May 20, 2007

Prayers of the People

Thomas C. Rook, Parish Associate

As we come to prayer, we are mindful of this day being Dedication Commemoration Sunday here at Fourth Presbyterian Church. Beginning with this building’s dedication on the third Sunday in May 1914, under the leadership of Pastor Dr. John Timothy Stone, the congregation continues to annually remember that occasion and give thanks.

Good and gracious God, we gather here today to praise you. We are grateful, O God, that you not only accompany us individually along our way in life but that you draw us together to be companions in the faith, supporting and encouraging one another. And so we give you thanks that the life journeys of each of us have come to intersect at this time, in this place.

We are especially thankful this day, O Lord, for the community of Christ of which we are each a part, your church, our spiritual Mother, who conceives us in the faith, gives us birth, nourishes us, guides and cares for us. And we thank you for this particular local community of your universal church, here in the heart of Chicago. We thank you for our forebears in this place, women and men of faith who, in their time, with dedication of themselves and their treasure, served your great project in the world, even Christ’s service to humanity. Grant us likewise, gracious God, hearts and minds seeking with vision and imagination, with energy and commitment, to advance your kingdom. And may future generations of your people in Fourth Presbyterian Church have reason to look back and give like thanks for our courage and faithfulness in our time.

Although your larger purposes, O Lord, in the immensity of the universe lie beyond our scope, yet we can know something of your moral intentions here in our own lives. We can see the stranger and alien, the homeless, the addicted, and know that they need a place of sanctuary. We can meet those who feel close to despair and embrace them. We can find ones whose spirits are clouded with concerns about their health, ones who are in need of work, those who have suffered great loss in their lives, and we can stand beside them as did Christ himself when on earth, rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep. And so we pray for all those who will know anxiety and fear today, here and around the world, as they seek the necessities of life, as they hunger for fairness and justice. In these days of world conflict, we pray for national leaders who need your blessings of wisdom and good will. And we rejoice today with young people who pursue their dreams in life through education, with those confirmands who earlier this morning have stood to make their own profession faith. Guide them into your future as faithful disciples of Christ, glorifying and enjoying you forever.

Finally, we thank you for who you are, O Lord—a shepherd always seeking to find us when we get lost, calling us to yourself when we have forgotten to whom we belong. In your mercy, provide us with strength for this day and courage for the morrow. And now, using words taught us by our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray in one voice,

Our Father . . .