Monday, February 13, 2017

Prayer for February 12-18, 2017
Sermon Text: Matthew 5:21-37

That our lives may pulse with vitality that echoes your own

O Christ, we are continuously tempted to push the limits to see how close to the fringes of fidelity we can come without courting judgment or catastrophe.

You call us to another way. You call us to lives in which hearts and minds are deeply tuned to the desire of God and in which obedience is offered as a response of gratitude and gladness.

Tune our lives so that they pulse with vitality that echoes your own. Remove violence from our hearts. Remove our lust for control over others, especially those who appear more vulnerable than us. Eliminate our desire to treat relationships as disposable commodities when we grow tired of them. Enable us to speak truthfully, without qualifying our words in ways that manipulate others. 

Enable us to follow You in every practice of faithfulness. Amen.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Prayer for February 5-11, 2017 
Sermon Text: Matthew 5:13-20

That we may flavor the world with humility, justice, mercy, purity and peace

Christ Jesus, we rejoice that You have come as the embodiment of the Law and Prophets. You have come as the fullest expression of the divine will and have practiced fidelity to God’s desire in the fullest possible measure. You have done what God’s people had been unable to do and what we can only approximate by your example and assistance.

Enable us to be your faithful followers. Enable us to practice fidelity that reflects the depth of your desire for the world.

Enable us to be salt and light in the world, particularly by our unity as your people, which has great power to convince others of your presence and reality among us. Let our lives flavor the world with humility, justice, mercy, purity and peace that reflect your reign and move us toward the complete reconciliation of all things for which You have come among us.  

We rejoice in your presence among us! Amen.
Prayer for January 29-February 4, 2017 
Sermon Text: Matthew 5:1-12

That we may receive your good news and generous gifts with gladness

Christ Jesus, when we hear your words of blessing, we find it very difficult not to turn it into a string of commands about how we should be living our lives. It is much easier for us to think in terms of obligation and obedience than it is to receive good news and generous gifts. We want to feel as though we have earned our way into your affection and your reign.

We know obedience is part of the life of discipleship, but, in this moment, enable us to hear the gospel as your word of blessing, your promise of renewal and restoration of the world of human relationships, your work of creating a new community out of people, including us, who often seem to lack qualifications to be your people and experience your blessing.

Enable us to receive your reign among us rather than grasping for everything we can get our hands on. Comfort those who grieve among us. Make us just and holy people. Let mercy and peace flow from pure hearts. Enable us to see God’s presence in you and in your people as we await the day when we shall see God face to face. Enable us to endure insult, rejection and abuse with patient hope. 

We rejoice in you! Our hearts are gladdened by your presence! Amen.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Prayer for January 22, 2017
Scripture texts: Luke 15:11-24; 2 Corinthians 5:14-20

Prayer for Unity

God of all people, we need you and we need each other much more deeply than we are willing to say. We refuse your love and care and we refuse our neighbors by a thousand strategies that keep them at a distance and keep us from entering into full communion with them. Enable us to set aside our stockpile of offensive and defensive strategies and to embrace our neighbors as sisters and brothers, to welcome your presence in our lives and in the lives of all whom you have placed among us. Help us to see the diversity of those we encounter as a true gift from you. Help us to nurture and build upon that gift by seeking to be of one heart and mind together, by seeking to witness together to your love in the world, by seeking to serve together all those who stand in need of forgiveness, healing, liberation and hope. We are not able to bring your reign in fullness, but enable us to cooperate fully as your coworkers, until your will is done on earth as in heaven. We are compelled by the love of Christ to seek the fulfillment of Christ’s will among us, to act as Christ has acted among us, to serve with gladness and joy. Let unity be more than a slogan among us. Let it be lived experience that witnesses to who you have revealed yourself to be. May the world be convinced of your presence and action by the unity we live. Amen.
Prayer for January 22, 2017
Sermon Text: John 17:6-26; 1 Corinthians 1:10-18; Philippians 2:1-8

Prayer of Confession
Leader: God of all creation, You who have created us for unity, we come
             before you in humility and hope.
People: We come having heard the prayer of Jesus and having observed
 the way that Jesus gave his life for others throughout his ministry,
 and, supremely, at the cross.
Leader: You have created the foundation and set the tone for our unity.
People: Now enable us to build upon that foundation by being one in mind
             and thought.
Leader: Enable us to agree together.
People: Help us set aside every strategy for creating and enforcing division
             or conformity among ourselves and help us to set aside all
Leader: Help us not to make pastoral, prophetic or political leaders into
             idols with whom we identify ourselves,
People: but let us be fully committed to Christ Jesus, and identify ourselves
             as his above all others.
Leader: Forgive us when we are contentious.
People: Forgive us when we are full of selfishness and vanity.
Leader: Forgive us when we are focused only on our own interests
People: to the neglect of the needs and desires of our companions in the
Leader: Make the unity that you desire, and that is at the heart of the
             good news of Christ Jesus, more fully evident among us.

People: And let the world see your glory through our unity. Amen.
January 22-28, 2017 
Sermon Text: 1 Corinthians 1:10-18

That our lives will more fully express a single mind and thought

Holy One, we rejoice in You. We rejoice in your unity as Creator, Redeemer and Counselor. We rejoice in your desire to make all things one in Christ Jesus. We rejoice, that in the end, your desire will not be thwarted and that Christ will be all and in all.

We thank you for calling us together as your people. We thank you for forgiving us and instructing us in forgiveness. We thank you for creating a firm foundation for our unity and giving us glimpses and tastes of the glorious unity that is possible as we trust in you, set aside our selfishness, and seek your blessing and fruitfulness for each other. We thank you that you have given us many gifts with which to serve each other and enable our lives together to express more fully the single mind and thought you desire for us.    

We await with hope the day when we are fully one with each other and with you through Christ Jesus, our Savior, Teacher and Friend. Amen.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Prayer for January 15-21, 2017
Sermon Text: Isaiah 49:1-7

That we may be energized for welcome, witness and service

God of all people, we rejoice in the broad scope of your love and mercy. We rejoice that from the beginning your intention was that your people, your servants, would spread the light of your compassion to the ends of the earth. We rejoice that through Christ Jesus, and through the guidance and empowerment of your Spirit, that has happened in significant ways. We rejoice that we are beneficiaries of Israel’s restoration and participants in your great salvation.

Enable us to be agents of the continuing outpouring of your light and love. Enable us to be bold witnesses to many who need a word of healing and forgiveness. Enable us to be courageous servants to many who suffer want and hardship. Help us to draw people from the margins into the community of shared life that your Spirit creates among us. 

We rejoice that You want to include all people in your work of salvation. May that knowledge energize us for daily welcome, witness and service. Amen.