Sep 24, 2017

Prayers of the People: Proper 21 A

Here’s a possible prayer of intercession for Proper 21, Year A, based on the suggested scripture readings for that day: Exodus 17:1-7 (where God makes water flow from a rock in the wilderness); Matthew 21:23-32 (the parable of the two sons); and Philippians 2:1-13 (where Paul encourages believers to live with humility, imitating the example of Jesus Christ). Feel free to revise this prayer to suit your needs.

Prayer of Intercession

You are a God of compassion and love.
Time after time we have experienced your care and provision.
Time after time You’ve answered our prayers and met our needs—
often in ways we could never have dreamed possible.
We praise You for Your faithful love toward us.

Because we have known Your love,
we come to You with confidence,
offering our prayers for the world that You love.

We see so much pain and suffering.
so much violence and poverty and despair.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the needs around us.
But we continue to bring our prayers to You in faith,
because we know that nothing is impossible for You.
You are the God who rained down bread from heaven,
and made water flow from a rock in the desert;
the God who resurrected Jesus Christ from the dead,
and who brings new life and hope to all who believe.
For You, all things are possible.
Hear our prayers.

We pray for those suffering the effects of recent  natural disasters:
    in the Caribbean,
    in Texas,
    in Florida,
    in Mexico,
    in Puerto Rico
    in Bangladesh and India
    and elsewhere.
Because nothing is impossible for You, O God,
hear our prayer, and in Your love, answer.

We pray for the people of East Africa
   without food,
   without water,
   without shelter,
   without hope.
Because nothing is impossible for You, O God,
hear our prayer, and in Your love, answer.

We pray for the regions of our world caught up in violence and threats of violence:
   for Myanmar,
   for North Korea and the United States,
   for Israel and Palestine,
   for Syria,
   and elsewhere.
Because nothing is impossible for You, O God,
hear our prayer, and in Your love, answer.

We pray for those who live with serious illness,
   those with chronic pain,
   those without access to proper medical care,
   those for whom treatment is no longer an option.
Because nothing is impossible for You, O God,
hear our prayer, and in Your love, answer.

Merciful God,
You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to show us a different way to live—
the way of deep humility and obedience.
You’ve called us to love one another,
and to work together with one heart and mind,
balancing our needs with the needs of those around us.
Give us courage to follow faithfully, and with integrity—
with actions that bear witness to the words we speak,
and worship that overflows into our daily tasks and relationships—
so that our lives will bring glory and honour to You,
our Redeemer and Lord. Amen.

Prayer for Others: God's Provision

Here’s a prayer of thanksgiving and intercession inspired by the ways in which God cared for the Israelites while in the wilderness.

Prayer for Others

like the Israelites in the wilderness,
we too have known Your love,
and experienced Your care and provision.
You invite us to extend that love to the world around us—
to care for others as deeply as we care for ourselves.
And so we bring the needs of our world before You now.
In Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the many who do not have enough:
  enough food to eat, or shelter to keep warm;
  enough employment, or money to pay their bills;
  enough medicine or medical care.
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We also pray for those who have more than enough,
  but who still struggle to find meaning and purpose in life;
  who indulge in dangerous or self-serving activities
      to dull their pain or loneliness.
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

God, Your grace reaches out to all of us.
You call us to live as citizens of heaven,
working together with one heart and mind.
Strengthen us to live in a manner worthy
of the Good News we have received,
offering our lives in service of Your kingdom,
where the last are first, and the first are last,
and there is grace enough for all.
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord, Amen.

Blessing after Baptism

Here is a post-baptism blessing from the Third Space website.

Blessing after Baptism

May the blessing of the three-in-one God be yours.

May the Spirit bless you with hope
poured out like water and flowing as the river.

May Jesus bless you with discomfort
at injustice and oppression.

May the Creator who holds the Earth
as an artist holds brush and palette
fill your imagination
so that you always find the world inspiring and wonderful.

May God in whose being beauty shines on you
journey with you.

God says to you, “you are my beloved,
Be blessed this day and always.”

~ posted on Third Space.

Call to Worship & Opening Prayer

Here’s an opening call to worship and prayer from the Third Space website.

Call to Worship & Prayer

We gather this morning
in the name of the Creator,
who creates time and space,
galaxies and stars and planets.

In the name of Jesus Christ,
born on planet Earth,

and in the name of the Spirit
who fills Earth with his presence.

Creator God,
in this time we call ‘now’
in this space we call ‘here’
we worship you.
Make your presence felt among us.

~ posted on Third Space.

Prayer Reflection: Exodus 17: 1-7

Here’s a reflection based on Exodus 17:1-7 (where God provides water from a rock in the wilderness). It was written by Roddy Hamilton.

Prayer Reflection
(inspired by Exodus 17:1-7)

In such a place I could only long for the future
for wilderness was all there was
an ordinariness that ate my soul
and spoke only dry, thirsty words to me
that even as I tried to hold them back
deliberately broke through
to open dreams of still waters
and feasts of plenty
of cups running over
and a tables set with banquets

For in my everyday-ness
I find I live a wilderness life
more than a kingdom life
I live not looking for water in the desert
nor with expectation that it is willing to flow
if only I ask for it

I walk through my days
expecting nothing more
than today’s happening
repeated tomorrow
not daring to hold out for
nor expecting
the rocks to break open
and for water to gush
or for flowers to bloom
in the desert places
or a word to crack apart
the everydayness and reveal a new story
or bread to fall open
and reveal the feast of the kingdom
in every crumb

Give my soul the longing, Lord
that I might expect
in all the everydayness
the light of justice will break through
and the word of promise will be heard
and the act of kindness will be recognized
and then celebrated
as a gift from you
that changes that wilderness moment
into a kingdom event
like water flowing in the desert
that will feed my hungry soul
with promise and delight
where the ordinary wilderness
becomes the birthing place
of your promises
yet to be.

~ written by Roddy Hamilton, and posted on Listening to the Stones.