September 9, 2007

Prayers of the People

Dana Ferguson, Executive Associate Pastor

Ever-present God, you are always before, always behind us, always over us. God of creation, you have fashioned each of us. You know our every thought, our every deed, our every name, our every sitting down, our every rising up, our every coming and our every going. We are the saint and the sinner, the faithful and the fickle, the committed and the cantankerous, the disciplined and the disinterested. You know it all and all of us. And so we ask how can it be true? How can you know us and yet love us? Such knowledge is too wonderful—too high to grasp, too great to understand.

Yet it is so. You seek a place for every worker under heaven, a place for labor and a place for leisure, a place for self and a place for service, a place for planning and a place for prayer. And so we pray for those who continue to seek to find their place. On these days following Labor Day, when many of us have returned to our own jobs, we pray for those who search far and wide for work, for those desperate enough or driven enough to cross even dangerous borders and dry deserts. We pray for those with plenty of work to do but still without enough food and warmth to care for their families. In this land of plenty and of freedom, it is hard for us to fathom that men and women, children and the elderly toil under the oppression of slavery. So we pray, O God, that your freedom might come soon. Give us hearts full of outrage and tongues eager to speak the truth of your justice, that those who are trapped in the bonds of toil and prostitution and slavery might some day know the freedom of choices.

And we pray for those across this globe in need of your knowing. We beseech you for peace and justice in places where all hope has gone away, for joy and laughter in places where grief and loss have suddenly and unexpectedly eclipsed the light, for progress towards peace where violence has once again taken court. Speak, O God. Whisper into the broken places of life your grace and truth.

As we long to care for the many of your creation, give us hearts stout with courage that we may not hide from those who suffer. Give us shoulders broad with strength that we may walk with the wounded. Give us spirits quiet with humility that we may call forth new life in your name and win friends for gospel. Let us not rest until all have daily bread, are free from exploitation, and can lay their heads down peacefully each night. Give us gentle voices and courageous ways to live and work that young people and old people alike might know your loving ways. Give to all your people, O God, the hope, the confidence, and dignity that comes from being known by you. We pray this and all things in the name of Jesus Christ, joining our voices together to say,

Our Father . . .