Prayers of the People | Sunday, September 17, 2017
Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor
Gracious and loving God, we praise you for how radically inclusive your love is for all people. Through Jesus Christ you offered your own life for the healing of the world. Your arms outstretched on the cross embraced us all. Your love transcends race, ethnicity, gender, political, and religious differences. You celebrate the variety of your creation and expand our learning and worldviews through the different gifts and perspectives we each bring.
Your wide and welcoming love for all people is also a challenge for us. Forgive us when we find it hard to forgive others. Teach us how to show mutual respect. Strengthen us to reach out to those we find disagreeable. Help us not just to tolerate our differences but to make space in our church so all feel they belong and we grow in understanding of one another. Lessen our fears and discomfort with one another. Help us have the courage to speak up and reshape how our church functions and worships, so that a greater diversity of people contribute their gifts and have their needs met for meaningful worship and ministry.
We also pray for our deeply divided world. We pray for peace in lands that are war-torn or threatening violence or retribution, including Syria, North Korea, and the United States. We pray for all affected by racism and white supremacy, which hurts us all. We pray that our state and federal governments would function effectively across partisan lines, valuing the common good above all else.
We continue to lift up to you all who are grieving the loss of loved ones to death or gradual decline. Especially we pray for people hurt by recent hurricanes—in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Cuba, and the Caribbean islands. Strengthen them to rebuild their lives; protect them from the aftermath of mosquitoes and disease; comfort them in their loss.
All these things we lift up to you, loving God, confident that you hear our prayers and care for us in all seasons of our lives. Hear us now as we pray the prayer that Jesus taught: Our Father . . .