Forgetting We Were Made in Your Image (1 Corinthians 12:1-13)

We often compare ourselves to each other,
sometimes favorably and sometimes unfavorably.
We compete with each other and with ourselves.
None of us believe we are as good as we should be.

We forget that you have made us in your image,
and that each of us has the gifts and challenges that you have given us.
You have shaped us to your purpose.
We forget that we are brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.

Teach us that when we are looking at others,
we should be looking to see how we can help them
or how they can help us grow.
You have shaped us to your purpose.

We have the gifts, talents and challenges that you have given us.
Teach us to use our gifts to help those around us.
Show us how our talents can be used to fulfill your plans.
Remind us how our challenges strengthen us and
help us grow.

We are your children, Lord.
Made in your image, each of us uniquely loved and cherished.
Remind us that we are good enough
Remind us to love ourselves as you love us.
Remind us to love each other and to celebrate each other.

We know that you are with us.
We ask that you be with ___.
As your children, we lift our hearts up to you
and offer ourselves to you.
We use the words your son taught us,
“Our Father…”

The Gifts You Have Given Us (Matthew 25:31-46)

God of Thanksgiving
We are your people.
You have given us the gifts of empathy and compassion
Your son showed us how to value the powerless,
Open our hearts to the powerless today.
Help us to stand up for them and to support them in their journey,
recognizing that we are on this journey together.

God of Thanksgiving
We are your people.
You have given us the gifts of insight and appreciation.
We realize that as you have blessed us, we must also bless one another.
You have given us gifts, spiritual and monetary.
Open our hearts so that we share willingly with one another.
Take the judgment away from our acts of charity.
Help us realize that we are no better than the ones we are helping.

God of Thanksgiving
We are your people.
You have given us the gifts of responsiveness and recognition.
We know that we have the strength to stand up for those who have no voice
You have given us the task of making this earth the same as heaven,
we say those words every week, and every day,
your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven
Help us to make it so.

God of Thanksgiving
We are your people.
You have given us the gifts of mercy and humanity.
We are your children and we know that you are with us
Be with ___
Open our hearts to those around us who are in need
Give us the strength to stand up for those who need support
Make us the ones who not only share your story but also put your words into action.

As your children, we use the words that your Son taught us:
“Our Father, …”

Light of the World (Matthew 2:1-12)

We celebrate the birth of your son,
who has come to be one with us,
to experience life as we know it.
Many others came to celebrate as well.
The Magi, ones who did not believe in you,
came to celebrate and to give their praise.

If the Magi, who did not believe,
can celebrate you and give you
their earthly treasures,
how can we not give you ourselves?
We are the believers, Lord.
We have heard your teachings and
we follow your ways.

A star lit the way for the Magi to follow.
Your teachings have told us we are to be the light of this world,
we should be the stars who light the way for those around us today.
Just as we know that the sun will rise tomorrow,
we know that you are with us always,
we know that you have given us the gifts and talents we need to fulfill your plan,
we know that together with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we are strong,
we know that our faith does not remove the struggles in our lives,
but gives us the ability to persevere and to overcome those challenges.
There are those among us today who need your grace and healing strength.
Be with them and help them to feel your presence.

We are to be the light of this world.
At the end of our lives, when we come face to face with you, Lord,
will we be asked how we loved one another?
Help us to answer that we shared ourselves freely and openly with each other.
Open our hearts today and give us the opportunity to share our love, our treasures and our talents with others.

Christ came to us in love.
Remind us to share that love with others.

In love, your son taught us to pray. And, in the spirit of love, we raise our voices together, using the words he taught us,
“Our Father…”

Filled by the Spirit (Acts 2:1-21)

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 your’s 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 your’s, 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…”

What We Perceive (1 Samuel 15:34-16:13)

As a child, we see things in black and white.

Our world is very clear, and our boundaries are established.
A child can easily tell you if an act is right or wrong.
The world can become more gray as we get older.
Father, we have more doubts now and
sometimes we ask more questions than a two year old.

Why do we act selfishly at times?
Why do good people die before their time?
Why does a tornado hit one house and not another?
Why do I feel alone even when surrounded by many?
Why are there people in our neighborhoods who go to bed hungry?
And, why does evil sometimes seem to flourish in our world?

As adults, we see the world in shades of gray.
When asked if an act is right or wrong, we may answer, “It depends.”
We view the world based on our experiences, our biases, and our fears.
Father God, we ask that you open our eyes to your choice,
to your plan.
Open our hearts so that we can follow you without hesitation.
Mother God, comfort us in our doubt and confusion,
as a mother soothes her child.
Reassure us that while our world is sometimes lacking balance
and fairness, you are with us always.
Remind us that it is up to us to make this world as it is in your heaven.
We are to act now, to live out your word now, in this place.

Holy Creator, you have shaped us, formed us, and known us.
You see beyond what the world sees in us, beyond what we share with others.
You know us completely and you love us as completely.
We ask that you give us the faith to follow your plan
using the gifts and talents that you freely given us.
Allow us to see ourselves as you see us, each of us deeply loved and uniquely cherished.
As your children, we are to support one another in this world.
We know that you are also with us supporting us in the chaos of this world.
We ask that you be with ___ granting your comfort and peace.

We may still have questions, we may still doubt what we see around us,
but we have faith in the words your Son gave us.
We lift our hearts and our thoughts to you, using those words,
“Our Father…”

What We Share (Mark 6:1-13)

Lord, we recognize that the person we see in the mirror
may not match the vision we have of ourselves
and does not match the vision our friends and families have of us.
The world around us focuses on the image, the perception,
but you taught us what we do and how we act is more important
than our words.

Call us to be the people you want us to be.
Send us out to be your face to the world.
Use our hands to do your work in this world;
use our hearts to share your love in this world;
use our voices to call for your justice in this world;
and, use our faith to help us discern your plans for this world.
We are your disciples in today’s world.
Send us out to be your face to this world.

Lord, we recognize that the person we see in the mirror
may not match the vision we have of ourselves
and does not match the vision our friends and families have of us.
As we look around this sacred place that we return to each week,
do we truly see the people who sit beside us?
Do we know the gifts and talents that you have given to them?
Are we helping each other to nurture and grow those gifts and talents?
Or are we shutting them down and failing to believe in them?
Help us to support and grow one another.

Call us to be the people you want us to be.
Let us start here, within this community,
but help us to move out into the world that surrounds us.
Help us to support one another, and to grow each other into your disciples.
Remind us to have patience with one another.
Remind us that none of us have all the answers and that we learn from one another.
Remind us that we are a community and we need to support each other.
While we focus on those within our midst who need our attention,
we know that you are always with us.
We ask that you be with ___, granting them your healing grace and providing them with your strength.

Lord, we recognize that the person we see in the mirror
may not match the vision we have of ourselves
and does not match the vision our friends and families have of us.
Many of the people that you have called did not feel up to the challenge that you set before them.
Help us to meet the challenges you set before each of us.
Remind us that we are your children, built in your image,
each of us loved and uniquely cherished, and given the gifts needed to meet the plans
you have set before us.

Call us to be the people you want us to be.
We give ourselves to you and offer ourselves to you.
Send us out in the world with only your teachings.
As your disciples, we know and use the words that your Son taught us,
“Our Father….”

What We Contribute (Ephesians 1:3-14)

Mother God, we know that we are your children.
We know that we are each deeply loved and uniquely cherished.
We feel nurtured and blessed by your presence in our lives.
And then we face the world and are bombarded with messages.
Messages of fear.
Messages of doubt.
Messages of inferiority.
Remind us to act as if we truly believe that we are your children,
each of us equal in your eyes,
each of us given the gifts that you chose for us.
Remind us, Mother, that we are your children and that we are loved.
Give us the courage to act in ways that lead others to your love and presence.
Give us the confidence to use the gifts you have freely given us.

Teacher God, you have replaced the old laws and given us new truths and
new lessons to follow.
Through your Son, you have lavished your grace upon us
and we feel peace in your presence.
And then we face the world and that sense of peace can be shattered so easily.
Remind us, Teacher, that your lessons are as applicable today as they were back then.
You taught us that each of us, rich or poor, is equal in your Father’s eyes.
You taught us that we are to make this world more like your heaven,
to work for peace and justice.
Give us the courage to act in ways that lead others to your love and presence.
Give us the confidence to use the lessons you have freely taught us.

Creator God, you made each of us unique with different gifts and talents.
Individually, we can feel secure within our talents and capabilities.
And then we face the world and that self-confidence can be challenged
as we compare ourselves to others.
Help us to recognize and to celebrate these gifts within ourselves and in others.
Remind us that we are each uniquely special and formed in your image.
Remind us that someone else’s gifts do not detract from ours,
but that working together as your children,
our gifts complement one another allowing us to achieve your plan.
Remind us that you are with us always, supporting us and encouraging us.
We ask that you be with ___, who may need your healing power and your grace.
And we ask that you
Give us the courage to act in ways that lead others to your love and presence.
Give us the confidence to use the gifts you have freely shared with us.

Knowing deep within our souls that we are your children, we lift our voices to you,
using the words that Jesus taught us,
“Our Father…”

Be Love (James 1:17-27)

Father God, you gave us your son.
Your son who showed love with his every action
and his every thought.
Help us to do the same.
Remind us that our thoughts shape our actions.
Our thoughts of judgment may keep us
from reaching out a helping hand.
Our thoughts of fear may keep us
isolated and alone.
Remind us to filter our thoughts
through the lens of love.

God of light and love,
fill us with the warmth of your presence.
Open our ears to your teachings,
open our hearts to your desires, and
open our eyes to truly see the people around us.
Mold us into the people you want us to become.
Help us to put your teachings
into action in this world.
Give us the strength and the wisdom to make our world,
your world here on Earth.

God of truth and wisdom,
remind us that faith and understanding
should be demonstrated in acts of doing.
Bless us in our work here on earth.
Forgive us when we struggle to love one another,
and be with us when we seek to make amends
to those we have hurt.
Open our eyes to the pain of those around us and
give us the strength to comfort and help one another.
We ask that you be with __ in the upcoming days and weeks
and we lift up our concerns to you.

Mother God, you have given us many gifts.
Each of us is deeply loved and uniquely cherished by you.
In addition to the gift of truth, you have given us the gift of laughter
and the gift of celebration.
You have given us the gift of relationships and
we know that we are stronger when we come together
as your children, as brothers and sisters in Christ.
As you find joy in each of us, help us to see that same joy in one another.
Remind us to enjoy the life you have given us.
Remind us to use our gifts to help one another
and to make this world a better place.
As we lifted up our concerns, we also lift up our joys
in praise and thanksgiving.

Father God, you gave us your son.
Your son who showed love with his every action
and his every thought.
Your son who gave us the words we use today,
“Our Father…”

God of Creation (Genesis 1:1-28)

Creator God, in our darkest moments,
we know that the sun will rise in the morning from the east
and set in the west.
We have witnessed the beauty of those sunrises,
have marveled at the vast numbers of stars in the sky in the dark of night,
and have been humbled at least once in our lives
by the majesty of the world you have given us.
The world you have given to us is full of what we need
with more than enough for all of us.
Remind us not to take more than our fair share.

We have witnessed the beauty of the world you have given to us.
We have also witnessed the harm that we have caused your world.
We remember the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico,
the Kuwait oil fires from the Iraq war, the dead zone within the Chesapeake Bay,
Three Mile Island, the damage done to third world countries who have
the minerals or natural products that we want and far too many other examples to name.
Remind us that as you made the world, you created us, in your image.
Creator God, help us to act as your images here on earth.
As you have nurtured us, give us the wisdom and guidance
to nurture our earth, the world you have given to us.

God of the sunrise and the sunset, you are with us always.
We find you in the noise of the crashing waves against the shore and
we find you in the stillness of the darkest night.
We find you in the beauty of a bee dancing against a flower and
in the morning dew sparkling on a spider web.
We marvel at your creation as we look at the face of a newborn baby
and we recognize the cycle of life as we say good bye to those we love.
In today’s modern world, we can live our lives seemingly disconnected with nature.
Remind us that our lives are intertwined with nature
and that our actions impact your world directly.

Created in your image, we know that we are your children, Lord.
We are to support one another and work to fulfill your plan here on earth.
As we are to nurture the earth, we are also to nurture each other.
We know that you are with us always, and
we ask that you be with those among us who need you the most.
We name ___

As the God of Creation, you are with us every moment of every day.
Help us to feel your presence with us and within us.
Remind us to celebrate the simple pleasures of the world around us.
Remind us to value all aspects of nature.
And, as members of your creation, hear us as we lift our voices to you,
using the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

For God, All Things Are Possible (Mark 10:17-31)

For God, all things are possible.
For us, God, we know it is a little more difficult.
We focus on the wrong things.
We may cling to our status
and our possessions a little too tightly.
We try to be right all the time,
even if we’re not.

For God, all things are possible.
For us, God, we still have questions and doubts.
Remind us that the disciples also had questions and doubts.
We come together as your people,
welcoming new members and guests.
We are your community, your followers in this age.
Help us to see how our gifts and treasures can best be used
to make your teachings take life in this age.
Remind us that our bank balances do not define our true worth,
nor do dirty and unwashed clothes diminish the beauty
of the teenage runaway in the homeless shelter.
Remind us what the victims of fire, flood and earthquakes say,
when they are reunited with their loved ones.
They thank you, God, and say,
It doesn’t matter about the house, our things,
it only matters that we are safe and that we are together.
We know where our priorities should lie, but sometimes we forget.

For God, all things are possible.
So we ask you, God, open our hearts to your call.
For God, all things are possible.
So we ask you, God, open our eyes to the needs you see among us.
For God, all things are possible.
So we ask you, God, use our hands to make this world your world.
For God, all things are possible.
So we ask you, God, fill us with new ideas and new possibilities on
how to share your message with others.
For God, all things are possible.
So we ask you, God, make us generous with our treasures and with
our compassion.
For God, all things are possible.
So we ask you, God, to hear in our silence, what is most important to
us at this moment.

<silent moment>

For God, all things are possible.
So we ask you, God, to share your grace and your healing touch with
those among us who need your support.
We name ___

In God, and in our community of believers,
we know that all things are possible.
We use the words that your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”