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….

Called to Challenge (1 Samuel 3:1-20)

Speak, Eternal One, because we are listening.

Or maybe we only think we are listening.
Maybe we are allowing the world to drown out your message to us.
Maybe we are filtering out what we don’t want to hear,
keeping only the part of your message that fits into our understanding.

Help us to find the quiet, to find a place that allows us to hear you.
Help us to find the courage to truly answer your call.
Help us to have the wisdom to follow your call.

Speak, Eternal One, and help us to truly listen to you.

Hearing your call is not always easy.
You call us when we are not ready.
You call us when we are not expecting your call.
You call us to do things we think are too hard.
Help us to be open to your call.
Help us to be ready to respond to your call.
Help us to be willing to accept your challenge.

Speak, Eternal One, as we remember those who answered your call.

We remember Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
We remember Rosa Parks.
We remember Jackie Robinson.
We remember Rachel Carson.
We remember Eleanor Roosevelt.
We remember Abraham Lincoln.
We remember Martin Luther, John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli.
We remember all those who fought for social justice,
to make all people equal,
to protect and nurture our environment,
and to bring your words and your teachings to everyone.

Speak, Eterrnal One, and remind us that we are your children.
Open our hearts to your teachings and your guidance.
Open our eyes to the needs of those around us.
As we support one another, we ask that you be with those among us,
who need your healing grace and your peace. We name ___.
And as you speak to us, we lift up our voices to you,
using the words your son taught to 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…”

Acting in Hospitality (Matthew 10:40-42)

For those among us who are the peacemakers,
For those among us who pray for others,
For those among us who give of themselves.

We give thanks, O God.

For those among us who speak up for those without a voice,
For those among us who work for justice,
For those among us who are teachers.

We give thanks, O God.

For those among us who show mercy to others,
For those among us who feed the hungry,
For those among us who comfort the grieving.

We give thanks, O God.

For those among us who lift up the fallen,
For those of us who practice the art of healing,
For those of us who protect the weak.

We give thanks, O God.

For those among us who speak prophetically,
For those among us who carry the burden for others,
For those among us who shed tears for the pain of this world
but still try to make things better.

We give thanks, O God.

For the fact that we are your children,
For the fact that you freely love us and fill us with your grace,
For the gift of your son, Jesus, and his teachings.

We give thanks, O God.

For the spirit of community instilled in us by our faith,
For the comfort of your constant presence and
For knowing that you are with those among us who need you the most right now,
naming ___.

We give thanks, O God.

For knowing that we are your disciples and your followers,
For knowing that it is our job to carry your word to others,
For knowing that we are never alone.

We give thanks, O God.

For the words that your Son taught us,
For the words we still use today,
“Our Father…”

**Words in bold can be the congregational response.

Fearing and Obeying the Lord (Matthew 10:24-39)

Jesus, you never told us that following you would be easy.
You often warned us how difficult the road would be.
As your followers, our job should not be easy.
You taught us a different way of living,
a way of community and of being at one with each other.
What is whispered, we are to shout from the rooftops.
When we see injustice in this world, we are not to close our eyes.
We are not to look the other way and say, well that is just how things are.
But we are to take action and try to speak for those without a voice,
to stand up for those without power.

You never told us that following you would be easy.
Give us the courage we need to be your followers.
Help us to focus on your teachings
and not on our false sense of security.
Help us to be like the early church who knew they needed to break away
from a world that did not follow your teachings.
Following you will not be easy.
We will need to lift up our voices and speak out against injustice.
We will need to make ourselves vulnerable
and take a chance on being hurt.
We will need to understand our own biases
and work toward changing our unjust social and justice systems.
We will need to work together, to love one another, and to value one another.
We will need to freely share our gifts and treasures with one another.
Give us the strength, the courage and the wisdom to follow your teachings.

You never told us our new life would be easy,
but you encouraged us to be one with each other.
We lift up and support those among us who need our help.
We ask that you be with ___ and grant them your healing touch.
We celebrate being in community and
we lift up our recent Vacation Bible School with joy and happiness.
As you taught us, we are teaching our children.
Help us to share your teachings with everyone we meet.
Help us to act out your teachings in our interactions with others.
We remind ourselves of your teachings every time we use the words you gave us,
“Our Father…”

Let Us Achieve New Heights as Followers of Christ (Acts 1:6-14)

Gracious God
Sometimes the world and its problems seem to be too much for us.
We may find ourselves waiting and unsure what to do.
Sometimes we ask you for signs of what will come,
forgetting that we are to act as your witnesses here on earth.

Jesus was taken into Heaven and until he returns, we ask,
Spirit, come to us and call us to action.

Remind us that you have given us all we need to act in your name,
to be your disciples here on earth.
Fill us with the courage we need to stand up for truth and justice.
Open our hearts with compassion for those in need.
Give us the wisdom to see your vision for this world and then
use our thoughts and energy to fulfill your plan here on earth.
Unclench our fists and replace anger and frustration
with a deep sense of peace.
Remind us that we are your children and that we are loved.

Jesus was taken into Heaven and until he returns, we ask,
Spirit, come to us and call us to action.

We are your disciples now.
Help us to be like the disciples of the early church.
Help us to feel your interaction as we pray and
help us to see you in the ordinary moments of our lives.
As we experience the joy in your teachings,
help us to share that joy with others.
Use us to bring peace to this world, one person at a time.
As we support one another, we ask that you be with those among us
who are in pain or in need of healing. We name ___
We ask that you help us become better students of your teachings,
better disciples in this world.

Jesus was taken into Heaven and until he returns, we ask,
Spirit, come to us and call us to action.

As the disciples devoted themselves to prayer, we use the same words,
the words that Jesus taught them, “Our Father…”

**Words in bold can be said by congregation

Live By The Spirit (Galatians 5:1, 13-26)

If we are to live by the Spirit, Lord, help us to be guided by the Spirit.
Help us to set aside our own selfish desires and
to live fully within the Spirit.
Help us to love one another as we love ourselves.
Protect us from arrogance, anger and jealousy.
Open our hearts to the desires of the Spirit.
Lord, hear our prayer.

We have become a divided country,
politically, economically, and spiritually.
As we choose new leaders,
we ask that you help us choose leaders who will unite, rather than divide.
We pray that our leaders will govern with wisdom and compassion,
focusing on what is best for all members of society,
regardless of political parties.
We pray that they are committed to justice and peace
within our communities and within the global community.
Open our hearts to the desires of the Spirit.
Lord, hear our prayer.

We pray that we can come together as a nation,
choosing the best we have to offer and leaving behind the greed and angst.
In our disagreements, open our ears to hear the potential truth in others.
Give us the strength to seek peace and reconciliation rather than righteousness.
Open our eyes to see the pain others face and
to help us recognize solutions rather than assigning blame.
Open our hearts to the desires of the Spirit.
Lord, hear our prayer.

As your people, we gather together in this sacred space.
As your people, we support one another in times of sadness and worry.
We lift up the names of those among us who need your healing touch
and gift of strength, naming ___.
As your people, we celebrate with one another in times of joy.
We also lift up __ with thanksgiving and gratitude.
Open our hearts to the desires of the Spirit.
Lord, hear our prayer.

We live by and are guided by the Spirit,
the Spirit that has given us many gifts.
Help us, Lord, to see how we can use those gifts to help others
and to fulfill your plan here on earth.
As we lift up our hearts to the desires of that Spirit, we use the words
you taught us, so many years ago,
“Our Father…”

Our Sense of Compassion (1 Kings 17:8-16)

God of human relationships, you created us as your people,
a people who come together in community.
Our choices and our actions inter-twine in the lives of those around us.
As water ripples in a pond, we touch others
even when we are unaware of their very existence.
Our lives are shaped every day by the people we meet
in the most mundane of encounters.

God of Love, you have provided for us,
giving us a world that contains everything we need.
We may not have a jar of flour that never empties,
but our God has given us all the resources that we need
and charged us to care for them wisely.
Remind us to be grateful for what we have and
to spend our time and treasures in ways that reflect our beliefs.
Remind us that the idols in our world may distract us
but they are not where our attention should be.
Remind us to live as your Son showed us,
seeking peace and justice for all.
Remind us to trust in your love and your guidance,
just as the widow placed her trust in you.

God of Compassion, allow us to feel empathy for those we meet.
We may not agree with each other, nor may we share the same beliefs,
but we are each your children.
Help us to treat each other with dignity and respect.
Help us to disagree in ways that do not demonize the other,
but rather help us to see your image in the face of others.
Help us to remember that we are each a child of God,
and remind us of your teachings and how we should practice those teachings.
You told us you would be with us always.
We ask that you be with those among us
who need your extra strength and healing grace.

God of Justice and Peace,
remind us of our duty to care for the powerless and
to speak out for those without a voice.
As your Son taught us, it is our job to make this world like your heaven.
We use the words he taught us, saying,
“Our Father…”

Our Sense of Awe (Psalm 96)

Gracious God, we sing to you a new song and give you our praise.
As the sun rises in the east, we marvel at the creation
that you have set before us,
the new day with new potential.
The noontime sun casts away the shadows
and helps us see our world and ourselves more clearly.
We see the glory of the creation you have provided to us.
We see where we have not shared those resources fairly
and where we have not protected the environment.
We see the other idols of this world
that we have allowed to compete with our focus on you.
Yet as the sun sets in the west and
we snuggle into the darkness of the night,
we are reminded that you have provided us a sanctuary of strength and beauty.
You are our God and you alone deserve our praise.

Almighty God, we declare to everyone around us, the power of your love,
and share the good news of your teachings with our children.
We give to you all glory and honor, and lift up your name in praise.
Let everyone celebrate and help us to work
to establish your justice here on earth.
We proclaim your power and yet recognize with the gift of free will,
much depends upon us and our choices.
Be with us as we work to establish justice in this world.
Be with us as we work to make things right.
Be with us as we work to make things fair.
Be with those among us today who need your strength and protection.
We lift up the names of ___.

All Powerful God, we sing to you a new song and give you our praise.
As your people, we celebrate your teachings and know that we are loved.
You created our world, gave us life and everything that we need on this earth.
You gave us your Son who showed us how to live in a way that follows your teachings.
We lift up our voices in praise to you, using 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…”