January 7, 2007

Prayers of the People

Alice M. Trowbridge, Associate Pastor

Eternal God, you revealed your love for the world in the vulnerability of a child, and we come this morning in awe of your gift of love. Amid the cold winter, when the night was dark and when there was no room in the inn, your Son, our Lord, was born in a stable, and though the world was full of brokenness and strife, love came down at Christmas. And that love spoke of hope and promise, revealing the wisdom of the ages, pointing to him, Christ our Lord, our bright morning star.

We thank you that Christmas means you are with us, Emmanuel, and so we pray that you be with those in troubled places around the world and also with those who hold positions that can effect change: our president and his advisors and the leaders of all the nations. We pray that your Holy Spirit inspire courage to pursue the path that is just and peaceful and right. May your brightness illumine the lives of us all and beckon the nations to walk as one so that the whole world would know lasting peace.

We thank you for the promise that Christ walks the common way of every day with us; and so when loneliness overcomes us, may we feel our Lord walking beside us. When illness touches us or someone we love, may healing grace become the restorer of mind, body, and spirit. When we despair because of an abundant earth so populated with your children who are hungry, cold, and without adequate shelter or medical care, remind us of the Child of Christmas, who said that when we have helped others, we have helped him.

God, at the dawn of this new year, we pray that you bind us afresh to a reliance on your promise, that in you we are accompanied, embraced, and loved and that you never let us go; and so we pray that you fix our steps, that we not stagger at the uneven motions of this world. Remind us that there is “no greatness without goodness, no vision without virtue,” and that our lives are most rewarding when spent in humble service to you, that in that posture of giving, we experience the essence of your love.

We pray to live so that we not only turn to you in the trials of life, but also walk with you in the course of calmer days. Like the wise men, may we too journey to the newborn king and in silent wonder, kneel before him. And may the gifts we bring be none other than the very gift of ourselves. O God, whose shining coming into the world was heralded by the heavenly hosts and whose life is the light that shines in the darkness, may your life be the light that shines within us, we pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who taught us to pray together saying,

Our Father . . .