July 1, 2007

Prayers of the People

Dana Ferguson, Executive Associate Pastor

O God, you have loved us far more than we are capable of loving. And, in this world, you continue to make your love known, for every time justice prevails against oppression, righteousness defeats evil, we see Christ. Every time forgiveness heals guilt, joy conquers despair, we touch Christ. For the many ways that you bring love and grace and hospitality into our lives, we give you thanks.

Many of the good things in life—food and freedom, faith and fellowship, security and serenity, health and hope, peace and prosperity—have visited some far more often than others. For these many privileges and for those who gave their lives in service for this country that we might enjoy the gifts of democracy and freedom, we give you thanks. Remind us that these are precious and often demand high cost. Lead us, O Lord, as we struggle to be your people in this land of richness and plenty. Grant us ears to hear ways in which you would have us live, hearts open to possibility, and hands to hold responsibly the great duty of practicing democracy. Show us ways to speak out for those whose voices are ignored and whose freedom is stripped away.

We are ever grateful for those who have dedicated their lives to protecting this land. We rejoice with those who have welcomed home servicemen and women, and we grieve those who have mourned for loved ones lost, fallen in these past months and the years of past. We pray for those who have been wounded in body, mind, and spirit and for those who will care for them. And we pray for those who continue on the battlefield and for those who wait at home for them. Wrap your arms around them and reassure them that they are never alone.

We pray for communities where such privileges of freedom and peace have visited less frequently, where injustice overrules human compassion, where vengeance outweighs reconciliation, where hatred overshadows hope. And we pray for those who live in the midst of violence and conflict and warfare in those places known to us—Lebanon and Palestine, Israel and Iraq, Afganistan and Iran, Darfur and Africa—and those less known and unknown. Bring to these many corners of your world your light to illumine the pathways to communities where each individual is treated as your precious child. We pray for leaders of the countries and territories and all communities. Grant to those with choices to make and decisions to render clear thoughts and deep wisdom and the courage to act with pure motives. Give voice to those of noble vision. Silence those of greedy spirit. Give courage to those who speak truth. And, at last, bring change that is right and fair and honorable.

We pray that this might be so in every land, that freedom’s light might burn bright and from every mountainside freedom will ring. We pray in the name of the one who died that all might be free, saying together,

Our Father . . .