Prayers of the People | February 16, 2003

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

Ever-present God, this is a time we have yearned for, a time we have known for days that we needed. Our hearts and lives are full to overflowing with thoughts and concerns, which we need to offer up to you: thoughts of gratitude that we can know your love for us and concerns that each day presents too much for us to bear by ourselves. O God, we feel weak and inadequate in the face of situations where your goodness seems absent, where your love has become invisible, where we cannot see any evidence of your presence.

We bring before you this morning the multiple tragedies of the fast-paced, self-centered lives we lead. We seek your healing touch for those who bear the marks of someone else’s lack of caring. We seek your grace and forgiveness in those relationships that currently produce nothing but hatred and pain. We seek your power to keep ourselves and our neighbors away from the ingredients of personal destruction that are so prevalent and so powerful in our society. May our families again become a strong source of caring. May we willingly undertake our role as mentors for those who are growing up in the midst of our community. May we each find someone to help, to hold, to heal; some way to chase away the horror and honor the image of God imbedded in every person we see.

God of all the worlds that are, we can hardly stand to dwell on what is happening to this world, this part of your creation. Whole nations of people have been killed or scattered or starved or enslaved, and no one seems to notice. Open our eyes, we pray.

Pride and greed have become the shaping factors in our international relations. We stare at each other, refusing to listen, waiting to see who will blink first. Open our ears, we pray.

People are becoming objects to be used and discarded without ever being called by name, all because we are told it’s in the national interest. Open our hearts, we pray. Awaken us to your call for justice and righteousness.

Embolden us so that the faith to which we give lip service on Sunday might shape our opinions and interactions on Monday and Tuesday. Give us the courage of our convictions so that we can stand up and make a difference on Wednesday and Thursday. Enable each of us to run and not be weary, so that your will might be done even on Friday and Saturday. For we pray in the name of the one who calls us all to a ministry of healing and reconciliation, even Jesus Christ, who taught us when we pray together to say, Our Father . . .