With Honor and Faith (Genesis 29:15-28)

Gracious God, despite our flaws you find ways to work with us,
to make us better people,
to use us to fulfill your plan here on earth.
Jacob cheated his brother and then was deceived by Laban.
We confess we sometimes work in ways that serve our own self interests.
But as members of your community,
we know that we should work for the good of all.
Be with us and encourage us to be honest,
to be faithful and to act in peace with one another.

Gracious God, work with us and use us to fulfill your plan here on earth.
We ask that you work with us to build and reinforce your community.
Help us to act with honor and respect toward everyone,
those who believe as we do and those who hold different beliefs.
Be with our political leaders and encourage them to act with honor,
to speak for the voiceless, to lift up the powerless, and
to provide justice for all.
Be with us and encourage us to also act with honor
and help us to share our best with others.

Gracious God, we are your children,
first born or last born,
each of us deeply loved and uniquely cherished.
As your children, we ask that you shape us and mold us.
Make us the people you want us to be.
Give us the strength and the wisdom to make the right choices.
As your children, we know that you are with us always.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your healing grace
and strength. We ask that you be with _____.

Gracious God, we trust in your promises.
We know that your timeline may differ from ours,
and yet we know that we can be impatient
We ask that you be with us and fill our hearts with your peace.
We ask that you be with us and open our eyes to your plans.
We ask that you be with us and open our ears to the cries to those around us.
We ask that you be with us and use our hands
to build this world into your world.
We ask that you be with us and use our voices to share the story of your love
with those around us.
And as we trust in your promise, we use the words that your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Reaching Out to Others (Matthew 9:35—10:1, 5-8)

Gracious God, we confess we completely relate to the phrase,
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”
The needs of our world can be overwhelming.
Our lives are overbooked and the demands on our time grow exponentially.
Remind us to stop, take a breath,
and choose where we spend our time and energy.

Lord, you saw the needs of the people in your time and
sent out your disciples.
We are your disciples today.
We gather here today as your community.
We make up the body of Christ in today’s world.
We are the laborers who are to make this world your world.
Remind us to stop, take a breath,
and choose where we spend our time and energy.

We have received the gift of your grace and the gift of your love,
and we have made no payments for these gifts.
You offered them to us freely because we are your children.
You freely offered these gifts to us,
as you also offered to us the gift of your Son.
Open our eyes to your plan here on earth.
Use us to fulfill that plan.
Give us the strength to share the good news of your teaching.
As we support those among us who are in need of healing,
we ask that you be with those among us who need your strength.
We name _____.
We are the laborers who are to make this world your world.
Remind us to stop, take a breath,
and choose where we spend our time and energy.

As your followers, and as your children,
use us as your disciples.
Send us out to proclaim the good news and to share your teachings.
Send us out to feed the hungry.
Send us out to speak for those without a voice.
Send us out to shelter those who have no home.
Send us out to protect those who are in danger.
Send us out to listen for the needs of those around us.
Send us out to embrace those who feel unlovable.

As you send us out, we lift up our voices as one,
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…”

Distraction (2 Thessalonians 2:1–5, 13–17)

Keep us from being distracted, Lord.
Help us to focus on the here and now.
As we sit here in this sacred space,
some of us are uncertain of the future,
and perhaps still holding our breath.
As we sit here in this sacred space,
we feel your presence.
Help us to breathe freely,
as we breathe in deeply
remind us that you are with us and
as we breathe out
remind us that our doubts and fears can be handed over to you.

Keep us from being distracted, Lord.
Help us to focus on the here and now.
As we sit here, together as your people,
we are aware of our differences but,
more importantly, we are aware of how we are alike.
Help us to breathe as one people,
as we breathe in
remind us that we are to support one another
as we breathe out
remind us that our foundation is you and your teachings.

Keep us from being distracted, Lord.
Help us to focus on the here and now.
The early church faced a fear of the future,
and still today, the church, and your people, can be fearful.
Help us to breathe in your Spirit,
as we breathe in
fill us with your love and grace
as we breathe out
open our hearts to how we can share that love with others.
We are your people, Lord.
Give us the strength to carry out your will.
Give us the courage to stand up for what is right,
to fulfill the plans you have here on earth.
As the body of Christ, we live up those among us who are in
need of healing and support. We name ___ and ask
that you be with them.

Keep us from being distracted, Lord.
Help us to focus on the here and now.
As your people, we stand firm to the foundations of your teaching.
We lift up our voices using the words that you taught us,
“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

Be With Us (Acts 15: 1-11 )

Be with us, Gracious God.

As we sit here in this sacred place,
with others who believe as we do,
be with us.
As we wake in the morning,
be with us, Gracious God.
Be the voice in the quiet dawn that
reminds us to celebrate the new day
we have been given
Remind us to use our time here
to make the world a better place.

As we meet others in our day to day,
be with us, listening to our conversations,
watching our interactions.
Be with us, Gracious God.
Be the voice in our ear that
reminds us not to judge, but to encourage.
Be the tiny speck in our eye that reminds us
that our control and power are limited and the
smallest, most accidental encounter in life
can send us to our knees in pain and tears.
Be the friend, or the stranger, who helps us to our feet,
and reminds us of the power of the helping hand.
Be the desire in our heart that reminds us
to share your love with others.
Be with us, Gracious God,
remind us that we are all your children,
filled with your grace.

As we walk with you beside us throughout our day,
remind us of what is important in life.
Be with us always, Gracious God.
Remind us to be at one with one another.
Remind us that none of us embody your teachings fully,
no one of us is worthy of your love
and yet, we are your children, filled with your grace.
Be with us, Gracious God.
When as children, we begin to squabble,
remind us again of what is most important.
We ask that you especially be with ___.

As we prepare for the end of the day and the sleep to come,
remind us to think over our day.
Help us to see clearly where and when you were with us.
Be with us, Gracious God.

In this sacred place, we have come together to feel your grace
and to learn of your teachings.
Be with us, Gracious God.

And now, we lift up our voices, using the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father….”

Our Sense of Being Called (Luke 14:25-33)

The call to follow you, God, is not always easy.
We can feel embarrassed to share our faith openly
with those we don’t know well.
We can feel guilty when we realize we don’t follow
your teachings as closely as we should.
We can feel the pain in our world and
question how a loving God could allow the innocent to suffer.
We can feel the demands of the world
taking our attention away from what is important.
Be with us, Gracious God, and continue to call our name.

Call us to follow you.
Call us to be your disciples.
Help us to prioritize where we spend our time and our attention.
We can feel conflict between the material world and
the spiritual world shown to us by your Son.
Remind us of what is truly important in this world .
As we think about the end of our lives,
what will we have achieved here in this world?
What will have been the flavor of our life?
Will we have followed you by speaking up for those without a voice?
Will we have followed you by feeding the hungry?
Will we have followed you by raising up
those among us who have stumbled?
Will we have followed you by seeking to understand those with whom we disagree?
Will we have followed you by sharing our gifts freely with others?
Will we have tasted the fullness of your grace or
the bland and unfulfilling taste of the material world?

The call to follow you, God, is not always easy.
But we are your followers and we have heard your call.
We answer your call today and always,
knowing that you, in turn, are always with us.
Your love and grace seasons our lives and provides us strength.
We ask that you be with ___.
And using the words your Son taught us, we lift our voices to you,
“Our Father…”

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…”

Sense of Perseverance (Hebrews 11:29-12:2 )

Gracious and all loving God,
throughout the ages, your people have lifted up
their voices to you, asking why or pleading for a miracle.
We have cried out to you ourselves.
Each of us has experienced fear, pain and loss in our lives.
Sometimes our crises resolve themselves the way we want.
But sometimes, our worst fears come true.

Mother God, in our sorrow and grief,
you comfort us, mourning with us.
You sit with us in silence when there are no words of comfort.
You envelop us, surrounding us with your love and light.
You give us the strength to pick ourselves up and
to continue on with our lives, to choose another path,
and to find your presence again in our daily lives.

Father God, you gave us your Son,
Jesus, who showed us the way and who
shared your teachings with us.
He ran the race that was placed before him.
Give us the strength to follow his lead,
to follow your teachings.
Give us the courage to follow in his path,
to speak up for the people who don’t have a voice,
to give strength to the people who are powerless,
and to remain faithful when the future seems hopeless.
As we follow in his footsteps, we know that you are with us.
Be with those among us who need your healing grace,
we name ___.

By faith, we are your followers.
By faith, we are known.
By faith, we know that you are with us always,
in our celebrations,
and in our depths of grief.
By faith, we live our lives.
We are your children,
and it is in faith, that we can get through our darkest times.
It is in faith that we know it is up to us, to make this world your world.
In our faith, we know that you are with us always.

And as faithful people, we use the words 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…”