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I’ve had multiple requests for the prayer from last Sunday, which was for elected officials at all levels of government.
O, God, we pray today for those who lead us in our community, in our nation, and in our world. Give to each one renewed energy for their lives and for their tasks of leadership. On this day may they find their bodies rested and their spirits restored. Give to each a new understanding of their position. May they see new possibilities for policy making and new possibilities of good for the people they serve. Reveal to all elected officials a common purpose that benefits all.
We pray that Christ’s heart would be expressed in both the way they do their jobs and in the outcome of their efforts. Banish pride from each life and remove vanity from all hearts so that their only desire is to serve the citizens they represent. Lead them even to sacrifice if necessary in order that they might perform their duties without regard for themselves or reelection. Banish personal ambition from each life and remove vanity from all hearts so that their only desire is to serve the citizens they represent.
And make us citizens that are worthy of our Constitution, worthy of our Bill of Rights, worthy of our liberty, and worthy of great leaders. For we know that if you grant our petitons, then we shall have the nation we desire.
In the name of Christ, our Lord, Amen.
I’ve had multiple requests for this prayer, which I’ve taken the liberty to edit.
Lord, when you said “I was a stranger and you took me in,” we had no idea how many of you there would be. We had no idea that you would fill cars and trains. We had no idea you would appear as people at the borders looking for admission, hoping for help. We expected you to look like us, not that you would practice a different religion. We had no idea that you would bear the name refugee.
We pray today for refugees around the world who are strangers. Those who have come to a place where they don’t know the language, don’t know the customs, don’t know a way in, and have no network of help. We pray that you would use your people to welcome you as the stranger. May each refugee who knocks at the door find hospitality, opening to welcome them. May each find that a reception so gracious that recognize the gospel and hope. We pray that each one would come to know Jesus.
Remind us that the hope of the world is Jesus and remind us that His kingdom will never end and that His purposes will never be thwarted. Remind us that no enemy shall ever thwart what he wants done and no sheep of His fold will be lost. We place not our confidence in ourselves or in our abilities or in our wealth, but solely in your power. May the things we have, the things that we care about, the things we do, find themselves a part of what you are doing in the world today. In the name of Christ we pray. Amen.
A few months ago I visited a woman who is dying. Her TV was on and a new anchor was listing a series of headlines that challenge a Christian’s sensibilities. As I left, she asked me to pray for the world, saying she was afraid, not to die, but for the direction of events in the world.
Dear God, what is happening in this world? The moorings seem pulled loose. The foundations are shaken. Virtues are criticized and things once done in hiding are now paraded in public and glorified. We confess that we are afraid – afraid of the changes we see and afraid of changes which are yet to come. We are afraid for our children and for our grandchildren who will live in this world long after we are gone. We pray that they will have faith and not be swept away in a secular tide which no longer washes against your Holy shore.
And, yet, you are God. You are your Rock and Salvation. The sun rose in the sky today and the moon will shine tonight only because you allow it. Remind us that past generations have also feared, but You have seen them through and faith in Christ is still found on the earth. Help us to see where in this world your Kingdom thrives and lead us to go there and join our efforts with those are faithful still.
Give us faith to move mountains and set before us the mountains you want moved. Give us faith to bring justice and faith to live righteously. May our speech always be shaped by Your grace, even when our fear expresses itself as anger. Make our hearts pure, no matter what the challenge of the day might be.
May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Through Christ our Lord………
Many part of the nation are in serious drought. Here is a prayer for rain.
Lord, we confess we do not always understand your ways or your methods of dealing with your children. We do not always see the lessons you would teach us from the events of this life, nor do we claim enough wisdom to understand your will. We would never presume to instruct you on what is right or what is good.
Yet, we cannot help but to ask for rain. The earth, which cries out for your redemption, also cries out in thirst to restore its parched soil. Those whose livelihoods depend upon the land call for your mercy. Those who will go hungry without water for their crops look to you for a demonstration of your compassion. Cities are in need. Hear the prayers of these people, and send the showers we need.
O God, may we never take for granted the basic needs of life. May we always remember the fragile nature of life and how dependent we are on your grace each and every day.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord…..
This was the post most often read on this site in 2017. I’ve updated it slightly due to it’s popularity. I hope it is a help to those who read it.
I inherited a tradition at First Baptist, Rome that recognized recently deceased church members each year on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. A couple of years prior to my retirement, Keith Reaves, our Minister of Worship, began to make the case that the Christian Year already had a Sunday designated for the observations: All Saints Sunday. We already observe, what I call, “a modified Christian year,” including Advent, Lent, Holy Week, and Pentecost. Adding All Saints Sunday would allow us another point of contact with Christians around the world who also honor sisters and brothers in Christ who have died.
As a life-long Baptist I had never participated in an All Saints worship service. I had a general awareness of the day, but knew I needed a more complete understanding if I was to lead in worship that day.
Quickly I discovered the difference between All Saints and All Souls Days. All Saints honors those who have died in Christ. All Souls is more of a Roman Catholic emphasis and focuses on concern for those in purgatory, awaiting full status in heaven. All Saints Day is actually November 1, no matter what day of the week on which it may fall. Since many protestant and other mainstream churches like ours do not worship on weekdays, we followed the practice of using the first Sunday in November as “All Saints Sunday.”
From my role as worship leader, the most significant responsibility I felt was how to design a morning prayer which was pastoral in spirit and theologically sound. Across the years I’ve heard people pray aloud for and to deceased relatives ( I found the later quite disturbing). The easiest solution would simply be to correct people and remind them we pray to God and that, without a purgatory in our theology, there is nothing we can intercede for on behalf of the dead. But…. such an approach is not very pastoral and does little to address the deep human need that expresses itself in such prayers.
I’ve heard prayers of thanksgiving for deceased loved ones – thanks that is completely third person and prayers that call for God to remind the deceased that they are loved and missed. I’ve heard prayers requesting that the family on earth would not be forgotten. Children ask God to “bless” deceased parents and siblings with the same language they use for living family members. I imagine parents who have lost children privately ask the same.
I performed some internet searches in order to gain a theological perspective. Clearly, opinions fall into two camps: Roman Catholics\Mormons (who pray for the dead) versus protestants and most other Christians (who don’t).
I do not have a complete theology for an All Saints Sunday that incudes prayer for the dead, but, as a pastor, I tried to address the human-need side honestly, while addressing theological concerns soundly. Here is the pastoral prayer I offered during my first observance of All Saints Sunday. I hope it is helpful to any who express grief and hope by praying for deceased loved ones:
O, God, you know our rising up and our sitting down. You are acquainted with all our ways. We do not need to tell you that we fail daily, yet we acknowledge that each new days finds our commitments weakened and our will to do what is right has diminished during the night. We trust in your grace to sustain and forgive us even though we confess the same sin for the hundredth time. Forgive us still.
And may your grace take root in us in such a way that we are ready to forgive sins that have been commuted repeatedly against us. Even if family members take us for granted again in a way that pierces our hearts, even if co-workers or fellow students disrespect our abilities or our contributions again, may we forgive them as often as you forgive us.
We acknowledge before you now what price it cost you to forgive us so often, for we know how dearly our hearts pay to forgive the repeated sins of others. Change us. Change our hearts and our minds so that we no longer see forgiving others as out loss — but as our gain. Help us to see what you have meant forgiveness to be — freedom from past hurts, a path to a new day and a new relationship with others, an unexpected way to receive blessing beyond measure from your very hand.
Forgive us and we commit anew to forgive those who have sinned against us.
In Christ’s name
O God, too near to be found, too simple to be conceived, too good to be believed; help us to trust, not in our knowledge of Thee, but in Thy knowledge of us; to be certain of Thee, not because we feel our thoughts of Thee are true, but because we know how far Thou dost transcend them. May we not be anxious to discern Thy will, but content only with desire to do it; may we not strain our minds to understand Thy nature, but yield ourselves and live our lives only to express Thee.
Show us how foolish it is to doubt Thee, since Thou thyself dost set questions which disturb us; reveal our unbelief to the faith, fretting at its outward form. Be gracious when we are tempted to cease from moral strife: reveal what it is that struggles in us. Before we tire of mental search enable us to see that it was not ourselves, but Thy call which stirred our souls.
Turn us back from our voyages of thoughts to that which sent us forth. Teach us to trust not in cleverness or learning, but to that inward faith which can never be denied. Lead us out of confusion to simplicity; call us back from wondering without to find Thee at home within. Amen.
Dear God, Be patient with our ingratitude. Be patient and forgive our failure to recognize all the things we have that are ours through no effort of our own. Thank you for being born in a time when plenty is all around us, education is possible, and medicine advanced. Thank you that we have been born in a country with opportunity and into families that invest in our futures. Thank you for minds that function well and abilities that help us make the most from life. Forgive us for the time we have thought ourselves self-made and remind us of all your gifts.
Forgive us as well for all our tendencies toward self-righteousness, which are not only false, but also rob Jesus of the thanksgiving due him for giving his life to save us from our sins.
Teach us this day that a little more of the things that have not satisfied at all will not satisfy us greatly.
Though is be late, long after a blessing is ours, or little in comparison to what we have received, or shortened by the distractions of the world, accept our thanks for our lives and for your grace.
Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord….
O, God, our Father, our souls are made weary by the sight of hunger and want in nakedness; of little children bearing on their bent backs the burden of the world’s work; of motherhood drawn under the grinding wheels of modern industry; and overburdened manhood, with empty hands, stumbling and falling.
Help us to understand that it is not Thy purpose to do away with life’s struggle, but that thou desirest us to make the conditions of that struggle just and its results fair.
Enable us to know that we may bring this to pass only through love and sympathy and understanding; only as we realize that all are alike Thy children – the rich and the poor, the strong in the week, the fortunate in the unfortunate. And so, our Father, give us an ever truer sense of human sisterhood; that with patience and steadfastness we may do our part in ending the injustice that is in the land, so that all may rejoice in the fruits of their toil and be glad in thy sunshine.
Keep us in hope and courage even amid the vastness of the undertaking in the slowness of the progress, and sustain us with the knowledge that our times are in Thy hand. Amen.
Helen Ring Robinson
I had several comments on this prayer, so here it is:
Save us, Father, from the place we have come to in our lives. We look around and know this is not where you meant us to be. But how can we return unless you reach out and draw us close by the power of your strong arm? We confess that we never intended for one day’s anger to develop into a lifetime of hate. We never intended for for one day’s resentment to turn into envy as a way of life. But, here we are, Father. Far from people we love, far from being the kind of individuals we hoped to be. Far from You.
Rescue us today. Place an irresistible moment in our lives so that we can no longer continue on the paths of our own choosing. Call to us today with an undeniable voice that bids us to turn and be healed.
My this day not end until we have responded to your call. May the sun not set this very evening without us finding ourselves at home again – at rest in your shadow – at peace in your everlasting arms.
In the name of the Great Shepherd we pray, even Jesus Christ our Lord.