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In the weeks ahead, we will be highlighting one of the many resources on the Fourth Church website that is
available to you for your personal reflection
and prayer life:
the collection of the Prayers of the People
offered during Sunday
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:1–13
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (NRSV)
Almighty God, your good news, which even death cannot contain, is everywhere to be found. You are not stingy with it; instead you are generous. Help us to see it not only in the likely places, but in the places that we are likely to overlook.
Sometimes, God, we occupy ourselves so much by looking at other people’s lives that we overlook your grace in our own. Our lives have been written into your book. Help us to trust in you, that you have plans for our welfare and not for harm. Give us a sense of purpose that is greater than our own and that rests securely in you.
So often, O God, we seek you only in places that are central in our city. Remind us that we can often find you on the margins of society. It is there that you work in the hearts of those who are humble. Bring us with you, God, to spend time with and serve those who have less privilege and less power. Let us be friends, teaching and learning from each other, encouraging and empowering one another.
We tend to seek you in clean, well-lit, orderly places, and yet we know that you are powerfully at work in the places that we would avoid. Wherever there is trouble, you are in the middle of it. At least that is our prayer. We pray, O God, that you are at every intersection of violence, making it safe for peoples to meet and live together. Move us to care enough to act for the good of all, not just those in our neighborhoods, but in every neighborhood of the city.
There is trouble, God, in so many parts of your world. We know that decisions we make here affect peoples elsewhere—in Syria and Iraq, in Palestine and Israel, in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Be with your world in all of its actions and inactions, and in all your wisdom, make every interaction work toward good.
Our hope lies in you, great God, upon whom all authority in heaven and earth has its beginning and end.
Now hear us as we boldly pray the prayer your Son taught: Our Father . . .
Offered as the Prayers of the People by Joyce Shin,
Associate Pastor for Congregational Life,
on Sunday, September 28, 2014
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