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…”

Our Sense of Woe (1 Kings 21:1-21, 27)

As we look back at our week, gracious God,
there were probably times
when we did not behave in a charitable manner
toward our brothers and sisters.
We didn’t kill anyone to get what we wanted, but
we may have focused more on hearing our voice
than in understanding someone else,
we may have focused more on getting our share
than in helping someone else get theirs,
we may have focused more on our wants
than in seeing someone else’s needs.
We are your children, God,
and sometimes we act like children.

We come here today to this sacred space.
We hear your teachings and
interpret them to fit our world today.
We are not ruled by kings today.
We don’t hold our land and property for tens of generations.
But we know the difference between right and wrong,
then and now.
Even knowing that difference, we can still make bad choices.
We don’t always make the right decision,
even when we think we are.
Our choices can hurt us and can hurt others.

As we look back at our week, All Knowing God,
open our eyes to where we strayed away from your teachings.
As we move forward, remind us to do better,
remind us to make better choices.
Remind us that we are forgiven and that you are always with us.
We are your children, uniquely cherished and deeply loved,
despite our failings.
Help us to see more clearly where we can fulfill your teachings
here on earth.
Help us to put our wants aside and help us to focus instead on the needs of others.
We ask that you be with __ as they
especially need your strength and healing grace.

We come here today to this sacred space.
As we look around at those among us, help us to see your image in their faces.
As we move through our world in the coming week,
help us to see your image more clearly in the faces of those we encounter.
Remind us that it is up to us to make this world into your world,
a place where your will is done, not ours.
To that end, we use the words your Son taught us, “Our Father..”

Transform Us To Be Easter People (Acts 10:34-43)

The message spread throughout the land, from Galilee through Judea.
The message spread throughout time, growing in strength,
the witnesses growing in numbers over the centuries.
We stand as your witnesses today.
We tell your story to our children and share your love with others.

You taught peace, Jesus.
We hunger for peace in our world today,
a world that is filled with noise, anger and chaos.
Remind us to practice peace in our daily lives.
Remind us to listen for understanding and
to seek out that which we can agree upon
while accepting differences in opinions.
Remind us to adhere to your teachings
and to share your peace with others.

Your message spread throughout the land and through the centuries.
We stand as your witnesses this morning, filled with the joy of your return.
Our hearts beat faster as we allow our celebration
to fill us with hope and with your grace.
The flowers of rebirth surround us, the music embraces us,
and our belief in second chances and a new beginning is strengthened.
We are transformed as your children, as your believers.

Even on your way to the cross, Jesus, your focus did not change.
You still cared about the poor, still continued to teach your disciples,
and still had complete faith in God, the Father.
Fill us with that same strength, with that focus on your teachings.
Help us to be the Easter people, filled with hope and joy!
Help us to transform our lives to truly be your people,
to show your love at all times to all people.
Help us to stand up for those who have no power, no money,
and no voice.
Help us to encourage peace, not anger and hatred.
Help us to always feel the joy of your resurrection,
to keep hope alive in our hearts.
In this time of renewal, we ask that you be with ___
sharing your gift of healing and strength with those who need it the most.

Your message spread throughout the land and throughout the centuries.
We stand as your witnesses this morning, filled with the joy of your return.
Easter is finally here.
You have returned.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Now hear us as we pray the way you taught us saying,
“Our Father…”

The Sense of Mystery (1 Kings 19:1-15a)

Gracious and all protecting God,
Elijah, like each of us, found himself alone and afraid.

And, like each of us, he realized that he needed to get up,
to shake off his fear, to get up and just get it done.
There is no one else to do your work, to share your news.
We cannot pull the covers over our heads
and hope the world will be a better place when we wake up.
We cannot hide our faces and pretend that we don’t see what is going on.
It is up to us to make this world, your world.

But it can be easy to be fearful in this world.
We see terror on the news everyday.
We see happiness and laughter obliterated in an instant.
We see hate appearing to triumph over justice and
appearing to divide our nation and our communities.
Sometimes our fears are based on reality, but more often,
our fears are based on whispers, rumors, and half-truths.
Give us the strength to stand up to those fears,
to not give into a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness.

Open our eyes to the mysteries and the joys of this world.
A world where first responders run bravely into burning buildings,
a world where strangers give shelter to the injured and to those in danger,
a world where search parties give of their time and energy
to look for those who are lost
and a world where death is met by new life and new hopes for the future.
You gave us a world with everything we need.
You gave us your Son, who came to us and shared his life with us, as a man,
teaching us how to make this world your world,
showing us by his actions, not just in words.
Give us the strength to do the same for those around us.
Give us the strength to get up, to get up and just get it done.

We ask that you be with those among us who need your extra strength today.
We name ___

Open our eyes to the mysteries of this world and
help us to stand up to our fears to do what is right and just.
We use the words that your Son gave us,
“Our Father….”

We Ask For Your Wisdom (Proverbs 8)

Creator God, you have created us in your image,
and set before us your teachings
and yet, we see the world differently, with many interpretations.
We ask for your wisdom.
We ask that you open our eyes and give us clarity.

Our political leaders seek to control us with fear or partial truths.
The talking heads on our TV news channels spin their version of the truth
in any way that fits their purposes.
How can we decipher what is true and what is false?
We ask for your wisdom.
We ask that you open our eyes and give us clarity.

The rules for how our world operates have changed beneath our feet.
It is not always good enough to work hard and to do the right thing.
We see jobs lost,
we see unfair economic practices,
we see unfair criminal justice practices,
we see unfair immigration policies and practices.
But among ourselves, the definition of fair and unfair is in conflict.
We ask for your wisdom.
We ask that you open our eyes and give us clarity.

Help us to see what is true.
Help us to understand your teachings and how they apply in today’s world.
Remind us that we are to carry out your plan in this world.
We are your voice.
We are your people, who fulfill your plan here on earth.
We ask for your wisdom..
We ask that you open our eyes and give us clarity.

You created us in your image.
You gave us your only Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We know that you are with us always.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your extra strength.
In their time of trial, help them feel your love surrounding them.
Help them feel your healing touch as it envelopes them and provides support.

You sent your son to teach us your truth and your plans for us here on earth.
Your son taught us the words of wisdom we speak today.
“Our Father…”

I Believe in Peace

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Do not worry. Lord, it is hard not to worry.
So much is going wrong in our world.
We can feel powerless to make effective changes in our world.
And during the Advent season, when we should be focused on you,
we spend our time worrying about Christmas decorations and family traditions,
getting the right presents for those on our list,
and fulfilling our own and others expectations.
But our expectations can be so unrealistic during the holiday season.

Do not worry.
Lift up our concerns in prayer and let our requests be known to you.
Lord, it is hard not to worry.
No matter how much we believe in you,
we don’t want to give up our worries, our fears, to you.
We pray to you and ask for your help, for your healing and your grace.
But yet, we still worry. We cling tightly to our fears and concerns.

Calm our minds, Lord. Open our hearts to your peace and healing.
Relax our tension-filled bodies and remind us to breathe deeply.
Your peace, Lord, reminds us that when we worry,
we change our focus to what is not important.
If we worry about a Christmas tradition or
meeting someone’s expectations of the holiday,
we are not focusing on the reason for the holiday – the gift of Your Son.
When we worry about the future, we are missing out on the present.

Remind us, Lord, that it is Your will that should and will be done.
Give us the peace to accept the here and now, to live in the here and now,
and to let the future take care of itself.
We lift our concerns to you, Lord,
and know that all of our requests and worries can be lifted up to you.
When we are lost, we can trust that in You, we will be found.
We have found peace in your teachings and
in your love and acceptance.
When we doubt, remind us that Mary, a pregnant teenager
who could have faced public ridicule and scorn,
accepted the news of her virgin birth and the long trip to Bethlehem with peace
and acceptance.
She did not give in her fears and worries, but instead felt joy and peace.

We will not worry, Lord.
We lift up our prayers to you, giving you our fears and pain.
We open our hearts and our minds to your peace.
We accept and celebrate the here and now, and trust in the future,
in your future.

We Thank You (Exodus 2)

For all the ways in which God moves through us… We thank you, God!

We are here today because we want to believe in You,
we want to follow your teachings.
Some of us believe the scriptures are black and white.
Others see the gray.
For all the ways in which God moves through us… We thank you, God!

We are here today,
because we know that we are the children of God.
We may feel adrift as if we are in a papyrus basket, bobbing along in the waves
but we know that you have a plan for us, Father.
For all the ways in which God moves through us… We thank you, God!

We are here today and we know that we make up the body of Christ.
It is up to us to make this world your world.
It is up to us to reach out to those among us,
to those who are marginalized and powerless,
to those who are hungry and in need,
to those who need a helping hand and
to those who are in pain.
For all the ways in which God moves through us… We thank you, God!

We are here today and we know that you are also here today.
You are with us and you were with our ancestors,
giving us and them the strength to fulfill your teachings.
We know that you will be with our children and with their children.
We ask that you be with ___ now as they could use your support and strength.
For all the ways in which God moves through us… We thank you, God!

We are here today and we lift our hearts and minds to you.
Give us the courage to speak up for those among us who have no voice,
the strength to carry the burdens of those who are feeling weak
and the compassion to feel the pain of those who are hurting and alone.
For all the ways in which God moves through us… We thank you, God!

We are here today and we will be here tomorrow as we were yesterday.
As your children, we look to you for strength and for forgiveness.
As your children, we know the power of prayer, and we use the words your Son taught us:
“Our Father…”

boldface type can be read by the congregation

The Gifts You Have Given Us (Matthew 25:31-46)

God of Thanksgiving
We are your people.
You have given us the gifts of empathy and compassion
Your son showed us how to value the powerless,
Open our hearts to the powerless today.
Help us to stand up for them and to support them in their journey,
recognizing that we are on this journey together.

God of Thanksgiving
We are your people.
You have given us the gifts of insight and appreciation.
We realize that as you have blessed us, we must also bless one another.
You have given us gifts, spiritual and monetary.
Open our hearts so that we share willingly with one another.
Take the judgment away from our acts of charity.
Help us realize that we are no better than the ones we are helping.

God of Thanksgiving
We are your people.
You have given us the gifts of responsiveness and recognition.
We know that we have the strength to stand up for those who have no voice
You have given us the task of making this earth the same as heaven,
we say those words every week, and every day,
your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven
Help us to make it so.

God of Thanksgiving
We are your people.
You have given us the gifts of mercy and humanity.
We are your children and we know that you are with us
Be with ___
Open our hearts to those around us who are in need
Give us the strength to stand up for those who need support
Make us the ones who not only share your story but also put your words into action.

As your children, we use the words that your Son taught us:
“Our Father, …”