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…”

Listening for You (Luke 10:3842)

Our world is a busy and chaotic world.
So many different things compete for our attention.
It can be hard for us to hear our own thoughts,
to take a moment to just be.
And, sometimes, we spend more time
dealing with day to day tasks
than we do in daily prayer and meditation.

In the morning, when we first wake,
before we think about our first to-do,
help us to give you thanks for a new day and a new beginning.
Help us to be present with you in the early morning quiet.
Open our hearts to your will in our lives.

During our day, as we cross items off our to-do list,
remind us to spend time with you again.
Open our ears to those we encounter during our day,
especially those who we may not know well or
who have different life experiences than ours.
Help us to be present with them and to truly hear their story,
and help us to hear the words that they leave unspoken.
What are they afraid to share with us?
Remind us that the gift of our attention is sometimes
the most valuable gift we can give to someone.
Help us to be present with you in the busy of our day.
Open our hearts to your will in our lives.

As we spend time with our friends and families,
remind us that this time is precious in our lives.
In what seems like moments rather than years,
children grow and become teenagers and then adults,
spouses and our relationships with them evolve,
and parents age and require assistance.
Help us to be present with our family,
to truly listen to their story and to know them fully.
Remind us that our time and our attention is worth more
than any material gift.
Help us to be present with you within the love of our family.
Open our hearts to your will in our lives.

As our day draws to an end, remind us again
to hear your voice in the quiet of the night.
As we think back over our day,
help us to hear when you spoke to us throughout the day.
Help us to be present with you in the stillness of the night.
Open our hearts to your will in our lives.

Ever-loving God, you are always present with us.
As we support each other, we ask that you be with those among us
who need some additional support and strength.
We name ___
And, while we seek out your voice in our daily lives,
we lift up our voices using the words Jesus taught us,
Our Father…”

Our Lives are Messy (Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32)

A Messy Life

We make choices in our lives.
Sometimes we choose wisely and
sometimes our choices land us in the muck,
maybe not literally rolling in the mud with the pigs,
but we can get pretty messy, Lord.

Remind us that we can find you in the messiness of life.
As children, we learned about the world you gave us by getting dirty.
We jumped in puddles, rolled in the autumn leaves
and picked dandelion bouquets we gave to our mothers.
Sometimes we played together nicely and
sometimes we refused to share our toys.
You were with us during those times of exploration.

Teenagers, Lord, can be really messy creatures.
As teenagers, we struggled to find our place in the world
and to understand the messiness of adult responsibilities and relationships.
As parents of teenagers, we struggled to find the words
to connect with our children in ways that brought them closer
and didn’t push them away.
The teenage years were full of exploration and angst.
We may not have had dirty clothes, but we were often deep in the muck.
You were still with us, Lord, during those years.

And then we became adults, Lord, perhaps with children of our own.
And even then, our lives were messy and we knew that we were not always in control.
Families are really, really messy, Lord, no matter how old we are.
We hurt each others’ feelings. We borrow things that don’t belong to us.
We think our family members should know what we want and what we need.
We expect things from our family that we would never ask a stranger to do.
Our children may not have the same dreams we want for them.
Our parents lose their independence and we find our roles suddenly changing.
Remind us, Lord, that we find you with us in the messiness,
and the joy, of family life.

Jesus, you taught us the value of forgiveness and acceptance.
Help us to see these truths in the messiness of our lives.
Open our eyes to the barriers we may be placing between ourselves and others.
Open our hearts to forgive when we feel unappreciated or less valued.
Use our hands to support each other and
to celebrate each other’s gifts and talents.
Remind us of the joy of childhood and help us find in our lives today.
You taught us the value of community and family.
We know that you are with us always, even in the muck,
and we ask that you especially be with __.

As your family, as your loving children,
we use the words Jesus taught us, by saying,
“Our Father…”

Forgetting We Were Made in Your Image (1 Corinthians 12:1-13)

We often compare ourselves to each other,
sometimes favorably and sometimes unfavorably.
We compete with each other and with ourselves.
None of us believe we are as good as we should be.

We forget that you have made us in your image,
and that each of us has the gifts and challenges that you have given us.
You have shaped us to your purpose.
We forget that we are brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.

Teach us that when we are looking at others,
we should be looking to see how we can help them
or how they can help us grow.
You have shaped us to your purpose.

We have the gifts, talents and challenges that you have given us.
Teach us to use our gifts to help those around us.
Show us how our talents can be used to fulfill your plans.
Remind us how our challenges strengthen us and
help us grow.

We are your children, Lord.
Made in your image, each of us uniquely loved and cherished.
Remind us that we are good enough
Remind us to love ourselves as you love us.
Remind us to love each other and to celebrate each other.

We know that you are with us.
We ask that you be with ___.
As your children, we lift our hearts up to you
and offer ourselves to you.
We use the words your son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Your Healing Touch (Mark 7:24-37)

God of light and love,
We confess that even when we think we are treating people fairly,
our actions may be tainted by our biases and by our interpretations.
Overwhelmed by the world and desiring privacy,
it can be easy for us to turn a cold eye to the needs of those around us.
It can be easy for us to judge others and blame them for their situation.
Fill our lives with your light, illuminate the shadows of our lives,
and show us what we are not seeing clearly.
Let your light show us the grays in our life,
those spaces where the decisions are not always black and white
and then let your love help us to make the right decision.
As you fill us with your love and light, remind us that we are loved
and heal us as you healed others.
Let the energy of your love fill us with every breath we take.

We gather here in this sacred place.
For the next few minutes, be with us as we sit quietly
and we ask for your healing touch,
for ourselves,
for those that we love, and
for those that we know of but may never meet.
As we breathe in, we feel the energy of your love,
drawn into ourselves,
touching every part of us,
healing what is broken and in pain.
As we breath out, we feel ourselves expanding,
expanding out to unite with one another,
becoming one with each other,
here in this sacred place.

God of light and love,
Open our hearts with your love, help us to share our love and our lives
with people who are not always first in our minds.
Your son showed us this love and compassion when he helped the
Syrophoenican woman, a person some would call an enemy.
As your children, we are loved deeply and uniquely cherished.
Help us to see your face in those that we meet and
help us to extend your gift of healing to others.
We may not be able to cast away their demons,
but we can lend our ears to hear their stories,
we can lend our hands to help pick them up,
and we can use our voices to stand up for them.
Your son came to us in love and
taught us how to truly care for your creation.
And in love, he taught us the words we use today,
“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…”