a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

Blessing for teachers

Scripture reminds us that teachers are a gift from Christ himself to the church. Together with apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors, our teachers equip God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up, find unity, and mature in faith until we attain ‘the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.’ That’s no small task! Therefore, today we say THANK YOU. Thank you, teachers and leaders, for answering Christ’s call; we honor your service and offer our support, our prayers and our heartfelt gratitude.
Let us pray:

For helping the congregation fulfill our baptismal promises, may God richly bless you.

For sharing your love of Christ with God’s children of all ages –from toddlers to teens to retirees -may God richly bless you.

For inviting your students to dive into Scripture with both head and heart, may God richly bless you.

For preparing lessons that spark curiosity and stimulate discussion, may God richly bless you.

For challenging us to ask the hard questions and have courageous conversations, may God richly bless you.

For crafting activities that spur creativity and allow talents to grow, may God richly bless you.

For late-night lesson plans and last-minute substitute teaching, may God richly bless you.

For lock-ins, mission trips, escape rooms and bounce-house duties, may God sustain you!

For equipping us to be sent out into God’s world to share the love of Christ, may God richly bless you.

For living lives that in and of themselves teach us so much about what it means to be a disciple, may God richly bless you.

Bless you for being just who you are -men and women of faith who teach us to love God, our neighbors and ourselves. We thank you, we love you, we honor you and we pray God’s blessings on you this day and always! And all God’s people said: AMEN!

Submitted by Jerie Lukefahr

Prayers of the People: eternally victorious

We give you praise, O God,
because you are eternally victorious over death.
In faithfulness you have raised up Christ for us,
and your mercy knows no end.

God of life, we pray for those who are bowed down
under the weight of hunger, injustice, uncertainty, or despair.
You who provide every good thing,
uphold your people.
Open your hands wide
and satisfy the needs of every living thing.

God of hope, we trust in your righteousness
and depend on your love.
Be near to those on whose behalf we call upon you;
to those who face sorrow, illness, injury, or death.
Fulfill our longings for wholeness, healing, and new life;
hear and answer all who cry out to you.

Steadfast God, preserve us in your love,
that we might speak your praise
and bless you forever
in the name of the holy one, the Risen Christ,
who teaches us to pray as we say:
The Lord’s Prayer

 

Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church, West Des Moines, IA

POP: creative grace

O Lord, you are our shepherd;

we shall not be in want.

Your creative grace is visible in lush green pastures

and revealed in still, clear waters.

Your restoring resurrecting Spirit revives our souls and our communities,

and you guide us in ways of righteousness for the sake of your earth.

We pray for the earth you create and love:

for people, families, nations, and species that dwell in the valley of the shadow of death;

for all who fear the evils of pollution, violence, depredation, and illness;

for those whose suffering is on our hearts this morning, and for those whom we will never meet.

Shepherding God, be with your people;

with your rod and your staff, restore us and lead us.

Spread your table of abundance before those who hunger and thirst;

set us free from enmity and division.

Anoint us with your calling to reconciliation,

and let the cup of our life overflow

with justice and life for all your creation.

Let your goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our life,

and make this earth your home forever,

in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church, West Des Moines, IA

POP: you are our light

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE (based on Psalm 27)

O Lord, you are our light and our salvation;
we are not afraid of anyone or anything.
When terrible things happen, we put our trust in you,
and we know you are always with us.
Help us to see you at work in our lives always.

We pray for people who are suffering or frightened today,
and for everybody who is sick or grieving;
wrap your arms around them,
give them healing,
and keep them safe.
We pray that everyone would be able to sing your praises
and tell that you have done wonderful things for them.

Show us how to follow you, O Lord,
and help us live as your disciples
as long as we live.
We pray in Jesus’ name,
who taught us to pray, saying:

The Lord’s Prayer

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church, West Des Moines, IA

POP: flows abundantly

We praise you, O Lord, for your greatness and splendor;
we rejoice in you for the beauty and delight of your presence.
Your goodness flows abundantly in the life of the world,
and you provide enough
not only to sustain life
but to make living a delight.
We pray for all that lives,
and especially today for those creatures
whose lives are filled with suffering or uncertainty
because they cannot find enough
food, shelter, security, love, or hope.
Guide us as we seek to use the gifts you have given us,
and open us to see what wonders you can work in the world through us.
We pray for those who hunger for signs of your love
and who thirst for the gladness of your good news.
Make us vessels of your mercy
and servants at your welcome table,
so we might make room for everyone to find a home in you.
We pray as disciples of Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who teaches us to pray, saying:

The Lord’s Prayer

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church, West Des Moines, IA

POP: shines forth

We rejoice in you, O God,
all the earth rejoices and sings glory to your name;
we sing praise and glory to you, O God.
As Christ’s beauty shines forth,
we praise your great salvation
and celebrate the merciful love that reconciles us to you.

As the new year dawns around us,
we pray for the welfare of the earth:
for the healing of the climate;
for the preservation of the beauty and balance of nature;
for the lives of the creatures whose very being sings your praises.

As Christ calls us into renewed discipleship,
we pray for the needs of your people everywhere:
for the forgiveness and redemption of the sins that bind and wound us;
for the deliverance of those who face chaos, despair, and sorry;
for the comfort and courage of all who mourn or face death.
We pray for the lives of the nations:
keep watch, Sovereign,
and teach us to work for justice and lasting peace.

We bless you, O God,
and we join all peoples in praising you,
in the name of Jesus our Savior, our Lord. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church, West Des Moines, IA

Christmas Eve Invocation: We Display Anticipation

God of all creation
we display anticipation
as we pray this invocation
on this day of celebration.

Here we offer our ovation
as we sing with jubilation
and we wait with great elation
for your loving incarnation.

We will hear the narration
of your ancient declaration
as we long for liberation
for the world and for each nation.

So we lift up in summation
hearts and minds for your formation
as we long for your salvation
resting on your firm foundation.

submitted by Rev. Scott V. Cervas, Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY)

Blue Christmas prayer

God of comfort, come gently among us this evening; hear our prayers, restore our souls.

Piece together our loose ends; smooth over our rough edges; restore our souls.

When lights and decorations fail to delight our senses, and serve only to deepen our pain and grief, restore our souls.

When we clench our fists in anger, open our hands to receive your grace.

When we are worn out and beat down, surround us with your peace.

When our doubts outweigh our hopes, increase our faith.

When we have no energy left to love, love us all the more.

When we cannot bring ourselves to pray, pray for us, as we remember how Jesus prayed, saying… OUR FATHER…

 

Submitted by Jerie Lukefahr, CRE

Prayers of the People for Advent

O Lord, you are coming to us,
and we wait with eager anticipation!
Our souls are standing on tiptoe,
trying to peer over the horizon
where the morning star is about to rise upon us.
We put our hope in your Word, O Lord,
that your Word might take on flesh among us once again
to reveal your mercy and steadfast love.
We wait, Eternal One,
and we cry out to you on behalf of those who have waited too long:
those who seek your healing,
those who seek your forgiveness,
those who seek your presence.
We wait for you,
for there is plenteous redemption with you,
and you redeem the sinful world according to your promise.

We wait for the coming Christ,
who prays with us as we say together:

The Lord’s Prayer

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church, West Des Moines, IA

Confession: we have been silent

God of Love and Justice,
we know your heart is breaking for us.
You taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves,
but we harbor prejudice and resentment
that leads us to violence.
You taught us that you love us all,
citizen and stranger,
no matter the color of our skin or the sound of our voice,
and yet we persist in defending the actions
of those who demean and threaten people you love.
We confess that we have been silent when we should have stood up to the signs of prejudice and selfishness.
We confess that we have excused racism as ignorance,
when we should have taught awareness and care.
We confess that we are blind to the insidious ways the habits of white supremacy infiltrate our lives, because we are afraid to discover we have been part of the problem too.
Loving God, remind us that you already forgave our sin,
and now call us to sin no more.
Replace our fear with boldness and our anxiety with conviction.
Help us be light in a world that has chosen darkness for too long.

Submitted by Rev. Lisa M López, Christ Presbyterian Church, Hanover Park, IL