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…”

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….”

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…”

Past, Current, Future: We Follow You (Exodus 3:1-15)

God of our beginning, you have called us to follow you.
We gather in this sacred place and open our hearts to you.
Even though we feel weak and inadequate,
we offer ourselves up to you.
Ignore our excuses, but instead use us to fulfill your plan here on earth.
Ignore the reasons we offer as to why we can’t and open our eyes to why we can.
Ignore our claims of inexperience, but remind us, you have given each of us
special gifts and talents.
Challenge us to be what we wish others would be.
Use us as you desire.

God of our today, you have called us to follow you.
You are with us always, in times of trial and in times of joy.
As our nation faces numerous crises, we ask that you grant us your peace
and your strength.
Hurricanes, floods, fires, pollution, political conflicts –
we live in unsettled times like every generation before us.
You hear our cries and know our fears.
As we reach out to support one another,
help us to feel your presence with us.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your healing grace.
We name __.
Challenge us to follow your teachings and to share your love with others.
Use us as you desire.

God of our tomorrow, you have called us to follow you.
We offer ourselves to you.
Open our hearts so that we can share your love with others.
Open our hands so that we can share our gifts and talents freely.
Open our ears so that we can hear the needs of those around us.
Open our eyes so that we see the world you want us to build.
Challenge us to truly be your followers.
Use us as you desire.

As your followers, we use the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Wrestle With Us (Genesis 32:22-31)

Gracious God, we cling to you and we fight you.
We embrace your teachings,
but we also wrestle with having to follow them.
Maybe you didn’t really mean everyone
when you told us to love one another as we love ourselves.
Maybe you didn’t really mean that we have to give up the material
to find hope and grace in your spiritual salvation.
Maybe you didn’t really mean that we should turn the other cheek
and forgive each another.
Ok, maybe you really did mean it.
Give us the strength to really follow in your teachings.

Gracious God, we cling to you and we fight you.
But you don’t let go. You hold onto us tightly.
You challenge us and despite our failures,
you receive us with favor and grace.
Your embrace shelters us and protects us.
Don’t let us go. Continue to hold onto us.
Open our hearts to your teachings and guidance.
Open our eyes to see your image in the faces of those around us.
As each new dawn appears, use us that day to fulfill your plan here on earth.
Give us the strength to really follow in your teachings.

Gracious God, we cling to you and we fight you.
In our world today, we allow little things to divide us.
Remind us that we are your community.
Remind us that you really did mean it when you told us
to love one another as we would want to be loved.
As you hold tight to us,
help us to hold tight to your teachings.
And as your embrace shelters us, we ask that you extend your grace and strength
to those among us who are hurting and in need of healing and comfort.
We name ___.
And as your embrace shelters us, we are reminded
that you also celebrate our joys and good news.
We name ___.
Through your embrace, give us the strength to really follow in your teachings.

Gracious God, we cling to you and we fight you.
We thank you for never letting go of us.
And as you are with us always, we lift our voices up using the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

With Honor and Faith (Genesis 29:15-28)

Gracious God, despite our flaws you find ways to work with us,
to make us better people,
to use us to fulfill your plan here on earth.
Jacob cheated his brother and then was deceived by Laban.
We confess we sometimes work in ways that serve our own self interests.
But as members of your community,
we know that we should work for the good of all.
Be with us and encourage us to be honest,
to be faithful and to act in peace with one another.

Gracious God, work with us and use us to fulfill your plan here on earth.
We ask that you work with us to build and reinforce your community.
Help us to act with honor and respect toward everyone,
those who believe as we do and those who hold different beliefs.
Be with our political leaders and encourage them to act with honor,
to speak for the voiceless, to lift up the powerless, and
to provide justice for all.
Be with us and encourage us to also act with honor
and help us to share our best with others.

Gracious God, we are your children,
first born or last born,
each of us deeply loved and uniquely cherished.
As your children, we ask that you shape us and mold us.
Make us the people you want us to be.
Give us the strength and the wisdom to make the right choices.
As your children, we know that you are with us always.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your healing grace
and strength. We ask that you be with _____.

Gracious God, we trust in your promises.
We know that your timeline may differ from ours,
and yet we know that we can be impatient
We ask that you be with us and fill our hearts with your peace.
We ask that you be with us and open our eyes to your plans.
We ask that you be with us and open our ears to the cries to those around us.
We ask that you be with us and use our hands
to build this world into your world.
We ask that you be with us and use our voices to share the story of your love
with those around us.
And as we trust in your promise, we use the words that your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

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…”

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…”

We Bring Christ’s Teachings into the Light (1 Peter 2:2-10)

We gather here in this sacred place, as your people.
You have given each of us gifts,
the most precious of which is your gift of grace and mercy.
Help us to extend that grace to others.
Remind us as the people who have been given the gifts of your teachings,
we are to share those teachings with others.
Help us to serve as a role model to others,
not as a stumbling block.
Help us to lift others up and to support them in their journey.
We thank you for the teachers in our lives,
especially for the women who have influenced our lives.

We gather here today in this sacred place.
We find you here in this house of worship,
but also in our homes, in our cars, in our solitude and
in the noisy chaos of our daily lives.
We may not see our value when we look in the mirror,
but you have valued us and known us since before we were born.
We are your people, your community of believers,
and we feel you with us always.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your support and
healing touch, naming ____.

We gather here today in this sacred place.
Our building, made of bricks, is our worship temple,
but our bodies make up your living temple in this world.
Use us to fulfill your plan here on earth.
You called us out of the darkness into the light of your grace and mercy.
Help us to see our world clearly through your light and
help us to bring your light to others.
Help us to shine your light into the darkest corners of our world.

As we gather here every week, we use the words you taught us,
“Our Father…”

Open Our Eyes to Your Presence (Luke 24:13-35)

Lord, how many times have you been walking beside us
without us knowing?
When we are in moments of joy with friends and family,
open our eyes so we can see you celebrating with us.
As we do the mundane tasks of the day to day,
open our eyes so we can see you with us in our daily routine.
If we awaken in the night filled with worry and fear,
open our eyes so that we can see that you are here to comfort us with your peace.

Lord, how many times during the day, do we forget to live out your teachings?
As we face the normal irritations of our day to day,
do we practice loving one another when caught in another traffic jam?
As we learn about current events,
do we seek peace and justice or do we practice judgment and condemnation?
As we interact with each other,
do we seek to build up the community or do we put ourselves first?
Open our hearts to your words, Lord, fill us with the fire of your teachings.
Remind us to grant others grace as you have granted grace to us.

Lord, how many times have you spoken in our ear and we have not heard you.
In times of anger, when voices are raised, remind us to pause and to listen for your guidance.
In times of fear and uncertainty, remind us to take a moment to breathe deeply,
to relax our shoulders, and to listen for your words of peace.
In times of success and celebration, remind us to listen to your teachings
and to know that we still need your assurance and grace.
Remind us to be in community with one another and to listen to one another
so that we can truly understand each other’s needs.

Lord, you are with us always. Help us to also be with you.
We use the words that you taught us so many years ago,
“Our Father…”