Our Sense of Being Called (Luke 14:25-33)

The call to follow you, God, is not always easy.
We can feel embarrassed to share our faith openly
with those we don’t know well.
We can feel guilty when we realize we don’t follow
your teachings as closely as we should.
We can feel the pain in our world and
question how a loving God could allow the innocent to suffer.
We can feel the demands of the world
taking our attention away from what is important.
Be with us, Gracious God, and continue to call our name.

Call us to follow you.
Call us to be your disciples.
Help us to prioritize where we spend our time and our attention.
We can feel conflict between the material world and
the spiritual world shown to us by your Son.
Remind us of what is truly important in this world .
As we think about the end of our lives,
what will we have achieved here in this world?
What will have been the flavor of our life?
Will we have followed you by speaking up for those without a voice?
Will we have followed you by feeding the hungry?
Will we have followed you by raising up
those among us who have stumbled?
Will we have followed you by seeking to understand those with whom we disagree?
Will we have followed you by sharing our gifts freely with others?
Will we have tasted the fullness of your grace or
the bland and unfulfilling taste of the material world?

The call to follow you, God, is not always easy.
But we are your followers and we have heard your call.
We answer your call today and always,
knowing that you, in turn, are always with us.
Your love and grace seasons our lives and provides us strength.
We ask that you be with ___.
And using the words your Son taught us, we lift our voices to you,
“Our Father…”

Our Sense of Knowing and Being Known (Luke 13:10-17)

We are created in your image, Lord.
Each of us are unique,
with different skills and different talents.
We may compare ourselves to others,
judging ourselves better or worse, but
You know us completely.
Open our eyes to the gifts you have given to us
and also to the gifts of others.
Help us to celebrate those gifts.
Help us to use our skills and talents
to fulfill your work here on earth.

We are created in your image, Lord.
Some of us have bodies that appear to work well,
while others wear their imperfections on the outside.
And some of us are experiencing the transition
of an aging body.
We are human and none of us are perfect, but
You know us completely with only love.
We ask for your healing touch within us.
Even if we cannot be physically healed,
calm our thoughts and give us the strength we need.
We ask that you be with those among us who need
your extra comfort and strength, naming ____.
Help us to accept and to celebrate our human experience.
Help us to use our bodies and minds in ways
that fulfill your work here on earth.

We are created in your image, Lord.
We can choose to conceal our hearts from others,
but You know us completely and accept us.
We may hide our fears from others,
but You know us completely and accept us.
We may present a confident face to the outside world,
while inside we are filled with doubt,
but You know us completely and accept us.
We may not fully share ourselves with others,
but we cannot hide ourselves from you.
Remind us that together we are the body of Christ.
Open our hearts to each other,
remove our fear of intimacy and
help us to see each other without judgment or envy.
Use us, as your community of believers, ‘
to make this world a better place.
We are your children and in faith and trust,
we use the words your Son gave us, “Our Father…”

Sense of Perseverance (Hebrews 11:29-12:2 )

Gracious and all loving God,
throughout the ages, your people have lifted up
their voices to you, asking why or pleading for a miracle.
We have cried out to you ourselves.
Each of us has experienced fear, pain and loss in our lives.
Sometimes our crises resolve themselves the way we want.
But sometimes, our worst fears come true.

Mother God, in our sorrow and grief,
you comfort us, mourning with us.
You sit with us in silence when there are no words of comfort.
You envelop us, surrounding us with your love and light.
You give us the strength to pick ourselves up and
to continue on with our lives, to choose another path,
and to find your presence again in our daily lives.

Father God, you gave us your Son,
Jesus, who showed us the way and who
shared your teachings with us.
He ran the race that was placed before him.
Give us the strength to follow his lead,
to follow your teachings.
Give us the courage to follow in his path,
to speak up for the people who don’t have a voice,
to give strength to the people who are powerless,
and to remain faithful when the future seems hopeless.
As we follow in his footsteps, we know that you are with us.
Be with those among us who need your healing grace,
we name ___.

By faith, we are your followers.
By faith, we are known.
By faith, we know that you are with us always,
in our celebrations,
and in our depths of grief.
By faith, we live our lives.
We are your children,
and it is in faith, that we can get through our darkest times.
It is in faith that we know it is up to us, to make this world your world.
In our faith, we know that you are with us always.

And as faithful people, we use the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Equip Us With Your Spirit (Acts 2:1-8, 12-21)

Creator God, you equipped those who followed you with the gifts that they needed,
you gave them the words that they needed to share your teachings,
your spirit marked them and filled them with prophecy,
with visions and dreams.
Fill us today with your prophecy.
Mark us as yours and remind us of the gifts you have freely given us.

We come here each week to gain strength from one another,
to learn from one another,
to care for one another.
Mark us as yours, fill us with your dreams and visions,

Your early church was at first afraid and stayed huddled together.
But your Spirit filled them, gave them strength, gave them courage and wisdom.
Your Spirit fills us, draws us here each week.
Strengthen our faith, give us the courage to share your teachings with others,
give us the wisdom to understand your plan for this church,
open our hearts to your desire for us and for this congregation.

The Spirit descended upon your followers in the past,
descend upon us now today and in our future.
Father, Son and Holy Ghost, you are with us always.
You provide the strength we need in today’s chaotic world,
you encourage community and taught us to work together to fulfill your plan.
We ask that you be with ___ and fill them with your healing grace.

Your early church gained strength and spread out across the world, carrying your word.
Give us the strength to open our hearts to those we encounter in our daily lives,
help us to share the story of our faith with others.
Open our minds and hearts to where you are calling Church of the Apostles today and in the future.
We have accomplished much in forty years.
Stir our imagination for what should take place in the next forty years.
Fill us with your Spirit, your visions, your dreams, and your prophecy.

Creator, you equipped those who followed you with the gifts that they needed,
you gave them the words that they needed to share your teachings,
We use the word your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Our Sense of Faith (Hebrews 11:1–3, 8–16)

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
without proven evidence.
But our faith allows us to see that evidence,
in our daily lives.
The Bible tells us about those before us,
who had faith in their interactions with God.
And we’ve heard about those who lost their faith,
and then found it again despite their doubts.

Gracious God, we confess it can be hard to keep the faith.
But then we see the signs of your connection to us,
in our daily lives
and our faith is renewed.
We feel you throughout our days,
in the people that we meet,
and in the beauty of your creation.
We realize that you are with us,
you know our hopes and our fears,
and you know us completely.
And when we live in faith, we allow our faith to grow.

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
without proven evidence.
Part of our hope are the words that your Son
taught us:
Thy will be done here on earth as in heaven.
We need to take our faith and turn it into action,
to step out boldly into the world
knowing that we are following your plan
and following your Son’s teachings.
Be with us as we carry out your plan.
Be with us as we share the joyful news of your love
with others.
And be with those among us who are hurting
or need your strength. We name ____.

Gracious and loving God, you are the assurance
of our hopes.
In faith, we lift up our voices using the prayer
your Son taught us, “Our Father…”

Our Sense of Selfishness (Luke 12:13-21)

Good and gracious God, you have given us so much.
You sent to us, your Son, who taught us your teachings.
In deeds more than words,
Jesus showed us to work for peace and justice,
to treat everyone with respect and kindness.
Help us to see when we have enough in our lives.
Help us to see that our success is not guaranteed by
our material possessions.

It can be so easy to compare ourselves to others.
Remind us that there will always be people
who seem to have much more than we have
and there will be those who have much less.
Help us to see that our material worth is meaningless.
You taught us that we cannot compare ourselves to others,
because none of us is better than another.
We are each a child of God, each of us deeply loved
and uniquely cherished.
Help us to see when we have enough in our lives.

Our world is changing and expanding.
We no longer stay contained within our own small town,
but our connections are global now.
We work for companies that operate within different countries.
Our neighbors may have moved from another state or another country.
We fear hate coming into our lives
from conflict from the other side of the world.
We give into that fear and allow the changes we encounter
to make us cling tightly to our treasures and
make us distance ourselves from others.
Help us to see when we have enough in our lives.

Give us the faith to recognize that the world has always been uncertain.
Help us to see that every generation has feared the future
and questioned the path of the next generation.
We can not make this world a better place if we hide in fear,
if we refuse to share our gifts and our treasures.
Open our hands when we clench our fists and refuse to share.
Soften our hearts so that we can truly relate to someone else’s story.
Remind us that giving to others does not threaten our security.
Help us to follow the practices that Jesus taught us.

Your son, Jesus, practiced a life of selflessness.
He did not value material wealth; he valued the individual.
He did not bow to the political leader; he bowed towards peace and justice.
He taught us to share freely with one another
and the early church embodied that sense of sharing and community.
Take us back to those days and reinforce our community.
As we support one another, we ask that you be with those among us,
who need your strength and grace. We name ___.
Help us to see when we have enough in our lives.
Help us to see that our success is not guaranteed by
our material possessions.

As you open our hearts to you, remind us that our world
should be your world.
Help us to work towards that goal as we life up our voices to you,
using the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Our Sense of Hope (Luke 11:1-13)

We look around the world today and
ask ourselves just what is going on?
How did we get to this place in time?
People are afraid and are divided, separated from others.
Parents express fear for the world their children will inherit.
Children overhearing the news ask their parents
why are people dying?
No one seems to have the answers.

Gracious God, help us to see that the world
has always been in a state of turmoil, a state of flux.
When you sent your Son to us, the world he faced,
was a world where inequality was the norm.
The fishermen who became his disciples were facing domination
and loss of income by the Romans.
Many others at that time felt alienated and abandoned by society.
But your Son showed us how to work for peace and justice,
how to welcome everyone with true hospitality,
how to show love to all and to treat everyone as equals.

As we look at scripture, the words that you inspired,
we see a God that has been with the human race
throughout the years.
We see a God that has collaborated with us,
mourned with us, and guided us.
A God who sent us his Son to illustrate fully the
intimate relationship that God desires with us, his children.
We lift our voices in prayer to God, not because our futures
are pre-ordained, but because our God wants our interaction,
our faith, and our involvement in making this world
more like God’s world.
Our God has hope in us, that his children will learn
to put his teachings into place in this world.
Our faith is also our hope, and our strength.

There is fear in the world of today.
We recognize that fear but we also recognize we can change this world.
One by one, as we stand up for peace and justice for all,
we make change happen.
As we support one another, we ask that you also support those among us
who need extra support and your healing touch. We name ___.
There is fear, but hope overcomes fear, and peace overcomes worry.
We ask that you be with us as we face the future with hopeful hearts.
We use the words Jesus taught us,
“Our Father…”

Changing Rules (Isaiah 50:4-9a)

The world we live in today is not the world we used to know.
The rules have changed, but we are not sure when or how they changed.
We don’t even know who changed the rules,
but the world is different now.

The institutions we used to trust have failed us.
Our leaders in the government, in business, and in the church have failed us.
The plans we made for our lives have been thrown into turmoil
and the world we see on the news and social media is not the world we used to know.

Jesus entered the eastern gates of Jerusalem in triumph
on the back of a borrowed donkey.
Pontius Pilate entered the western gates of Jerusalem
in triumph at the head of the Roman army.
The world they lived in was not the world they used to know.
Their plans were going to be thrown into turmoil.

Lord, you have taught us the truth.
You have given us the words to share,
the words to help calm the turmoil around us.
Words of love to answer the words of hate that fill our ears on a daily basis.
Words of justice to answer the words of oppression
that hold some in poverty and without a voice.
Words of healing to soothe the pain of hurt and loss.
Words of forgiveness to heal the wounds caused by jealousy and fear.

You open our ears and our hearts.
You sustain us when we grow weary.
You awaken us every morning with the call to listen to your teachings,
to be your followers.
You give us the strength to stand up to our convictions,
to uphold your teachings.
You sent your Son to us to reinforce your teachings.

The rules of our world have shifted underneath our feet.
But as your children, we know though that you are always with us.
We ask that you give your strength and healing to ___.
As your community of believers, we stand together.
We stand up together as a united family, brothers and sisters in Christ.
And we use the words that your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Abundant Patience (Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18)

We can be an impatient people, Lord.
We want things to happen on our timeline,
when we want it.
Remind us that all things work together,
in a dance of influence and reaction,
creating and building a new reality
in a timeline that is determined
by more than ourselves.

We can also be people of little faith, Lord.
Sometimes it can be hard for us to trust in you,
to trust in your teachings.
Remind us that you are always there for us, Father.
When we turn our backs on you,
you circle around and approach us from the front.
When we make plans that don’t include you,
you wait patiently for us to invite you into our lives.
When we try to change the rules of the game and
make things happen on our own,
you help us see that it would be better
to follow your teachings and your suggested rules.
You never give up on us and we thank you for that.

You gave us free will, Lord.
You gave us a living world,
a world full of universes and galaxies that appear
to us as stars in the night skies.
A free will sometimes encourages us to think we are in control.
But a living world is ever changing, ever growing,
and change can lead to earthquakes and melting ice caps.
We soon realize that we are not in control.
As we gaze at the stars in the sky and feel the vastness of that space,
remind us that your patience with us is as infinite as the space above us,
remind us that your love for us is also infinite,
remind us that the gifts of this earth are infinitely abundant if we use them wisely.

We know that you are with us, Lord, even when we turn our faces away from you.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your healing grace and strength,
naming __.
As a sign of your love and your patience, you gave the gift of your son to us.
We use the words he taught us as we say,
“Our Father….”

sky-sunset-night-space

I Believe in Peace

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Do not worry. Lord, it is hard not to worry.
So much is going wrong in our world.
We can feel powerless to make effective changes in our world.
And during the Advent season, when we should be focused on you,
we spend our time worrying about Christmas decorations and family traditions,
getting the right presents for those on our list,
and fulfilling our own and others expectations.
But our expectations can be so unrealistic during the holiday season.

Do not worry.
Lift up our concerns in prayer and let our requests be known to you.
Lord, it is hard not to worry.
No matter how much we believe in you,
we don’t want to give up our worries, our fears, to you.
We pray to you and ask for your help, for your healing and your grace.
But yet, we still worry. We cling tightly to our fears and concerns.

Calm our minds, Lord. Open our hearts to your peace and healing.
Relax our tension-filled bodies and remind us to breathe deeply.
Your peace, Lord, reminds us that when we worry,
we change our focus to what is not important.
If we worry about a Christmas tradition or
meeting someone’s expectations of the holiday,
we are not focusing on the reason for the holiday – the gift of Your Son.
When we worry about the future, we are missing out on the present.

Remind us, Lord, that it is Your will that should and will be done.
Give us the peace to accept the here and now, to live in the here and now,
and to let the future take care of itself.
We lift our concerns to you, Lord,
and know that all of our requests and worries can be lifted up to you.
When we are lost, we can trust that in You, we will be found.
We have found peace in your teachings and
in your love and acceptance.
When we doubt, remind us that Mary, a pregnant teenager
who could have faced public ridicule and scorn,
accepted the news of her virgin birth and the long trip to Bethlehem with peace
and acceptance.
She did not give in her fears and worries, but instead felt joy and peace.

We will not worry, Lord.
We lift up our prayers to you, giving you our fears and pain.
We open our hearts and our minds to your peace.
We accept and celebrate the here and now, and trust in the future,
in your future.