Again we come to your throne of grace, gracious Lord, recognizing that your presence is everywhere. This morning we bow before you in humble recognition of your power, your glory, and your everlasting love.
Be with us throughout this day. Make it truly a day of rest and worship. Help us to fully be engaged with pleasing you with our praise, our prayers and our service in your name.
Help us to intentionally seek out your presence in all we meet today, but especially in the face of the stranger, the homeless, the sick, and those trapped in destructive lifestyles. Help us to reflect your grace to those in need of a friend, a kind word, or even just a reassuring smile.
And with each person we meet today, help us remember to give you thanks for another opportunity to demonstrate the love, mercy and grace you have first shown us. Amen
“How can we worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore one on Monday?” — Shane Claiborne
Claiborne poses a really good question, doesn’t he? On Sunday morning we praise the name of Jesus. We glorify Him. We exalt Him. We openly declare our love for Him and call ourselves His followers, His disciples.
Yet, on Monday morning, on our way to work, we quickly take another sip of our Starbucks double-expresso latte as we avert our eyes from the raggedly dressed man holding the crudely lettered “WILL WORK FOR FOOD” cardboard sign. We struggle not to let him make eye contact.
The man is filthy. He smells. We can tell that even in the confines of our well -heated car.
Only yesterday we claimed we would follow this man to the cross. Today we shudder at the thought of having to look at him. Talking to him is out of the question.
Good questions call for good answers. What’s the good answer to Shane’s question?
“How can we worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore one on Monday?”
Most gracious and loving Creator, how thankful we are this day for all your blessings. We confess that far too often we live in a way that doesn’t demonstrate our gratitude for your goodness and your mercy. We are not as good stewards of your perfectly created world as we would like to be. We are wasteful of the gifts you have given us and take the beauty that surrounds us for granted. Forgive us.
Help us to be better stewards of all you have entrusted into our care. Grant us the insight to understand how closely we are connected to each other and all living things, and then grant us the wisdom and the grace necessary to live accordingly. Help us to walk more lightly on the earth that sustains us, and help us to share the abundant resources to have given us with all those most in need. And in all our endeavors, both great and small, grant that all we do brings you both glory and praise. Amen
We love you this morning. And we come before you with praise and thanksgiving for all the mercy and love you have poured out upon us. Your grace is beyond comprehension, and daily sustains us.
Help us this morning to open ourselves more fully to all you have for us. Help us to joyfully share the good news of your love with those around us. Grant us more compassion. Empower each of us through your Holy Spirit to reach out to a poor and starving world, that your grace and mercy might truly reach all in need.
Allow our hearts to be softened by the tears of the poor and hungry that our response might more clearly reflect the love and compassion of the Christ. And in everything that we undertake, may it move our world closer to the kingdom where your justice reigns for all. Amen
O Lord, We know that you are the great Creator, and that everything lovely and beautiful in this world has come from you. We praise your mighty name for the amazing works you have done on behalf. We come humbly to you, Father, and ask your forgiveness for our having spoiled the beauty and purity of your creation. For we know that our sins, and ours alone, have polluted and corrupted you world. Help us to repent of our sinful ways and to work to restore your world to its original glory. And yet, let us never worship your creation, but only you, the marvelous Creator and genius of the universe. Amen
[taken from for they shall be fed, edited by Ronald J. Sider]
Gracious and most compassionate Creator, we come to you this morning looking back at the year we are completing even as we are straining forward toward the year to come. We recognize that we have been richly blessed this year. We have been given so much. Your grace and goodness toward us is far greater than we can comprehend.
We offer our humble thanksgiving for all the gifts we have received this past year. And at the same time, we ask your forgiveness for our stubborn and willful disobedience to your perfect will for our lives. Forgive us for every missed opportunity to share your love and grace with those most in need.
As we look forward to 2015 we would pray that we might be fully open to your Holy Spirit. Lead us, guide us toward new avenues of service. Empower each us us through your Spirit to reach out to the poor, the hungry, and the powerless in your name. Help us to be givers of your grace and mercy in every situation, and especially help us to be peacemakers in times of confusion and conflict. Let us never cease striving for justice.
Let your love and compassion for those most in need be reflected in our every action, and not just in our words. And in all things help us remember that we can truly do all things through your power. Help us be unafraid to face this new year with a spirit of love and power as we continue to praise you through our every thought, word and deed.
Gracious and loving God, we come before you this beautiful day with thanks for all that have given us. We are humbled in recognition of a love greater than we can ever comprehend, and we offer you our worship and our praise for a perfect creation and the unending grace which sustains it.
Grant us, we pray, the desire to be good stewards of this planet. Help us to be better caretakers of all you have created and so freely given to sustain us. Help us protect our planet as a precious gift given to all generations. Give us the courage to stand against the greed and short-sightedness of all corporations and governments that seek only to plunder and pillage the earth’s resources.
And as we begin to celebrate this special season of Advent, help us to remember who we are celebrating and why this is such a joyous time of the year. Help us to reflect the love of Christ in all we do, but most especially in our gift giving. Help us to gift all those most in need, and not just our family, friends and loved ones. Let us actively seek to change our consumptive patterns of behavior, putting more emphasis on real and loving relationships rather than material stuff we do not need.
May we be especially aware of our poor and homeless brothers and sisters during this colder season. Help us to do all we are able to provide food and shelter during the coming months to those without the warmth of homes and families. And may we always be striving to correct the injustices that allow such miseries to exist in a perfectly created world.
Thank you, Lord for this season now upon us. Help us to prepare our hearts to once again welcome your birth.
Great and gracious Creator, we take time this morning to offer you our praise and thanks for a night of rest and yet another beautiful day filled with your grace and beauty. Your abiding presence in our lives brings a peace that passes all understanding, and we begin the day knowing we have nothing to fear. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from your eternal love.
Grant us your mercy today. Grant us your wisdom today. Grant us the ability and the desire to walk humbly with you, extending a healing touch to all those we meet. Grant us the strength to bring a word of peace and reconciliation to every person we encounter today.
And Master, please empower each of us today with your Holy Spirit. Grant us a vision of your kingdom, and then guide us in the most positive ways to use the power we have been given to transform the world into your kingdom, a kingdom where justice reigns for all.
Grant that we might make friends with those most in need of your love and provision, and may we see you in the face of every hungry person we meet. Amen and Amen