Echoes of the Lord’s Prayer by Laura Viau

Submitted by Laura Viau, Orlando, FL, MDiv student at Dubuque Theological Seminary

As we come before you, Lord, there is a part of me that can’t help but feel the eagerness of a child, running and leaping into the arms of a loving parent to talk. And yet that nagging question remains – who am I that the Creator of the Universe and Lord of all Lords would know me? And care about me? About each and every one of us?
You placed the Sun, moon and stars in the sky
You created every form of life on earth and everywhere there is life
You are were before time, in time and will remain beyond time…
and that is only the beginning of the mysteries that surround you.
And yet…

By sending Jesus, your Son, you have invited us into a loving, intimate and real relationship. And through his teachings, you encourage us to bring our needs before you.

We are invited to ask for daily bread.
For ourselves and the people around us. For the people in places where droughts, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis have kept farmers from producing enough food.
Lord, in your mercy, feed those who are hungry, whether they are within walking distance of us or half-way around the globe. May we who have more than enough be more than aware, may we be generous and compassionate as you are with us. Lead us into the lives of the hungry, lost and left behind, that we might offer them a meal and the Bread of Life.

We are invited to pray for deliverance from the times of trial, those times that reveal the evil and brokenness that seeks to rule this world.
Lord, in your mercy, show us the ways that we buy into evil too easily. Search our hearts and reveal to us the hatred, fear, jealousy, selfishness and self-righteousness that lead us to behave in ways that glorify ourselves or the world instead of you and your Kingdom. In the name of the true Light of the World, may we shine the light of love into the darkest places.

We are invited to pray for forgiveness of debts, for the year of jubilee that brings relief not only to ourselves but those who owe debts to us.
Lord, in your mercy, reveal to us our true indebtedness. The myriad ways you have paid our way in this world. Not so that we can attempt to buy our way out through good works and kind words, but so that we can give our whole-hearted thanks to you in word and deed. May we be as generous with others as you have been with us, offering forgiveness, love, hope and grace where anger, resentment and rejection are expected.

We are invited to ask for shelter and protection in those moments we are afraid of life.
And those moments we are afraid of death.
Lord, in your mercy, send your Spirit to comfort us and remind us that in life and in death we belong to you. On this day in particular we ask you to be with…
(insert specific names, details, as appropriate)
We entrust their lives to you, believing your promise to hear us when we gather and agree in prayer together.

We are challenged to let go of our will and trust in your will.
For our lives and livelihoods, for our families and friends, for our country and for this world.
Lord, in your mercy, help our unbelief. Help us truly let go of the desires we have that are tinged by our residence in this world. Help us to embrace your desires for this world and live as though we are already in the Kingdom to come.

We lift our hearts to you, giving you glory, honor and praise. And we give you every need, every desire, every dream in the name of Jesus the Christ.

AMEN (or lead into Lord’s Prayer)

confession: commodity god

Submitted by Rev. Scott Cervas, Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church, Lexington, KY

God,
we’re not really sure what Simon and the others meant
when they told Jesus that “everyone” was looking for him.
Maybe they were trying to protect Jesus…
trying to keep him safe within their grasp…
as if he were some sort of commodity that belonged exclusively to them.
It would certainly make sense.
We often do that to you, as well…
as if the creator of all that is would be doomed without our witty, theological
comebacks to put the naysayers in their place.
Maybe we should spend less time trying to own you,
and more time trying to fully belong to you,
even now…as we offer our silent confessions…

illumination: breathe in

Submitted by Rev. Scott Cervas, Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church, Lexington, KY

God of our deepest strength,
as we breathe in the words of ancient poets and prophets,
as we inhale the words of 1st century storytellers,
refresh our hearts and minds
so we might hear these words in new ways…
so we might struggle with those words long enough to understand them…
so we might be renewed to go and be and do…
Amen.

call to confession / declaration of grace: exhausted / restored

Submitted by Rev. Scott Cervas, Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church, Lexington, KY

It takes a great deal of energy to live the life for which God created us…
and sometimes, we are simply too exhausted.
So please join me in the prayer of confession, printed in the bulletin,
followed by a moment of silent reflection and personal confession.

This is good news:

We may grow weary…
We may grow tired and indifferent…
But the Holy Spirit breathes into the very depths of our being,
restoring us to lives that reflect the profound goodness of God.

So let’s sing and give thanks to God!

call to worship: breathe in

Submitted by Rev. Scott Cervas, Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church, Lexington KY

Wipe the sleep from your tired eyes…
Stretch the gnawing apathy from your aching muscles…
Breathe in…deeply…the goodness of God…
And let your lives be renewed…now…as we worship together!

Prayers of the People – submitted by Carol Howard Merritt

Submitted by Carol Howard Merritt, Pastor, Western Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C., author, blogger, speaker

We praise you, Creator God,
In whom we live and move and have our being,
We join all of creation in worship,
As the trees lift their bare branches,
The sky reveals your changing glory, and
The birds find warmth.
As we gather today,
Help us to remember the rhythm of winter,
That often calls us to rest as our internal work is done.

We praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ,
Who proclaimed the message of your love.
Who brought healing to the brokenhearted,
Relief to the fevered,
Peace to the haunted, and
Wholeness to wounded
As we gather today,
Help us to remember the hope we have in our Savior,
That invites us to pray for one another.

[Specific requests may be entered here]

We praise you for your Holy Spirit,
Who draws us to this common place.
Your Spirit moves in and among your gathered people,
Opening bleary eyes,
Comforting the grieving hearts, and
Challenging us to be partners in God’s saving work.
As we gather today,
Help us to be strengthened and renewed,
So that we might serve you, Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

The rest of the service

Happy Groundhog Day, everyone! Apparently, old Phil saw his shadow, which means six more week’s of winter. (Not quite sure what to do with that information for those of us in parts of the country who haven’t experienced much “winter” to have more of). Do you find the seasons affecting your liturgy? Or is it mainly the seasons of a more liturgical nature that inspire you? Or, as Super Bowl (and Souper Bowl) Sunday is this Sunday, perhaps the sports seasons are making a rare appearance this week!

Whatever you are working on this week, feel free to share your ideas and thoughts for the rest of the service here. Do you have a children’s sermon idea to share? Or a prayer? What about some communion liturgy? We’d love to hear from you!

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