“Life, Death, and Jesus Christ” (Mark 14:1-11)

We come to this sacred space every week,
to hear your word and your teachings.
Help us to come to you with the excitement
of those who welcomed you to Jerusalem.
Fill our hearts with the joy of your love.
Free us from concern about what others think
and encourage us to wave our palms in the air
as we celebrate and share your love.
Make us like the children who dance in the streets.

As your followers, help us to really feel your presence.
Open our hearts to the fullness of your love and grace.
Open our eyes to see how you have touched our lives
and the lives of others.
Open our hands so that we are willing to share our gifts
and treasure with others.
Open our mouths so that we can speak your truth.

As your followers, we have formed a community in this space
and in this world.
In this journey of Lent, we have prepared to encounter the mystery.
We cannot say we understand it fully, but together, we learn
from each other and from you.
Your mystery overwhelms us, surrounds us and fills us
with both joy and sorrow.
As you embrace us, we ask that you be with those among us
who are facing illness, worry and doubt.
Help them feel your peace and your grace.

As your followers, we celebrate your life and prepare for your death.
Our shouts of Hosanna in the Highest may turn into whispers,
but remind us again of your truth and your teachings.
We remember the prayer you taught us and we lift up our voices together,
“Our Father…”

An Everlasting Covenant (Isaiah 55:1-9)

We often dream of a world of plenty,
a world where we have won the lottery,
a world where our wishes will come true.
We compare ourselves to others and
can be jealous of what we don’t have.
We forget that the happiness
about a new possession is a temporary mood.
We forget that the newest electronic gadget
will be out of date next month.

Help us, Creator God, to recognize the gifts you have given us.
You have given us an earth full of wonders,
lands of plenty and bodies of fresh water.
Creator God, help us to respect the gift of the earth,
the animals and the natural resources.
You have given us a society in which we live and people to interact with,
to learn from and to grow with.
Creator God, help us to respect one another and
to seek justice and peace for all.
You have given us free will and the ability to learn from our past.
Creator God, help us to see our past clearly,
to recognize where we have made mistakes or redefined history,
and help us to make a better future for our children.
You have given us your Son to share your teachings and your plans with us.
Creator God, help us to understand those teachings and encourage us
to follow in His path.

Most importantly, remind us that this is a material world.
A material world does not last and possessions become a burden to maintain.
Free us from that burden, Lord.
Remind us to go through this world unencumbered by things.
Focus our attention on your teachings, Lord.
Remind us to share the resources of this earth with others.
Remind us to treat each other with respect and caring.
Remind us to be aware of the choices we make and how they impact others.

You have given us the ever living water of your truth.
We celebrate those truths and teachings here in this sacred place
and in our daily lives.
As your followers, we support one another, but we ask that you be with ___.
And as we seek out a closer relationship with you, we use the words you taught us,
“Our Father…”

Our Lives are Messy (Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32)

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A Messy Life

We make choices in our lives.
Sometimes we choose wisely and
sometimes our choices land us in the muck,
maybe not literally rolling in the mud with the pigs,
but we can get pretty messy, Lord.

Remind us that we can find you in the messiness of life.
As children, we learned about the world you gave us by getting dirty.
We jumped in puddles, rolled in the autumn leaves
and picked dandelion bouquets we gave to our mothers.
Sometimes we played together nicely and
sometimes we refused to share our toys.
You were with us during those times of exploration.

Teenagers, Lord, can be really messy creatures.
As teenagers, we struggled to find our place in the world
and to understand the messiness of adult responsibilities and relationships.
As parents of teenagers, we struggled to find the words
to connect with our children in ways that brought them closer
and didn’t push them away.
The teenage years were full of exploration and angst.
We may not have had dirty clothes, but we were often deep in the muck.
You were still with us, Lord, during those years.

And then we became adults, Lord, perhaps with children of our own.
And even then, our lives were messy and we knew that we were not always in control.
Families are really, really messy, Lord, no matter how old we are.
We hurt each others’ feelings. We borrow things that don’t belong to us.
We think our family members should know what we want and what we need.
We expect things from our family that we would never ask a stranger to do.
Our children may not have the same dreams we want for them.
Our parents lose their independence and we find our roles suddenly changing.
Remind us, Lord, that we find you with us in the messiness,
and the joy, of family life.

Jesus, you taught us the value of forgiveness and acceptance.
Help us to see these truths in the messiness of our lives.
Open our eyes to the barriers we may be placing between ourselves and others.
Open our hearts to forgive when we feel unappreciated or less valued.
Use our hands to support each other and
to celebrate each other’s gifts and talents.
Remind us of the joy of childhood and help us find in our lives today.
You taught us the value of community and family.
We know that you are with us always, even in the muck,
and we ask that you especially be with __.

As your family, as your loving children,
we use the words Jesus taught us, by saying,
“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….”

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A Place to Call Home (Deuteronomy 26:1-11)

Each of us longs for a place to call home,
a place that we are safe and cherished.
Home is a place where when we walk through the door,
we can drop our public face and become who we truly are.

Lord, we ask you to be with those in this world who have no home,
no safe place to live, who may not feel welcome,
and who feel alone and helpless.
We ask that you open our eyes to the needs
of those who live in war zones,
of those who live in underdeveloped countries,
and those who live in poverty within our own country.
Remind us that our public policies and our private choices
have contributed to their situations.
Remind us how fortunate we have been to be born
in this place and in this time,
how fortunate we are
to have the opportunity to improve ourselves and our situations.

Each of us longs for a place to call home,
a place that we are safe and cherished.
As we come here each week to this sacred place,
we feel your presence and we know that we are cherished.
This place, this home, is always here for us even as our lives change.
Your teachings and your grace are always here for us
even as the world changes around us.
No matter where we travel in this world, no matter where our home may be,
you are with us always.
We know that you walk with us on our journey and
we ask that you make your will known to us.
We ask that you be with those among us
who especially need your healing touch, and we name ___.
As the world changes too quickly for us to comprehend,
we ask that you be with us and fill us with your peace.

Lord, there are far too many people in this world
who have no place to call their home.
There is too much violence, too much economic uncertainty,
and too much political upheaval for any of us to feel comfortable.
Remind us that we are your children.
Remind us that as your children,
each of us is deeply loved and uniquely cherished.
Remind us that as your children,
as your followers, we are to support one another.
Remind us to help each other find their home, their safe place.
Remind us to share our fortune with others,
and especially to share the good news of your love and your teachings.

Each of us longs for a place to call home,
a place that we are safe and cherished.
If we cannot find our home in the earthly world,
we know we have a home with you.
We know that we can be ourselves with you
because we are your children.
You know us completely and you love and accept us.
In this sacred place, in this home, we use the words that your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Be With Us (Mark 1:9-15)

Lord, as we enter this time we call Lent,
be with us.
Open our eyes to your presence in our daily lives.
Remind us to reflect daily on our interactions with you,
and with those around us.
As we look back on our day, where did we please you?
Where did we fall short?

Lord, as we enter this time we call Lent,
be with us.
We were created in God’s image and
we know we are the children of God.
Remind us that we are uniquely loved and cherished.
As we look back on our day, where were we shown love?
Where did we share your love with others?

Lord, as we enter this time we call Lent,
be with us.
We say that we are brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.
As we look back on our day, where did we work together equally with others?
Where did we build walls between ourselves and others?

Lord, as we enter this time we call Lent,
be with us.
You taught us that each of us is a valued child of God.
You fought for the powerless, spoke for the voiceless, and
loved the unloveable ones.
As we look back on our day, where did we live out your teachings?
Where did we choose to ignore your lesson?

Lord, as we enter this time we call Lent,
be with us.
Remind us to reflect daily on our interactions with you,
and with those around us.
As we look back on our day, where did we please you?
Where did we fall short?

As we think about our interactions with those around us,
we know that there are people we hold in our hearts
who need some extra support.
While we reach out to them, we ask that you also surround them
with your love and grace. We ask that you be with ___.

Lord, as we enter this time we call Lent,
we know that you are with us.
We use the words that you taught us,
“Our Father…”

Setting our Sight on Human Things (Mark 8:31-38)

We set our sights on human things.
We judge our success by human guidelines.
We can worry too much about our future
and forget to celebrate today.

We forget that we are to be following you.
Remind us to freely put down our earthly possessions
so that we are free to pick up your cross.

We set our sights on human things,
but intertwined within our day to day,
is the Spirit.
The Spirit inspires us, lifts our eyes toward you,
away from the sights of the world that distract us.
The Spirit connects us, placing people and events
in our lives in ways that allow your love to be shared.
The Spirit interprets your word in scripture for us,
allowing us to see your teachings in our world today.
The Spirit nudges us, reminding us to follow you,
to put down our earthly possessions
so that we are free to follow you.

We set our sights on human things.
We have human worries and concerns.
As your children, we know that we are loved.
We know that you are with us,
and we ask that as we reach out to those among us
who need assistance, that you also be with them,
especially ___.

Holy Spirit,
fill us with your inspiration,
connect us with one another,
open our hearts and our eyes.
As we use the words taught to us so many years ago,
interpret them for us and give them new meaning
for our lives today so that we are free to follow you,
“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…”