while living by the law of love, even Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
O God, our help in ages past: We confess that often we do not have much hope for years to come. As we read or watch the news, our faith falters. We wonder about the future: about the world's future and our own future. We forget your promises along with your great, saving acts on record in your Word.

We thank you, most patient God, for keeping faith with us in spite of our doubt, and particularly for providing for us examples of steadfastness, of belief in the future, to shame and hearten us.

We thank you for the old man who is planting trees up and down his street, even though he knows that he will not live to enjoy them.

We pray for the young woman who is dying a slow, painful death, but who has left her body to a hospital so that, out of her anguish, healing may come to persons unknown to her.

We pray for scholars who write plodding, faithful chronicles of bygone times, because they consider humankind's ongoing history worth recording.

We thank you for scientists, politicians and grass-roots folk who struggle to preserve our environment, so that our children and grandchildren may inherit a habitable world.

And we pray, with thanksgiving, for women and men who agree that, in spite of the news, this world is still a fit place for having and raising children.

We know, merciful Lord, that all these servants of yours who believe in the future and who are striving to make sure that it is a future worth having, are not necessarily doing so in your name. But we believe that you acknowledge them as yours, and we pray that you help us, each of us, to join their ranks. Restore our faltering faith. Remind us that you are our hope for years to come. For the sake of him who willingly died young so that we might have a future. Amen.

O God, we are dismayed and perplexed by crises far and near, crises beyond our control, crises beyond even our comprehension.
We feel ignorant and powerless. We are consumed by self-doubt.
We also wonder sometimes, guiltily, whether you care at all and why you do not help.
Remind us that you have never promised to make life easy for your children.
Strengthen our faith in you, that we may perceive any crisis, wherever it may be occurring, as a prod to our consciences and a challenge to our compassion.
Empower us to do what we can to translate compassion into action, to secure a fair deal or at least a sporting chance for everyone. And show us that, with your help, we can always do more than we think we can to overcome or least help control crises.

We pray for people who are physically or mentally disadvantaged. Help us to help them develop whatever resources they do have to the fullest.
We pray for good workers who, for whatever reason are fired. Give them the stamina to endure the frustrations of a job search and land a new job worthy of their gifts.
We pray for men and women trying to handle problems in their marriage or family life. If we can, let us help them sort things out responsibly and compassionately.

God of our life: We commend to your tender care loved ones and friends who are struggling with serious illness. Sustain them and, if it is your will, restore them to health. We also pray for some who are trying to escape from responsibilities through illness. May they be nerved to face reality and grow up. And we pray for others who are walking even now in the shadow of death. May they be strengthened to bear what sooner or later we all must bear. In their ultimate crisis, may they have the comfort of the companionship of him who endured the shock of birth and the agony of a cruel death to be enthroned, by you, as Lord of death and life. We turn to you, in faith, in Christ’s powerful name. Amen.

God of Time, Prince of Peace,

We so need to talk with you. You see how many of us are full of weariness and confusion, stressed until we could snap. So many voices demand we work harder, do more. Some voices are harsh, others softly insistent. Each wants a piece of us: our time, our attention, our heart, even our soul.

The boss, the teacher, the coach tell us it takes utter dedication. They say you, our families and friends, must take a back seat. But we need you and our loved ones, too. Pastors and counselors tell us to develop our spiritual life, strengthen our marriages, spend time with our children and keep in touch with our friends if we want to maintain any kind of balance in this helter-skelter world.

Some of us are young and working hard to grow up. We feel torn when friends tell us one thing, parents tell us another, while teachers and coaches tell us something else.

God, even you sometimes seem so far away, but we know you are not the one who has moved. We need to draw near to you, to feel your steady hand.

But meanwhile, elderly relatives expect and deserve attention. We should take better care of our health. We end up being pushed and pulled from every side, feeling inadequate and frazzled. Each of these demanding voices sounds as if it thinks it alone matters, and too often we try to listen to them all. Is it any wonder we can hardly hear your voice through all the commotion in our divided hearts?

Lord, please speak to us all. Help us focus on that one thing from which all good and worthy works come, our relationship with you. Help us screen and sort all the competing claims on our time and strength. Give us wisdom to align our priorities appropriately. Grant us strength to stick to those priorities when we are under pressure from those who claim to know better.

Teach us by your example and steady us by your Presence. Be close beside those who are trying to prepare for an uncertain, perhaps frightening future.
Call out to those who don't know where to turn anymore; save them from despair.
Guide those who are facing confusing decisions between imperfect options.
Rescue those who feel inadequate and guilty before they collapse in hopelessness.
Renew us in grace and freedom as we set out to face another week.

Use us as you will to bring comfort and courage to those around us. Inspire us to greater compassion and understanding for others who may feel stretched to the breaking point, and help us find openings to share the good news of your peace. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

17 Emphasis on fears
God of Courage and Might,

Over and over your gleaming messengers speak through the Scriptures: "Fear not! Do not be afraid!" Angels have proclaimed courage to shepherds and beggars and kings, yet here we are, fretting with myriad terrors and dreads.
We confess our fear with downcast eyes, for we know it is an expression of our deep-down distrust of you, and a clue about how far our faith has yet to grow.

But fear is not what you desire for your children. We waste precious time and energy on worry and complaint.

Forgive us when our anxiety stunts our faith and hardens our hearts. We admit that fear has crippled us at many points. We fear rejection, so we decline the opportunity to make a new friend. We dread appearing ridiculous, so we give up a lifelong dream. Because we fear embarrassment or ridicule, we play the silent coward. Because we fear change, we sacrifice opportunity. We fear heartbreak, so we opt for loneliness rather than risking genuine intimacy.

Because we fear to be alone, we shun the solitude in which we might discover our deepest selves and truest faith. Because we dread failure, we default on the opportunity to make our lives stand for something.

We confess the faithlessness of our fears. Please help our unbelief. Teach us to fear nothing except losing you. Help us trust your love and protection, knowing that our lives may not always be safe, but that we shall always be saved in the triumph of your love and glory.

We pray for all those who wage against fear today:
those facing surgery or illness or pain,
people who dwell in dangerous neighborhoods,
those who live where wars and terrors threaten the day and rule the night,
those who don't know what they will eat tonight or where they will sleep,
children whose homes are not safe and secure,
those who suffer mental illness,
those whose jobs are in jeopardy,
people facing death with dread.
God of Might, banish our fears, lighten our darkness and send us forth with brave hearts, for we ask in the name of the One who has conquered even the terrors of death and hell, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
18 Advent Prayer
Almighty God, true Hope of all the earth,
Prepare in us a warm and welcoming place,
where we may receive the King of Creation with gladness and kindness and faithfulness.
In the center of our crowded days, create a quiet place of light and peace,
where we can keep these holidays as the holy days they were meant to be.
Help us help those whom you hold in special care for the sake of their special needs.
For them we ask gifts that only you can give.

To those in mourning, to whom the sounds of merrymaking are an unrelenting agony, give a deepened awareness of your arm around them and peaceful certainty that your other arm is around the loved one they are missing.

To those who are dying, let the peace of your coming surround and sustain them as the time of their leaving draws near. Reassure their fearful hearts of your undying love and life.

To those whose hearts are breaking with sorrow and worry, reveal how your coming brings power and peace for just such times as these.

To those who are sick, open a window of insight so that they can glimpse the healing you plan for your whole creation and so await their own healing with patient endurance.

For those who are out of work, and near out of their minds with anxiety, go before them to open a path through their troubles, that they may follow you to a brightening future.

For those far separated from loved ones, let their hearts experience the spiritual joy of concentrating their thought and worship upon you, who so loved the world that you gave your only Son.

You sent him not with ribbons and wrappings, but with power and grace, whether we have been naughty or nice. Receive our thanks, our praise and our prayers for Jesus' sake. Amen.

18- With emphasis on teachers and students
O God, you have given us people in our community and world with so much talent.
We pray for the teachers. They work through difficult and demanding hours at school, and continue their work after school hours. They deal with tests and parents and laws and disciplinary issues – keep them focused on their students and give them a joy in the opportunities you give them to teach, nurture and lead the children and young people of our world.
We pray for the students. Bless each of us with the joy of learning. Whether we are in classrooms or not, bless us with curiosity. Make us inquisitive. Open our minds to new understandings.
We pray for those in the arts. They provide music, drama, stories, pictures and illustrations, and so much more that enhances our lives. They fill us with laughter and move us to tears. Their works inspire us. Bless them with talents and skills, and give them the discipline they need to develop their crafts.
We pray for scientists. They seek to understand what you have created and how you have created and continue to maintain your universe. Give them grace to see your hand in all of the wonders of what you have made.
We pray for doctors, nurses, and all others in the medical field. Give them wisdom and compassion as they care for the sick.
We pray for business owners, executives, supervisors, workers, trainees, and all others who are employed. Bless them with creativity, ingenuity, and devotion to work. Let the motivations of those who work be guided and shaped by ethical behavior.
We pray for those who provide us with food – for farmers, migrant workers, shrimpers and fishermen; for cooks and waiters; for distributors and all workers. Help them to provide us with sufficient food that is safe and nutritious.
These things we pray in the name of Christ, Amen.

19- Mother's Day Prayer
Gracious Lord,
Hold us in your arms this day.
We are grateful for all the parents that share the community of this congregation and on this Mothers’ Day we give thanks for our families, and particularly on this day, our mothers.
We come with different experiences.
For some of us, we remember loving and devoted mothers full of patience and wisdom.
For some of us, we have memories and images tarnished by abuse and neglect.
For some of us, our memories of a departed mother are only what others have told us of a woman we may never have known.
But we all pause today to pray for our families and for our mothers. 
We give thanks for all of them.
The young ones and the old ones,
those still with us and those departed,
those who are married and those who are single.
Sustain those mothers raising our children and youth. 
Bless these mothers as they struggle with sleepless nights and give them strength in their sleep-deprived days.  Help them find joys in changing every crappy diaper and wiping an infant’s vomit from a favorite blouse. 
Ah yes, Lord, we thank you for the joys of motherhood.
Bless these mothers as their infants turn into toddlers who say their first words, take their first steps, and occasionally scream and cry for what seems like an eternity reaching notes that one would not think a tiny voice could produce or a adult’s human ear could tolerate.
Ah yes, Lord, we thank you for the joys of motherhood.

Bless these mothers as their toddlers become young children who enter school and learn how to read, how to add, and subtract, and cuss, shoot a bird, lie, cheat, and steal, and interact with others in a way that often results in every parent’s fears – a call to the principal’s office to discuss the behavior of an offspring.
Ah yes, Lord, we thank you for the joys of motherhood.

Bless these mothers as their young children become teenagers.  Teenagers.  Oh dear God, help the mothers of teenagers who must learn to savor the aroma of children who do not understand how society depends on them to take showers and use deodorant.  Give them a sense of forgiveness that will sustain them when their teenager blames Mom for the sudden pimple appearing on the end of one’s nose on the night of prom.  Give them wisdom as they deal with the anxiety and realities of drugs and alcohol and unsafe sex and driving while texting and … well, God help us all, for we need it so desperately.
Ah yes, Lord, we thank you for the joys of motherhood.

Bless these mothers as their teenagers grow and become adults, and bring them to that day of promise, when mothers can see their children become mothers and fathers themselves -  who now must change dirty diapers and wipe vomit from their favorite shirts. 
In all of our challenges and shortcomings and mistakes and failures and moments of anger and moments of frustration in every tear that mothers shed, every sleepless night, every nightmare, every broken dream, every skinned knee and every frightening drive to an emergency room and all the fears that were imagined and for all the fears that were real…
Give them joy.
Give them peace.
Give them love.

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