Prayers for Lent 1, 22 February 2015

Return to God with all your heart, the source of grace and mercy; come seek the tender faithfulness of God. 

(You may wish to click here for the link to this song and listen/sing it before, or after you pray)

Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart…. Return to the Lord your God for God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (Joel 2: 12-13)

In love, dear God, you have given us the gift of being with you, talking to you, and listening to you through prayer. Help us grow in our gratitude and our use of this amazing gift, so that our spirits become deeper, stronger, and more in tune with your hopes and dreams for our world. Thank you for the prayer Jesus taught us, for everything essential to life that is in the Lord’s Prayer: for the joy of knowing you as “Abba,” Father, Mother, intimate parent who gives us life; for the reminder all of creation is holy because you have made it so; we do so pray that it is your gracious and tender desires that come to fruition on this earth --- in the places of war and conflict, of terror and disaster, in lives torn apart by cancer and other horrid diseases and by violence, prejudice, and even this awful cold people are suffering around the country. Protect and heal, guide and guard all people, Lord Jesus, even as you take them into your care. On this day we especially lift up the people of Ukraine, and ask for your peace to take hold between Russia and Ukraine, and for the people of Argentina who are begging for justice, again, and our hearts go out to all who are in the path of ISIS, and all who grieve for the victims of this latest act of terror.

The gifts of your kingdom are not only for another world, but for this one, and so we dare to pray for peace and justice, for freedom from hate and meanness, for equity and the basics of daily life – for daily bread – shared rightly among all people. Give us vision to see beyond what is – just is -- to your horizon of freedom.

On this day of celebrating the vision and activity -- the mission of God’s Grace Community Church, we give you thanks for all you’ve given us in and through our life together. For our guides, Claudia, Vikki, and Pastor Dave, we feel deep gratitude! We are so very blessed! For all of the ways you work in and through them, to keep our eyes on you and our spirits deeply rooted in Christ, thank you. Give them strength, Lord. We know their work is hard. But you are faithful and you will hold them in love.

We are grateful, too, for each other, for our friendships and the encouragement that passes among us, to keep on keeping on. You have blessed us with a deep vision of your intentions – for 5 Points and North Denver, for the people of Confluence, for your servants in Nicaraugua, for Paris Elementary, the Gathering Place, for the kids and youth among us here, for an intergenerational engagement in witness and service, here, in Boonville and Rock Canyon High School. And whenever, wherever you move us to share your mercy and grace… Be with us as we seek to know what you’ve got in store for us this new year. Give us faith to step up and ‘just do it.’
“Your kingdom come! Your will be done! Even here, even on this earth,” as you accomplish your purposes in heaven.

About the matter of our sins, O Lord, have mercy! First, though, thanks for giving the early followers of Jesus the wisdom to set aside times and seasons for special focus on, for example, our failures to do all we want, hope, intend to do – and all that we’re too reckless or thoughtless to even think of doing. Lent is a gift, this season, and it is a time for telling our truth, which makes forgiveness possible. Give us the nerve to confess, to repent, to turn from our sins and live in your abundance. Forgive us our sins as we – oh no, this is really a part of it, isn’t it?! – forgive those who sinned against us. Renew us, awaken us, and lead us so that we may be totally engaged in doing life as you intend, so that we and all creation might flourish.

Save us from trials, tests of our spirit, and keep us from doing – and suffering – evil. For this is YOUR world, O God. And you honor us with the opportunity to share in your loving desires to heal and restore it, so that all people – your creation – may flourish. Your power is more than enough to bring this all to be, if we get on board, or stay out of the way, whichever it may be in any given moment.

“NOW TO HIM WHO BY THE POWER AT WORK WITHIN US IS ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH ABUNDANTLY FAR MORE THAT ALL WE CAN ASK OR IMAGINE, TO HIM BE GLORY IN THE CHURCH AND IN CHRIST JESUS, TO ALL GENERATIONS, FOREVER AND EVER. AMEN.” Eph. 3:20

Jan Erickson-Pearson

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