Prayers of the People: Stubborn Joy

Holy God,
We come before you this morning, 
With hearts that are heavy with worry,
But also stubbornly joyful,
Carrying sparks of your joy
That refuse to be put out. 
We dare to pray 
Not just for things to be okay,
Not just for things to be a little better,
But for joy,
Pure joy
For your people. 

We pray for your church,
That it might serve as a place of safety 
Foster loving relationships
And be your pride and joy on earth. 

God of joy,
hear our prayers.

We pray for the nations,
That screams of anger
Or suffering
Might turn to laughter
That neighbors would plan parties,
Not attack strategies,
That leaders would find delight
Not in power or wealth
But in the well-being of their citizens.

God of joy,
hear our prayers.

We pray for our communities
For children eagerly awaiting Christmas
For exhausted parents,
For those worrying how to make ends meet,
And those swamped by a tidal wave of stuff,
For the unemployed and underemployed,
For the grieving, the lonely, the afraid,
For those who struggle with physical, mental, and spiritual health
For all these we ask your deep joy,
And that you might show us the way
To spread your joy here. 

God of joy,
hear our prayers.

We pray for those who lie close to our hearts:

[prayers of the congregation may be spoken here]

God of joy,
hear our prayers.

And we are even so bold
To pray for ourselves
That we might know your joy
Even now, 
Even today
That we might not take ourselves too seriously
And not be overwhelmed by work to do
That we might give ourselves time to play
And enjoy the fact
That the God of the universe
Chooses us for children. 

God of joy,
hear our prayers.

And now we pray as Jesus taught us, saying, 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. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

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