Prayers of the People/Intercession on Change

Sermon Illustrations on the Environment/Creation Care

Lord Jesus—the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, who’s constantly doing “a new thing” that makes us sit up and take notice.  

We admit, we’d be more comfortable with a predictable, controllable, less imaginative deity—but we’d also be less filled with wonder, delight and praise; and You’d be less worthy of our trust, obedience and worship. But You are worthy!–-which is why we come to You as we are. 

We come asking You to change us—before we ask you to change anyone else or to change our circumstances. We come to present our friends and loved ones in need of comfort in the loss of dear ones. 

Be a companion in loneliness, bringing hope in despair, light in the darkness, and peace at all times. Guide them into the new “normal” of the next part of their journey, and give those who walk with them special strength and grace. 

We also bring to you the sick, the injured, and those recuperating from surgery: Heal them. Give them confidence in Your presence as their Savior and Healer by replacing their anxiety and pain with trust and peace. 

Make them well—physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually; and encourage their caregivers. But there are other needs we can’t meet, but You can: such as a need for …Reconciliation in families between husbands and wives, children and parents; and Reconciliation in nations between ethnic groups or political factions. Keep your people faithful in witness, truthful in living and speaking, and compassionate, gracious, and loving at all times. 

We pray for nations and leaders of nations–for our own and those who call other lands their home: help us look to the interests of those who have no voice, who often are the poor, the oppressed, the abused, and disenfranchised…and guide us to look to the greater interests of Your kingdom. And we pray for your church—for this church.  Make us a faithful people, a courageous people, a gracious people, a creative people and a loving people…so that others may see You through us and encounter You in us. All this we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  AMEN

Richard Herman

Faithful God–Father, Son and Holy Spirit: You are always there in times of transition or trial, times of uncertainty and anxiety, or times of accomplishment and celebration. You do not leave us nor forsake us. You are our strong fortress and sure defense. 

Therefore, we run to You when life overwhelms us, confuses us, terrifies us, stuns and staggers us. When we are stretched beyond our limits: You are there. When we have lost our way: You are there to take us home. When we can’t anymore: You can always and anywhere. Someone is in shock today–comfort and restore them. Someone has come to the end of their resources–meet their needs. 

Someone is struggling to know what is the right thing to do–guide them, and then give them the courage and strength to do what is right. Someone is lonely, even in a crowd–encourage them with your presence and lead them into a new friendship with one of Your people. Someone is anxious about their employment, or the lack of employment–give them meaningful work to do to Your glory that will meet their needs. 

For couples beginning a new life together in marriage–keep them centered in Your love and truth, and build in them a strong family. For those grieving the death of a loved one–comfort them by the truth of Your resurrection and the reassurance of Your companionship. 

For those whose lives were ripped apart by terrorism this week–be their guardian and shield, their healer and comforter. For those serving You in mission—in Kenya or Bolivia, Pittsburgh or Camden: be a source of strength, joy and hope in the Gospel. 

For our nation–direct the hearts of our leaders as a watercourse and protect the lives of our young men and women who serve in harm’s way. In the moments when we cross over from childhood to adolescence, from youth to adulthood, from the summer of our years to the autumn or winter of our lives–we look to You as our source of truth and life, wisdom and love. Faithfully see us through each crossover moment until the last great moment when You take us home into eternity. This is our hope. This is our prayer, which we offer in the name of Jesus our Lord. AMEN

Richard Herman

Lord God–Father, Son and Holy Spirit: we hear your Word and sing your praises. We meet at the Table and partake of your Sacrament–the gospel made visible. You call us to yourself, and you send us out into the world, as lights into a dark place, and as salt into a flavorless one. Please hear our prayers… 

For the sick, ill and injured–we ask you to heal them, body and spirit, mind and soul; and strengthen their care-givers. 

For the grieving–we ask you to comfort them with your hope and peace, and by the Good News of Your resurrection and our new life in You. 

For those celebrating new beginnings–a child’s birth, a new job, a new school, a new marriage–all are blessings, but all are change and change is hard. Lord: give each one guidance when they are confused, grace with others and with themselves, and assurance that they are not alone–that You are with them; so they don’t need to be afraid. 

For the suffering–we ask you to provide food for those ravaged by famine, water for the drought-stricken, shelter for the homeless, justice for the oppressed, and protection for the weak. 

We pray especially for children: for those affected by HIV/AIDs, for those orphaned by disease or war, for those who are mistreated and abused… we ask you to intervene with power and love, hope and peace. 

And may your church welcome and bless the little children wherever they are in need. For our nation–we pray for its leaders to be guided by Your truth and justice, holiness and grace; may they lead well. And may we follow well: doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God. Protect those serving and living in dangerous places–soldier and civilian, ours and others. 

For your church–we ask you to kindle passion for Your Gospel and a love of those who don’t know you. Inspire a deeper love for you and for others, with a revived faith that trusts you enough to go beyond our own natural limits and abilities ,to risk so that you get the glory. All this and more we pray in the name of Jesus, Your Son and our Lord. AMEN

Richard Herman

Gracious God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—You are ever the same in Your truth, love and grace, Yet, You always challenge us to grow, change, and become more like Jesus.  We’re not yet what we want to be, what we hope to be, and what we will be–but thanks be to You, we are also no longer what we used to be.  

Thank you for the hope of change—for without it, we would shrivel up and die.  It’s that hope which calls us to pray for those who are sick or injured, those challenged physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually–and to ask You to heal them, to restore them, to make them whole.  

It’s that hope which beckons to pray on behalf of those who mourn, whose grief is deep and real, whether that grief is new or long-lived–and to ask You to comfort them, to give them hope, and to walk with them day-by-day.  

It’s that hope which dares us to pray for peace in a world dominated by war; for safe places and safe people on life’s way through a dangerous world; for food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, water for the thirsty, justice for the oppressed, companionship for the lonely, and Your love for all who are created in Your image for whom You died and rose.  

It’s that hope which summons us to pray for our nation—raise up the leaders we need, enable us to aspire for more than slogans and rhetoric, and to embrace righteousness, truth, and justice for all.  Give us wisdom and goodness in our living and love in all things.  

It’s that hope of transformation that also invites us to pray for the church–Your church in all places and Your people in this place.  Guide us in challenging times to live according to Your Word and to willingly risk being misunderstood in order to be faithful where You’ve placed us and with those entrusted to our care.  Enable us to stay faithful in the midst of the tension that comes with being kingdom people called to transformation in a world that calls us to conformity.  This we pray in Jesus’ name and to His glory. AMEN

Richard Herman