a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

a prayer for Mother’s Day

O God of Love, all other loves excelling,

We are privileged to be your eternal family, to be children of such a parent, loving us so perfectly. On this beautiful Mother’s Day morning we come to you celebrating the gift of family. We see your glory and your wisdom in the diversity of that gift—a diversity that has always existed. We pray for small families like Elizabeth and Zechariah and their precious only son, John, and for large families like Jacob’s, with his twelve sons. We ask your blessing on multigenerational families like Timothy’s, whose mother and grandmother raised him in the faith.  Bless single person families like Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus. We pray especially for broken families like King David’s. And for those like Ruth and Naomi who came through the pain of loss to establish new family ties.

We see in your Holy word and in our unholy world all kinds of families with every sort of challenge, joy, failure, and pain. You haven’t given up on families, Lord, so help us to support them in all their shapes and situations. Families are not perfect places, Lord, no matter how hard we try, because we are imperfect people. We need your kind of love for each other. We need your kind of clean-slate forgiveness for each other and that’s hard. There are folks whose greatest hurts were family blows, who just can’t imagine forgiving or forgetting. We come together to ask You to be healing damaged relationships and painful memories. Show us how to deal with our grief and regrets and anger. Make us grateful when we have been parented wisely and well. Remind us all that we always have You and this covenant family, a home away from home. You are like a mother who will not abandon the child in her arms, like a father who runs to welcome the prodigal home.

For You are love, and when we love, we are like You. Lord, we would reflect the love to our earthly family and to your eternal family and to your whole precious creation which You loved enough to send your only Son to save. Greater love has no one. And it is to You and in His dear name we pray. Amen.

 

Written by Linda LeBron, retired Certified Director of Christian Education and 2009 APCE Educator of the Year.

confession: one-way conversations

God, you call to us, but often we do not listen.

We are so busy speaking, we forget that conversations go two ways.

We are so busy looking for what we want, we forget to look for what you want.

Quiet our fear, our greed, and even our uncertainty,

that we may seek you, and hear you, and know you.

Forgive us our one-way conversations, our short-sighted solutions, our narrow fields of vision.

When we look only for answers, sit beside us as a friend in the questions.

When we look only for our desires, walk with us through your beautiful yet broken world.

When we look only for our own ways, open our eyes to your way,

and bring us to true life with you, today and every day.

We pray in the name of the One who lives and breathes among and within us. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church, Crystal Lake IL.

illumination: planted, nourished, sustained

Inspiring God,
plant us deep within your rich soil…
fill us with your nourishing, refreshing, life-giving water…
and shine your life-sustaining light of love upon us…
so that we may grow and go and be and do.
Amen

Submitted by Scott Cervas, pastor at Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY)

illumination: planted, nourished, sustained

Inspiring God,
plant us deep within your rich soil…
fill us with your nourishing, refreshing, life-giving water…
and shine your life-sustaining light of love upon us…
so that we may grow and go and be and do.
Amen

Submitted by Scott Cervas, pastor at Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY)

prayer of the day: Easter 2B

Emptier of Tombs:
you raised Jesus
from the grave
so all fears might be banished;
so the locked doors of our hearts
could be flung open;
so our quivering lips
could declare what
we have seen and heard.

Bright Glory of God:
as you stood in the middle
of your friends
on that first Easter night,
come among us now,
in this time and place,
showing us that death and sin
no longer stand in the way
of our life with you.

Breath of Peace:
strengthen us
so we may stand
with all who fear life;
take our hands in yours,
so we may serve all
who are broken with grief;
inspire us to share
the grace which has been breathed
into our very souls.

God in Community, Holy in One,
hear us as we pray as Jesus taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies.

confession: commodity god

God,
we’re not really sure what Simon and the others meant
when they told Jesus that “everyone” was looking for him.
Maybe they were trying to protect Jesus…
trying to keep him safe within their grasp…
as if he were some sort of commodity that belonged exclusively to them.
It would certainly make sense.
We often do that to you, as well…
as if the creator of all that is would be doomed without our witty, theological
comebacks to put the naysayers in their place.
Maybe we should spend less time trying to own you,
and more time trying to fully belong to you,
even now…as we offer our silent confessions…

 

Submitted by Rev. Scott Cervas, Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church, Lexington, KY

Pastoral Prayer – Based on Psalm 111

Submitted by Laura Viau, Orlando, FL (MDiv student at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary)

With our whole hearts, we praise you, Lord.
We lift up our alleluias as people who gather to sing and proclaim,
As people who gather to confess and to remember Your redeeming work
As people who gather read and tell of your mighty works,
of your faithfulness and
of your grace.

All glory belongs to you, God.
You are gracious and compassionate.
You provide for us all that we need,
Remembering your promise to hear when we call,
To answer when we knock, and
To reveal yourself when we seek you.

You have revealed your power to us in so many ways:
You heal the sick
You calm the frightened
You bring peace to the grieving
You change the course of our lives

We ask that you reveal you power again today for those on our hearts and minds….

We lift these names to you. To you they are much more than names-
They are your precious children
They are parents, sisters, brothers, children, bosses, employees, aunts, uncles…
They are yours. You know every detail of their lives, far better than we do.
You know their needs.

We can trust you with our prayers,
not only because we know you have the power to answer,
but because we have seen that you are faithful and just.
The promises we claim today are the same as those your
people have claimed across the generations

Through your Son, you have redeemed your people.
You bring beauty and good from what we -in our brokenness and ignorance –
have intended for evil.
And in time, you will redeem the world,
Bringing an end to death
And the beginning of an eternity of worship
When every tribe, tongue and nation will sing songs of praise

Until then, we wait.

Help us not to spend our days looking up at the sky.
Send your Spirit that we might see the world as you do,
Fill us with your compassion for those in need
Of shelter, of a friend, or of an advocate
Send us to the brokenhearted, the discarded
and those who are hungry for the transformation only you can bring.

While our hearts cry Come Lord Jesus,
let our hands reveal your presence in the world we inhabit.

We ask these things in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray saying
Our Father, who art in heaven….

illumination: either way

God of newness,
we want to be ready…
we want to make room for you…
we want our lives to be changed by your advent.
So speak to us in our busy-ness and our quietness…
our uneven-ness and our level-ness…
our roughness and our smoothness…
so that, either way, your glory might be revealed to us.
Amen.

confession: speechless

We are filled with words;
and yet, it often seems as if we have nothing to say.
We like to speak when it serves our own purpose…
but we clam up when we’re asked to be prophetic.
We make excuses about disrupting the status quo…
or not wanting to risk our safe reputations.
The truth is…we are encouraged to speak out…
but all we can manage to say is, “What should I say?”
So give us transforming words…and empower us to speak them…

illumination: light

Holy God,
At times, we feel as if we’re completely in the dark.
We don’t recognize that your light is always around us,
Until we realize that it’s not that we’re standing in the dark…
It’s that our eyes are shut tight…
And our hands are placed firmly and completely over them.
So give us the courage to remove our hands from our face,
And to open our eyes…
So that we may see clearly, live fully, and serve freely…
Amen.