Saturday, July 22, 2017

Prayer for July 23-29, 2017 
Sermon Text: Genesis 28:10-27

That visions of your glory will move us to humble worship, trust, and fidelity

God, many of us are skilled at making our own lives difficult. We deceive and defraud those who are closest to us. We take flight from the truth and from the danger we have created by our deceit.

Somehow, our lies, our fears and fraud thrust us into the mystery of your presence. You meet us where we had not expected to find You, and we are both stunned and terrified as You reveal your glory to us.

We expect to be chastised, but You reiterate the covenant promises that You have made to generations of our ancestors in faith.

You promise unconditional blessing. But we want to bargain. We offer our fidelity and worship only when You fulfill the promises that You have already made to us. 

God of all, may we be humbled by our visions of your glory, so that we give You all the worship, trust, and fidelity that You are due. Amen. 
Prayer for July 16-22, 2017 
Sermon Text: Matthew 13:1-23

That we may be deeply rooted In You and abound in fruitfulness

Jesus, keep teaching us. Let your Spirit move within us to expand our knowledge and give us fresh understanding of your word. Enable us to be those who look, and do see, who listen, and do hear and comprehend your instruction.

But move us beyond seeing and hearing.  Heal any callouses that toughen our hearts and prevent your word of truth from penetrating our lives. Disentangle us from our many worries and our idolatrous dependence upon wealth that keep us looking everywhere, but to You, for satisfaction. Protect us from every threatening spirit that would snatch life away from us.

Till our lives so that we may be rooted deeply in You and abound in fruitfulness that brings glory to You. Shape our character so that the depth of our being is congruent with your presence and identity. Shape our action so that your compassion flows from us as freely as water from a clear spring. Let our communal practices of worship, witness and justice prepare many people to open themselves to your word and your presence.  

We know that only what we receive from You will generate the fruitfulness that You desire for us. We open our hearts, gladly, to receive. Amen.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Prayer for July 9-15, 2017 
Sermon Text: Genesis 24:34-67

That we may trust You when our faith is robust and when it falls flat
God, our Guide, sometimes we have great difficulty seeing the places where You are at work in our lives. Our trust diminishes. We falter along the way.

At other times, everything seems to fall into place with such ease, that our confidence in You is boosted, we follow without hesitation and tell about your provision for us in great detail and with abundant delight.

We trust You! We trust in your faithfulness and presence when our faith is robust and when it falls flat.

We trust You! We go where You send us and follow where You lead, even when the road seems rough, the mission difficult, and our resources inadequate.  

You have been faithful to your covenant with your people! You have answered our prayers! You have blessed our faithful efforts with many successes! You have given us fresh reasons to hope and trust in You. Amen.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Prayer for July 2-8, 2017 
Sermon Text: Matthew 10:40-42

That we may give hospitality with compassion and receive it with humility
God our Provider, enable us to be quick and generous in our offer of hospitality to those who follow Jesus. Enable us to see Jesus in them. And enable us to see You in Jesus.

But help us to welcome others too, to expand our hospitality so that all who come to us are welcomed among us. Enable us to be like You who send rain on the evil and the good, the just and the unjust.

As disciples of Jesus, enable us to accept with humility and gratitude the hospitality that is offered to us in various places. May we be bearers of your peace to all of those who welcome us. May we be a blessing to those who bless us. May we also be a blessing to those who do not bless us, but curse and insult and reject us because of our trust in You.

Enable us to act without calculating what our reward might be. Help us to offer generous hospitality as a practice of true compassion. Help us to not to be overly concerned about how others perceive our actions, but let our deepest desire be to bring honor and glory to You through our acts of hospitality. 

You have provided for us in so many ways. Enable us to provide for your people with the gifts that You have given us. Amen.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Prayer for June 25-July 1, 2017 
Sermon Text: Matthew 10:24-39

That we may find our life and identity in You    

Christ Jesus, we want to be your followers, but we have many fears. We do not want to leave behind our quiet lives. We do not want to risk our wealth. We do not want to face insult, injury and death in order to follow You. We want it easy. We want it smooth. We want to be liked and honored.

By calling us to follow You, you call us to put everything at risk: ease, security, wealth, health, honor, family, friendship, even life itself. We need more courage than we presently have in order to follow in your way. Please grant us such courage.

Help us not to fear those who might oppose us, abuse us, undermine and diminish us, or harm us in significant ways.

Help us to do nothing that denies our identity in You. Help us to honor You in every dimension of our lives. Help us to give our lives fully to You for your mission in the world. Enable us to follow you in bold fidelity even when our faith in You sets us at odds with or puts us in danger from the people to whom we are closest. 

Let us find our life in You! Amen. 
Prayer for June 18-24, 2017 
Sermon Text: Genesis 18:1-15; 21:1-7

That we may laugh with joy, thanksgiving and praise when You fulfill your promises

God of promise, sometimes it is so difficult to believe your word. We want to believe. We want to hold onto the least shred of hope. But when we consider your promise and consider who we are, with all of our weakness and frailty, it seems unlikely that You can fulfill your best promises for us.

And sometimes we laugh. We laugh from anxiety and doubt. We laugh because we are unable to believe You even though your word of promise addresses our deepest desire. We are embarrassed by our laughter, and want to deny it, but it erupts from us, unbidden, and we do not know what else to do.

In spite of our lack of faith. In spite of our laughter in the face of your promise, You do fulfill your promises for us. You surprise us by your action. You alter our lives in amazing ways. And You move us from the laughter of doubt to laughter that overflows with joy, thanksgiving and praise. 

Bringer of laughter, we rejoice in You! Amen. 
Prayer for June 11-17, 2017 
Sermon Text: Genesis 1:1-2:4a

That we may be wise and sensitive stewards of your good creation

God of all creation, we rejoice that by your brooding Spirit, and your effective Word, You have given form and beauty to your own loving impulse. You have tamed chaos without struggle. You have given light. You have generated life in myriad forms. You have invested your creation with generativity and fruitfulness.

We echo your assessment and share your delight that your created universe is “very good!”

We rejoice that You have created us in your own image to reflect your glory. We rejoice that You have given us a grand role as coworkers in the care and nurture of this world. Enable us to be wise and sensitive stewards!

We rejoice, too, that You rested from the work of creation. Enable us to rest! Enable us to recognize that You sustain all things, even when we lay aside the work You have given us. 

In work and rest, let our lives be a hymn of praise to You! Amen.