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 Discern (Ephesians 5:15-20)

We gather here today in this sacred space.
We have chosen to spend our time here today,
with you and with one another.
For this few moments,
we quiet our thoughts,
we open our hearts,
and we focus on your word and your teachings.
Remind us to take this time throughout the week,
to spend time with you every day,
to feel your presence in our daily interactions,
to hear your teachings as we make our choices,
and to see your image in the faces of those we meet.
Remind us to speak with love, not judgement.
Remind us to listen to the stories of each other
allowing them the time they need to feel truly heard.

We gather here today in this sacred space.
We have chosen to spend our time here today,
with you and with one another.
For this few moments,
we quiet our thoughts,
we open our hearts,
and we focus on your word and your teachings.
It can be easy to focus on the things we do not have,
the things that cause us pain and worry,
the things that society tells us we should be doing.
Remind us to be grateful for what we have,
to spend our energies on what we can change and
to worry less about what we cannot control.
Remind us to share what we have with others
freely and without judgement.
Remind us that we are your children,
each of us deeply loved and uniquely cherished.
It is not up to society to judge us or to determine our worth.
Help us to become the best version of ourselves that we can be.

We gather here today in this sacred space.
We have chosen to spend our time here today,
with you and with one another.
For this few moments,
we quiet our thoughts,
we open our hearts,
and we focus on your word and your teachings.
We feel your presence among us
and we know that you are always with us.
Be with those among us who especially need your strength and grace,
naming __.
Remind us to also support each other, to share in each other’s joys and sorrows.
As we gather together here, as your children, we use the words Jesus gave us,
“Our Father…”

What We Live (Ephesians 6:10-20)

Your teachings give us strength every day, Lord.
The world we face each day can challenge us,
with temptations,
with doubt and uncertainty,
with false promises and fear.
We don’t have a set of physical armor
to wrap ourselves in each morning.
But we lean on your teachings, on your guidance,
and we know that you are with us always.

Your teachings give us strength every day, Lord.
You taught us with more than words,
you lived your life as you would have us live ours.
To love one another without hesitation or judgment,
to speak up for those among us who have no voice,
to share freely with each other,
and to support one another within your community of believers.

Evil exists in our world, because we, as humans, make bad choices.
You gave us free will and it is up to us to make this world
as it is in your heaven.
Give us the wisdom to make better choices,
the strength to resist temptation,
the ability to recognize and to follow your guidance,
and to open our hearts so that we can love each other freely.

Your teachings give us strength every day, Lord.
We lift up our fears, our worries, and our failures to you
knowing that you are with us,
knowing that you have surrounded us with your love and grace,
knowing that we are your children and that we are loved.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your love and support,
naming __.
Remind us every day that we are your disciples on this earth.
We may not have physical armor that protects us from harm,
but we are surrounded by your presence, by your love and grace.

Your teachings give us strength every day, Lord.
And we use the words that you taught us, as we lift our voices together, to say
“Our Father…”

Reach Out to Us (Matthew 2:1-12)

God of all Grace,
You find many ways to reach out to us.
Through our preparation for the Christmas season,
we have seen you find ways
to touch people of faith,
to touch a humble teenager in the middle of nowhere,
to touch a roaming band of shepherds,
and, now three Magi who bring gifts from afar.
The Magi were not Jewish and were from a different culture,
and yet they helped bring the news of the gift of your son.

God of all Grace,
You find many ways to reach out to us.
You reach out to us in our daily lives,
using the events of our lives to share yourself with us.
When we are fearful, you are with us to give us strength.
When we celebrate our accomplishments, you share in our joy.
When we hear devastating news, you are with us to comfort us and
to bring us hope.
When we see unfairness and injustice in our world,
you give us the strength to fight for peace and justice.
You are with us always.
Open our hearts so that we feel your presence and desire to follow you.

God of all Grace,
as our Creator, you gave us free will.
That free will allows us to make bad choices,
choices based in fear and selfishness.
Open our eyes so we can see our choices more clearly;
help us to make better choices, choices that follow your plan.
Make us more like the Magi, and less like Herod.
Help us to share our gifts freely and to listen to your teachings.
Reach out to us in ways we may not expect.
Touch us in ways that deepen our faith.
Speak to us in our dreams and in the silence of the night.
Question our choices when we fail to live up to your desired path.

God of all Grace,
You find many ways to reach out to us.
We know that you are with us always.
We ask that you be with __, members of our faith community,
who need your extra grace and healing touch.
Reach out to them, surround them with your healing light and
embrace them in your love.
Strengthen them as they face their challenges.
And, strengthen us, as your community.
We feel your presence among us.
And, as you reach out to us, we also reach out to you,
using the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Are We Acting as Your Followers? (Mark 8:27-38)

Who do we say that you are?
What brings us here each week?
Where do we see you touching our lives?
When are we most like you?
How do we show that we are your followers?

Do we ever really think about these questions?
Open our eyes, Creator God, to your love and to our answers.
You sent your Son to us, as one of us, but also as part of you.
Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
separate but yet connected.
Sharing your Son with us was sharing your love with us
in the physical form.
Do we see your Son as love? as a teacher? as a prophet?
as a Savior?

We come here every week to this sacred place.
What brings us to this place, to this family of believers?

Open our hearts to your desires.
Help us to work together as your church
to fulfill your plan.
Help us to discern your plan for Church of the Apostles.

As your children, we know you are with us always.
Creator God, you see us as we are and how you would like us to be.
Open our eyes to the times
that you have tried to coax us to follow your teachings more closely.
Open our eyes to the times
that you have supported us in our times of crisis.
As we support each other, we know that you are with us and
we ask that you be with ___ in particular.

We are your children, Lord, and we try to follow your teachings.
As we look at our daily lives, open our eyes to when we are acting in ways
that are most like you.
Use us to fulfill your plan here on earth.
Remind us that we are your followers and it is up to us
to speak for those without a voice,
to listen for the unspoken needs,
to shelter the refugee,
to feed the hungry,
to teach those who cannot read,
and to love the discarded.
As we look at our personal lives, when are we acting most like you?
When are we acting as your disciples, your followers?

Jesus asked his disciples who they thought he was.
Remind us every day who Jesus was and why we follow him.
And as we remember, we use the words he taught us,
“Our Father…”