Made in God’s Image (Romans 12:1-8)

Creator God, you have made us in your image.
To each of us, you have given special gifts and talents.
We may not feel special, but we are uniquely made
for your purpose.
Help us to understand that purpose.
Help us to fulfill that purpose.
Help us to use our gifts and talents to their fullest.

Giving God, you have given much to us.
Remind us that our gifts are not only for ourselves,
but are meant to be shared.
Our world is full of plenty,
even when we feel in need.
Help us to recognize and to appreciate all that we have.
Open our hands and hearts to others.
Encourage us to share freely and to accept the gifts of others.
Help us to celebrate our gifts and to use them in joy.
Help us to worship you with full hearts, minds and bodies.

Loving God, you have brought us here together in this sacred space.
Remind us to continue acting in community with one another
during the week.
Help us to share your love and your teachings with others.
As we support one another, we ask that you be with those among us
who need your healing touch and your strength.
We name ___.
As we celebrate joys with each other, we thank you for ___.
Encourage us to continue to build relationship with one another,
to make friends of those who used to be acquaintances,
to make peace with those who used to unsettle us,
to comfort those who are grieving, and
to recognize and appreciate the differences of others.

As your children, we lift up our voices, using the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Love, Yours and Ours (Matthew 22:34-46)

You told us the greatest commandment is to
Love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul and with all your mind.
Next, we are to love our neighbor as ourself.
Remind us, Lord, that love is a verb.
We are to love and to love means to act.

It is easy to love you, Lord,
and to love our family and friends.
We can say we love the stranger whom we have never met.
It is not as easy to love the stranger who cuts us off in traffic,
the person who holds a different political viewpoint than ours,
the stranger who is incarcerated,
the co-worker who doesn’t pull their weight,
or the person we think is taking advantage of the system.

Remind us that we don’t have to feel love,
but we need to act with love which means
acting in fairness.
Help us to see the image of God, your image,
in the faces of those we meet.
Help us to treat everyone with fairness.
Help us to act with love in each encounter.
Remind us that each of us is a child of God,
deeply loved and uniquely cherished.
Give us the strength to take action
to protect the powerless,
to speak for those without a voice,
to listen for the needs of those around us,
to lift up those who have stumbled,
and to feed the hungry.

As your children, and acting in your love,
we support those in our community.
We ask that you be with those among us who are in pain
and who need your extra support. We name ___.
But we also celebrate with our community.
We lift up in joy ___.

We thank you for the love you have extended to us,
love that we have not earned but freely accept.
Help us to now freely share that love with others.
As we feel your love, we lift up our voices and our hearts to you,
using the words your Son taught us, “Our Father….”

The Light of the World (1 John 1:1-10)

Our world can be a dark and scary place.
Creation shows us her power with hurricanes and fires.
Oceans rise, storms rage and islands are destroyed.
Nations quarrel and politicians squabble.
Women, children and men are used and abused by others in power.
The poor grow poorer and too many people go hungry.
People of color feel unsafe.

As we look at the pain in our world,
we don’t see ourselves as responsible.
We blame the system and hold ourselves outside of that system.
We confess that we hold others to be accountable
while making excuses for ourselves.
When we do this, we know we are walking in the darkness.

Remind us to follow in your light, to be the light to others.
Remind us that in your light, we are forgiven and made clean.
And help us to share that good news with others.
You have revealed yourself and your love to us.
Help us to share the fellowship we have with you.
Help us to be in fellowship with everyone we meet.

As we let the light that is inside of us shine,
may we see clearly the reality around us,
May we use your light to show your plan here on earth
and to guide our feet.
May we use your light to help us identify the needs of those around us.
May we use your light to identify the inequity in our world
and to help us take steps to create a just and peaceful world.
As your followers, we support each other.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your strength and healing touch.
We name __.
We ask that you be with those among us who are celebrating and
are filled with joy.
We name ___.

As we walk in your light, and as we share your light with others,
we use the words your Son taught us.
“Our Father…”

Living in Community (2 Timothy 3:10-17 and Psalm 119: 97-106)

Gracious God, we thank you for the role models in our lives.
We may not realize it until later, but in every encounter,
we share a lesson.
We are the teacher and we are the student.
Help us to carry the right message to others.
Let them see your love in our actions and in our words.
Help us to see your image in their faces,
and to see your lesson in each encounter.

Creator God, we thank you for the relationships in our lives.
You have created within us a desire for community,
a desire for family and a desire to belong.
Help us to create a world where there are no others,
a world filled instead with our brothers and sisters,
mothers and fathers, children and grandchildren.
One family.
One community.
Your children.

Teacher God, we thank you for Scripture.
Through space and time, your words continue to speak to us.
We thank you for the gift of your Son.
Through space and time, his examples continue to speak to us.
Use our hands to help the poor and sick,
as Jesus did.
Use our voices to speak up for the powerless,
as Jesus did.
Use our eyes to see the world around us clearly, without bias,
as Jesus did.
Use our ears to listen for those in need of help,
as Jesus did.
Open our hearts to follow your teachings,
as Jesus did.
We ask that you continue to speak to us
and to teach us.

Healing God, we thank you for the gift of forgiveness and renewal.
We thank you for the gift of second chances and do-overs.
And as we support one another in our learning process as your disciples,
we also support each other in times of illness and grief.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your strength and peace.
We name ___.
As your students and as your children, we lift up the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father..”

Strength, Wisdom and Peace (Exodus 17:1-7)

We ask you for strength, Lord.
Strength to help us to keep moving forward when we just want to give up.
Strength to find hope when we are surrounded by despair.
Strength to try new paths when the road in front of us is blocked.
Strength to find joy in the midst of sadness.
Strength to stay committed when others break their promises to us.
We ask this as your children.

We ask you for wisdom, Lord.
Wisdom to know the truth in a world full of half-truths and hidden agendas.
Wisdom to choose the path that follows your teachings.
Wisdom to nurture and grow the gifts and talents that you have given to us.
Wisdom to see the character of those around us
instead of judging their external appearance.
Wisdom to act as the guardian of the world you have given to us.
We ask this as your children.

We ask you for peace, Lord.
Peace that calms our fears when we panic about the future.
Peace that envelopes us as we recognize your love for us.
Peace that tells us that we have all that we need
even if we don’t have everything we want.
Peace that reminds us that our life will be renewed
if we are patient.
Peace that is shared when we allow ourselves to be comforted by others.
We ask this as your children.

As we meet here in this sacred space, we know that you are with us always.
We ask that you be with those among us who are in pain and in need of healing.
And in this space, we are reminded of the words your son taught us and
we use those words today, “Our Father….”

Our Connection with Others (Exodus 12:1-14 )

Gracious God, we gather here in your name.
We are members of this church, but more importantly,
we are your children and
we are brothers and sisters with one another in faith.
As your children, we are loved and in turn,
we are to share your love with all people.
As we look around today, we see how we impact others.
We are teachers. And, we are students.
We are helpers. And we are helped by others.
We feed the hungry. And, in turn, we are fed as well.
As we touch others, we are also touched.
As we change lives, we become changed people.

We gather here in your name, with faith in your promise
that you are also here with us.
As you are connected with each of us,
we are connected with one another.
Help us to truly see one another.
Help us to see your image in their faces and
help us to follow your teachings.
Help us to share your love with others,
within our church, within our local community, and beyond.
Help us to be your people.

We gather together as your people.
We support one another in time of illness and crisis.
We ask that you be with those among us, named and unnamed,
who need your grace and strength.

As we gather together, we use the words your son taught us,
“Our Father, …”

We Are Your Children (Genesis 37:1-4, 18-28)

We forget that we are all your children, Father God.
We allow ourselves to become jealous and judgmental.
We form into groups and categorize others.
We put on our coat of many colors to show off to others
how blessed and special we are.
Remind us that we are all equal in your sight, God.
Remind us that we are your children and
each one of us is deeply loved and uniquely cherished.

Help us to act as your children, Mother God.
Open our eyes to the wonder of your world,
the miracles that surround us that we no longer see.
Remind us to see the world through the eyes of a child,
to marvel at the world around us, to see the miracles and the beauty,
to see one another with the innocence and the trust of a child.
Help us to nurture others as you have nurtured us.
Help us to love as a child loves, freely without hesitation or fear.
Help us to share as a child shares, without expectation or resentment.
Remind us that we are your children and
each one of us is deeply loved and uniquely cherished.

Help us to act as your children, Creator God.
Help us to act as one community,
to take care of each other, and
to support one another.
Help us to work towards unity and
to tear down the walls that separate us.
Help us to seek to understand another’s viewpoint,
to feel their reality.
Help us to work for the good of the community,
rather than our own self interests.
As you were with Joseph in the pit,
we know that you are with us always.
We ask that you be with those we name,
as well as with those whose names go unspoken.
We lift up ___ in our prayers.

We are your children, God, and we use the words
taught to us by your Son,
“Our Father…”

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