Sunday, January 29, 2023
God of Infinite Light and Fathomless Goodness, we come this morning and place our lives before you in gratitude and praise. We really need so little but you lavish us with so much. Your Church gathers this day and we weave our prayers into a single tapestry of faith, hope, and love as our worship joins those who worship in Europe, South America, Africa, China, Memphis, and Kyiv. Different from each other only by address, your people pause this day to celebrate this life, this world, and this moment you have given us.
Your Church, Lord, comes this day seeking the ability, the wisdom, and the courage to live out the prophet’s reminder that we are to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God. We get so caught up in the busyness of the days that we lapse into old ways of living and habits that narrow our vision and fail to reflect the transformed life, the new life, the baptismally claimed life of a follower of Jesus. In lieu of shining the Light of Life, we display the gloominess of despair and doubt. Holy Spirit, come and fill us anew; empower your Church to dynamically live out its faith in courage and joy.
As the destroyer of the status quo, Jesus we pray we can live the blessed life you paint for all. Take our pride and make us poor in spirit instead. Take our mirth and let us feel the cries and pain of all who mourn so that we may become agents for comfort. Take our bent for aggressiveness and instill in us a gentleness, a meekness, that empathizes with all. Take our gluttonous and sated lives and burn in our hearts with a hunger for righteousness for all your creation in its place. Take our proclivity for judging others and bend it to becoming merciful, forgiving agents of grace. Take our polluted hearts contaminated with the callousness of this world and clean them with the washing of your Spirit making them pure once more. Take our passion for war and retribution and mobilize an army of peacemakers throughout the Church. Give us courage when we are persecuted for loving Jesus and forgive those who proclaim evil and screed.
Holy Spirit, we pray you will fill us with the joy only you can give. Work within each of us to redefine our lives so that we may live them abundantly in the sure and certain knowledge Jesus has conquered death and even now prepares rooms for each of us.
Specifically, we pray for those we know who are ill or who are hospitalized…for single parents trying to show the wisdom of both to their children…fortify the sobriety of those who suffer from addictions, and break the will of those who are failing to embrace their illness…give wisdom to our national, state, and local leaders and replace selfish partisanship with ethical justice and concern for all people. And now gracious Holy Three, we pray the prayer Jesus taught his beloved as together we pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth and it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.