Prayers of the People | January 26, 2003

John A. Cairns, Dean, Academy for Faith and Life

O God of Light, wellspring of inexhaustible energy, exuberance, and love, we are here because our hope is dulled by the never-ending sound of conflicting voices ringing in our ears. Our vision is clouded by the unrestrained collage of images that pass before our eyes. Come near and help us, we pray. Lift the scales from our eyes, that we may see clearly the glory of your creation so often hidden by our personal agendas. Silence any voice but your own, that we may find in you the source of righteousness and truth. Give us fresh energy to be your glad and faithful people in these trying times.

We lift before you today our world, teetering on the brink of war in one place after another. May rationality and negotiation open channels for reconciliation where none now appear. May voices and energies directed toward peace persuade those who see no course but conflict. We pray particularly for those who will gather tomorrow at the United Nations to hear the report of the weapons inspectors. We lift up as well our president and his advisors as he prepares to address the nation. And we pray for the leaders of all the nations of the world, that they may find the personal resolve and public encouragement to act in ways that will de-escalate the crises that threaten them, their nations, and all people. Lead us, O God, in paths of peace.

Ever-present Spirit, you call us with strong nudges and gentle whispers to proceed on a path you stretch out before us. May we find the courage to follow your leading, attentive to your intentions for our lives. Enable us to be beacons of light in this darkened world, so that because of our witness others might be led to you. Let us not be afraid to be “followers”; help us to claim a greater sense of your justice and righteousness, that the world may know the better way you have shown us in Jesus Christ.

O Good Shepherd, gather into your arms all those who have wandered away from your love. Let them know that they may always find safety within your sheltering arms. We also lift up all who have been wounded or grieved in the course of their daily round. Tend to their brokenness; bring healing and wholeness where none now exists. Gracious God, we feel so inadequate in the face of human hurt and need. Help each of us to find ways of extending your care, offering your forgiveness, sharing your love. Direct our living that our lives may be of service to you and useful to our neighbors, for we pray in the strong name of Jesus Christ, our Lord; who taught us when we pray together to say, Our Father . . .