The Light of the World (1 John 1:1-10)

Our world can be a dark and scary place.
Creation shows us her power with hurricanes and fires.
Oceans rise, storms rage and islands are destroyed.
Nations quarrel and politicians squabble.
Women, children and men are used and abused by others in power.
The poor grow poorer and too many people go hungry.
People of color feel unsafe.

As we look at the pain in our world,
we don’t see ourselves as responsible.
We blame the system and hold ourselves outside of that system.
We confess that we hold others to be accountable
while making excuses for ourselves.
When we do this, we know we are walking in the darkness.

Remind us to follow in your light, to be the light to others.
Remind us that in your light, we are forgiven and made clean.
And help us to share that good news with others.
You have revealed yourself and your love to us.
Help us to share the fellowship we have with you.
Help us to be in fellowship with everyone we meet.

As we let the light that is inside of us shine,
may we see clearly the reality around us,
May we use your light to show your plan here on earth
and to guide our feet.
May we use your light to help us identify the needs of those around us.
May we use your light to identify the inequity in our world
and to help us take steps to create a just and peaceful world.
As your followers, we support each other.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your strength and healing touch.
We name __.
We ask that you be with those among us who are celebrating and
are filled with joy.
We name ___.

As we walk in your light, and as we share your light with others,
we use the words your Son taught us.
“Our Father…”

Living in Community (2 Timothy 3:10-17 and Psalm 119: 97-106)

Gracious God, we thank you for the role models in our lives.
We may not realize it until later, but in every encounter,
we share a lesson.
We are the teacher and we are the student.
Help us to carry the right message to others.
Let them see your love in our actions and in our words.
Help us to see your image in their faces,
and to see your lesson in each encounter.

Creator God, we thank you for the relationships in our lives.
You have created within us a desire for community,
a desire for family and a desire to belong.
Help us to create a world where there are no others,
a world filled instead with our brothers and sisters,
mothers and fathers, children and grandchildren.
One family.
One community.
Your children.

Teacher God, we thank you for Scripture.
Through space and time, your words continue to speak to us.
We thank you for the gift of your Son.
Through space and time, his examples continue to speak to us.
Use our hands to help the poor and sick,
as Jesus did.
Use our voices to speak up for the powerless,
as Jesus did.
Use our eyes to see the world around us clearly, without bias,
as Jesus did.
Use our ears to listen for those in need of help,
as Jesus did.
Open our hearts to follow your teachings,
as Jesus did.
We ask that you continue to speak to us
and to teach us.

Healing God, we thank you for the gift of forgiveness and renewal.
We thank you for the gift of second chances and do-overs.
And as we support one another in our learning process as your disciples,
we also support each other in times of illness and grief.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your strength and peace.
We name ___.
As your students and as your children, we lift up the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father..”

Living in a Broken World (Romans 3:19-28)

We live in a broken world, Lord.
And we know that at times,
we are the cause of this brokenness.
There is hate and there is fear.
There is anger and there is guilt.
There is injustice and there is shame.
Each of us a sinner, and yet,
each of us a child of God, your child, made in your image.

We live in a broken world, Lord.
And we thank you for your gift of grace.
When we lose our way,
we ask that you guide us back to your teachings.
When we fall short in how we treat others,
we ask that you remind us that we are to love others
as we love ourselves.
When we take more than our fair share,
we ask that you open our hearts with compassion.
We know we struggle daily with sin, and yet,
each of us is a child of God, your child, made in your image.

Our world is broken, and yet there is still joy in the world.
We are not a hopeless people.
We thank you for your gift of grace,
for our justification by your grace through our faith in you.
Divine became human and your Son redeemed us
by sharing your love and showing us how to live.
As he did, we are to lift up the powerless,
feed the hungry, tend to the sick and comfort the grieving.
As we care for others, we ask that you
especially be with those we know are in pain or in need of healing.
We name __
We come together as your community, as your children,
knowing that we are each made in your image.

Knowing that we are imperfect people, struggling to act in more perfect ways,
we lift up our hearts to you, God.
As we lift up our hearts and hands to you, we use the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Strength, Wisdom and Peace (Exodus 17:1-7)

We ask you for strength, Lord.
Strength to help us to keep moving forward when we just want to give up.
Strength to find hope when we are surrounded by despair.
Strength to try new paths when the road in front of us is blocked.
Strength to find joy in the midst of sadness.
Strength to stay committed when others break their promises to us.
We ask this as your children.

We ask you for wisdom, Lord.
Wisdom to know the truth in a world full of half-truths and hidden agendas.
Wisdom to choose the path that follows your teachings.
Wisdom to nurture and grow the gifts and talents that you have given to us.
Wisdom to see the character of those around us
instead of judging their external appearance.
Wisdom to act as the guardian of the world you have given to us.
We ask this as your children.

We ask you for peace, Lord.
Peace that calms our fears when we panic about the future.
Peace that envelopes us as we recognize your love for us.
Peace that tells us that we have all that we need
even if we don’t have everything we want.
Peace that reminds us that our life will be renewed
if we are patient.
Peace that is shared when we allow ourselves to be comforted by others.
We ask this as your children.

As we meet here in this sacred space, we know that you are with us always.
We ask that you be with those among us who are in pain and in need of healing.
And in this space, we are reminded of the words your son taught us and
we use those words today, “Our Father….”

Use Us Despite Ourselves (Exodus 14:19-31)

Creator God, our story today reminds us of Creation.
There is light and there is darkness,
the water separates from the land and a path is opened.
You had the power to create us and
you used your power to lead the Israelites out of slavery.
We realize in this story that then as now,
we don’t always treat each other with love and respect.
Open our eyes, Lord, to oppression in today’s world.
Help us to work towards a peace and just world.
Remind us that each of us is a child of God and
that we are to live in community with one another.

Moses agreed to lead his people,
and we remember that he did not feel worthy at first.
Help us to hear your call and give us the strength to accept your call.
Help us to feel worthy of your call.
Help us to share your love with others.
Open our ears so that we can listen to those in need.
Open our hands so that we freely share our gifts and treasures with others.
Open our hearts so we can be kind to others.
Open our eyes so that we can see your plan here on earth.

Gracious God, just as you led the Israelites from slavery,
we know that you are with us always.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your grace and healing touch.
We name ___.
You are with us in times of trial and you are with us in times of joy.
You were with the Israelites in their time of bondage and
in their celebration of freedom.
We know that you are with us as we share your love with others.
As we gather together in this sacred place, we use the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

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…”