Prayers of the People | May 11, 2003

John Buchanan, Pastor

Merciful God, how good it is to be here, together, in your presence. We thank you for this new day and for the privilege of beginning a new week by acknowledging you, our creator, and putting our lives in the context of your love and your grace. We thank you for this good day in the life of this church: for fresh new leadership, for willing minds and spirits, and for the assurance that your Spirit will continue to guide them and us in the important days ahead. We thank you for everything this church means to its neighbors, the city, and the world and for the expanding vision of faithful service that draws us into the future. And we thank you, O God, for all the people who preceded us, whose faith and hope and love are reflected in the life and ministry of Fourth Presbyterian Church.

We thank you, Creator God, for the beauty of the earth, for greening grass and trees, for nesting birds and blooming flowers—all signs of your creative love. We thank you for this city: for its business and political leaders, its universities and hospitals, its artists and athletes, police officers and firefighters, for its wonderful diversity and its struggle to provide safety and security and justice for all its people. And we thank you, O God, for our nation: for its lofty ideals, its Congress and courts, its commitment to equality and justice and peace.

And today, O God, we thank you for parents, for mothers who bore us and fathers who nurtured us. We thank you for the homes they created for us, for the love they gave us and the high hopes they held for us. We thank you for all those adults who parented and taught and inspired us along our way.

O God, we bring before you our deepest concerns. We pray for the peace of the world. We pray for our president and his advisors as they plan for the future. We pray for the people of Iraq: give them courage to endure their ordeal and a strong hope for a just and hopeful future. We pray for the men and women of our armed forces, giving thanks for their bravery and sacrifice. And we pray especially for the families of those who have died. We pray for peace in the Middle East, in the land holy to Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Bless, O God, the work of peacemakers, the hard, tedious task of listening, negotiating, compromising. Be with Secretary of State Colin Powell as he carries out his important mission.

And we bring before you our concerns for those whose needs are urgent—the sick, the dying, those who are anxious or afraid, those facing surgery or unemployment or aloneness or uncertainty. Hear us as we name them, praying silently.

We pray, O God, for ourselves. Help us to be all you created us to be. Give us the gifts we need: patience, courage, hope, endurance. And give us laughter, dear God, at the sheer, joyful miracle of life itself and people to love and work to do and you and your never ending, eternal, amazing love. All this we pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord who taught his disciples to pray, saying, Our Father . . .