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…”

God of Second Chances ( John 21:15-19)

Thank you for loving us always.
You are the God of second chances
Even when we don’t forgive ourselves,
You give us another chance.

You know that we also love you
but sometimes we don’t show it.
Sometimes we focus too much on ourselves.
Sometimes we worry about the wrong things.
Remind us to focus on you and your teachings.
Remind us to follow you.
Remind us to take care of each other.

You are the God of second chances,
of third chances and fourth chances.
Remind us that we are human
but we can seek the divine.
Quiet our minds so that we can take the time
to hear you, to seek you out in the quiet space.
Open our hearts to your plan and your teachings.

As the God of second chances,
you accept us as we are and
take pride in whom we will become.
You ask us if we will love and follow you.
We offer our lives to you, we offer our hearts to you.

Thank you for loving us always.
You are the God of second chances.
We ask that you share your grace and love with ___
As your children, we use the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

What Good Can Come Out of Nazareth? (John 1:43-51)

We look at something or at someone,
and we make assumptions about what we see.

We watch the woman in front of us at the grocery store using food stamps,
and we evaluate her purchases.
We critique her clothing, the fact that she has a cell phone and how many children she has.
What good can come out of Nazareth?

We see protestors in the streets.
Some of us relate to them and celebrate their presence.
Some of us think to ourselves that those people have too much time on their hands,
and don’t want to take personal responsibility for themselves.
What good can come out of Nazareth?

We are a divided people, Lord.
We view the world through our biases, our assumptions, and often, through our judgments.
The big picture escapes us, it is easier to believe the soundbite, rather than ask why.
We live in a world of us versus them.
What good can come out of Nazareth?

We are supposed to be a people of love.
Remind us that we are all interconnected,
that our energy interacts with the energy of those around us.
Remind us, Jesus, that you made no judgments about those around you.
You accepted those you encountered,
regardless of the reaction of those who considered themselves to be socially correct.
You reached out to those who were powerless and marginalized,
and empowered them with your love and acceptance.
What good can come out of Nazareth?

We are the people who come from Nazareth.
We heard your teachings,
we follow you with our lives and our deeds.
We are the good that comes from Nazareth.
We are a strong community, gathering strength from each other,
united in our faith even while we debate with each other the best way to create your world here on Earth.
It is us to us, Jesus, to make this world as it is in heaven.
Help us to do that. Give us the strength and the wisdom to make it so.
Open our eyes to your plan and open our hearts to do your bidding.

We are the people who come from Nazareth.
And, we know that you are with us always.
We ask that you be with ___, our members in the body of Christ who need your added strength and healing grace.
As your people in love, we know that we need to spend time in prayer and contemplation.
You modeled the need for prayer and you gave us the words to start with,
“Our Father….”

In This Time of Lent (John 2:13-22)

In this time of Lent, we place our earthly worries and concerns before you.
You came to us, Lord, assumed our world, and became man.
You know what it is like to be one of us, the frailty of our bodies,
the fullness of our senses and the range of our emotions,
the weakness of our will power, and the depth of our love.

In this time of Lent, we are raising ourselves up to you.
We are spending time thinking about how to give you our best.
Open our hearts to you,
Open our minds to you,
Open our eyes to you.

In this time of Lent, we are realizing that you were one with us
and we are one with you.
We are your children, Lord, each of us uniquely loved and equally cherished.
We embrace your love, and seek to do your will.
Show us how best to make our world your heaven on earth.

In this time of Lent, we seek not to give up earthly things,
but to seek out spiritual learnings and to become better disciples.
Open our hearts to you,
open our minds to you,
open our eyes to you.

As your children, we know that you are with us always.
We ask that you be with ___.
We ask that you be with us and teach us how to share the good news of your teachings.

In this time of Lent, and throughout all times, we use the words you taught us,
“Our Father…”

Because We Believe (John 3:14-21)

Like you, Father, we understand the love you have for your children.
Until our children were put in our arms, we had no idea how much love we could feel.
We are your children, Lord, each of us uniquely cherished and deeply loved.

You gave your Son to us, not to condemn us but to save us.
Help us to truly follow his teachings.
He taught us that we should act as one body,
to treat each other as we would want to be treated.
Help us to freely love one another without reservation.
He taught us to love the unlovable,
to comfort those in pain or illness,
to speak for those who have no voice,
and to value those who have no power.
Help us to realize it is not enough to say we believe,
help us to understand that our actions truly define our beliefs.

We cannot say we believe in your teachings
if our actions tell a different story.
We believe in your Son, and that he is the way to your light and your love.
And, because we believe, we act in ways that uphold those beliefs.
We cannot say we love your Son
if we do not freely love our brothers and sisters.
We cannot say we love your Son
if we do not seek out opportunities to make this earth as it is in your heaven.
We cannot say we love your Son
if we do not love ourselves completely.
We cannot say we love your Son
until we are willing to sacrifice our needs and wants for those around us.

Give us the strength to carry out your plan on earth.
Open our hearts to share your love freely with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Help us share your message of love and healing to those we encounter in our daily lives.
Be with those among us who need your healing touch and your sense of peace.
We name ___.

We are your children, Lord. As your children, we know that you are with us always.
We are comforted by your love and we use the words that you have taught us,
“Our Father…”

Come Follow Me (John 12:20-33)

You said, “Come follow me.”
We know that whoever serves you, must follow you.
What does that truly mean?

You said, “Come follow me.”
That means perhaps
being asked to love someone we don’t really like
being asked to help someone we think needs to take responsibility for their own situation
being asked to give our money or our time to support the church and our community.
You said, “Come follow me” and we are drawn to you.

As we are drawn to you, we feel the comfort of your presence.
We celebrate the joy we feel in your presence.
We share with others your teachings and
dedicate ourselves to building that sense of community with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We ask ourselves what you would do, and we stretch ourselves to try and do the same.

You said, “Come follow me.”
Did your original disciples really know what it meant to follow you?
We ask that you open our eyes to your plan.
We ask that you open our ears to the cries of those around us.
We ask that you use our hands and feet to fulfill the needs around us.
More importantly, we ask that you show us our value within the body of Christ.
How are we making a difference in this world?

We are drawn to you. We follow you willingly.
Help us to understand what that really means.
Help us to understand that no matter what beliefs we speak,
we are to act out your teachings in this world.
It is not enough to say love one another as you love yourself,
if we do not act as if we love each other fully and completely.
It is not enough to say we are followers of Christ,
if we do not spend time in prayer.
It is not enough to say we seek to make this place on earth the same as heaven,
if we do not seek justice for each other.

You said, “Come follow me.”
We are here, Lord, here in this sacred place.
We return each week to learn about you,
and to build our community as you have taught us.
We have followed you to this place.
We look around, and we lift up and celebrate those who are with us.
We are the body of Christ.
We are your brothers and sisters.
We learn from each other and we have learned the most from you, Lord.

You said, “Come follow me.”
We are here, Lord, and we use the words you taught us,
“Our Father…”

People of the Good News (John 20:19-31)

We are the people of the good news.
Our grief at the cross, our fear of being left alone,
our uncertainty when the tomb was found empty,
has turned into joy with the news of your resurrection.
Open our hearts in joy with this good news.
Lift our hands up in celebration.

We are the people of the good news.
We gain comfort knowing that you are with us always,
despite our doubts, despite our failings,
you are with us always.
Open our hearts in joy with this good news.
Encourage us to dance with joy,
as if no one is watching us.
Encourage us to share your news
with those we meet in our lives.

We are the people of the good news.
Knowing the good news does not free us from worry
or fear.
Your disciples locked themselves in a room.
Unlock the barriers we place between ourselves and others.
Remind us that we can lift our burdens up to you
Free us from our fear and concerns of this world,
and open our hearts to the concerns of others.

We are the people of the good news.
Remind us to act as if we are full of this joy,
as if we are full of your love.
We are your children, Lord,
each of us uniquely cherished and completely loved by you.
Open our eyes to your love,
call us into your dance,
remind us that we don’t dance alone.
We are the people of the good news;
we are your people, your children.
You are with us always, and we ask that you specifically be with ___ .

We are the people of the good news.
We can’t sit out this dance, we are unable to be quiet.
We have to share the news of your love, your resurrection.
Your teachings, the way you lived your life, have inspired us,
have shown us the way.

As the people of the good news,
we dance freely without reservation,
we celebrate and embrace the life you have given us.
We use the words you taught us, saying
“Our Father, …”

You Are Our Shepherd (John 10:11-18)

We are your children, Lord.

You watch over us as a shepherd watches over his flock.
We have come together to this place.
We have come from different backgrounds,
from different flocks.
But we have joined together as your people.

Remind us that it is
our job to look after those who need protection,
our job to look for the wolf and to speak out for those in danger,
our job to pick up those who stumble and to seek out those who get lost.
You are our shepherd, Lord, but we act as your shepherds here on earth.
We share your teachings in order to gather others into your flock.

We are your children, Lord.
We celebrate the gift of your life.
Like you, we would gladly give our lives for our children.
Remind us to live our lives every day to honor you,
to reflect your teachings in our actions and in our thoughts.
Remind us to dance with joy as our hearts are filled with your love.
Remind us to share your love with everyone we meet,
even if we don’t really like them.
Remind us that you are with us always, watching over us,
embracing us with your grace and your love.
We ask that you grant your healing touch and your strength to ___.

We are your children, Lord.
Remind us that our membership
in the body of Christ is a full and complete membership.
We are not hired hands who will run at the first sign of trouble.
We are your disciples, your followers.
We have come to this holy place for a purpose.
We gather strength from one another,
from this community of believers.
We share our doubts, our fears, our worries,
and we celebrate our births, our joys, and our celebrations.
We are your followers, your flock of believers,
and we know it is up to us to share your good news with others.

As your followers, we use the words that you taught us
“Our Father..”

I Am (John 15:1-8)

Lord, in your teachings to us, you often use the words “I Am”
You are the bread of life.
You are the light of the world.
You are the gate for the sheep.
You are the resurrection and the life.
You are the vine and we are the branches.

We are part of you and you are part of us.
Your teachings have shaped us,
molded us, and guided our growth.
The way we live our lives,
the way we reflect your teachings in our lives,
is the fruit on the branches.

Remind us to use those same words in our lives.
“I am” a member of the body of Christ.
“I am” a follower of Jesus.
“I am” determined to share your teachings with the world.
“I am” willing to share my gifts and talents with others.
“I am” trying to love others as I love myself.
“I am” not afraid to speak up for those who are less powerless.
“I am” sure I do not have all the answers,
but “I am” asking the right questions.
“I am” a child of God and “I am” loved.
“I am” loved unconditionally.

Lord, you are the bread of life.
We celebrate the community around us,
as we come together at your table.
Lord, you are the light of the world.
We celebrate how your teachings illuminate
the dark corners of our world.
Lord, you are the gate for the sheep.
We celebrate that you are always with us,
guarding us, protecting us.
We ask that you be with those among us
who need your grace and your healing touch.
Be with ___
Lord, you are the resurrection and the life.
We celebrate your resurrection and we are the people of the resurrection.
Lord, you are the vine and we are your branches.
We celebrate that you are with us and we are with you,
intertwined with you and with one another.

You taught us to be your community,
to be brothers and sisters in Christ,
to make this world as it is in heaven.
You taught us the words we use today,
“Our Father…”