Be With Us in Relationship (Acts 2:42-47)

Fill us with the excitement of a new relationship, Loving God.
Bring us into a new relationship with you.
We all remember the feelings of a new love.
Help us to fall in love with you all over again.
Remind us what it feels like to be excited and energized
by life again.

Fill us with the comfort and ease of a long-lasting friendship, Lord.
Remind us how easy it is to talk to someone who can finish our sentences
and knows all of our old stories.
We know even if we spend time apart, that you will always be there,
waiting for us.
Like a close friend, you offer comfort, healing, and acceptance.
Remind us what it feels like to be supported and encouraged
by life again.

The early church was energized by their relationship with each other
and their new faith.
Over the years, maybe we have become more complacent.
Fill our hearts with the excitement of your teachings.
Open our eyes to the plans you have for us here on earth.
Use us to fulfill those plans here.
Help us to create a community of believers here in this place.

As a community of believers, we gather here each week.
We pledge to support one another and to work for the common good.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your healing grace.
We name ___.

As you are with us now, you were with us when you taught us to say,
“Our Father…”

Arise and Shine! (Isaiah 60:1-5 and Matthew 3:13-17)

We know that you are with us always, Lord,
but this season reminds us that you have chosen to live with us,
to share our human experience.
We celebrate that you have come to be with us, Lord.
The darkness had covered the earth, but now we
shine with the light of your love.
Help us to carry that light forward into the world.

We know that sometimes we focus on the darker side of life.
Remind us, Lord, to see the light and sunshine in our world.
Help us to see the abundance around us.
Lift up our hearts in joy and thanksgiving
for the gifts that you have given us.
Help us to focus on the positive and not the negative.
Help us to carry the light of your truth into the world.

As we focus on your love, we are reminded of our baptism.
Water, life-giving and life-sustaining, is a symbol of your love
and acceptance.
Help us to give that gift to others.
Help us to share the gift of your love to others we encounter.
As we have been cleansed and forgiven,
help us to see others with acceptance and forgiveness.
As members of the body of Christ, we support one another.
We lift up the names of those among us who need assistance, naming ___.
We also celebrate with one another in our times of joy.
We lift up our joys and celebrations naming ___.

We are your children, Lord.
We arise and shine in the light and glory of our Lord.
Be with us as we go through our daily lives and
be with us as we use the words you taught us,
“Our Father…”

The Life of Christmas Yet-to-Come (Isaiah 7:11-16 and Matthew 1:18-25)

Our world can often be the busiest and most stressful
in a season that should be full of joy and anticipation.
Remind us, Lord, that we need to take time to listen.
Remind us, to take time to be quiet, and to be still.
Open our hearts and eyes to your presence in our lives.

Ring Out Your Truth
Ring out our truth
Ring out your love
Reverberate in our lives
Come, Lord, come!

We can be conflicted people, God.
On one hand, we can focus too much on today’s busyness,
that we don’t plan for the future.
On the other hand, we can fixate on the future in fear
imagining all the terrible things that could happen
until we are frozen in fear.
Remind us, Lord, that you are always with us.
Fill us with your peace and remove our fears.
As you are always with us, we share that love and support
with those in our community who are hurting.
We ask that you be with those we name today, ___
and with those we have not named.

Ring Out Your Truth
Ring out our truth
Ring out your love
Reverberate in our lives
Come, Lord, come!

We know that the future is what we make it.
We move forward in confidence that you are with us
and we take your teachings with us as we move forward.
Remind us to live a life full of joy that we have you in our lives.
Remind us, as we prepare for a new year, to live a life of purpose.
Remind us, that we can be a miracle in someone else’s life.

Ring Out Your Truth
Ring out our truth
Ring out your love
Reverberate in our lives
Come, Lord, come!

In this season of preparation and anticipation,
remind us to take time to listen for you, Lord.
Remind us to take a few minutes to sit quietly and
to open ourselves to your teachings, to your peace.
Open our hearts to your presence and your grace.
And as we open ourselves to you, we lift up our words to you
in prayer, using the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father….”

Hearts of Love (Isaiah 65:17–25)

Now more than ever, All Loving God,
we need the gift of your love in our world.
Open our hearts to accept your grace freely.
Open our hearts to share that grace with others,
without reservation and without hesitation.
As you strive to create new heavens and a new earth,
through us as we follow your teachings,
help us to truly be your church.

In a world full of conflict, open our hearts to peace,
a peace that does not compromise your teachings.
We ask that you use us to make this world, your world.
Jesus stood up for the sick, the refugee, and the beggar.
Help us to act as he taught us, to work for good,
and not to hurt or destroy.
Help us to work towards peace and equality for all your children,
rich or poor, white or of color, male or female, young or old,
gay or straight, abled or disabled, citizen or immigrant,
Christian or Muslim, rural or urban, employed or unemployed
Our list of polarizing descriptions can be endless.
We can use these descriptions to separate and divide us, and yet,
we cannot pretend that if we just ignore the label,
we are all treated equally.
Help us to truly see each other with love and with understanding.

We ask that you use us to make this world, your world.
Open our eyes to see how we can make this world, your new Jerusalem.
Use our hands to create places of shelter and to plant gardens
full of your bounty.
Use our minds to sort fact from fiction and to clearly see your truths.
We are your followers, your church, and
we are called to show your love in the world
as you have loved us.
Give us the strength to follow Christ’s teachings.
Give us the courage to help build the new Jerusalem
where no one labors in vain or has their belongings cheated from them,
where there is no fear and where there is no weeping.
As we support each other within this community, we ask that you
be with those we name today, ___

And until we are in the new Jerusalem, we continue to follow your teachings,
using the words you gave us so many years ago, “Our Father…”

Sharing in the Needs of the World (Matthew 25:31-46 )

Gracious God, we gather together in this sacred place,
as your people, as your followers.
We know your love and believe in your promise and your grace.
We know the story of your Son and we shared in his teachings.

As your people, how can it be that we don’t live our lives
to fulfill your plan?
We have been touched by your love, and yet we withhold our love from others.
We have received your forgiveness and absolution,
and yet we refuse to forgive others.
We have been given many talents and gifts,
and yet we refuse to share with others.
We have been granted your peace, and yet we refuse to make peace with others.

Make us sheep and not goats, Lord.
Open our hearts to feel the needs of those around us,
to truly understand how to empower others.
Open our ears to hear the cries of those around us,
to truly hear their pain and their desires.
Open our eyes to see the reality of the world around us,
to truly believe in the needs of others and the societal need for reform.

Make us sheep and not goats, Lord.
The needs of those in our community may not match our personal desires.
There are people in our community who are hungry, God.
We may not be hungry, but use our gifts and our talents to feed the hungry,
physically, emotionally and spiritually.
There are people in our community who feel oppressed and victimized, God.
We may not feel oppressed, but help us to recognize oppression in others,
and give us the strength to stand up for those without power.
There are people in our community who are unable to achieve acceptance, God.
We know that we are beloved in your eyes,
help us to share that love and acceptance to all we meet.

Make us sheep and not goats, Lord.
Remind us that just because it is not our problem,
does not mean that the problem does not exist.
Remind us that we don’t need to have all the answers,
but we need to listen openly with a desire to understand.
We know your love and believe in your promise and your grace.
We know the story of your Son and we shared in his teachings.
As your followers, we know that you are with us.
We ask that you be with ___ as they need your healing grace and strength.

As your followers, as your sheep, we lift our voices up to you,
using the words your Son taught us, “Our Father…”

inspired by http://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/7762/whitechurchquiet-and-the-inconvenience-of-love

9/11 Remembrance (Romans 12:1-8)

When tragedy strikes, well-wishers may tell us it was God’s plan.
They tell us we may not understand today,
but someday it will be made clear.
But we know that you have given us free will
and it is our choices, or our failure to choose,
that cause accidents, pain and injury to ourselves and others.
We know there is true evil in this world and
we know there are people who choose evil
and people who choose to hate.
As we remember the pain of 9/11,
we recognize our lives began to change at that point in time.
We came together then in grief and shock
but we have now allowed fear to separate and divide us.

Help us to choose love.
Transform us with your grace.

When tragedy strikes, remind us to see the first responders
who risk their lives to save others.
Remind us to see the helpers,
the people that use their gifts to heal and comfort those in distress.
Help us to use our gifts to be those helpers,
to fulfill your teachings here on earth.
Give us the strength to stand up to hate.

Help us to choose love.
Transform us with your grace.

When we look at the people around us, Gracious God,
help help us to see who is missing and marginalized.
Help us to seek understanding over being right.
Help us to use our gifts to fulfill your plan here on earth.
We ask that you be with those who are grieving,
those those who are angry, and those who are fearful.

Help us to choose love.
Transform us with your grace.

As your children, we know that we are loved.
We lift up our voices using the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

**Bold text may be read responsively by the congregation.

Our Sense of Knowing and Being Known (Luke 13:10-17)

We are created in your image, Lord.
Each of us are unique,
with different skills and different talents.
We may compare ourselves to others,
judging ourselves better or worse, but
You know us completely.
Open our eyes to the gifts you have given to us
and also to the gifts of others.
Help us to celebrate those gifts.
Help us to use our skills and talents
to fulfill your work here on earth.

We are created in your image, Lord.
Some of us have bodies that appear to work well,
while others wear their imperfections on the outside.
And some of us are experiencing the transition
of an aging body.
We are human and none of us are perfect, but
You know us completely with only love.
We ask for your healing touch within us.
Even if we cannot be physically healed,
calm our thoughts and give us the strength we need.
We ask that you be with those among us who need
your extra comfort and strength, naming ____.
Help us to accept and to celebrate our human experience.
Help us to use our bodies and minds in ways
that fulfill your work here on earth.

We are created in your image, Lord.
We can choose to conceal our hearts from others,
but You know us completely and accept us.
We may hide our fears from others,
but You know us completely and accept us.
We may present a confident face to the outside world,
while inside we are filled with doubt,
but You know us completely and accept us.
We may not fully share ourselves with others,
but we cannot hide ourselves from you.
Remind us that together we are the body of Christ.
Open our hearts to each other,
remove our fear of intimacy and
help us to see each other without judgment or envy.
Use us, as your community of believers, ‘
to make this world a better place.
We are your children and in faith and trust,
we use the words your Son gave us, “Our Father…”

Beyond Water (Mark 1:4-11)

Father God, we confess that often our focus is on how we appear to others.
Did we say the right thing?
Did we act like we were in control?
We wonder too much about what others think of us.

Mother God, remind us that we are your children.
As your children, we are deeply loved and uniquely cherished.
Our words please you when we speak to raise others up,
Our actions please you when we work for peace and justice in this world,
Our thoughts please you when we think of ways
to help those who have no power in this world,
and our hearts open to you when we take a moment in prayer.

Spirit God, you fill us with your love and grace.
Your living water washes over us, cleansing us of our sins and shortcomings.
We know that no matter how hard we try, no matter how good we are,
we will never live up to your ideals.
And, yet, we know that you accept us as we are,
you not only accept us, but you loved us before we were even born.
We are your beloved, and we are loved.

We confess that we spend too much time thinking
about the material world around us,
and not enough time in prayer with you, Lord.
Open our hearts to your loving embrace,
Open our minds to desire that conversation and time of reflection with you,
Open our imagination to the possibilities that are within you,
Open our hands to the work that needs to be done in this world.

Mother God, you are with us always, loving us and healing us,
be with those among us today who need your healing grace.
We name ___
As you are with us, filling us with light and love,
open our hearts to desire this time with you,
remind us that we need to spend time in contemplation and reflection.

And, as we spend time in prayer with you, we use the words
that your son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Our Sense of Faith (Hebrews 11:1–3, 8–16)

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
without proven evidence.
But our faith allows us to see that evidence,
in our daily lives.
The Bible tells us about those before us,
who had faith in their interactions with God.
And we’ve heard about those who lost their faith,
and then found it again despite their doubts.

Gracious God, we confess it can be hard to keep the faith.
But then we see the signs of your connection to us,
in our daily lives
and our faith is renewed.
We feel you throughout our days,
in the people that we meet,
and in the beauty of your creation.
We realize that you are with us,
you know our hopes and our fears,
and you know us completely.
And when we live in faith, we allow our faith to grow.

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
without proven evidence.
Part of our hope are the words that your Son
taught us:
Thy will be done here on earth as in heaven.
We need to take our faith and turn it into action,
to step out boldly into the world
knowing that we are following your plan
and following your Son’s teachings.
Be with us as we carry out your plan.
Be with us as we share the joyful news of your love
with others.
And be with those among us who are hurting
or need your strength. We name ____.

Gracious and loving God, you are the assurance
of our hopes.
In faith, we lift up our voices using the prayer
your Son taught us, “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…”