Prayers of the People/Intercession on Division
O God, who through your Son has taught us that a house divided against itself must fall: Save us, we beg you, from the danger of a divided allegiance; unite our hearts to fear your name; and grant that in all our course of life our eye may be single and our purpose one; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Henry Alford, Language Adapted for Modern Worship by Stuart Strachan Jr.
God of Grace and Power—our Friend, who sticks closer than a brother: You know when we screw up …and You know when we manage to get it right. You know when we forget you … but You never forget us.You know when we’re weak, for then You are strong.Today—because of Your grace, we can come to You just as we are, not as we aren’t nor even as we might pretend to be.
Because of Your power, we know You can do what we can’t. So, we humbly ask you to hear us as we pray for those who are ill or injured, for those whose sickness is incurable by us, for those unjustly imprisoned, for those without hope, and those who are homeless or abandoned. As You move toward us in love, lead us in Jesus’ name to be with them in their suffering as Your Spirit is close to them.
We ask You to sustain those who need Your healing touch; please… restore the wounded and make the sick whole and strengthen their caregivers. Please, Lord, give hope to the dying and comfort all who mourn–whether their grief is fresh or lingering. Indeed, please uphold all who suffer in body or mind, not only those we know and love, but also those known only to You … that they may know the peace and joy of Your upholding care.
We also ask that You hear the cries of the world’s hungry and suffering–and answer them. Give us, who consume so much of the world’s resources, the righteous will to reorder our lives so all may have a rightful share of food, water, medical care, and shelter, and have what they need to live a life of dignity. Lord, we ask that You guide rulers and leaders of all nations.
Move them to set aside fear, greed, and vain ambition, and to bow toYour gracious and sovereign rule.
Inspire them to strive for peace and justice, so all people may dwell securely, free of war and injustice. For our nation, we ask You to renew us in the ways of godliness and grace, justice and peace. Guide those who make and administer our laws to build a society based on trust, respect and faith inYou.
Erase prejudice that oppresses. Give all our citizens a new vision of a life of harmony that reflects Your eternal kingdom. Lord, we pray for Your church around the world: that You’d empower its life and witness.
Break down barriers that divide us and, instead, unite us in Your truth and love, so that our witness brings glory to You and hope to the world. And strengthen us in this congregation in its work and worship. Fill hearts with Your self-giving love; enable voices to speak Your praise; and bring lives into conformity to the image of your Son, Jesus our Lord.
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
Prayer for the Unity of the Church
O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church (1979)