Why Is Life Unfair? (Mark 10:46-52)

As we look at the world around us,
we see much disparity.
Why do some have so much and others so little?
Why are some who practice bad habits, healthy and strong,
while innocent children face illness and pain?
Why does the drunk driver kill someone else other than himself?

Remind us that you are always with us,
but also remind us that our reality is not a litmus test of our faith.
A strong faith does not guarantee us a world full of riches and rainbows,
but our faith will help us get through those dark and lonely nights.
Our faith will help us get through the news that a loved one has cancer,
that a job has been lost, or that our child has made a bad choice.
It is our faith that has brought us to this place, to this community,
to this sacred place.
Our community of believers stand with each other,
supporting one another in times of need,
celebrating our special occasions and individual achievements,
lifting up those who need support,
healing those who are in pain,
and grieving with those who mourn.
That is what you have taught us,
that we are your children,
that we are to be your church.

We follow you, Father, and try to walk in the way of your Son.
He shared your love with us and
we know that we need to share our love with others.
Part of that love is to care for those among us
who have less than they need, for whatever reason.
Open our eyes to the need around us.
Open our ears to the call of those like Bartimaeus who
cry out for assistance.
Open our hearts to your plan, to your desires.
We ask that you use us, that you help us experience your call.
Help us to stand up, to throw off our cloak, and to follow you.

We follow you, Father, and we know that you are with us always.
Your Spirit moves among us, silently urging us in ways we don’t understand
and may never realize.
You are with us, and we ask that you especially be with ___.
Help us to realize that our only privilege in this world is that we are your people.
We are loved by you; we are your children.
While we will always face challenges in our lives, we know that you are always with us.

As Bartimaeus cried out to you, we also cry out to you and we know that we are loved
and that you hear our cries.
As your children, we raise our voices using the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father..”

Happily After (Mark 10:2-16)

Gracious God, we all long for that happy ever after.
We have ideas about how life should be,
dreams of what could be, and, hopes for what will be.
As children, we learned to crawl and then to walk,
but understood we might fall down and
would need to pick ourselves back up.
As we grow older, picking ourselves up and
dusting ourselves off becomes harder.

Through our lives,
we have learned that it is our relationships that define us.
that strengthen us, that stretch us, and shape us,
our relationship with you and our relationship with others.
It is our relationships that will help us pick ourselves up when we fall.
And it is our relationships, sometimes, that cause us to fall.
Thank you, Teacher God, for the people you have brought into our lives,
friends we have know for years and others who are around only for days or months,
people who taught us love and people who brought conflict to our lives.
We were to know each of them and they were to know us.
Your son taught us the power of relationships,
bringing people together to fulfill your plan.
You are the one constant in our lives. We know that you are with us always.
Be with those among us who need to be comforted and to feel your healing touch,
we name __ in particular and ask that you be with them

Forgiving God, we have all faced the disappointments of life.
We have disappointed others and we have been disappointed.
Our dreams about what could be sometimes fall short.
We have learned the couple on the top of the wedding cake
does not always live happily ever after.

As your church, we come together to support each other, to learn from each other,
and to celebrate the love you have shared with us.
As you have shown forgiveness and understanding to us,
we are to share that love with those around us.
Help us to open our hearts to those around us.
Remind us to focus on developing our relationship with each other,

and our relationship with you, Gracious God.

Remind us to partner with one another, to strengthen the bonds between us.

We have ideas about how life should be,
dreams of what could be, and, hopes for what will be.
Remind us that our reality is up to us.

Together we are your church, and as spouses work together and create a partnership in marriage,

so must we work together to make this world your world here on earth.

As your children, we lift our voices together, using the words that your Son taught us,

“Our Father…”

Created in God’s Image (Mark 10:35-45)

We call ourselves your followers, Lord.
We are your children, we call ourselves Christians.
Remind us what that really means.
We were told to love one another as we love ourselves. 

We are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
But who do we consider to be our neighbor?
The person who looks like us, talks like us
     and shares our common experience?
Or is our neighbor a different color?
Does our neighbor make less money than we do?
Does our neighbor speak the same language that we speak?
Does our neighbor have more kids than they can afford to feed?
Did our neighbor drop out of high school?
Has our neighbor escaped a country full of violence
     to find safety in the United States?
Take our judgmental views from our thoughts, Lord.
Help us to see each other as you see us, without bias and in love.
It can be easy for us to look down upon others in an attempt to build up
     our own status and self-importance.

Help us, Father, to treat each other as your children, as our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We do not choose our starting point in life,
     and each of us makes both good and bad choices as we travel
     through life's paths.
Our wealth and comfort in this life is not our right,
     nor is someone else's poverty their penalty for a failed life.
Remind us that none of us are better than another,
     and remind us that we may see each other through biased eyes.
Help us to see your image in the face of those around us.
You created us in your image,
     we are each your children, regardless of what we look like,
     regardless of our talents and skills.
You created us in your image.
We are your children, each of us deeply loved and uniquely cherished.

As we look at others, it is natural for us to classify others, to compare
     ourselves to others.
Remind us when we do that, we will give in to either envy or
     disappointment.
These are not feelings that you want us to experience.
God, you are love, light and grace. That is what you want us to experience,
     to be.
We are unique, created in your image, and each of us possess gifts and
     talents given to us for a purpose.
As your children, we know that you are with us always and we ask that you
     be with __
We know that you have reached out to us in love, and given us your son to
     share your teachings.
For those of us in need of healing, we ask that your Holy Spirit flows
     through us, healing us, strengthening us, making us whole.

As your children, we know that we are equal with one another,
     we know that we were each created in your image and that each of us
     fulfills your particular plan here on earth.
As your children, we celebrate that you gave us your Son to teach us,
     to share your love and grace, and to build a community of believers.
As your followers, we use the words given to us by your Son,
     "Our Father..."

For God, All Things Are Possible (Mark 10:17-31)

For God, all things are possible.
For us, God, we know it is a little more difficult.
We focus on the wrong things.
We may cling to our status
and our possessions a little too tightly.
We try to be right all the time,
even if we’re not.

For God, all things are possible.
For us, God, we still have questions and doubts.
Remind us that the disciples also had questions and doubts.
We come together as your people,
welcoming new members and guests.
We are your community, your followers in this age.
Help us to see how our gifts and treasures can best be used
to make your teachings take life in this age.
Remind us that our bank balances do not define our true worth,
nor do dirty and unwashed clothes diminish the beauty
of the teenage runaway in the homeless shelter.
Remind us what the victims of fire, flood and earthquakes say,
when they are reunited with their loved ones.
They thank you, God, and say,
It doesn’t matter about the house, our things,
it only matters that we are safe and that we are together.
We know where our priorities should lie, but sometimes we forget.

For God, all things are possible.
So we ask you, God, open our hearts to your call.
For God, all things are possible.
So we ask you, God, open our eyes to the needs you see among us.
For God, all things are possible.
So we ask you, God, use our hands to make this world your world.
For God, all things are possible.
So we ask you, God, fill us with new ideas and new possibilities on
how to share your message with others.
For God, all things are possible.
So we ask you, God, make us generous with our treasures and with
our compassion.
For God, all things are possible.
So we ask you, God, to hear in our silence, what is most important to
us at this moment.

<silent moment>

For God, all things are possible.
So we ask you, God, to share your grace and your healing touch with
those among us who need your support.
We name ___

In God, and in our community of believers,
we know that all things are possible.
We use the words that your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”