Prayers of the People/Intercession on Comfort

Sermon Illustrations on Comfort

God—We’d like to have had a Hallmark card kind of week: gentle, quiet and serene, but it’s been anything but that. People died this week—and families and friends grieve. A man got bad news about cancer. A single mother can’t both pay the rent and feed her kids. A child overheard her parents fighting, and she cried herself to sleep last night. 

A young person has felt the[ holiday lights go dim], overwhelmed by the darkness of depression and discouragement. Words were spoken that injured, acts were done to hurt, and relationships suffered as a result—some maybe irreparably. We may have wished for it—but it’s not been a quiet week in our hometown. 

But You’ve not been away on vacation, deaf or unfeeling in the midst of it all. You were with us then. You are with us now. And You’ll be with us tomorrow, next week and as the weeks turn into months and years. You’re faithful—and that’s why in the real world where we live, we find you and we can trust you. 

We trust you to heal—and pray that You’ll restore the health of the sick and speed the recovery of the injured. We trust you to comfort—and we pray that you’ll give hope and peace to all who mourn. 

We trust you to provide—and so we pray on behalf of the poor, the homeless, the hungry, the desperate and disenfranchised …may they have what they need; and may Your people be generous giving of their substance, their time and their talents, acting as Your hands and feet. We trust you to protect—to be a shield and defender of the defenseless, the misused and abused. Defend them, give them justice and mercy, keep them safe, replace fear with freedom. 

We trust you to liberate—to loose the bonds of those caught in addiction of all kinds; and to free those who are in prison for faith in You and, and all who are unjustly imprisoned. We trust you to guide—to direct our nation as we go through the long process of electing new leadership, to direct Your church in fulfilling Your call, command and commission to love—You and others, as you have loved us, living and declaring Your Gospel. This we pray, and more still hidden within our hearts, in the name of Jesus. AMEN

Richard Herman


God of grace and God of glory on your people pour your power …Grant us wisdom, grant us courage for the facing of this hour.  Lord—we need You … today, tomorrow and forever.  We need you to heal those we love—we can’t do it.  We need you to restore the injured and cure the ill, to lift the depressed, to strengthen care-givers and give hope to all.  We need you to comfort the grieving.  

We need you to be a shoulder to lean on and arms that hold, to be ears that listen and eyes that cry with, and to be the one whose resurrection brings hope and solace.  Lord, may your church be that ‘Body of Christ.’  Lord—We need you to act. 

We need you to revive your church and heal our land—we can’t do it.  We need to move, even to force, your people out of our safe enclaves and out into the world.  Make us more like you—the friend of sinners, who came to seek and save the lost; going to them with love and grace, forgiveness and the good news of the Kingdom of God.  

We need your help to do the same; and we need you to heal our land—divided between red and blue, rich and poor, native and immigrant, old and young, conservative and progressive.  Bring us together not just in tragedy but unite us in righteousness, holiness and justice in answer to the prophet’s prayer to:“Let justice roll on like a river and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream”(Amos 5:24).  

Lord—We need you to act. We need you to redeem and relieve our pain—we can’t do it.  There are those here today whose relationships dangle by a thread: with a distracted spouse, with a wayward child or distant siblings: bring honest and healthy reconciliation, Lord.  And lots of us are wrapped up in fear: fear from losing a job, fear of financial ruin in hard economic times; fear of test results and the fear of being found out.  Our fears are eating us alive.  Lord—we need you to act. We can’t do it by ourselves.  And Lord—we need to hear your voice. We need to hear and believe the Gospel that changes us; and we need to hear your Word and do your will. We need you, Lord … in these and all things.  This is our desire.  This is our prayer.  Offered in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  AMEN

Richard Herman


Watch, dear Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep [tonight],

and give your angels charge over those who sleep.

Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ,

rest your weary ones.

Bless your dying ones.

Soothe your suffering ones.

Pity your afflicted ones.

Shield your joyous ones.

And all for your love’s sake, Amen.

Augustine of Hippo, Evening Prayer, Language adapted for Corporate Worship by Stuart Strachan Jr.


Risen Lord, Loving Father … and Ever-Present Spirit: Thank You for reaching into our doubts, giving us the faith we lack. Thank You for Your gracious condescension reaching from the glories of heaven into the everyday routines of our lives where things distract us in daytime and keep us awake at night. 

Knowing You care: We offer prayers of thanks and rejoicing for new marriages, for births, for the beginnings of new pastoral ministries, for good news of college acceptances and job offers, for provision that came at just the right time and for a phone call or visit from a friend just when we needed it. Thank You, Lord. 

Knowing You care: We pray for the injured or sick, hospitalized or homebound, who need Your healing touch. Lift them in body, soul and spirit. Restore them. Give them strength and hope in You. 

Knowing You care: We pray for those touched by grief and shaken to the core by loss–the loss of a loved one or friend, loss of a job, the loss of hope or of health, the loss of a relationship in disagreement or misunderstanding. Comfort those who mourn. 

Give each one Your peace. Open a path in the wilderness. If it be your will, restore now what was lost that the latter times may be even greater than the former; or restore it in heaven forever. Knowing You care: We pray for the world. 

Where there’s war–bring peace, not just cease-fire but new relationships of well-being and understanding. Where there’s poverty–give hope & provide a way out. Where there’s hunger–provide food, and sustain it. Where nations flounder–raise up godly and capable leaders; and so we pray for our own leaders, may they know Your ways and courageously lead us in them.

And where there’s no witness of the gospel of Jesus–send a light, raise up a witness, and bring missionary ambassadors of Your kingdom. All this we pray in your name, Jesus. Amen. 

Richard Herman


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


Father: Thank You for always being ready to welcome us and listen to us. 

Thank You for sending Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Savior: born like us, experiencing all that we experience yet sinless, who died for us and rose to give us hope and a new life. 

And thank You for not leaving us alone, but pouring out Your Holy Spirit to encourage, empower and equip us for all that you have for us to do. Some here today are struggling at home or in a marriage, Lord – show them the way. 

Give them strength and grace sufficient for anything. 

For some here, it was all they could do just to get here. They are overwhelmed by life, Lord – too many responsibilities, too little time, and even fewer resources. Coping is even just beyond their reach. Come alongside. Lift them up. 

Send a friend today to support and encourage them. Show them that there’s a way out – and lead them in it. Someone is deep in despair, depression and discouragement, today. 

Looking all around at the bright lights, the tinsel and the happy music only exacerbates the darkness.Come, Lord Jesus, light of the world, and shine Your light of hope into the shadows and gloom. 

There are many we know and love who need Your healing, Your protection, and Your peace. We pray for those who are ill, hospitalized or recuperating, and for those who anticipate tests, treatment or surgery … 

By Your wounds we are healed, by Your power we are protected, by Your Word of benediction we are blessed.  Heal (in body, soul and spirit) these for whom we’ve prayed. Comfort those who mourn … 

Guide those who are lost or confused … Enable us to trust You in all things, at all times and in all circumstances. We pray for Your church – that we might be faithful to the mission entrusted to us to point the way to Christ Jesus by what we do, who we are and through what we say: 

For Your church world-wide: advance the gospel in places where there is no church as of yet. For the church of Jesus Christ in the [insert country here] and in our community – revive us again that we might declare Your Good News with integrity and power, and so change our nation. 

For this congregation: Bless its leaders with wisdom when they need wisdom, courage when they need courage, grace when they need grace and love at all times.  Meet our needs that we might glorify You as our great provider. This we pray in the name of Jesus, Your only begotten Son and our only Savior. AMEN.

Richard Herman


Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit: You taught us to pray not only for ourselves but for people everywhere, so now hear us as we pray for others, in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. We ask that You inspire Your whole church in power, unity, and peace. Grant that all who trust you may obey Your Word, and live together in love. 

As we pray for the world, we ask that You lead all nations in the way of Your true justice and righteous goodwill. Direct those who govern, that they may rule fairly, maintain order, help those in need, and defend the oppressed; so this world may know your rule and experience true peace. Lord, awaken all people to the danger we’ve inflicted upon the earth. 

Implant in each of us a reverence for all you’ve made that we may preserve the delicate balance in creation for all who will come after us. Please give your grace and strength to all who proclaim the gospel through Word and Sacrament and in deeds of mercy, so that by their teaching and example they may show your love for all people, at all times and in all places. Comfort and relieve, O Lord, all who are in trouble…sorrow…poverty…sickness…grief…

especially those known to us, and those whom we hold before you in silence…Heal them in body, mind, or circumstance, working in them, by your grace, wonders beyond all they may ask for, dream or hope. In addition, bring to our minds and hearts all those who, having served you on earth, now sing your praise always in heaven. May the endurance of your faithful ones give us courage and their faithfulness give us hope. This we ask in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. AMEN

Richard Herman


The Lord calls us to examine the wounds of the Risen One and to see there the depth of his love for us.vLet us therefore approach the throne of God in confidence as we pray for the people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs. 

O LORD our Lord–how majestic is Your name in all the earth. Jesus: as You entered a locked room to show Your disciples the beginning of a new world, so enter our hearts and move us to faith inYou, the Risen One.

Convince us of the reality and significance of the resurrection, and free us from all that binds us and tries to hold us captive—our fears and our addictions; our past and our pain; what we remember and what we’ve forgotten.

Lord: make us courageous in the face of death, and show us how to enter a new resurrected life as Your followers. 

Be with Your church throughout the world. In Your mercy, don’t abandon us to our own devices. Instead, empower the preaching of Your Word and enable in us acts of love as they testify to the resurrection. 

Wherever Your church is faithless and lacking courage—come, Lord Jesus. Come. Come. Revive, restore and refresh us with Your Spirit. Pour out Your Spirit on pastors and teachers, enabling each and all to listen well to Your voice, and then speak Your truth with the authority of Christ.

Wherever nations are at war and people are divided, visit and bring true reconciliation. Especially protect all Christian people in these nations, and help them to inspire their fellow-citizens to live and work for the good of all. Give national leaders godly wisdom and righteous hearts as they lead in the right paths.

Where homes are disrupted by anger and bitterness, where relationships are distorted and dulled: Come, Lord Jesus. Bring peace and harmony. Enable understanding and love.

Wherever young people gather in your name, visit and guide them with your holy word and wisdom; and care for little ones, the children—that they may know Your love. 

Jesus—our Great Physician and Healer: Comfort and heal the sick and suffering. Restore and strengthen weak bodies, as well as anxious and troubled minds. Supportall with your great love and mercy, and give special strength to caregivers; Draw near to mend broken and sick bodies, minds and spirits. 

As our Risen and Reigning Lord–Jesus, please comfort those who mourn today, whether their grief is fresh or lingering. We especially pray for peace and consolation for the families and friends who have recently suffered loss. And we pray that You will bring each who has died to the place You have prepared for them. These prayers and those still unspoken we overthrow the name of the Risen One, even our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. AMEN

Richard Herman