Prayers of the People/Intercession on Suffering

Sermon Illustrations on Suffering

Prayer For God’s Help

O God, from whom to be turned is to fall,

to whom to be turned is to rise,

and with whom to stand is to abide for ever;

grant us in all our duties your help,

in all our perplexities your guidance,

in all our dangers your protection,

and in all our sorrows your peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord,


Augustine of Hippo

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.

Help me to pray

And to concentrate my thoughts on you:

I  cannot do this alone.

In me there is darkness.

But with you there is light;

I am lonely, but you do not leave me;

I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;

I am restless, but with you there is peace.

In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;

I do not understand your ways

But you know the way for me. . . .

Restore me to liberty,

And enable me so to live now

That I may answer before you and before me.

Lord, whatever this day may bring.

Your name be praised.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Written in Prison

Faithful God–Father, Son and Holy Spirit: You are always there in times of transition or trial, times of uncertainty and anxiety, or times of accomplishment and celebration. You do not leave us nor forsake us. You are our strong fortress and sure defense. 

Therefore, we run to You when life overwhelms us, confuses us, terrifies us, stuns and staggers us. When we are stretched beyond our limits: You are there. When we have lost our way: You are there to take us home. When we can’t anymore: You can always and anywhere. Someone is in shock today–comfort and restore them. Someone has come to the end of their resources–meet their needs. 

Someone is struggling to know what is the right thing to do–guide them, and then give them the courage and strength to do what is right. Someone is lonely, even in a crowd–encourage them with your presence and lead them into a new friendship with one of Your people. Someone is anxious about their employment, or the lack of employment–give them meaningful work to do to Your glory that will meet their needs. 

For couples beginning a new life together in marriage–keep them centered in Your love and truth, and build in them a strong family. For those grieving the death of a loved one–comfort them by the truth of Your resurrection and the reassurance of Your companionship. 

For those whose lives were ripped apart by terrorism this week–be their guardian and shield, their healer and comforter. For those serving You in mission—in Kenya or Bolivia, Pittsburgh or Camden: be a source of strength, joy and hope in the Gospel. 

For our nation–direct the hearts of our leaders as a watercourse and protect the lives of our young men and women who serve in harm’s way. In the moments when we cross over from childhood to adolescence, from youth to adulthood, from the summer of our years to the autumn or winter of our lives–we look to You as our source of truth and life, wisdom and love. Faithfully see us through each crossover moment until the last great moment when You take us home into eternity. This is our hope. This is our prayer, which we offer in the name of Jesus our Lord. AMEN

Richard Herman

God of love—Father, Son and Holy Spirit: You loved us before we ever knew You. Give us such a deep love for You, that we can see the world as You see it, feel the compassion You feel, and be a people whose lives facilitate Your love to others. So open our eyes that we might see what the Good Samaritan saw. 

Grant us the insight to see the need in others, the wisdom to know what to do, and the will to do it. Therefore, we pray for all those, who in many and various ways, have been stripped, beaten and left for dead; for those devastated by natural disasters; for those whose lives were irrevocably changed by a mass shooting, or other act of terrorism. We pray for children who must grow up in the most awful of circumstances, especially for those starved of love, or food, or shelter or security. 

May they receive the future you have planned for them. We pray for those we might cross the road to avoid; who’ve been excluded socially because of their race, their financial status, or their history. May the dignity that is theirs be restored to them. 

We pray for those whose needs we would rather not face up to, because it requires action from us, those who suffer atrocities because of war, unjust trade rules, or oppressive governments. May the world truly see their suffering and what causes it… and justice be done. 

Open our eyes, that we might not cross the road from human need. Give us a deep love for You, that we might see Your love at work in this world, and that we might “go and do likewise.” With eyes wide open to Your love and grace, we humbly ask You to hear our prayers for those 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 pray for your hand of blessing to be upon all those on our prayer list…We also ask you to bless those we now name before you in the silence of our hearts… and we ask You to strengthen their caregivers. 

Jesus, please 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. 

Lord Jesus, we pray for Your church around the world: that You’ll 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. Strengthen 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. Amen. 

Richard Herman

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

Episcopalian Prayers of the People, Form V

Deacon or other leader

In peace, let us pray to the Lord, saying, “Lord, have mercy”
(or “Kyrie eleison”).

For the holy Church of God, that it may be filled with truth
and love, and be found without fault at the day of your
coming, we pray to you, O Lord.

Here and after every petition the People respond

Kyrie eleison.    or    Lord, have mercy.

For N. our Presiding Bishop, for N. (N.) our own Bishop(s),
for all bishops and other ministers, and for all the holy people
of God, we pray to you, O Lord.

For all who fear God and believe in you, Lord Christ, that our
divisions may cease, and that all may be one as you and the
Father are one, we pray to you, O Lord.

For the mission of the Church, that in faithful witness it may
preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth, we pray to you, O

For those who do not yet believe, and for those who have lost
their faith, that they may receive the light of the Gospel, we
pray to you, O Lord.

For the peace of the world, that a spirit of respect and
forbearance may grow among nations and peoples, we pray
to you, O Lord.

For those in positions of public trust [especially                              ],
that they may serve justice, and promote the dignity and
freedom of every person, we pray to you, O Lord.

For all who live and work in this community [especially
____________], we pray to you, O Lord.]]

For a blessing upon all human labor, and for the right use
of the riches of creation, that the world may be freed from
poverty, famine, and disaster, we pray to you, O Lord.

For the poor, the persecuted, the sick, and all who suffer; for
refugees, prisoners, and all who are in danger; that they may
be relieved and protected, we pray to you, O Lord.

For this congregation [for those who are present, and for
those who are absent], that we may be delivered from
hardness of heart, and show forth your glory in all that we
do, we pray to you, O Lord.

For our enemies and those who wish us harm, and for all
whom we have injured or offended, we pray to you, O Lord.

For ourselves; for the forgiveness of our sins, and for the
grace of the Holy Spirit to amend our lives, we pray to you, O

For all who have commended themselves to our prayers; for
our families, friends, and neighbors; that being freed from
anxiety, they may live in joy, peace, and health, we pray to
you, O Lord.

For ___________, we pray to you, O Lord.

For all who have died in the communion of your Church, and
those whose faith is known to you alone, that, with all the
saints, they may have rest in that place where there is no pain
or grief, but life eternal, we pray to you, O Lord.

Rejoicing in the fellowship of [the ever-blessed Virgin Mary,
(blessed N.) and] all the saints, let us commend ourselves, and one another,
and all our life to Christ our God.
To you, O Lord our God.


The Celebrant adds a concluding Collect, or the following Doxology

For yours is the majesty, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;
yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, now and
for ever. Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church (1979)

For the Human Family

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church (1979)