Prayers of the People prayed at Davidson College Presbyterian Church; Davidson, NC, September 2016.
O Lord, on this day we give thanks for the love you pour into creation again and again, yet we are still aware of the ways your world thirsts for peace.
We lift these prayers to you in a world that seems so full of violence. Violent actions and violent words seem to reach us through every newscast, showing us the fear and anger that make us forget you created us to love. For those who have been displaced from their homes and must seek refuge in far away places, we pray they are met with hospitality. For those who find themselves in a familiar place but still without shelter, we pray also your protection. Across the world, as people experience discrimination that is sometimes even life-threatening, open our hearts and minds to truly listen, even when it leads to asking hard questions.
Lord God, you have created such abundant life, but when our world feels more like a desert, we pray to you:
Lord, in this season of decision making, we pray that you will guide the hearts and minds of those who lead our towns, our state, and our country. May they lead with wisdom, integrity, and openness, whether they are finishing terms of service or about to begin them. You call us to be in community, O God, but not the kind of community where we only sit down with people who are just like us. As election day draws nearer and nearer and debates escalate our tv screens and social media newsfeeds, may we remember that there is more to each human being than any one headline or issue or vote.
Lord God, when our communities are more splintered than the cracks in a dried up riverbed, we pray to you:
And Lord, help us to remember that even in the midst of our uncertainty, you hear our prayers. When peace does not come easily or quickly, give people of faith across the world the courage to keep praying anyway. Help us make space for prayers of sorrow in addition to our thanksgiving. May we pray our questions as much as we pray our certainties.
Lord God, when our own hearts are parched and yearning to be heard, we pray to you:
God, hear us today as we join together in the words your son taught us, praying: 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. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
*For these congregational responses, we sang “Rain Down,” a short refrain written by Jaime Cortez and included in Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal (number 48, to be exact).