Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pastoral Prayers for and from Hopeful Samaritans

Pastoral Prayer // Luke 10 // Parable of the Good Samaritan

God of love and grace, we give you thanks on this day for the opportunity we have to gather as a people called your church. We give you thanks for the ways in which you continue to provide for us as a community of faith. We give you thanks for the generosity of this congregation that continues to invest time, money, resources, and abilities so we can be the people you have called us to be. Yet we ask that you would remind us over and again that we are not only called and set apart by you. Instead, in and through Jesus and the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, we are sent out from this place to love our neighbors as ourselves. Even more, we have even been reminded in recent days that we are to consider the needs and concerns of others greater than our own (Philippians 2:1-4).

God of the incarnation, in and through Jesus, you neighbored among us. As we continue to wrestle through budgets and contemplate visions for this community, help us to be faithful stewards of all that we have and all that we are so we can be neighbors to others. Still more, when we are tempted to ignore, distracted by hurry, or overly concerned about reputations or limitations, remind us of the sacred and sending waters of our baptisms and the sacred and sending elements of your table. Then stir within us fresh ideas for extending generosity, hospitality, compassion, and concern to those not only in places safe distances away, but also to those just down the road, in our neighborhoods, sitting in our school cafeterias, on the streets of local boroughs, and our places of work. May we even be neighbors by extending invitations to join in the work of this community as we live into your dreams for the world.

God of compassion, we especially lift up to you today neighbors in need, both near and far. We lift up to you our neighbors in Central America, especially new and old friends in Honduras, as they continue to battle extreme rains and flooding. We ask that you would use the churches in these places to be strength and courage to their neighbors. We also lift up to you our Christian neighbors around the globe who continue to pursue discipleship despite intense persecution, some whose lives are jeopardized because of their commitment to the good news of the gospel. We lift up to you Iranian Christians and a pastor there recently sentenced to death because of his faith and witness. We also lift up to you all our neighbors in need of employment, those who continue to suffer due to a strained economy, and this month we intercede on behalf of those who suffer as a result of domestic violence. May we be a people who walk beside victims, share our resources, offer our networks, lift our voices, and embody our concerns for peace and justice. Finally, we lift up to you those in this congregation in need of your presence and care...

Holy Spirit, we invite you to dwell among all of us, as individuals and a community. Occupy our hearts and minds so we, as in-Christ citizens of the kingdom of God, may occupy our communities in anticipation of the day when it will be on earth as it already is in heaven. Until that day, form and send us by the prayer you taught us as we say together...