Prayers of the People/Intercession on The Heart

Sermon Illustrations on the Heart

God–Father, Son and Holy Spirit–You know what it’s like to be many and one at the same time. In You, we too are many … yet one. You’ve made us one body—a single family unified for one purpose; with one baptism—giving us a single identity. You’ve given us one Spirit—Your Spirit; and one hope—in the same future. And, with one faith we trust You for our salvation, our one Lord, Jesus Christ. 

So together, with one voice and a single heart, we hold varied anxieties and hope, concerns and commitments, and give them to You. For those we love who are ill or injured, anticipating surgery or recovering from it–we pray healing of body, peace of mind and trust in You. 

For families who gather this week–we ask safety in travel, joy in shared times; and where reconciliation is needed to bring a marriage and family together, we ask You to give grace, humility, forgiveness and growth in love and trust. For those who can’t be together this week–we ask peace. 

May Your grace give reason for thanks in shared memories. For our nation–so blessed by You over the years, we offer thanks: for freedom, for abundance of resources, for the ability to worship You unafraid. Yet, we’ve also grown proud of our power, our wealth and our technologies. Forgive us for turning to other gods to lead and protect us; and for when we’ve trusted ourselves too much and You too little. 

For our world, so splintered by national interest and suspicion, by prejudice and hatred: we pray for understanding and empathy, justice and compassion between peoples. Strengthen Your missionaries, keep them faithful in serving You as they declare and live Your gospel as lights throughout a dark world. For Your Church, for this church–we thank You. Thank You for Your people who love us as we are, who care for us when we hurt, who lift us up when we fall, who are there when we are in need. Thank You for a church that’s faithful to proclaim and demonstrate Your truth with grace and compassion. Thank You for ministries that quietly change lives, for leaders who faithfully serve and for all who sacrificially give of themselves. So, with thanksgiving in our hearts, we pray all this, 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

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–our Lord, Savior and Friend: Come into our hearts to save us and to rule. Come into your Church to direct and empower us with Your Gospel and Your Spirit. Come into your World to redeem the Lost and to establish Your kingdom of justice, truth and grace. Come alongside the lonely and discouraged to lift sagging spirits. 

Come to the despairing to impart hope. Come into families stretched to the breaking point, bring reconciliation and Your active love. Come into hospital rooms and nursing homes, bedrooms and rehabilitation wards to heal bodies and souls, to quiet troubled minds; and also to strengthen the caregivers. 

Come into homes that feel empty and to families that grieve separations that death brings–comfort those who mourn, walk with them through the valley of the shadow. Come, Prince of Peace, to nations themselves or others–bring your peace; and protect the innocent, esp. the children. 

And, Lord of nations, come–guide our nation’s leaders in paths of justice and truth; empower missionaries here and abroad who are Your ambassadors to live and declare Your truth clearly and boldly. Come now, Word of God incarnate–come by the Holy Spirit, to anoint our preacher to speak Your Word to us, anoint our ears to hear it … and our wills to do it. All this we pray in Your name. Amen.

Richard Herman