God of grace and forgiveness, God who surprises us each day with the gift of life, we turn to you this morning with grateful hearts – yes – but also with hearts that are full of sadness and grief and worry.
We pray for our world, the world you created and called good. We’ve made a mess of things. Everywhere we look a war is being fought – or there’s one that could start at any moment. We’re sad and ashamed of what we’ve brought on ourselves. And we need your help.
We pray for our country – its leadership and its people. We’ve made a mess of things here too. A wonderful gift of freedom and democracy, a land of plenty, and we’ve squandered it, until it’s very nearly gone. Forgive us, we pray, and allow us another chance at it.
We pray for our church – at the start of another year. You’ve blessed us with every conceivable resource, gifts of every kind. Help us, guide us, we pray. Show us how to be the people you’ve called us to be.
And of course we pray for ourselves – for the many issues and relationships and health concerns that we worry about today, that we can’t seem to get out of our minds. We lift all of it to you, trusting not only that you hear our prayers, but also that you answer us, that you can take our broken relationships and restore them, that you can take our loneliness and anxiety and replace them with confidence and strength. We trust that you can and do heal us. And we pray for that healing – sooner rather than later. You know we need it.
Hear all of our prayers today – this one spoken aloud, but also all those offered silently in personal worship. And now hear us as we say with one voice the words your Son taught us to pray…