Holy Love, first and last, you offer yourself to us completely and call us to your life. Yet we are afraid, for your Way demands much of us. We confess that we are often quick to judge and slow to forgive. We confess that we choose that which does not satisfy, even as you offer us abundant life. When our fear overrides your call, forgive us. When we act from our own limited love rather than your expansive grace, forgive us. Reach down to us again, lift us up as a mother lifts a child to her cheek. Cast out our fear and fill us with the breath of your Spirit, that we may live the love we see in your Son, Jesus the Christ, in whose perfect name we pray. Amen.
1 John 4
We pray to you, O God…
Overwhelm us with your love, which casts out every fear
If love is how we know you God, remind us this day,
that love is what set the world in motion,
Love is what spoke order into the chaos at creation,
Love is what breathed into the dirt and brought Adam
Love is what inspired Adam to see his partner and cry out
bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.
Let us know the love that brings us life and life abundant
So if love is how we know you, we pray to you, O God…
Overwhelm us with your love which casts our every fear.
If love is how we drive out fear, then we cry to you,
for the fear that leaves people paralyzed in their homes
for the fear in war torn communities and broken families
for the fear of losing life, the fear of rejection
for the fear that tells us we don’t belong
for the fear that makes us selfish.
Drive out our fear and make it clear that your love is stronger even than death.
So if love is how we drive out fear, we pray to you, O God…
Overwhelm us with your love which casts out every fear.
If your love is how we love others, then we ask you this day
to bless us that we might be a blessing to others,
to challenge us that we might grow deeper in your love,
to guide us as we stumble forth as your children,
to lead us as we love boldly in your holy name.
Make us into the bearers of your love.
So if your love is how we love others, we pray to you O God…
Overwhelm us with your love which casts out every fear
And cast us out into our work and into our world with the task
to be your hands, your feet, your love, your people.
We pray in the name of the Beloved who taught us to pray saying…
Submitted by Rev. Lindsay Conrad, First Presbyterian Church, Ann Arbor MI
Prayer of Confession
God of compassion and mercy, you sent us your Son as the savior of the world, and told us to love one another as much as you loved us. Yet, we struggle to love each other. We have a hard time loving those who are not like us, who disagree with us, or who ask us to face the truths about ourselves. You told us to love one another, because love is from God. And we often do not love those we think are dirty, hungry, lost, or undesirable. It is written that perfect love casts out fear, and yet we are afraid. Afraid for our safety, our wallets, and how others perceive us. Forgive us, God, and show us how to love thy way you command us to love. Release us from our judgment and our fear. Open our hearts so that they might receive your perfect love for us, and offer it to the world.
Assurance of Forgiveness
Friends, the good news is this: love is from God, and we are loved by God. God sent Christ into the world to atone for our sins, and in him we are forgiven.