Promises of God (Genesis 28:10-19a)

Gracious God, you are with us always.
Be with those in our world who are fleeing their homes in fear.
Be with those in our world who have had their lives disrupted
by the loss of a job,
by the loss of a spouse,
by the loss of health and mobility.
As they start anew, help them to feel your presence in their lives.
Help them build a new life that revolves around
your promise and your teachings.

Gracious God, you are with us always.
But sometimes, we allow this world to distract us
with both the good and the bad.
When we are focused on success and wealth, we overlook our need for you
and think only of our own strength and talents.
When the world treats us badly and we feel pain instead of joy,
we can overlook your healing presence and cling to our suffering.
Remind us to feel your presence always.
Remind us to say prayers of thanksgiving in times of success
and prayers for your support and grace in times of need.

Gracious God, you are with us always.
You made promises to our ancestors and promises to our future generations.
You were the God for our great-, great- grandparents
and you will be the God for the children of our great-, great-grandchildren.
No matter what the world is like now or in the future, you are our God
and you are with us.
There are many among us who feel insecure and powerless.
Remind us that you are with us and in your teachings, we find peace.
As your followers, give us the strength to stand up for those who feel powerless.
As your followers, give us the wisdom to see the plans you have for this world.
As your followers, give us the desire to share the
good news of your teachings to others.
We support one another in their time of need and
we ask that you especially be with ___.
We celebrate one another in their time of joy and we name ___.

Gracious God, you are with us always.
This world can be full of tension and danger,
but it can also be a world filled with joy.
Remind us of your presence in times of stress and in times of joy.
There are nations who are in strife with millions of refugees
who have fled their homes.
Be with our leaders and encourage them to work towards peaceful solutions.
Be with our leaders and encourage them to find ways
to give voice to the powerless,
to restore dignity to those who have lost everything,
to work toward a world where peace and justice is the norm, not the exception.

Gracious God, you are with us always.
We feel your presence and your peace with us,
as we use the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Not Without Conflict (Genesis 2:19-340

Creator God, we know that families can be messy.
Because we think we know each other,
we miss seeing each other’s full potential.
Because we know each other,
we can take advantage of each other and
we know all the buttons to push.
Because we know each other,
we drop the facade of politeness and sometimes,
we are brutally open with each other.

Mother God, as your children,
we feel your love and concern.
You’ve known us since before we were born.
You know our deepest hopes and desires.
We know that you hear our prayers and our concerns,
even if it may take years to receive an answer.
Grant us patience as we wait and
grant us the wisdom to see your truths in our world.
You seek peace and harmony in our relationships.
Remind us to be in community with each other
and to seek forgiveness when we wrong another.
As a mother, you nurture us, your children,
loving each of us deeply.
We ask that you especially be with those among us
who are in need of healing and grace. We name ___.

Father God, despite your strength, you do not favor only the strong.
You champion the underdog, the child without power,
and loving all your children equally.
First-born or last-born, there is enough to share with each other.
Remind us to follow in your teachings.
Remind us that no matter what status the world assigns to us,
we are your children and we are to make this world yours.
When we squabble with one another, whisper in our ear to make peace.
Open our hearts to the needs of others and
help us to focus less on our needs and wants.

Creator God, you gave us families, messy relationships, and
conflicts that we need to work through.
Joy and pain, we feel the deepest emotions with those we know best.
As you love your children, help us to see and share that love with others.
Help us to work towards the good of the community.
Help us to serve and to lift up others.
Help us to speak for the powerless.
Help us to comfort the disappointed.
Help us to see the abundance that surrounds us and
help us to share that with others.
Help us to be a true family of your believers.

As a family, we stand up for one another.
As your community of followers, we use the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Delight In God (Matthew 11:25-30)

Lord, don’t make us too wise to see you.
Make us, instead, like the little child who lifts up his or her arms
to their parent knowing they will be picked up and carried.
We ask that you help us carry our burdens and
yet we know we don’t always give them up willingly.
Sometimes we allow our burdens
to define us,
to contain us,
to protect us or
to separate us.
Remind us to be as a child.
Help us to give up our burdens and find our peace in you.

Lord, don’t make us too wise to see you.
Make us, instead, like the little child who lifts up his or her arms
to their parent knowing they will be quickly embraced.
As your children, we know we are loved by you.
We know that we are to act together in community
and to love one another.
Help us remove the barriers between ourselves.
Take us back to the time of the early church
when your followers worked together to support one another,
and to protect one another.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your healing grace.
We name __.
Remind us to be as a child.
Help us to freely share our love and concern with one another.

Lord, don’t make us too wise to see you.
Make us, instead, like the little child who lifts up his or her arms
to their parent knowing they will always be forgiven.
As the forgiven people, we ask that you remind us to also
forgive those who may have wronged us.
Help us to forgive, to lessen the burden of those who may have wronged us.
Encourage us to seek reconciliation, to work towards understanding,
and to work towards justice and peace for all.
We are your children, deeply loved and uniquely cherished.
Help us to feel your presence in our lives.
Help us to share your love with others.

Lord, give us the wisdom we need to truly see you.
Give us the wisdom we need to truly give up our burdens to you.
Be with us, share rest with us, grant us peace.
Make us like a child, open our hearts to you,
and as we use the words your Son taught us, bless us with your peace,
“Our Father…”

Acting in Hospitality (Matthew 10:40-42)

For those among us who are the peacemakers,
For those among us who pray for others,
For those among us who give of themselves.

We give thanks, O God.

For those among us who speak up for those without a voice,
For those among us who work for justice,
For those among us who are teachers.

We give thanks, O God.

For those among us who show mercy to others,
For those among us who feed the hungry,
For those among us who comfort the grieving.

We give thanks, O God.

For those among us who lift up the fallen,
For those of us who practice the art of healing,
For those of us who protect the weak.

We give thanks, O God.

For those among us who speak prophetically,
For those among us who carry the burden for others,
For those among us who shed tears for the pain of this world
but still try to make things better.

We give thanks, O God.

For the fact that we are your children,
For the fact that you freely love us and fill us with your grace,
For the gift of your son, Jesus, and his teachings.

We give thanks, O God.

For the spirit of community instilled in us by our faith,
For the comfort of your constant presence and
For knowing that you are with those among us who need you the most right now,
naming ___.

We give thanks, O God.

For knowing that we are your disciples and your followers,
For knowing that it is our job to carry your word to others,
For knowing that we are never alone.

We give thanks, O God.

For the words that your Son taught us,
For the words we still use today,
“Our Father…”

**Words in bold can be the congregational response.

Fearing and Obeying the Lord (Matthew 10:24-39)

Jesus, you never told us that following you would be easy.
You often warned us how difficult the road would be.
As your followers, our job should not be easy.
You taught us a different way of living,
a way of community and of being at one with each other.
What is whispered, we are to shout from the rooftops.
When we see injustice in this world, we are not to close our eyes.
We are not to look the other way and say, well that is just how things are.
But we are to take action and try to speak for those without a voice,
to stand up for those without power.

You never told us that following you would be easy.
Give us the courage we need to be your followers.
Help us to focus on your teachings
and not on our false sense of security.
Help us to be like the early church who knew they needed to break away
from a world that did not follow your teachings.
Following you will not be easy.
We will need to lift up our voices and speak out against injustice.
We will need to make ourselves vulnerable
and take a chance on being hurt.
We will need to understand our own biases
and work toward changing our unjust social and justice systems.
We will need to work together, to love one another, and to value one another.
We will need to freely share our gifts and treasures with one another.
Give us the strength, the courage and the wisdom to follow your teachings.

You never told us our new life would be easy,
but you encouraged us to be one with each other.
We lift up and support those among us who need our help.
We ask that you be with ___ and grant them your healing touch.
We celebrate being in community and
we lift up our recent Vacation Bible School with joy and happiness.
As you taught us, we are teaching our children.
Help us to share your teachings with everyone we meet.
Help us to act out your teachings in our interactions with others.
We remind ourselves of your teachings every time we use the words you gave us,
“Our Father…”

Reaching Out to Others (Matthew 9:35—10:1, 5-8)

Gracious God, we confess we completely relate to the phrase,
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”
The needs of our world can be overwhelming.
Our lives are overbooked and the demands on our time grow exponentially.
Remind us to stop, take a breath,
and choose where we spend our time and energy.

Lord, you saw the needs of the people in your time and
sent out your disciples.
We are your disciples today.
We gather here today as your community.
We make up the body of Christ in today’s world.
We are the laborers who are to make this world your world.
Remind us to stop, take a breath,
and choose where we spend our time and energy.

We have received the gift of your grace and the gift of your love,
and we have made no payments for these gifts.
You offered them to us freely because we are your children.
You freely offered these gifts to us,
as you also offered to us the gift of your Son.
Open our eyes to your plan here on earth.
Use us to fulfill that plan.
Give us the strength to share the good news of your teaching.
As we support those among us who are in need of healing,
we ask that you be with those among us who need your strength.
We name _____.
We are the laborers who are to make this world your world.
Remind us to stop, take a breath,
and choose where we spend our time and energy.

As your followers, and as your children,
use us as your disciples.
Send us out to proclaim the good news and to share your teachings.
Send us out to feed the hungry.
Send us out to speak for those without a voice.
Send us out to shelter those who have no home.
Send us out to protect those who are in danger.
Send us out to listen for the needs of those around us.
Send us out to embrace those who feel unlovable.

As you send us out, we lift up our voices as one,
using the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Loving One Another (Genesis 1:1-2:4a)

Creator God, we have heard the story of Creation many times.
Help us to truly hear this story.
You used chaos to create order.
You provided darkness to highlight the light of day,
a moon to glow in the night and a sun to blaze in the day.
You saw the beauty and knew how to enhance your Creation.

Help us to truly hear this story of Creation.
Help us to realize that you personally created us.
You created us in your image
and therefore each of us is loved and cherished.
We were not an accident, or a by-product.
You saw your Creation and purposely created us in your image.
Open our hearts to truly know and accept that act of love.
Help us to feel the awe of your Creation,
to feel part of your Creation, and
to feel the responsibility of acting as stewards for your Creation.

Help us to truly hear this story of our Creation.
Remind us that you did not create us separate from your Creation.
Remind us that you created us to live in community with each other
and with the rest of Creation.
As we support one another, we ask that you also be with those among us
in need of your grace and healing touch. We name ___.
We ask that you be with our elected leaders, guide them and give them
the wisdom they need to act in ways that protect your Creation.
Encourage us to also act as stewards of your Creation,
the world that you entrusted to us, your children, created in your image.

We are reminded of the story of Creation
and we are reminded that you have been with us always since those first days.
And we are reminded that you sent us your son who taught us the words that we use today,
“Our Father…”

Transformation: The Places We Will Go (Acts 2:1-6, 12-21)

Pour out your spirit upon us, Lord.
Fill us with your promise,
with your grace and
with the joy of your teachings.
Remind us as we watch the baptism of ___and ___
of our own baptism.
Remind us that we are your community, your children,
baptized in the living water and
sealed with the participation of God’s grace and forgiveness.
We state today we are your children and we thank you.

Be with us in our daily lives.
Help us to see your active participation in our interactions with others,
in the mundane and in the significant.
Encourage us to spend time with you in silent reflection,
allow us to hear your guidance and your direction in that silence,
open our hearts to better understand your plan here on earth.
As your children, we long for your embrace and are comforted by your love.
We are loved, help us to feel that love and to accept that love.
Be with those among us who need an extra level of support. We name ___.

We have been cleansed by the act of baptism.
We have been filled with Holy Spirit.
Open our eyes to the signs of your involvement in our lives,
and in our future.
Help us to share those signs and your teachings with others.
As your children, we bring our own children to you
and promise to raise them in your teachings.
We pledge our children to you and as a community,
we pledge to support these children and their families.
As we look at ___and ___, remind us of our time of innocence.
Take us back to that time.
Take us back to the age of childish wonder and amazement
and fill our hearts again with that wonder.

As your children, we lift up the words you taught us and
we embrace that feeling of wonder and amazement as we do so,
“Our Father…”

Let Us Achieve New Heights as Followers of Christ (Acts 1:6-14)

Gracious God
Sometimes the world and its problems seem to be too much for us.
We may find ourselves waiting and unsure what to do.
Sometimes we ask you for signs of what will come,
forgetting that we are to act as your witnesses here on earth.

Jesus was taken into Heaven and until he returns, we ask,
Spirit, come to us and call us to action.

Remind us that you have given us all we need to act in your name,
to be your disciples here on earth.
Fill us with the courage we need to stand up for truth and justice.
Open our hearts with compassion for those in need.
Give us the wisdom to see your vision for this world and then
use our thoughts and energy to fulfill your plan here on earth.
Unclench our fists and replace anger and frustration
with a deep sense of peace.
Remind us that we are your children and that we are loved.

Jesus was taken into Heaven and until he returns, we ask,
Spirit, come to us and call us to action.

We are your disciples now.
Help us to be like the disciples of the early church.
Help us to feel your interaction as we pray and
help us to see you in the ordinary moments of our lives.
As we experience the joy in your teachings,
help us to share that joy with others.
Use us to bring peace to this world, one person at a time.
As we support one another, we ask that you be with those among us
who are in pain or in need of healing. We name ___
We ask that you help us become better students of your teachings,
better disciples in this world.

Jesus was taken into Heaven and until he returns, we ask,
Spirit, come to us and call us to action.

As the disciples devoted themselves to prayer, we use the same words,
the words that Jesus taught them, “Our Father…”

**Words in bold can be said by congregation

Called to New Heights (Acts 17:22-31)

Creator God, in the story of our creation,
you walked with us in the garden.
Throughout time, you walked with your people,
providing manna,
providing laws and guidance,
and then providing your son.
You have been with us always.

We are your children.
We know that you are with us and
yet we confess that we may not always know you.
We may not always see you when we search for you.
You are bigger than we can comprehend.
You call us to be better than ourselves.
We ask that you be with us.
Remind us that in you, we live
and in you, we have our being.
Open our hearts to you and
open our eyes to your plan here on earth.

We are your children and you are with us,
even when we pull away and focus on other things.
You are still with us.
We ask that you be with those among us who are hurting
or are in need of healing. We name ___.
In you, we live and in you, we have our being.
You have given us hope.
You have given us grace.

And using the words your Son taught us,
we lift up our voices to you,
“Our Father…”