a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

POP: our help in ages past

O God, you have been our help in ages past,
and you are our hope for years to come.
We give you thanks for calling us together to worship,
and for hearing us when we pray.
Before the word is on our lips, you know the desires and cries of our hearts,
your healing balm covers our hurt and your spirit of joy dances in our midst.
We celebrate together, rejoicing with those who rejoice,
for life and family, health and opportunity.
Help us to live in gratitude, recognizing all you have done for us.
And we lift up to you a world in need—
people in need of healing,
communities in need of comfort,
nations in need of guidance.
Where there is violence, give us courage to make peace.
Where there is fear, give us courage to stand with hope.
Where there is illness and disease, give us courage to reach out with healing hands.
Open our hearts, O God—break our hearts open for what breaks yours.
Pour in your hope, and then lead us into your world unafraid,
ready to stand with your people near and far,
as signs of your kingdom here on earth, among us and within us,
hope overflowing,
until all creation sings your grace.
We pray these and all things in the name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL

POP: faithful acts

It is good to give you thanks, O Lord,
and to sing praises to your name, O Most High.
We celebrate your loving-kindness to us every day
and your faithfulness night by night.
With every good gift you have given, we worship you.

You have made your people glad with your faithful acts, O Lord,
and we shout for joy at your righteous works.
Teach us to use your gifts rightly,
to do good to all people and build them up,
and to allow your beauty to flourish in this world.

We pray for the healing of those who are ill,
for the guidance of those who are strong,
for the reconciliation of those who are enemies,
and for the comfort of those who are grieving.
Let your kingdom flourish among us,
O Lord, our Rock.
We pray in Jesus’ name, saying together:

The Lord’s Prayer

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, Marion, IA

POP: let your promise be fulfilled

O God our Father,
we pray for the world you love so much.
Let all things reflect your goodness and glorify your name.
Let your promises be fulfilled,
so that all people share right relationship with you and each other.

We pray for ourselves,
and we recognize our desires for all the things we think we need.
In your wisdom and love, give us what we truly need today.
Give us the will and the opportunity to share what we have with others.
May all be fed, and filled, and healed.

We acknowledge our sin before you,
and we humbly pray for your forgiveness
and for the forgiveness of those we have wronged.
More than that, we pray for those who owe us an apology,
and we declare our intent to forgive them.

We pray for our lives,
for the life of this church,
and for the life of this world.
Let suffering cease, doubt and fear be conquered,
and guide us always in the right path.

We pray in the name of our great Teacher,
the one who gave us prayer in these words:

The Lord’s Prayer

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, Marion, IA

POP: Be Faithful

Hear, O Lord, the prayers of your people;
incline your ears to the words of our mouth.
We call out to you on account of your faithfulness,
for you are the Ancient of Days, and your word never fails.
Keep faith with those in need today,
as you have forever before,
so we might sing your praises for generations to come.
Be faithful to the young, who are just learning the ways of the world.
Be faithful to those who are older,
and especially to those who struggle with disease of body or mind.
Be faithful to those who are poor, injured, grieving, or under threat;
that your wholeness, your peace, and your joy may be restored.
We put our trust in you,
remembering your gracious works
made real for us in Jesus Christ, in whom we pray:

The Lord’s Prayer

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, Marion, IA

POP–your mercy endures forever

Prayers of the People (based on Psalm 118:14-27)

Lord of life, God of empty tombs, we praise you this Easter day.

You, O Lord, are our strength and our song,

for you have become our salvation!

We give thanks to you, and

We pray to you, O Lord, for you are good;

your mercy endures forever.

 

We sing with exultation, for you are victorious over death itself,

and so we entrust to you all who have died,

and we put our hope in Christ’s resurrection.

Hold us in our grief, and claim your people for life.

We pray to you, O Lord, for you are good;

your mercy endures forever.

 

We give you our thanks, O Lord,

for you have opened the gates of righteousness.

You have freed us from all fear and worry,

that we might serve you by serving our neighbor in your name.

Teach us your will and lead us in your ways.

We pray to you, O Lord, for you are good;

your mercy endures forever.

 

We proclaim your salvation,

the gift of wholeness

in our relationships, our bodies, and our souls.

We continue to seek your redemption

for the broken and rejected parts of our lives.

Work your healing for all we have lifted up,

and build us up once more in your marvelous love.

We pray to you, O Lord, for you are good;

your mercy endures forever.

 

We rejoice in the gift of this day,

the day of your triumph,

and we give thanks for all those through the years

who have proclaimed the good news of your salvation.

Unite us with each other,

and with your people in Christ throughout the world,

that we might bear witness to your grace.

We pray to you, O Lord, for you are good;

your mercy endures forever.

 

Your mercy is eternal, O Lord,

and we give you thanks, now and always,

in the name of the risen Christ,

who taught us to pray, saying:

The Lord’s Prayer

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams,  Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, Cedar Rapids, IA

POP–we bless you

Prayers of the People (based on Psalm 66:8-20)

We bless you, O God, 

for you hold our souls in life 

and will not allow us to stumble or fall. 

 

We pray for those whose faith is being tested, 

who are ensnared in the troubles of life, 

or who are burdened with injustice or fear. 

We pray to you, O Lord, for you are good; 

your mercy endures forever. 

 

We pray for all who watch chaos swirl around them: 

refugees, victims of war or natural disaster, and those in poverty. 

We pray to you, O Lord, for you are good; 

your mercy endures forever. 

 

We pray for those who seek spiritual peace, 

who long to hear the promise of your love made real; 

we pray that we might have the courage to speak your word. 

We pray to you, O Lord, for you are good; 

your mercy endures forever. 

 

We pray for those who cry out due to pain, illness, or grief. 

Pour out your healing, so that everyone might tell of your goodness. 

We pray to you, O Lord, for you are good; 

your mercy endures forever. 

 

We pray for those who seek forgiveness, 

and for those who might extend the hand of reconciliation. 

We pray to you, O Lord, for you are good; 

your mercy endures forever. 

 

Blessed be God, for you hear our prayers, 

even as we pray together as Jesus taught, saying:

The Lord’s Prayer

 

 

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams,  Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, Cedar Rapids, IA

Prayers of the People: Christmas Eve

God of our Salvation,
we come to you on this wondrous night to gather in praise,
to lift up your name with friend, family, and stranger.
In the beginning, your creative work began with a word,
and tonight, your creation continues with the Word made flesh.
On this holiest of nights, we join the everlasting chorus saying:
    Glory to God on highest!  Great is your name in all the earth!

Like Mary, we ponder these things in our hearts,
and wonder how you could love us so much
as to actually become one of us, one with us.
We remember these stories this evening
that remind us of your steadfast love,
that affirm that you have never, and will never, give up on your children.
    Thank you for your steadfast presence in our lives!

And yet, even on this night on which we celebrate the fulfillment of love,
we recognize that there are many who are still waiting for fulfillment:
the fulfillment of adequate food and shelter…
the fulfillment of peace and the end of violence…
the fulfillment of reprieve from the fierce grip of grief…
the fulfillment of a restoration of a broken relationship…
the fulfillment of a renewing of heart, mind, or body…
the fulfillment of healing from a chronic illness…
the fulfillment of an end to substance abuse…
Giving God,
        give us the courage to do your work in the world
and to share the peace coming to us in the manger this evening.

We pray this night especially for those who have traveled to be here…
for those who have lost loved ones in the past year…
for those who struggle with mental illness…
for those who fight alcoholism’s onslaught…
for those who will be traveling in the coming days and weeks…
for those who work on Christmas:
especially medical workers, police, and emergency personnel…
for those who cannot make it home for Christmas…
hear us we pray, O God,
    Restore us and make your face to shine that we might be saved.

In all that we do and in all that we are,
send your Spirit to send us forward with the majesty of this night
and to share the grace we find with everyone we encounter.
This we pray in the name of your Son, who taught us to pray saying:

    Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.  Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

POP: restore and magnify

Let us pray to the Lord our God saying:
“Restore us, O God, and make your face to shine upon us that we might be saved.”:

Our souls magnify you, O Lord, and our Spirits rejoice in you, our Savior!
For you have looked upon the lowliness of your servants,
you have heard our cry and saved your people.
We shall be called blessed because we are called by you to be a blessing to others.
Your mercy is from generation to generation.
Your mercy called Adam and Eve into being.
Your mercy kept vengeance from taking Cain’s life.
Your mercy saved Noah and his family from the flood.
Your mercy caused Sarah’s womb to be fruitful.
Your mercy gave Joseph’s dreams the power to save a nation.
Your mercy heard the Israelites’ cry and called Moses to action.
Your mercy charged Mary with the most special of tasks.
Your mercy strengthened Joseph to care for her.
Your mercy creates Jesus, who has come to save us.
We give you thanks for your mercy; may it continue to shine upon us!

Restore us, O God, and make your face to shine upon us that we might be saved.

We remember this day those upon our hearts that crave your shining face,
who long for the light, who need your power to drive out the darkness:
for those who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses,
for those who cannot bring themselves to forgive others,
for those who cannot forgive themselves,
for those who seek refuge, but have been denied shelter,
for those who seek shelter, but have been denied a home,
for those who have lost loved ones in the past year,
for those who have lost physical and mental abilities,
for those who care for aging spouses and loved ones,
for those who have been living with cancer and other debilitating illnesses.

Restore us, O God, and make your face to shine upon us that we might be saved.

We ask that you would strengthen us as a congregation:
as we seek to be the best stewards of the money with which we’ve been blessed,
as we struggle with the financial burden of an aging building,
as we search for the truth of your word and do our best to live it out in our lives,
as we hold in tension that which we have been with that which you call us to be,
as we serve one another and those with whom you called us into fellowship,
as we continue to grow together as a congregation in a period of transition,
as we wait, watch, and wonder in preparation of the coming of your Son.

Restore us, O God, and make your face to shine upon us that we might be saved.

Gracious God,
as we finish this advent journey,
may we wait with Mary’s joyful anticipation
as we prepare to welcome your Son, our Savior,
into this broken world in need of his redeeming.
Gather us, guide us, and keep us as your people.
Send us into the world that Christ’s hands might be our own,
and his mind one with ours in all that you would have us do.

Restore us, O God, and make your face to shine upon us that we might be saved.  Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

POP: highest joy

God of our Highest Joy,
we come to you this day as your servants,
gathered to worship you and you alone.
As we continue this Advent journey,
help us to focus on you and the coming of your son, Jesus.
Amidst the commercials, the cooking, and the company,
help us to remember the true meaning of this season:
that you would come to us in the flesh and forever live among us.

Even as we share the joy we find in you with one another,
we are mindful of those for whom joy is hard to find,
for those who don’t have enough clothes,
for those who don’t have enough food,
for those who don’t have enough (or any) shelter,
for those who don’t have enough protection and justice.
We confess that there really is “enough” for everyone,
but it is our fault that the “enough” is hoarded by few at the expense of many.
Help us to bear the good fruit that the Baptist called us to bear,
being mindful of those around us without during this season of giving.

We pray this day for those longing for spiritual renewal.
We would ask that your Holy Spirit invigorate us
that we may provide for others first
before expecting them to provide for us.
Come to this place and encourage us to do the work
to which we were baptized.
Help us to proclaim the Good News in word and in deed.

We pray this day for the hope we have found,
the peace we seek,
and the joy we will receive in your Holy name.
May we bring hope to the hopeless,
peace to the restless,
and joy to those who crave it.
We pray this day, either out loud or in our hearts, for those dear to us…

Gracious God, may the joy we find not be a commodity to be hoarded
but a gift to be shared with one another.
We thank you for your presence among us,
your creation around us,
and your providence within us,
as we continue this blessed journey.  Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

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.