Prayers of the People/Intercession on Compassion

Sermon Illustrations on Compassion

We praise and thank you, O Lord,

that you have fed us with your Word [and at your table].

Grateful for your gifts and mindful of the communion of your saints,

we offer to you our prayers for all people.

God of compassion,

we remember before you

the poor and the afflicted,

the sick and the dying,

prisoners and all who are lonely,

the victims of war, injustice, and inhumanity,

and all others who suffer from whatever their sufferings may be called.


O Lord of providence

holding the destiny of the nations in your hand,

we pray for our country.

Inspire the hearts and minds of our leaders

that they, together with all our nation,

may first seek your kingdom and righteousness

so that order, liberty, and peace may dwell with your people.


O God the Creator,

we pray for all nations and peoples.

Take away the mistrust and lack of understanding

that divide your creatures;

increase in us the recognition that we are all your children.


O Savior God,

look upon your church in its struggle upon the earth.

Have mercy on its weakness,

bring to an end its unhappy divisions,

and scatter its fears.

Look also upon the ministry of your church.

Increase its courage, strengthen its faith,

and inspire its witness to all people,

even to the ends of the earth.


Author of grace and God of love,

send your Holy Spirit’s blessing to your children here present.

Keep our hearts and thoughts in Jesus Christ, your Son, our only Savior,

who has taught us to pray: [Lord’s Prayer]

Reformed Church in America General Synod, Order of Worship: The Lord’s Day. © by Reformed Church Press

Jesus, Lord—because you took on flesh, You know what it’s like to be us.You know what keeps us awake at night, or yanks us out of sleep in the early morning. You know what it’s like to have good days and bad days, too. You know the feelings of being physically tired, emotionally exhausted and mentally drained.

We’re grateful for a God who knows what it’s like to be us. You know the joys of a newborn child in a family. You care about parents who care for their children with wisdom, love, grace and faithfulness so that one day they’ll turn and follow You. Give them what they need to fulfill their calling to love as You love. 

You care about weddings and marriages that follow. Bless husbands and wives with your love that bears all things,hopes all things, endures all things, that never fails. May our homes reflect Your love for us and ours for You to all who see them.You also know what happens when the wonder fades and real life takes its toll on families and marriages—when relationships get strained, sometimes to the breaking point, when our own strength is not enough, when forgiveness and reconciliation is tough. 

Lord—come as the One who specializes in reconciliation, in hope and in persistent love. Make a way home for those who’ve wandered; and an open door when they return. Lord: You’re aware of what sickness does to us. You showed compassion for the ill or injured. Lord—come as the One who can and does heal. 

Come to make well and to uphold, to encourage and to restore. Come also to caregivers, imparting strength and patience, so that they won’t flag in their loving care. We pray especially for: You also know death, grief and mourning. 

You’ve wept at the graveside of a loved one, You’ve even walked through death’s door, and in so doing, broke its hold on us by Your resurrection. Come, Risen One—as the Lord of Life. Comfort those who grieve with Your presence. Give them peace, hope and courage. We pray especially for the parents who’ve had to bury their children: something no parent should ever have to do.You also know the ways of nations and kings, of armies and diplomats. 

Father—we ask you to comfort families in grief because of war—those who’ve lost sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers. Be to them a warm presence, and a gentle light in the cold, dark shock of grief. 

And, Lord—may there come a day when nations will not need armies to protect peace and justice, when there will be no more war; and may it come in our lifetime. Today—we especially want to remember the refugees and immigrants who have no place to call home–some displaced by wars, others who are targets of oppression and persecution, still more for whom deprivation, hunger or hopelessness have driven them out. We also pray for….This–and more still within our hearts–is our prayer, offered in Your name. Amen. 

Richard Herman

God—Father, Son and Spirit; You are a God of compassion and love. Like the Israelites in the wilderness, we’ve known Your love, and experienced Your care and provision. Repeatedly You’ve answered our prayers and met our needs—often in ways we never imagined possible. So, because we’ve known Your love, we come to You with confidence, offering our prayers for the world You love. 

We pray for the many who don’t have enough: not enough food to eat, or shelter to keep warm; not enough employment, or money to pay their bills; not enough medicine or medical care. We also pray for those who have more than enough, but still struggle to find meaning and purpose in life; who indulge in dangerous or self-serving activities to dull their pain or loneliness. 

We look around and see so much pain and suffering; so much anger, frustration and despair–near and far. We pray for the regions of our world caught up in violence and uncertainty. We also pray for those caught up in conflicts as well as the victims of gun violence in our own land. 

We pray for those who live with serious illness, those with chronic pain, those without access to proper medical care, those for whom treatment is no longer an option, those whose names we don’t know and those whose names we know and particularly on our hearts today. We pray as well for all who grieve today—for those who mourn loved one lost to sickness, for those whose loss is recent and fresh, for those whose loss still lingers though long past, for those whose loss was thrust upon them suddenly, and for those who knew it was coming but it still hurts. 

We pray for your church, Lord Jesus—the Church global and the church local. Enable us to be your faithful disciples as Your grace and love leads us. You call us to live as citizens of heaven, working together with one heart and mind. Strengthen us to live in a manner worthy of the Good News we’ve received, offering our lives in service to Your kingdom, where the last are first, and the first are last, and there is grace enough for any and everyone. 

Give us courage to follow faithfully, and with integrity—with actions that bear witness to the words we speak, and worship that overflows into our daily tasks and relationships—so that our lives will bring glory and honor to You, our Redeemer and Lord. AMEN

Richard Herman

Lord–some of us are running or dancing into the celebration to come; others of us are tired, limping or stumbling into it. Either way–You are standing there in Your love, with arms open wide, to receive us as we are. Your invitation today is to come to You as we are; to come honestly without  false pretense or pretending. 

We’re not much—but we’re Yours, and that alone makes us everything, by Your grace! So, because of Your love and not our efforts, because of Your compassion and not our devotion, we come asking You to move and make a difference in the lives of those we care about. We pray that You’d heal those who are sick, injured, or recuperating; and that You’d comfort all who mourn, whether their grief is fresh or lingering. 

We pray also that You would free the addicted ones from chains that rob them of freedom to love You and others fully; and that friendships, families, and communities ripped apart by addiction will be reconciled by Your redeeming power. 

For those with too little, for whom this year held economic set-back and even disaster, for those fighting to save a home, put food on the table, afford heat or life-preserving medications: Lord, meet their needs … and if that be through those of us who have enough and more than enough, move our hearts and open our hands in compassion. 

You made us in Your image to reflect your glory, to love You and one another–but we have lost our way. We pray for peace in a world that loves conflict and war. We pray for understanding in a world that thrives on suspicion and hatred. We pray for justice and compassion in a world set on pecking orders and getting ahead by pushing others aside. 

We pray for Your truth to prevail in a world that clings to lies and spin-doctoring. We pray for contentment in a world that feeds on dissatisfaction and a lust for more. We pray for hope in a world enveloped in the darkness of despair, ignorance. and poverty–and may we be an answer to these prayers through the leading and power of the Holy Spirit.  These are our prayers, offered in the strong name of Jesus. AMEN 

Richard Herman

Father–nothing escapes your notice, is beyond your care or too hard for you to take on, whether it concerns nations or individuals. You have a heart for all the world–not just our little piece of it. So we pray for your world: may your truth and justice, righteousness and compassion guide elections not only in our own country–but also in other parts of the world. 

In places convulsed by conflict–bring a just and lasting peace. We pray for those who serve you as cross-cultural missionaries. Keep them faithful to your truth and your ways; enable them to effectively share the Good News of your Son Jesus. For all Christian churches, and for this church, we pray you will lead us. 

And where you guide, provide resources to do your will and witness well to the new life you give in Jesus. Give our leaders a kingdom vision, godly wisdom, and risk-taking faith to lead where you call us to go. We ask you to comfort the grieving–whether the loss is recent or long ago. Console them with the assurance of eternal life and the hope of the resurrection. 

In addition, we place in your strong hands, your compassionate hands, your healing hands, those who are sick or injured, recuperating from or anticipating surgery, and those in treatment or therapy–heal them, Lord. Heal bodies in pain, and minds that are disturbed. Free the addicted and restore the depressed. Heal broken emotions and broken bones. And especially, heal our loved ones. And, Lord, strengthen and encourage their caregivers. Thy will be done! This is our prayer, offered in the strong name of Jesus. AMEN

Richard Herman

Compassionate God—In Christ, you enter our condition; you experience our sorrow and our joy … and redeem them.  By Your Holy Spirit, you carry us along: in crisis and celebration, in despair and accomplishment, defeat and victory.  We’re never alone … thank You.  

What we know—You know; which means we can come to you with anything. We rejoice with those who rejoice in a new marriage, in a new life, or in a new job; and we weep with those who weep, with those who are ill or injured, in pain physically or emotionally: Please heal them, Father. Restore health of body, mind, soul, and spirit.  Eradicate cancer.  Heal broken bones.  Defeat infections. Make well those recovering from surgery… and do it all to Your glory and the joy of those you heal.  

We pray on behalf of those who grieve today—knit together broken hearts, comfort those who mourn with your presence and with the presence of Your people. And, give them the peace and hope of the resurrection in your Son, Jesus.  

We pray for our world—for YOUR world: for you are Lord over all countries and nations, kings, prime ministers, and presidents.  We pray for our nation that You would raise up the leaders we need—leaders with courage and wisdom, leaders whose hearts are as Your heart: compassionate and grace-filled, righteous and holy, who both speak and live the truth in love.  

We pray on behalf of those in places where there’s too much water, and others where there is too little, for those who have too much stuff and those with almost nothing at all, for the powerful and the powerless; And we ask that You’ll act to protect the weak, help the displaced, provide for the poor, and challenge the strong to use their resources for what’s good and righteous.  

Please protect those whose duty takes them into dangerous places—whether as soldiers or missionaries …and protect those who call the same places their home.  Comfort the families of those whose duty cost their lives—and those whose faith in You has meant death.  

We also pray for other peoples and nations and for Your people in those places to stay faithful as they demonstrate the difference your compassion can make.  Lord—we pray for a world freed of terrorism and hatred, where trust and peace, love and grace prevail.  

For the church—we ask you to be gracious with us, especially when we make things in our church and in the world worse; and we do that a lot.  Keep us reforming and growing in accord with Your Word.  Enable us to be the salt of the earth and light of the world you call us to be.  Help us to speak the truth and live the truth but always with grace and love.  Guide, revive, and empower us as a congregation; and the larger church we’re a part of.  All this and more we pray in Jesus’ name.  AMEN

Richard Herman