Prayers of the People/Intercession on Understanding

Sermon Illustrations on Truth

Father God: It is sometimes hard for us to understand what You do. We are in trouble. We want You to come rescue us right now, like the cavalry riding over a hill or the Lone Ranger appearing out of no-where, when we cry out. Sometimes it feels like we cry and no-one’s there. 

Sometimes we’re stuck in a hole for what seems like a long, long time … and we’re tempted to think You don’t notice. Then, You come into our prison cell of despair or discouragement, arriving almost unnoticed … like You did with Paul in Corinth. You’re beside us; and You’ve given us brothers, sisters and friends who also stand with us. Somehow, You find a way.  Somehow, You make a way. For that, we thank and praise You. So we know we can lean on You, that we can entrust our deepest hurts, anxieties and needs to You. We pray for our world spinning out of control. 

Hold it in the palm of Your right hand, Your nail-scarred hand. Breathe out Your Spirit, bringing hope to the hopeless, strength to the weak, justice for the oppressed, courage to take Your path … and give Your grace and love to all. We pray for peace in places torn by strife and where tensions are running high. We come on behalf of Your people and Your missionaries in those places – protect, inspire, empower and encourage them.

For our nation, sold out to the gods of power, lust and wealth set us free from bondage to gods we’ve made. Inspire our leaders to follow Your just ways, and give them courage to lead us in your ways. 

We also pray for those whose lives have been turned upside-down, keep them from despair, give them strength, provide help and support, and enable them to rebuild lives and homes. We also pray for loved ones we know by name and whom we hold in our hearts.  We pray, in quiet, whispering the names of those who need your healing touch to body or soul … (silence). We quietly whisper names of loved ones who are with You, and of those who grieve wives and parents, children and friends today … (silence). 

We pray for neighbors and friends, trapped in a hamster cage running on the wheel going nowhere: making money at a job they hate, to pay for a big house and fill it with stuff, where they go to sleep late and get up early to go to work and make money to pay for the big house … and so on. Jesus, break open the cage; set them – and us – free as in the stillness we pray for them, whisper their names … (silence). Father, we also pray for ourselves.  

We want to be different – but don’t know how.  We want to change – but lack strength to do it.  We know there’s much in us that must become something else – an attitude to change, a fear to let go of, a step to take, a person to forgive and one from whom we need to ask forgiveness.  Whatever it is, we ask in the quiet for You to touch us and heal us and to restore a relationship we now hold up to You … (silence) AMEN. 

Richard Herman

God our Father, Savior and Sustainer—You are the God who knows our name, and the God who revealed Your name as “I Am Who I Am” and shows us Your face in the face of Jesus. You are known to us … and we are known to You.

You know what brings us joy, what makes us laugh, what we celebrate and are most grateful for—the birth of a child, the healing of a loved one, the restoration of a relationship, a new job, a wedding anniversary …and You rejoice with us.

This morning we are especially thankful for …You know what brings us to tears, what makes us sweat, what grieves our hearts, what we worry over, whether large or small, whether shared or felt alone—the death of a loved one, the illness of a friend, a financial setback, a child in trouble, an elderly parent all alone. 

Today we especially pray for …We also pray for what can overwhelm us, the fear that lurks in the world, the pain resulting from a natural disaster, the desperation that drives people to flee the places they have called “home,”the worries about war—both for those who fight them, and those who are victims of the violence. 

We ask that You make leaders of nations wise, caring more for peace than power, for justice than personal gain, for what is good and right for all rather than protecting personal agendas. We also pray for Your grace to be felt among Your people–in Your global church where missionaries witness to Your love for all people, where faithful disciples live for You at the peril of their own lives; and we pray for Your church local—right here…

For elders and deacons who serve, for all who serve in mission and ministry; those who show the love of Jesus to one another and to the community. We give You thanks and ask Your blessing. Lord—this and all closely held in our hearts, in faith and trust, we lift to You. Amen. 

Richard Herman