Prayers of the People/Intercession on Gifts

Sermon Illustrations on Gifts

O God, the Father of the forsaken, the help of the weak, the supplier of the needy, you have distributed and proportioned your gifts to body and soul, in such sort that all may acknowledge and perform the joyous duty of mutual service; you teach us that love towards the human race is the bond of perfection, and the imitation of your blessed self; open our eyes and touch our hearts, that we may see and do, both for this world and for that which is to come, the things which belong unto our peace.

Strengthen us in the work we have undertaken; give us counsel and wisdom, per­severance, faith and passion, and in your own good time, and accord­ing to your pleasure, bless our work. Pour into us a spirit of humility; let nothing be done but in devout obedience to your will, thankfulness for your unspeakable mercies, and love to your adorable Son Christ Jesus. Amen.

Anthony Ashley Cooper, Language modernized and adapted for Corporate Worship by Stuart Strachan Jr.

Lord – You are good …and Your goodness knows no bounds. When we were lost, You sought us out, found us and brought us home. When we were alone, You came near to us, and You gave us a new circle of friends and family. Each breath we take, each sunrise we see, each heartbeat we feel and each song we sing or hear – all are gifts from You.

So, we THANK You for Your grace and faithfulness. Trusting in that grace and faithfulness: We come boldly and freely to You carrying those we care about to You and lifting our own needs before You. 

You hold the world in the palm of Your hand: So, we ask for your comfort and we pray for your justice and righteousness to prevail.We are a violent people and we live in a violent world – whether it’s seen in an epidemic of domestic violence or abuse; whether it’s seen on the streets of our cities or in our school yards, or even in our games and sports!  

Lord: teach us Your ways, help us to walk the paths of reconciliation and peace, of truth and justice. We pray for those in need of Your healing grace … We ask you to comfort the grieving with Your peace in the gospel of Your resurrection love. We pray for families, who gather this week to laugh, remember, sometimes to weep and to share in saying “Thank You, Lord” for how blessed we are! 

Yet, there are families stretched to the limit – emotionally, fiscally, relationally, spiritually.  Give each one in those families the grace to admit needs, to ask forgiveness, to seek ways to change and to grow together in You. 

Finally, we pray for the hearts of all of us in this room. Where there is confusion – show the way. Where there is fear – replace it with peace. Where there is discouragement or even depression – encourage and restore hope. Where there is emptiness – fill it with Your own presence that can fully satisfy the longings and quench the thirsty soul. We look to You, today, Lord, saying, “Thank you, Jesus.” And it’s in Your name we pray … AMEN.

Richard Herman

God of Grace and God of Glory–rich in love and mercy, all powerful and everywhere present: We come to You at Your bidding, trusting in Your faithful compassion and not in our fruitless efforts to do what is good or right or loving. We thank You always for the gift of new life in a child, the gift of new relationships in an engagement or marriage; the gift of new birth for those who hear the gospel and respond; and the gift of a new heaven and a new earth there for all who know You. 

All that is truly new comes from You, not from us. While we are not the healer–You are: So we ask You to make our friends whole, in body, soul, mind and spirit, restoring them to physical, spiritual or emotional health. We pray for Your healing for those recovering from surgery, sickness or injury; especially…Give them hope by Your resurrection and the peace that comes with Your presence. 

Encourage them in the days ahead and plant Your love deep in their hearts. For those soon going away to colleges and schools for the first time–and for their families–go before them and lead them into relationships that can encourage them in faithful discipleship to Jesus. For those returning to school soon, as students or teachers–likewise prepare them to live and learn Your truth and to showYour love to all. 

Awaken Your church to Your truth, infuse us with Your courage, hold us in Your grace and fill us with Your love for all, we pray. Make us a compelling witness to Your gospel’s truth and love in towns and cities, and around the world, so all may know You as Lord and Savior. For our nation, we pray: Lord of nations, guide our leaders. 

Give wisdom to our president, vice-president, senators, and congressmen … and grant courage to lead us in Your ways according to Your truth, statutes and commands. Protect those who serve faithfully in harm’s way in the military. And we pray for peace, reconciliation and justice in lands torn apart by war and violence in the Middle East, Africa and Asia; and for those who are victims of warfare. 

Now, we pray for our preacher. May we hear, obey and never forget what he says that’s of Your true will and mind; and what’s not of You, may we forget before we walk out the door. Fill his mouth with Your Word–and open our ears to hear it, and our will to do it. All this and more, we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Richard Herman

God–our Father, Lord and indwelling Spirit of grace and power: Thank you for hearing us when we pray whether in songs of rejoicing or through tears of sorrow. Thank you for gifts–for the gifts of music; voices to sing, hands to play; ears to hear and hearts to give you praise. Thank you for the gift of our musicians–grant them creativity, joy and energy as they lead us to your throne in worship. 

Thank you for gifts of new life–in the birth of a child, the beginning of a marriage, the beginning of a relationship with you or in a coming back home to you. Thank you for a nation where we can worship freely; and on which we ask you to pour your Spirit of holiness and revival, truth and righteousness. 

Guide our nation’s leaders–our president, vice-president, representatives and senators, judges and officials. Show them your ways, give them strength to walk in them and courage necessary to lead us in Your paths. 

Protect our young men and women serving the military around the globe–may they serve with honor and grace. [And, through the coming election, raise up men and women of integrity and wisdom, truth and justice, people who are after your own heart, to lead us.] 

Thank you for your church. Thank you for opportunities to encourage one another, serve one another, forgive one another and work alongside one another in sharing your love and truth with neighbors and friends around the corner and around the world. Give elders wisdom and grace as they lead; deacons, compassion and energy as they serve; and give trustees faith and courage as they guide fiscally. Give us all your love, grace and care to share day by day when we are scattered as well as when we are together. 

And bless the church around the world, this day gathered in a storefront in urban America, under a tin roof in Africa, a tent in Asia, and under a tree in South America; in a cathedral in Europe or a mission church in Mexico–show your mighty presence, empower the gospel witness and change the world one man, woman and child at a time. 

Thank You, Lord, for caring enough to heal those who are sick or recovering from surgery, and for protecting and curing those who will have surgery this week. Thank you for the good news of life over death, resurrection over crucifixion, and hope over despair–for we can then pray with confidence that you comfort those who mourn. 

Finally, we thank you for the gospel–the Good News of new life in Christ Jesus for all who trust in Him. Thank you for our preacher who proclaims the gospel–and for the opportunity we have to hear, believe and receive it for ourselves. All this–and more–we pray, with thanks and praise, in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen. 

Richard Herman

God of grace–generous Giver of all good gifts: 

You bless us abundantly every day—In Your Son our Savior

who makes us new creations; 

in the smile of child, 

the greeting of a friend and the hug of a loved one; 

in shared laughter, tears, words of encouragement and words of discipline. 

You’ve met so many of our basic life needs for warm shelter, food and clothing; and for many of us in this room–you even bless us at the point of our desires. 

We are a very blessed people! We want to be a grateful people and a caring people. 

Help us, Lord! Help us, Lord, when we’ve lost our way–guide us. 

Help us, Lord, when we’re discouraged–give us hope. 

Help us, Lord, when we’re anxious and worried–give us peace. 

Help us,Jesus …and those we love, when we are sick or hurt, when we are looking ahead to surgery or recovering from it–heal us, Lord. 

Help us, Jesus, when we grieve a loss 

…the loss of a loved one to death, the loss of a job to downsizing, the loss of a relationship when a friend moves or when we have a disagreement. 

When it’s a loss we must accept–help us to mourn well, as those who have hope and comfort in the resurrection; and when it’s a loss we can recover–help us to do the hard work of reconciliation, restoration or renewal. 

Help us, Father–to see the world as You see it, and care as you care. 

Help all those who name the name of Jesus in difficult places like Sudan, China, Indonesia or Cuba; like India, Iraq, Egypt or Israel. Protect them. Keep them faithful. Give them courage to speak the Truth of the gospel and to live the truth of the Gospel. 

Help those who continue to serve in the military–shield them with your power and support them with your love. 

Help us as a nation, Lord–guiding our president and vice-president. 

Enable us to heal divides widened in the recent campaigns and return us to paths of holiness, truth, grace and gratitude. All this, and more, we pray in the precious name of Jesus our Lord. Amen. 

Richard Herman

Father—you know us like no-one else; and …You love us like no-one else. Thank You for your manifold gifts.  For the gift of life—we thank You. For the gift of each new day—we thank You. For the gift of Your Son, Jesus … given for us and to us; and for the gifts He gives of salvation and eternal life, for forgiveness and freedom from our sin. 

And for the gift of Your Holy Spirit–we thank You. For the gift of healing when we’re sick–we thank You. For the gift of companionship when we’re lonely, and the gift of comfort when we grieve–we thank You. And for the gifts of guidance when we’re lost, strength when we’re weak, reconciliation when we’re estranged, hope when we despair for these gifts and more–we thank You, Father, as You hear our prayers when we are in need. So with the joy we have in response to all Your gifts, with hearts full to overflowing, we thank and praise You, in Jesus’ name.  AMEN

Richard Herman

God, our heavenly Father–from whom all families gain purpose, direction and life: When we need bread, you don’t give a stone; and when we ask for fish, you don’t give a snake; for you are good, you are strong and you are loving. As your children we come to you asking, seeking and knocking and you respond: “Come, child–and open your heart.” 

Confident in your grace, then, we come as children asking you to hear our prayers ……as we pray for those who need healing physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. We ask you to overcome infections, restore broken bones, eradicate cancers, strengthen weakened hearts, clear fluid from lungs, reduce swelling, take away pain, overcome depression and speed recoveries. 

We also pray for strength of mind for sick souls, for successful surgery. Hear our prayers for grieving families: Comfort them. Protect them from despair; and keep hurt from damaging fragile relationships. Hear our prayers for your world, Lord–as tensions run high. 

Give your people in such places “daily bread”–basic necessities of food, shelter, clothing and protection; and may their compassionate action and clear declaration of the gospel bring hope and life to all. And, we pray for this nation, Father; please guide our leaders and representatives; and give your wisdom to judges. May we as a nation know what is good, holy and right; and have the courage to do it. And wherever young men and women serve in harm’s way–protect and enable them to act justly and with compassion. 

Wherever relief workers work tirelessly to aid the homeless and hungry, the dispossessed and poor–give them strength to care, and to care some more. Hear our prayers, Lord, also for this your church: stir up our faith to trust you more and to risk more for you in our community. 

Give us spiritual eyes open wide to your vision for us. Deepen our love for you, for each other and for those who have yet to call you “Lord”. Meet us on the road and change us as we learn more of your grace and love in our Lenten journey. In all things, hear our prayer that we might be more like Jesus, in whose name we pray. AMEN

Richard Herman

We thank You, God our Father, for Your grace, mercy and love, expressed today through Your Word and Sacrament; and we ask You to help us to pray and to know what to pray. You give us all good gifts: You give us Your Son, the true bread of heaven, the food of eternal life. You give us Your Spirit, to live within us as living water welling up into new life and hope. 

You give us Your Word—to reveal Your love, character, and purposes, and to guide and direct us on our life’s journey. You give us Your Church—fellow-believers, companions with us in the way, as friends when we are lonely and encouragers when we are discouraged. You give us healing when we’re injured or ill physically, spiritual, emotionally or mentally. 

So we ask: please restore all who need your healing touch; and strengthen those who give care and aid. You give comfort when we mourn, peace when we are in distress, hope when we feel disheartened, strength when we feel weak, and You give Your Son for our salvation. 

We thank You and praise You! So now, we ask you to strengthen us in Your service by the spiritual nourishment we will receive today in Your Word and sacrament, in the fellowship of Your people, and through the commission of Your Son so that our daily living before a watching world, may show our thanks to You, draw people to You and Your kingdom, and that You may gain all the glory. This we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN

Richard Herman

Father: today we celebrate your gift. At creation you gave us the gift of life; through the life, death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus, you gave us new life; at his ascension, we gained a mediator who prays for us every day. 

But today we celebrate another gift: the gift of your presence with us all the time and everywhere ;the gift of your life living in us and through us; the gift of Yourself in the Holy Spirit come to us–to enable us to live the way you call us to live, to equip us to serve you as you call us to serve, and shape us more and more into the image of Jesus. 

THANK YOU for the gift of you. And may others know the same gift of your Spirit. So, grateful and confidently we pray …For those who are ill or injured: may your Spirit bring healing. Lift them in body and in soul. For those finishing up another year of college or graduate school–enable them to reconnect with family, to find summer work that is meaningful as well as profitable, and grow and strengthen them in spirit and soul this summer. 

For a world that feels like it’s coming apart at the seams at times, pour out a spirit or wisdom and truth, of conviction and courage, of holiness and faithfulness. Pour out your spirit on this land–on its people and on our leaders, that we might be forgiven and cleansed of our sins, and become a nation that reflects your truth and grace to the world. And for us–for each of us in this place today, send a shower … no, a flood and downpour … of your Spirit. Wash us clean. Refresh our tired souls. 

Brighten our dull eyes and loosen our timid tongues  that we might praise you with both our lips and our lives lived for you. Restore our strained or broken relationships. Renew our love–for one another, and most of all, for you! And may we see You in glory. All this we ask, and more–grateful for the gift of your Spirit. AMEN

Richard Herman

Gracious God–Giver of all good gifts: We praise You. 

You give us the wonder of creation and You give us life. 

We praise You, Father. 

You give us forgiveness of our sins with salvation and eternal life. 

We praise You, Jesus–God the Son. 

You give us Your own living presence with gifts of power for life and spiritual gifts for service. 

We praise You, Spirit of the Living God. 

We celebrate the gifts of our children, Your expression of hope for our future. 

We celebrate the gifts of families, into which you place us; and the gift of Your family, the church. We celebrate new life and we celebrate new families begun in marriages. 

We celebrate your covenant faithfulness witnessed in baptism. 

Time and time again, You’re faithful to us; which is why we thank you and praise you. It’s why we trust You with what weighs heavily on our hearts. We pray for those who need your protection and healing. 

For all the hospitalized, ill, injured and recuperating–strengthen their bodies, encourage their souls, restore their health physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. 

We pray for all who mourn–for our friends and loved ones. We pray Your peace and comfort for them. Restore their hope and bring Your people alongside them to give a helping hand and a supporting shoulder. 

We pray also for our world so filled with suspicion, hatred, isolation, envy, greed, and fear. Bring peace out of war. Replace prejudice with understanding, hunger with food, thirst with water, homelessness with shelter, rejection with acceptance and compassion. Give national leaders wisdom–enable them to be just and compassionate, courageous and honest. 

May your kingdom come … soon. For the church–we pray. Make your people daring, faithful, and true; and enable us to love, really love–each other, our neighbors and the world so that all may know Your gospel is true because they can see Your gospel in action. Encourage our missionary friends, serving You in distant places and different cultures. All this, and more, we pray to Your glory. AMEN

Richard Herman