Prayers of the People | June 16, 2002
John H. Boyle, Parish Associate
Living and loving God, we thank you that you have not left us to be orphans in the world and that when our mothers and fathers forsake us, as surely they do at last, you will take us up and sustain us in our lostness and in our loneliness. We are grateful for those who have been parents to us and have loved and accepted and cared for us in ways that have allowed us to discover who we are and who you are. We pray for those who have been abused by the ones who have been parents to them not only in their families but in their faith as well. Grant that as they deal with their hurt and their hate about their hurt, no root of bitterness may spring up within them to cause them to see themselves as nothing but victims in life or to adopt revenge as their mission in life.
And when we see others overtaken in transgressions and exhibiting attitudes and engaging in actions that violate others, help us to heed your word to restore such in a spirit of gentleness and to take care that we ourselves are not tempted. So may we bear one another’s burdens and in this way fulfill the law of Christ.
Help us also, O God, not to treat life and the world like vicious children with a toy we have broken, pouring out our rage upon it so as to make sure it knows who owns it even though we cannot make it work. Remind us that our lives and your world are not ours to own but are gifts to be used not for our own aggrandizement but in order to serve and bless others. And strengthen us to resist the temptation to engage in conversations about "the meaning of life" but to take no responsibility for the injustices around us.
God of compassion, be merciful to the sick, who are stripped of their vigor and imprisoned within their helplessness, that they may have courage to accept and bear the burden of their pain, patience to overcome their disabilities, and serenity in the face of uncertainty. And to those who are exhausted by sorrow, grant the consolation of your presence and the awareness that a love forgotten is a love dead and that while it lives there will be suffering in it as well as joy.
We pray for your world, dear God, and especially for the people of Israel and Palestine, that their warfare may be ended and that the day will come when the world will be covered with the canopy of your peace. And we pray for the health and welfare of your church the world over, O God, and especially for those gathered in the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, as they deliberate judicial issues that are controversial and potentially divisive. May your truth guide them, your compassion temper them, and your inclusive love overcome bias and prejudice that are more the product of fear and social conditioning than they are a reflection of your mercy and grace. And stay the hand of those who hold their convictions with such vehemence that emotional violence rather than compassionate concern is the end result.
God of hope, we pray for all who have lost hope and are now lost in despair. Assure them that it is in the midst of a caring community of mutuality that hope is engendered and that wherever and whenever we encounter even the intimation of love and acceptance, we meet you and are no longer alone. So may we put our hope not in that which is finite and transient but in you, O God, whose mercy is from everlasting to everlasting and whose love for all knows no ending.
We pray in the name of the one who embodied that love to the fullest, even Jesus Christ our Lord, saying, Our Father . . .