Prayers of the People: A Widening Circle

Prayers of the People

Holy God,
we pray in ever-widening circles
extending the love we feel for those closest to us
out into our communities, our nation, and our whole world.

Through our prayers, stretch us
to make a place in our hearts
for those we do not know
but who are known by you.

We pray for those we know best
friends, families, neighbors, coworkers
all whose joys and troubles affect us daily:

[intercessory prayers may be lifted]

We pray for those we see but do not know
those who cross our paths
on the road, or the grocery store, or the restaurant
those who are our neighbors here in Northern KY
but whose inner lives remain a mystery to us.
We ask that your spirit dwell in our community,
turning strangers into neighbors
giving people purpose and compassion.
Help us to see past masks
to those who are hungry, scared, or lonely,
and in seeing them, love them.

We pray for those we see only in the media
brothers and sisters around the world
whose stories get sold to us as the news of the day.
Help us to see humanity behind the pixels and soundbites.
We pray especially for those caught in cycles of violence and war,
oppression and economic scarcity
persecution because of their religion, ethnicity or gender
all those who do not know what it is to be valued and cherished.
Help us to feel the ties that bind all your children together
to love as radically as you do.

We pray for those we do not see
the millions whose stories go untold
whose lives feel so far removed from our own.
We pray for your people in every place
and ask that you keep us mindful
that no one is beyond your reach.
Keep us ever hungry to know your people,
not as curiosities
but as siblings in Christ.

Expand our hearts, God
until we can hold your people inside them
all your people, all over the world,
following the example of our Lord Jesus,
who taught us 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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