Prayers of the People: Joys and Sorrows All Mixed Up

Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer God,

We come before you this morning with full hearts, with joys and sorrows all mixed up together. We rejoice in the beauty and miracle and majesty of creation. We rejoice that our children can go to school, and we rejoice in the teachers who give their time and energy to serve them. We rejoice in this community of faith, in the love we have for one another, in the service we provide to our neighbors, in the faith we express in you, God. 

Alongside all this rejoicing God, we grieve too. We lift up in prayer those for whom this week has brought not blessing but curse: those who have been ridiculed, hurt, lost, or lonely. We pray for the victims of natural disaster, and famine, and war, and violence. We pray for those whose work brings them into harm’s way—police officers, firefighters, medical personnel, soldiers, mediators, activists. We pray for those who seek peace in the face of overwhelming hate. And we pray for those who need our love the most, and ask you bring us to them.

We are grateful for the privileges we have in this country, God—for the freedom to vote and worship, for access to education and medical care. Help us to remember that a privilege is not a blessing until it is shared, and help us to bless our country. We pray for those around the world who live under persecution from their governments, who suffer from limited resources and blatant corruption. Give us eyes to see beyond mere statistics to our real human sisters and brothers who need our compassion.

We pray for those who are sick today, who need your healing touch. We pray especially for those suffering illnesses the world would often rather not acknowledge—for those whose mental illnesses bring stigma and shame from their community rather than support and healing. We rejoice in the work of doctors, nurses, therapists, researchers, technicians, and all others in the medical profession who seek to bring health and comfort to those in any kind of pain.

Risen Lord, we remember with joy and with sorrow those who have died. We admit freely that we grieve, missing those whom we loved, wanting their presence in our lives. Yet we also confess that we rejoice, knowing that they are with you, grateful for their example in our lives. We remember the string of witnesses who have brought us to this place, men and women through the ages who have served you and built up your church. We rejoice that one day we shall join them in forever singing to the glory of your saving name.

We pray especially this day for…

[prayers of the congregation may be spoken here]

We bring these and all other prayers in our hearts to you, O God, giving infinite thanks for the gift of prayer, for the fact that you listen when we cry and when we sing, that you abide with us every day of our lives. We give thanks for the simple prayer that Jesus taught us, and we pray it now, joining our voices with the millions of Christians throughout time who have known it by heart. 

And so let us say together the words Jesus taught his disciples to pray, 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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