To Act as Your Follower (Matthew 25:31-46)

Gracious God, your teachings have changed our lives.
We can no longer pretend that what happens to others
does not affect us.
We can no longer pretend that our actions and choices
impact only ourselves.
As your followers, we are part of your community
here in this world.
We realize it is our responsibility to make this world,
your world.

We ask for your wisdom to know what and when to act.
We ask for your strength to take action.
We ask for your peace as we reflect on what we cannot change.
We ask for your grace as we fall short in our efforts.

Gracious God, your teachings have changed our lives.
Help us to share your love with those around us.
Help us to freely welcome others as you have welcomed us.
Help us to share our gifts and talents to change the lives of those around us.
Help us to stand up for those who are powerless and
to speak for those without a voice.
Help us to act out your teachings and to live as you did.

We ask for your wisdom to recognize the truths of your teachings.
We ask for your strength to follow your teachings.
We ask for your peace as we choose to focus on spiritual rather than material.
We ask for your grace as we fall short as your followers.

Gracious God, you sent us your son to be our teacher.
Today, we lift up our voices to use the words that he taught us,
“Our Father…”

Riches in Our Lives (2 Corinthians 9:6-15; Luke 17:11-19)

Gracious and Giving God, you have given us so much.
Help us to truly see the riches in our lives.
You have placed people in our lives,
people that love us, people that challenge us,
people that nurture us, and people that test us.
Help us to see how our interactions with others
make a difference in this world and with one another.
We can choose to act in love or with indifference.
Help us to choose love.

Help us to truly see the riches in our lives.
You have given us treasures in terms of money, time and talents.
We live in a world that judges people
based on their wealth, education and skills.
Help us to truly see one another, to see your image on their faces.
Help us to accept others as they truly are
and help us to share ourselves with those around us.
Help us to come together as your family of believers and
help us to act in your image in our broken world.
Open our hearts and
give us the courage to share our hopes and fears with each other.
As we support one another, we ask that you be with those among us
who need your strength and healing grace. We name ___.
And as we look around at those who are with us today,
we lift up our thanks and praise for this community of believers.
We can choose to share our money, time and talents with love
or we can choose not to share.
Help us to choose love.

Gracious God, you have been more generous to us than we deserve.
Open our eyes to the riches you have given freely to us.
And as we lift up our voices in thanksgiving,
we remember that you gave your Son to us and we use the words he taught us,
“Our Father…”

Made in God’s Image (Romans 12:1-8)

Creator God, you have made us in your image.
To each of us, you have given special gifts and talents.
We may not feel special, but we are uniquely made
for your purpose.
Help us to understand that purpose.
Help us to fulfill that purpose.
Help us to use our gifts and talents to their fullest.

Giving God, you have given much to us.
Remind us that our gifts are not only for ourselves,
but are meant to be shared.
Our world is full of plenty,
even when we feel in need.
Help us to recognize and to appreciate all that we have.
Open our hands and hearts to others.
Encourage us to share freely and to accept the gifts of others.
Help us to celebrate our gifts and to use them in joy.
Help us to worship you with full hearts, minds and bodies.

Loving God, you have brought us here together in this sacred space.
Remind us to continue acting in community with one another
during the week.
Help us to share your love and your teachings with others.
As we support one another, we ask that you be with those among us
who need your healing touch and your strength.
We name ___.
As we celebrate joys with each other, we thank you for ___.
Encourage us to continue to build relationship with one another,
to make friends of those who used to be acquaintances,
to make peace with those who used to unsettle us,
to comfort those who are grieving, and
to recognize and appreciate the differences of others.

As your children, we lift up our voices, using the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Joyful for Your Gifts (2 Corinthians 8:1-15)

Lord, because we have come to know you, we are a joyful people.
Because we have come to know you, we are a thankful people.
And because we have come to know you, we are a blessed people.

We shout with joy and lift up your praises to the world.
As we know joy in your teachings,
we ask that you help us share that joy with others.

We thank you for the many gifts you have bestowed upon us.
As we celebrate these gifts,
we ask that you help us use those gifts to make this world
your heaven on earth.

We thank you for the grace you have shared with us.
As we feel your grace upon us,
we ask that you help us become agents of change and
forgiveness in this world.

We know we are your children and that we are deeply loved by you.
As we feel your love,
we ask that you help us share that love with others,
with those we know and with those we will come to know.

As we support those among us,
we ask that you be with our brothers and sisters in need of your healing touch. We name ___.

Holy Spirit, come to us.
Holy Spirit, blow through this holy place and sweep away our fears,
our hesitations, and our selfishness.
Come to us and open our eyes so that we can see God’s plan before us.
Open our hearts so that we want to do more in Christ’s name.
Open our hands so that we share freely with others.
Open our ears so that we hear the needs of others.
Holy Spirit, give us the strength and courage to support those among us.
We ask that you be with your Church, here in this holy place,
and with the wider Church.
As Luther transformed the church 500 years ago,
we ask that you give us the strength to truly be your disciples
as we seek change, justice and peace.

As your disciples, we lift up the words your son taught us,
“Our Father….”

Love, Yours and Ours (Matthew 22:34-46)

You told us the greatest commandment is to
Love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul and with all your mind.
Next, we are to love our neighbor as ourself.
Remind us, Lord, that love is a verb.
We are to love and to love means to act.

It is easy to love you, Lord,
and to love our family and friends.
We can say we love the stranger whom we have never met.
It is not as easy to love the stranger who cuts us off in traffic,
the person who holds a different political viewpoint than ours,
the stranger who is incarcerated,
the co-worker who doesn’t pull their weight,
or the person we think is taking advantage of the system.

Remind us that we don’t have to feel love,
but we need to act with love which means
acting in fairness.
Help us to see the image of God, your image,
in the faces of those we meet.
Help us to treat everyone with fairness.
Help us to act with love in each encounter.
Remind us that each of us is a child of God,
deeply loved and uniquely cherished.
Give us the strength to take action
to protect the powerless,
to speak for those without a voice,
to listen for the needs of those around us,
to lift up those who have stumbled,
and to feed the hungry.

As your children, and acting in your love,
we support those in our community.
We ask that you be with those among us who are in pain
and who need your extra support. We name ___.
But we also celebrate with our community.
We lift up in joy ___.

We thank you for the love you have extended to us,
love that we have not earned but freely accept.
Help us to now freely share that love with others.
As we feel your love, we lift up our voices and our hearts to you,
using the words your Son taught us, “Our Father….”

The Light of the World (1 John 1:1-10)

Our world can be a dark and scary place.
Creation shows us her power with hurricanes and fires.
Oceans rise, storms rage and islands are destroyed.
Nations quarrel and politicians squabble.
Women, children and men are used and abused by others in power.
The poor grow poorer and too many people go hungry.
People of color feel unsafe.

As we look at the pain in our world,
we don’t see ourselves as responsible.
We blame the system and hold ourselves outside of that system.
We confess that we hold others to be accountable
while making excuses for ourselves.
When we do this, we know we are walking in the darkness.

Remind us to follow in your light, to be the light to others.
Remind us that in your light, we are forgiven and made clean.
And help us to share that good news with others.
You have revealed yourself and your love to us.
Help us to share the fellowship we have with you.
Help us to be in fellowship with everyone we meet.

As we let the light that is inside of us shine,
may we see clearly the reality around us,
May we use your light to show your plan here on earth
and to guide our feet.
May we use your light to help us identify the needs of those around us.
May we use your light to identify the inequity in our world
and to help us take steps to create a just and peaceful world.
As your followers, we support each other.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your strength and healing touch.
We name __.
We ask that you be with those among us who are celebrating and
are filled with joy.
We name ___.

As we walk in your light, and as we share your light with others,
we use the words your Son taught us.
“Our Father…”

Living in Community (2 Timothy 3:10-17 and Psalm 119: 97-106)

Gracious God, we thank you for the role models in our lives.
We may not realize it until later, but in every encounter,
we share a lesson.
We are the teacher and we are the student.
Help us to carry the right message to others.
Let them see your love in our actions and in our words.
Help us to see your image in their faces,
and to see your lesson in each encounter.

Creator God, we thank you for the relationships in our lives.
You have created within us a desire for community,
a desire for family and a desire to belong.
Help us to create a world where there are no others,
a world filled instead with our brothers and sisters,
mothers and fathers, children and grandchildren.
One family.
One community.
Your children.

Teacher God, we thank you for Scripture.
Through space and time, your words continue to speak to us.
We thank you for the gift of your Son.
Through space and time, his examples continue to speak to us.
Use our hands to help the poor and sick,
as Jesus did.
Use our voices to speak up for the powerless,
as Jesus did.
Use our eyes to see the world around us clearly, without bias,
as Jesus did.
Use our ears to listen for those in need of help,
as Jesus did.
Open our hearts to follow your teachings,
as Jesus did.
We ask that you continue to speak to us
and to teach us.

Healing God, we thank you for the gift of forgiveness and renewal.
We thank you for the gift of second chances and do-overs.
And as we support one another in our learning process as your disciples,
we also support each other in times of illness and grief.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your strength and peace.
We name ___.
As your students and as your children, we lift up the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father..”

Living in a Broken World (Romans 3:19-28)

We live in a broken world, Lord.
And we know that at times,
we are the cause of this brokenness.
There is hate and there is fear.
There is anger and there is guilt.
There is injustice and there is shame.
Each of us a sinner, and yet,
each of us a child of God, your child, made in your image.

We live in a broken world, Lord.
And we thank you for your gift of grace.
When we lose our way,
we ask that you guide us back to your teachings.
When we fall short in how we treat others,
we ask that you remind us that we are to love others
as we love ourselves.
When we take more than our fair share,
we ask that you open our hearts with compassion.
We know we struggle daily with sin, and yet,
each of us is a child of God, your child, made in your image.

Our world is broken, and yet there is still joy in the world.
We are not a hopeless people.
We thank you for your gift of grace,
for our justification by your grace through our faith in you.
Divine became human and your Son redeemed us
by sharing your love and showing us how to live.
As he did, we are to lift up the powerless,
feed the hungry, tend to the sick and comfort the grieving.
As we care for others, we ask that you
especially be with those we know are in pain or in need of healing.
We name __
We come together as your community, as your children,
knowing that we are each made in your image.

Knowing that we are imperfect people, struggling to act in more perfect ways,
we lift up our hearts to you, God.
As we lift up our hearts and hands to you, we use the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Strength, Wisdom and Peace (Exodus 17:1-7)

We ask you for strength, Lord.
Strength to help us to keep moving forward when we just want to give up.
Strength to find hope when we are surrounded by despair.
Strength to try new paths when the road in front of us is blocked.
Strength to find joy in the midst of sadness.
Strength to stay committed when others break their promises to us.
We ask this as your children.

We ask you for wisdom, Lord.
Wisdom to know the truth in a world full of half-truths and hidden agendas.
Wisdom to choose the path that follows your teachings.
Wisdom to nurture and grow the gifts and talents that you have given to us.
Wisdom to see the character of those around us
instead of judging their external appearance.
Wisdom to act as the guardian of the world you have given to us.
We ask this as your children.

We ask you for peace, Lord.
Peace that calms our fears when we panic about the future.
Peace that envelopes us as we recognize your love for us.
Peace that tells us that we have all that we need
even if we don’t have everything we want.
Peace that reminds us that our life will be renewed
if we are patient.
Peace that is shared when we allow ourselves to be comforted by others.
We ask this as your children.

As we meet here in this sacred space, we know that you are with us always.
We ask that you be with those among us who are in pain and in need of healing.
And in this space, we are reminded of the words your son taught us and
we use those words today, “Our Father….”

Use Us Despite Ourselves (Exodus 14:19-31)

Creator God, our story today reminds us of Creation.
There is light and there is darkness,
the water separates from the land and a path is opened.
You had the power to create us and
you used your power to lead the Israelites out of slavery.
We realize in this story that then as now,
we don’t always treat each other with love and respect.
Open our eyes, Lord, to oppression in today’s world.
Help us to work towards a peace and just world.
Remind us that each of us is a child of God and
that we are to live in community with one another.

Moses agreed to lead his people,
and we remember that he did not feel worthy at first.
Help us to hear your call and give us the strength to accept your call.
Help us to feel worthy of your call.
Help us to share your love with others.
Open our ears so that we can listen to those in need.
Open our hands so that we freely share our gifts and treasures with others.
Open our hearts so we can be kind to others.
Open our eyes so that we can see your plan here on earth.

Gracious God, just as you led the Israelites from slavery,
we know that you are with us always.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your grace and healing touch.
We name ___.
You are with us in times of trial and you are with us in times of joy.
You were with the Israelites in their time of bondage and
in their celebration of freedom.
We know that you are with us as we share your love with others.
As we gather together in this sacred place, we use the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”