Be With Our Children (Romans 8:22-27 and Acts 2:1-21)

Heavenly Mother, we are your children.
You gave us the gift of life.
You knew us before we were created and you formed us in your image.
You surrounded us with grace as we struggled to understand how to live
and how to follow your teachings.
You nurtured us and comforted us when we fell short.
You taught us what it means to be in a family.
We especially thank you for the young adults
who have spent the last year learning about their faith
and who have chosen to join us as part of this family of believers.

Holy Spirit, intercede on their behalf.
You alone know their deepest needs, their biggest dreams,
and their unique talents and abilities.
Fill their hearts with the passion of their faith.
Strengthen them when they begin to despair.
Open their eyes to how they can make a difference in this world.
Guide them through the temptations of this world and
keep their focus on following Christ and his teachings.
As your children, we want to follow your will and your teachings.
Help us to instill this same desire in our children.
Help them to instill this same desire in their own children
in the years to come.

Heavenly Father, you declared you would pour out your Spirit onto us.
You gave us your Son to show us the way.
Fill us with your Spirit, show us your signs.
As your early church did, help us to create a community of believers.
Help us to support one another.
We lift up to you, those among us we know are in need.
We name ___
We also lift up to you those who are unnamed.
Help us to be your people and to follow your ways.

As your people, we lift up our voices using the words your Son taught us,
so many years ago, “Our Father…”

Be Invested (John 17:6-19 )

Lord, when you were here,
you watched over your people.
And now you still watch over us.
You committed yourself to us completely.
Help us to do the same.
We confess that we are weak and
sometimes we allow ourselves to be distracted.

Even though you shared in our human likeness,
you remained true to our Father’s teachings.
Give us the strength to do the same.
Help us to choose to follow in your example.
You showed us how to live,
how to comfort those in pain and sickness,
how to stand up for the powerless,
and how to speak for those without a voice.
Forgive us when we fail to act and fall short.
You prayed for us then, please pray for us now.
Help us to hold each other accountable
to your teachings.
As your community of believers,
help us to support one another,
help us to learn from each other,
and help us to grow together in faith.

Lord, we freely admit we are weak and cling to excuses.
Give us the strength we need to make this world your world.
You are our example of what to do.
As you cared for your followers, help us to support and care
for those within our circle.
We name __ and lift them up to your love and care.
We know that you also know who has gone unnamed and
we ask that you be with those among us who are silent
in their need.
As you went out into the world, you send us out into the world.
And as we seek to be holy in your name, we lift up our voices
using the words you gave us so many years ago, “Our Father…”

Be Connected (John 15:9-17)

It’s all about love.
The love you have for us even if we don’t deserve it.
The love your followers had for you
even if they didn’t understand you.
The love we have for you even when we don’t show it.
The love we fail to give to others
even when you have showered us with love.

We know we don’t follow your teachings, Lord.
Forgive us when we compare ourselves to others
in ways that make us superior to them.
Open our hearts to love rather than judgment.
Forgive us when we focus on our own needs rather
working to make this world a better place.
Open our eyes to love rather than self-indulgence.
Forgive us when we refuse to listen to others and
insist that our truth is the only truth.
Open our ears to love rather than intolerance.
Forgive us for clinging to our treasures
rather than sharing with others.
Open our hands to love rather than selfishness.
Remind us to love others as you have loved us.

Lord, you came to us and shared our human life.
You know our frailties and our weaknesses.
You came to us because of love.
You are with us today because of love.
You will return to us because of love.
As you have loved us and supported us,
we support those in our community.
We ask that you be with those among who are in need.
We name ___.
We also ask that you be with the unnamed,
the ones we carry in our hearts and
the ones who have not shared their need with us.
Create within us a community
where all feel willing to share their hopes, their desires and their needs.
We are your people, we are your children, and we are loved.
Help us to live our lives in love.

Lord, you taught us how to pray many years ago, and we lift our voices up now
using the words you taught us, “Our Father…”

Be Whole (1 John 4:7-21)

We are your children, made in your image,
formed by you and loved by you.
Help us to feel that love within ourselves.
Open our hearts to accept your love freely.
Help us to love and to accept ourselves
as you have shaped us.
None of us can claim perfection or live up to your teachings.
And yet you still love us and give us grace.
Help us to feel that grace deep within our souls.
And remind us to share your grace with others.

We are your children
but we live in a world that is separated and divided.
A world where many feel unwelcome or marginalized.
A social climate that rewards materialism and
casts blame on those who are impoverished.
A political agenda that reinforces the fear of the “other.”
A world that celebrates the rich, the powerful and
the beautiful.
None of us can claim perfection or live up to your teachings.
And yet you still love us and give us grace.
Help us to reject the world around us and
to see your image in the faces of those we meet.
Jesus taught us that there is no “other.”
We are to act as one people, one community.

We are your children
and as you support us, we support those around us.
We ask that you be with ___ and share your healing touch with them.
In love, we lift up those who have gone unnamed
and have not yet realized that they are made whole in your love and grace.
We ask also that you be with us, a white congregation,
and begin to open our eyes
to the ways our society is not fair to our brothers and sisters of color.
Help us to see how our known and unknown biases
shape our interactions and our beliefs.
Take away our defenses so we can share honestly with one another.
Give us the courage and strength to have the conversations that will bring us together as one.

Jesus taught us that there is no “other.”
Gracious God, we lift up our voices today
asking for your help to make this world your world.
We use the words Jesus taught us, saying “Our Father…”

Be Reconciled (1 John 3:16-24 )

Love is not just words, love is action.
We know, Lord, it is not enough to
tell someone who is hungry that we will pray for them.
We must also feed them.
Better yet, help us to find a way
to ensure your abundance is shared with everyone.
Give us the wisdom we need to make this world a better place,
to make a difference by what we do and say in your name.

Your love for us is never-ending. Your love fills our hearts and our minds.
As an act of love, you have given us your teachings,
you have given us grace, and
you have given us your son to show us how to put your words into action.
Help us to follow in his footsteps.
Urge us to action and fill our hearts with the desire
to make this world a better place.
Use our hands, move our feet, open our eyes and free us from doubt and fear.
We can follow your teachings.
We are your people and you give us strength.

As your people, we have come together in community
to grow and share our faith.
We honor you and lift you up in worship and praise.
We also lift up those among us who are in need of your strength and grace.
We name ___.
But we ask you to also be with those among us who have not been named.
Some may be embarrassed to ask for help and choose to remain silent.
Some may feel unworthy of your love and hide from your presence.
Some may feel separated and alone from the congregation
and don’t know how to connect.
Gracious God, you know our needs better than we do and
we ask that you be with us and help us to be the people
you know we can become.
We know that you are with us always.

Love is not just words. Love is action.
Love is truth spoken in kindness.
Love is peace and justice.
Love is forgiveness and reconciliation.
Love is faithfulness to people and to ideals.
Love is a willingness to share your gifts and talents with others.
All this and more, Gracious God, is how you show your love to us
and how we show your love to others.

We lift up our voices in the words that your son taught us so many years ago,
“Our Father….”

Be Honest (Luke 24:36-49)

We come before you and we cannot hide our true selves.
We cannot hide our pain, our wounds, or our deepest needs.
Gracious God, you see us truly, and we cannot hide from you.
There is no camouflage that can allow us to keep any part of ourselves secret.
There is nothing about us that you do not know and, more importantly,
there is nothing about us that keeps you from loving us.
We are your children. You have formed us in your image.
And as your children, we are deeply loved and uniquely cherished.

We sometimes hide ourselves from the world.
We smile and tell those around us that everything is great.
We are afraid of allowing others to see us as wanting or in pain.
We want to be seen as strong and in control.
But you see us as we truly are. We cannot hide from you or from your love.
And as you love us completely, open our hearts
so that we can also love ourselves completely.
Heal our wounds and fill our hearts with your peace and your grace.
And as we hear the sacred story of others,
help us to create a space that allows for acceptance and understanding.
Help us to share ourselves with others completely and freely.

Help us to own our past and to recognize the value of our history.
Give us the courage to share our sacred stories with those around us.
Give us the wisdom to understand how our experiences and
how our past has shaped us and made us the people that we are today.
As we have learned from our past, help us to teach others.
Help us to share the story of your love and your teachings with others.
We stand before you, openly and as your children.
As you are with us always, we ask that you especially be with those among us
who need your strength and healing grace. We name ___.

We are your children, Lord.
We lift up your teachings in praise and thanksgiving.
And, as your children, we use the words that you taught us so many years ago,
“Our Father…”

“Life, Death, and Jesus Christ” (Mark 14:1-11)

We come to this sacred space every week,
to hear your word and your teachings.
Help us to come to you with the excitement
of those who welcomed you to Jerusalem.
Fill our hearts with the joy of your love.
Free us from concern about what others think
and encourage us to wave our palms in the air
as we celebrate and share your love.
Make us like the children who dance in the streets.

As your followers, help us to really feel your presence.
Open our hearts to the fullness of your love and grace.
Open our eyes to see how you have touched our lives
and the lives of others.
Open our hands so that we are willing to share our gifts
and treasure with others.
Open our mouths so that we can speak your truth.

As your followers, we have formed a community in this space
and in this world.
In this journey of Lent, we have prepared to encounter the mystery.
We cannot say we understand it fully, but together, we learn
from each other and from you.
Your mystery overwhelms us, surrounds us and fills us
with both joy and sorrow.
As you embrace us, we ask that you be with those among us
who are facing illness, worry and doubt.
Help them feel your peace and your grace.

As your followers, we celebrate your life and prepare for your death.
Our shouts of Hosanna in the Highest may turn into whispers,
but remind us again of your truth and your teachings.
We remember the prayer you taught us and we lift up our voices together,
“Our Father…”

Help Us to Change (Luke 5:33-39)

Gracious God, as new wine expands and stretches the new wineskins,
we ask that you also stretch us and help us to grow in our faith.
Help us to embrace change and not cling to old ways of thinking.
But remind us to cherish the good in our past and present.
Open our eyes to the nuances of each situation
as we attempt to live out your teachings in our daily life.
We recognize that we like rules and standard practices,
but help us to see the person and what they really need.
Help us to respond always with love, sharing your love with others.

We thank you for the teachers you have brought into our lives.
We realize now that each encounter with another
gives us the chance to share your love,
to be the change in the world that you were.
And as we change others, we are also changed.
Fill our hearts with a desire to know you more completely.
Give us the strength to live our lives in ways that put others first.
Help us to act in ways that make this world, your world,
a place of peace and justice.
As Jesus celebrated with his disciples,
be with us as we celebrate the joys in our lives.
We name ___.
And as Jesus sought to heal the sick, we also support each other.
We ask that you be with those among us
who are in need of your healing touch, your sense of peace
and your strength.
We name ___.

Jesus, we know that change is never easy.
But you brought change to our world and to each of us.
We have been changed by your teachings and we continue to change.
As your changed people,
we lift up our voices to use the words you taught us, “Our Father..”

You Call Us to Your Table (Luke 14:16-24)

Lord, you call us to your table
and we accept your invitation.
We come, not because we fully understand,
but because we want to know your truth.
We come, not because we feel worthy,
but because we know you love us anyway.
We come, not because we are at peace,
but because we are in search of your peace.

We ask that you open our ears to your invitation.
Open our eyes to the opportunities you place before us,
chances to make connections in a broken world,
and encounters that open our minds to new possibilities.
Use us to extend your invitation to all that we meet.
Help us to embody your teachings in our words,
our thoughts and our daily activities.
As you have extended love to all,
fill our hearts with an unending love for others
so that we can share your love with others.
Fill us with the desire to be as invitational as you were.
Surround our table with those hungry for your truth
and your peace.

Lord, you called those to your table that others ignored
and overlooked.
You sought peace and justice for those without power.
You healed those who were sick.
We ask that you be with those among us in need of your healing grace.
We name ___ .
We ask that you also be with those who go unnamed,
with those living in fear and uncertainty,
and with those who feel forgotten and ignored.
May they feel your invitation deep within their hearts.
May they emerge from the shadows and take their place
fully in this life, healed and complete,
knowing they are loved and accepted.
And as they step forward, invite us to fully embrace and welcome them.

As we accept your invitation, we lift our hearts in celebration and joy,
and we lift our voices to you, using the words you gave us many years ago,
“Our Father….

Right, Wrong and Holy (Luke 10:25-37)

Gracious God, we confess that we sometimes tell others,
we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.
And maybe we do say a prayer.
But maybe we should also be doing something for them.
Help us, Lord, to see what those around us need and want.
Help us take the opportunity to provide that support,
to fulfill that need.
Help us to display your love to them through our presence.

As your followers, you told us to love our neighbor as our self.
Help us to truly see our neighbors.
In this world of divisiveness,
open our hearts so we can listen and find common ground.
Give us the willingness to talk with our neighbor,
to understand their needs, their fears and their dreams.
Give us the understanding that we are all your children,
equal in your sight, each of us deeply loved and uniquely cherished.
Help us to recognize that needing help is not a sign of weakness.
And help us to realize that when providing help,
it is important to know what help is needed.

As your followers, we have joined into your community of believers.
We come together in this sacred space to share our love for you,
to support one another and to learn from each other.
As we care for each other, we ask that you also be with those
among us who need your healing grace and strength.
We name ___.
And as a community of faith, we celebrate the joys of those among us.
We lift up ___.
We thank you for bringing us together as a community
to share in the good times and the bad.

Gracious God, we know that our situations change,
sometimes suddenly without warning.
We can be the Samaritan or
we can be the victim by the side of the road.
But we know that you are with us always,
no matter where we find ourselves.
And, we know that we are to share your good news
with others and to share your love with all.
As we celebrate your presence among us,
we lift up our voices using the words that your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”