Not Without Conflict (Genesis 2:19-340

Creator God, we know that families can be messy.
Because we think we know each other,
we miss seeing each other’s full potential.
Because we know each other,
we can take advantage of each other and
we know all the buttons to push.
Because we know each other,
we drop the facade of politeness and sometimes,
we are brutally open with each other.

Mother God, as your children,
we feel your love and concern.
You’ve known us since before we were born.
You know our deepest hopes and desires.
We know that you hear our prayers and our concerns,
even if it may take years to receive an answer.
Grant us patience as we wait and
grant us the wisdom to see your truths in our world.
You seek peace and harmony in our relationships.
Remind us to be in community with each other
and to seek forgiveness when we wrong another.
As a mother, you nurture us, your children,
loving each of us deeply.
We ask that you especially be with those among us
who are in need of healing and grace. We name ___.

Father God, despite your strength, you do not favor only the strong.
You champion the underdog, the child without power,
and loving all your children equally.
First-born or last-born, there is enough to share with each other.
Remind us to follow in your teachings.
Remind us that no matter what status the world assigns to us,
we are your children and we are to make this world yours.
When we squabble with one another, whisper in our ear to make peace.
Open our hearts to the needs of others and
help us to focus less on our needs and wants.

Creator God, you gave us families, messy relationships, and
conflicts that we need to work through.
Joy and pain, we feel the deepest emotions with those we know best.
As you love your children, help us to see and share that love with others.
Help us to work towards the good of the community.
Help us to serve and to lift up others.
Help us to speak for the powerless.
Help us to comfort the disappointed.
Help us to see the abundance that surrounds us and
help us to share that with others.
Help us to be a true family of your believers.

As a family, we stand up for one another.
As your community of followers, we use the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Delight In God (Matthew 11:25-30)

Lord, don’t make us too wise to see you.
Make us, instead, like the little child who lifts up his or her arms
to their parent knowing they will be picked up and carried.
We ask that you help us carry our burdens and
yet we know we don’t always give them up willingly.
Sometimes we allow our burdens
to define us,
to contain us,
to protect us or
to separate us.
Remind us to be as a child.
Help us to give up our burdens and find our peace in you.

Lord, don’t make us too wise to see you.
Make us, instead, like the little child who lifts up his or her arms
to their parent knowing they will be quickly embraced.
As your children, we know we are loved by you.
We know that we are to act together in community
and to love one another.
Help us remove the barriers between ourselves.
Take us back to the time of the early church
when your followers worked together to support one another,
and to protect one another.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your healing grace.
We name __.
Remind us to be as a child.
Help us to freely share our love and concern with one another.

Lord, don’t make us too wise to see you.
Make us, instead, like the little child who lifts up his or her arms
to their parent knowing they will always be forgiven.
As the forgiven people, we ask that you remind us to also
forgive those who may have wronged us.
Help us to forgive, to lessen the burden of those who may have wronged us.
Encourage us to seek reconciliation, to work towards understanding,
and to work towards justice and peace for all.
We are your children, deeply loved and uniquely cherished.
Help us to feel your presence in our lives.
Help us to share your love with others.

Lord, give us the wisdom we need to truly see you.
Give us the wisdom we need to truly give up our burdens to you.
Be with us, share rest with us, grant us peace.
Make us like a child, open our hearts to you,
and as we use the words your Son taught us, bless us with your peace,
“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

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…”