Prayers of the People/Intercession on Gratitude

Sermon Illustrations on gratitude

Great God our Father, Savior and Holy Spirit: Our hearts are filled with gratitude for your grace and faithfulness. Thank you for caring about those who we care about–for those who are sick or injured, recovering or anticipating surgery: heal them, Lord, to their joy and your glory; and for those who grieve: comfort them with your presence and the hope of eternal life in Christ.  

Thank you for caring about our world that is really your world–a world bent on rejecting You by turning instead to violence, power, wealth, pleasure, and self-interest to try and find meaning, hope and peace.  

May your people truly be salt which flavors and preserves a tasteless, decaying world with the truth of the gospel lived and proclaimed.  Thank you for caring about your church–not perfect, but yours nonetheless.  Help us to see what you see in our families, our community, region, nation and world.  May our hearts break over what breaks your heart.  

May we laugh when you laugh and weep when you weep.  Give us vision, and with it, the wisdom to understand your mission and the energy to faithfully carry it out, now and always.  And thank you for your word of life–which we long for; and your table which spiritually sustains and encourages us as your family, called by your name: Christians.  

Meet us at the table that we might know Jesus and follow Him as His disciples.  This is our prayer–offered in Jesus name. AMEN

Richard Herman

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

Almighty God–Father, Son and Holy Spirit: You tell us to pray with thanksgiving…and we do; giving thanks for Your daily provision and care, for the birth of a child, for new jobs and new friends, for wedding anniversaries, for friendships rekindled and those which have endured. We especially thank You for…. You teach us to pray not only for ourselves but for people everywhere; so, hear us as we pray for others, in the name of Jesus Christ. We live in dangerous times that fill us with anxiety. We worry about the spread of disease. We are aware of continuing wildfires; earthquakes that have struck vulnerable parts of our world; and we ask you to give aid to those in desperate need of the essentials—food, water, shelter, clothing. We hear the sounds of war and saber-rattling in other places and it all makes us nervous. 

Even so, Jesus, we know and trust that You are still on the throne of the universe as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. As Prince of Peace, please lead all nations in the way of justice and goodwill. Direct those who govern, that they may rule fairly, maintain order, increase understanding, uphold those in need, and defend oppressed people; so that this world may claim Your rule and know true peace. 

Awaken all people to the danger we’ve inflicted upon the earth. Implant in each a reverence for all You have made that we may preserve the delicate balance of creation for all coming generations. Inspire the whole church with Your power, unity, and peace. Grant that all who trust You may obeyY ourWord, and live together in love. 

Give grace to all who proclaim the gospel through Word and Sacrament and deeds of mercy, that by their teaching and example they may reveal Your love for all people. And in this congregation, we thank You for all who serve so faithfully, for the mutual love and care shown for one another and for the community. We especially ask that You please comfort and relieve all who are in trouble . . .sorrow . . . poverty . . . sickness . . . grief . . .We pray especially for ….

We also lift up to you others known to us, whom we name before you in silence. . . .(a brief moment of silence to be observed)…Heal them in body, mind, or circumstance, working in them, by your grace, wonders beyond all they may dream or hope. 

Bring to our remembrance, as well, all those who, having served You on earth, now sing Your praises eternally. Comfort and sustain those who have known loss, and experience grief. May their endurance give us courage and their faithfulness give us hope now and always. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Richard Herman

Gracious and faithful God–our Creator, Redeemer and Comforter: When we don’t know the way–You show us the way; and when we can’t find a way–You make a way. Thank you! Thank you for Your gift of a Savior–not a savior who stays distant and aloof, but one who enters the warp and woof of our existence as Emmanuel–God with us; and who then sanctifies every place and time in which we live.

Therefore, we come to You confident You care about whatever concerns us. For those who are infirmed, ill or injured, for those who are recuperating from or anticipating surgery–we ask for your healing, in a word of grace, a touch of compassion, an act from skill or training. Make those we care for whole physically, emotionally and spiritually. 

For those who grieve–we ask for your comfort, in the companionship of your Holy Spirit, the encouragement of Your Word, and the warm presence of a friend. Take them through the way of grieving to a place of peace and hope. When families gather around trees and tables this week, may You birth in them renew joy in your love and life which is ours in the cradle, the cross and the empty tomb. 

For marriages stressed and stretched by conflict, for relationships broken by hurt or conflict, for families torn apart by everything from pride to envy, selfishness to greed: Come to rule as the prince of peace to restore, reconcile and renew. Break hard and proud hearts so that “I’m sorry” “You’re forgiven” and “I love you” are uttered afresh. For those uncertain about what lies beyond the New Year–give them the peace that comes from knowing You are in charge–and You are good and You are strong. 

For the hungry of our world–provide food and nourishment for the body and the soul; for the homeless–give them a place and a people to call “home”; to the unemployed or underemployed–give them worthwhile work by which they can serve You, and meet the needs of a family; and to nations, including our nation–give leaders wisdom and mercy, and the courage to do what is good, right and just in Your eyes for the people. 

For your church–may we be a light on the hill in a dark world, showing the way home to Your kingdom. May those we send out and support in mission be given strength to remain faithful to You and loyal to the gospel. All this … and more … we pray in the name of Jesus, our precious Lord and Savior. Amen. 

Richard Herman

Loving God—who’s with us always and everywhere; who knows all our hurts and sorrows, our joys and celebrations …and goes through them with us: Thank you for the hope we have in you—nothing is impossible for you. Thank you for the love we know— love in marriages, love in families, love in your family, the church. 

Thank you for moments of great joy and laughter, for those moments that just make us smile; and we thank you for turning even our darkest moments to your good purposes. To those grieving a loss of any kind, we ask you to give solace and hope, and the strength to go on. 

For those hurt by your church–we ask you to heal wounds and enable forgiveness. For those who feel alone–we ask you to be their strength, and to give them loving friends to encourage them. For our country, in need of a revival of compassion and grace, of generosity and peace, and of hearts after your own heart, we pray for such to happen. 

For a world that desperately needs the Gospel of Your Son, Jesus, we pray for those who bear the name Christian in places where it’s dangerous to do so, and for those they serve. For your church–show us your way: your way to live the truth with our lives, and declare the truth with our lips, with gentleness and love. This is our heart’s prayer—offered in the name of Jesus the Christ.  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 of grace and glory, compassion and power—Father, Son and Holy Spirit: 

You meet us right where we are at—not asking us to put on any masks, false fronts or airs. You love us just as we are while also loving us too much to leave us that way. 

So no matter what we feel, what we’re worried about, what’s got us mad, sad, glad, discouraged or excited, we can come to you with it. 

Some of us feel down today–it’s been a hard week at work; we argued with one another on the way to church; we stayed up too late last night; we’re still not sure how to take news we got in a phone call or from a doctor. 

We need You to come and lift our spirits, give us hope and restore our confidence. We need your help. Please, Lord. And, some of us had a great week–we did well on a test or got a good review at work; we were able to meet all our bills; we landed the job we were after or got good news. So, we just want to say, “Thanks, Lord. ” 

We too often take good things for granted–and we don’t want to do that today. Some of us are worried about sick friends and loved ones at home… in a hospital or care home. We want them to get better, but we can’t make them get well–only You can heal them. 

Please, Lord, restore them. Mend an injured body; make a sick one well. Cure a distressed mind. And, for those who care for our loved ones—give them wisdom, compassion and strength to persevere in the ministry of care-giving. Some of us have loved ones in the military—please guard them, protect them and bring them home safe and soon. 

For those whose homes are in war zones—also protect them. Lord: please let peace prevail over war, justice overcome wrong, and sufficiency overcome poverty and hunger. May those who don’t have enough, have enough. We pray for the day when people will study war no more–and all people know Your rich “shalom” of peace. And with all this in our hearts, we pray in Jesus’ Name. AMEN

Richard Herman