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, …”

Past, Current, Future: We Follow You (Exodus 3:1-15)

God of our beginning, you have called us to follow you.
We gather in this sacred place and open our hearts to you.
Even though we feel weak and inadequate,
we offer ourselves up to you.
Ignore our excuses, but instead use us to fulfill your plan here on earth.
Ignore the reasons we offer as to why we can’t and open our eyes to why we can.
Ignore our claims of inexperience, but remind us, you have given each of us
special gifts and talents.
Challenge us to be what we wish others would be.
Use us as you desire.

God of our today, you have called us to follow you.
You are with us always, in times of trial and in times of joy.
As our nation faces numerous crises, we ask that you grant us your peace
and your strength.
Hurricanes, floods, fires, pollution, political conflicts –
we live in unsettled times like every generation before us.
You hear our cries and know our fears.
As we reach out to support one another,
help us to feel your presence with us.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your healing grace.
We name __.
Challenge us to follow your teachings and to share your love with others.
Use us as you desire.

God of our tomorrow, you have called us to follow you.
We offer ourselves to you.
Open our hearts so that we can share your love with others.
Open our hands so that we can share our gifts and talents freely.
Open our ears so that we can hear the needs of those around us.
Open our eyes so that we see the world you want us to build.
Challenge us to truly be your followers.
Use us as you desire.

As your followers, we use the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Trust and Community (Exodus 1:8-2:10)

As we enter into a state of prayer,
we ask you to be with us, Gracious God.
As we picture ourselves by the side of a river,
we ask you to soothe our souls
just as the sound of rushing water calms our senses.

As our worries press against our minds,
and our fears multiply in the darkness,
we ask that you quiet our anxious thoughts.

As Moses’ mother trusted in you to save her newborn son,
so do we place our trust in you.

As we share our thoughts with you, Gracious God,
we ask you to open our hearts to you and to your teachings.

Help us to treat each other with justice and fairness,
to understand their story and their needs.
Help us to get out of our comfort zones and to truly see another
as they are and as we are.

As the Pharoah’s daughter defied corruption and hate,
give us the strength to follow her example.
Open our eyes, God, so that we can truly see
the obstacles before us that keep us from peace and justice.

As we lift up our prayers and concerns to you, Gracious God,
remind us of the midwives who followed your teachings.
They supported and served their community,
putting their needs and their safety last, trusting in you.
As we support those in our community,
we lift up to you those among us in need of special support and care.
We name ___.

Help us to see those among us who we have not named.
Help us to see those who are hidden from our view
because of our false assumptions and misunderstandings.
Open our hearts, our eyes and our ears to those around us, Gracious God.

As your followers, we ask that you use us to fulfill your plan here on earth.
As we wait, and as we listen, we lift up our voices to you, using 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…”

Wrestle With Us (Genesis 32:22-31)

Gracious God, we cling to you and we fight you.
We embrace your teachings,
but we also wrestle with having to follow them.
Maybe you didn’t really mean everyone
when you told us to love one another as we love ourselves.
Maybe you didn’t really mean that we have to give up the material
to find hope and grace in your spiritual salvation.
Maybe you didn’t really mean that we should turn the other cheek
and forgive each another.
Ok, maybe you really did mean it.
Give us the strength to really follow in your teachings.

Gracious God, we cling to you and we fight you.
But you don’t let go. You hold onto us tightly.
You challenge us and despite our failures,
you receive us with favor and grace.
Your embrace shelters us and protects us.
Don’t let us go. Continue to hold onto us.
Open our hearts to your teachings and guidance.
Open our eyes to see your image in the faces of those around us.
As each new dawn appears, use us that day to fulfill your plan here on earth.
Give us the strength to really follow in your teachings.

Gracious God, we cling to you and we fight you.
In our world today, we allow little things to divide us.
Remind us that we are your community.
Remind us that you really did mean it when you told us
to love one another as we would want to be loved.
As you hold tight to us,
help us to hold tight to your teachings.
And as your embrace shelters us, we ask that you extend your grace and strength
to those among us who are hurting and in need of healing and comfort.
We name ___.
And as your embrace shelters us, we are reminded
that you also celebrate our joys and good news.
We name ___.
Through your embrace, give us the strength to really follow in your teachings.

Gracious God, we cling to you and we fight you.
We thank you for never letting go of us.
And as you are with us always, we lift our voices up using the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

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…”

Promises of God (Genesis 28:10-19a)

Gracious God, you are with us always.
Be with those in our world who are fleeing their homes in fear.
Be with those in our world who have had their lives disrupted
by the loss of a job,
by the loss of a spouse,
by the loss of health and mobility.
As they start anew, help them to feel your presence in their lives.
Help them build a new life that revolves around
your promise and your teachings.

Gracious God, you are with us always.
But sometimes, we allow this world to distract us
with both the good and the bad.
When we are focused on success and wealth, we overlook our need for you
and think only of our own strength and talents.
When the world treats us badly and we feel pain instead of joy,
we can overlook your healing presence and cling to our suffering.
Remind us to feel your presence always.
Remind us to say prayers of thanksgiving in times of success
and prayers for your support and grace in times of need.

Gracious God, you are with us always.
You made promises to our ancestors and promises to our future generations.
You were the God for our great-, great- grandparents
and you will be the God for the children of our great-, great-grandchildren.
No matter what the world is like now or in the future, you are our God
and you are with us.
There are many among us who feel insecure and powerless.
Remind us that you are with us and in your teachings, we find peace.
As your followers, give us the strength to stand up for those who feel powerless.
As your followers, give us the wisdom to see the plans you have for this world.
As your followers, give us the desire to share the
good news of your teachings to others.
We support one another in their time of need and
we ask that you especially be with ___.
We celebrate one another in their time of joy and we name ___.

Gracious God, you are with us always.
This world can be full of tension and danger,
but it can also be a world filled with joy.
Remind us of your presence in times of stress and in times of joy.
There are nations who are in strife with millions of refugees
who have fled their homes.
Be with our leaders and encourage them to work towards peaceful solutions.
Be with our leaders and encourage them to find ways
to give voice to the powerless,
to restore dignity to those who have lost everything,
to work toward a world where peace and justice is the norm, not the exception.

Gracious God, you are with us always.
We feel your presence and your peace with us,
as we use the words your Son taught us,
“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…”

Acting in Hospitality (Matthew 10:40-42)

For those among us who are the peacemakers,
For those among us who pray for others,
For those among us who give of themselves.

We give thanks, O God.

For those among us who speak up for those without a voice,
For those among us who work for justice,
For those among us who are teachers.

We give thanks, O God.

For those among us who show mercy to others,
For those among us who feed the hungry,
For those among us who comfort the grieving.

We give thanks, O God.

For those among us who lift up the fallen,
For those of us who practice the art of healing,
For those of us who protect the weak.

We give thanks, O God.

For those among us who speak prophetically,
For those among us who carry the burden for others,
For those among us who shed tears for the pain of this world
but still try to make things better.

We give thanks, O God.

For the fact that we are your children,
For the fact that you freely love us and fill us with your grace,
For the gift of your son, Jesus, and his teachings.

We give thanks, O God.

For the spirit of community instilled in us by our faith,
For the comfort of your constant presence and
For knowing that you are with those among us who need you the most right now,
naming ___.

We give thanks, O God.

For knowing that we are your disciples and your followers,
For knowing that it is our job to carry your word to others,
For knowing that we are never alone.

We give thanks, O God.

For the words that your Son taught us,
For the words we still use today,
“Our Father…”

**Words in bold can be the congregational response.