Sunday Prayers

Old First Reformed Church, Brooklyn, New York
Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost

Prayers of Intercession

God, what are we doing? What have we done? And are you even there? We come before you this morning confused, weary, and worried but also hopeful, questioning, and thankful that you let us ask the big questions. God, meet us here.

Lord, in your mercy— Hear our prayers.

God, if the peacemakers are the ones who are going to get the blessings, then is humanity in big trouble? We trust in the knowledge that you are sovereign over all nations and peoples, so we pray for this warring world and for all those who suffer as a result of our propensity toward hatred and violence. Plant daily in our hearts the seed of divine love for our neighbors, for our enemies, and help us know how to grow those seeds. We pray especially for Jerusalem, the city over which both Jeremiah and Jesus wept and which centuries later still is torn apart. We pray for Syria and Iraq and Yemen, all three Biblical lands whose long histories reflect the continued failures of humanity to be consistent peacemakers. We pray for the refugees who flee these countries and for the nations that host them, especially those who do so quietly and largely unnoticed—for Turkey and Jordan and Lebanon. We pray for the sweep of justice to pave the way for peace all over the world, including in these United States. We pray for this damaged planet and for our unrepentant use of the natural resources you have given us. Teach us to be wiser stewards. Teach us to be healers. Teach us to be loving servants.

Lord, in your mercy— Hear our prayers.

God, did you think this is what church would look like when you set it all into motion?  We trust in the faith that you came down to us and remains among us, so we pray for the universal church and for our Reformed Church in America, especially as it wrestles with controversial questions about gender and sexuality. We pray for this congregation, for our pastor Daniel, our elders and deacons, our various committees, our Sunday school teachers, our staff, our volunteers, our children. Give us open hearts. Equip us with courage and ambition to find new ways to proclaim the Gospel through our love and through our actions. Bolster our faith but also stretch our souls and minds with big and important questions. We pray for LEAD, our mission partner in Liberia, and for all others who work daily to live out good news. Grant us compassion for one another and make us good companions to each other. We pray especially for the needs of this congregation, both spoken and unspoken. We ask your help for _____________ as well as for all others whose names are on our hearts and minds this morning.

Lord, in your mercy— Hear our prayers.

God, do you understand what it’s like to be amateurs at faith? We trust in the confidence that you write our roadmaps, though, so we pray for the fears that so many of us have about the future. For some of us, it’s the oppression of Monday, when we return to our weekly work. For others, it’s big worries about how to pay the bills or about what next month or next year is going to look like. For some of us, it is social insecurities and relational anxieties—with friends, with family, with the children we are trying to raise without inflicting too much damage, with our failures in fidelity and trust, both being trusted and trusting others. For others, it’s figuring out how to manage life when we’re somehow trying to drag the heavy baggage of the past into an uncertain future. God, carry this baggage for us. Inspire in us trust for your handiwork and confidence in your long-term plans. Move us out of inertia and into action—prayer, and putting one step before the other, and reaching out. Give us friendships and relationships that point us in the direction of healing, of wholeness, of grace. Help us not to be afraid. Remind us in every moment of doubt and confusion that one of your names is Jehovah-Shammah—the Lord is there. We are thankful that you are there, God, and we are thankful that you encourage us lovingly to hand over all these cares to you.

In the name of the Christ whose life, death, and resurrection embodied that love perfectly— Amen.

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