A prayer for our people

May 19, 2008

by Rev. Bill Baldwin, Prairie Community Church, UCC, Lester Prairie

God of love, God who is love itself, God who is the only God in the universe, God who created the universe and all that it is in it, God who is all-powerful and all-wise, we come before you in prayer today.

God, you know what we need better than we ever will. You are able to see our situation from heaven’s perfect perspective. God, help us in ways we’ll never be able to help ourselves.

God, we are a rebellious and sinful people. Oh yes, many of us see ourselves as Christian in some loosely-connected way, but we are far from living a life that honors your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.

Some of us are faithful members of local churches who go to worship every week, yet we still turn a blind eye to the needs of the people all around us who are hurting.

We may be faithful to our own church, yet judgmental about the other churches in the area and the people who go to them. We may be loyal to our own church in attendance, but we give little or nothing to faithfully support the work of the church around the world or even its very ability to survive and continue to offer services in our community.

God, our children are hurting. Our children need loving, caring adults who have the courage to really parent. We need adults who are willing to really see our children as people and to listen to them and encourage them.

God, we have been selfish about providing money for education, and our schools are limited in what they can offer to help our children have all they need to be ready to support themselves when they grow up and graduate.

God, our children are hurting and empty inside and so many of them seek to fill the emptiness with alcohol or other destructive substances. Some of our children put up a hard exterior to protect themselves from the pain of daily living.

Help our children to have all their basic needs met abundantly. Beyond food, clothing, shelter, and education, may every child be safe, emotionally secure, deeply loved, and confident that they can do whatever is required in order to be self-sufficient some day.

Bless our parents in their ever-challenging role in helping our children to grow up strong and healthy. Help our parents to be mature adults who are willing and able to set healthy boundaries and say no to things that are not in a child’s best interest.

God, we pray for the economic well-being of our area. It costs so much to live now, as always, and we need good-paying jobs for our people. God, we believe that there can be businesses right in our area that pay well and offer benefits so necessary to the well-being of every family. Guide everyone to meaningful work with livable pay.

Help us to have the courage and discipline to live within our incomes and to stay out of crushing debt.

God, we pray for every homeowner that they will have the money to pay the bills and continue the joy of home ownership. Help every family to sacrifice whatever fun and frills are necessary until they are able to prioritize their budgets to what is most important.

Help us to break our addictions to entertaining ourselves to death. Help us to really see how much we are paying for things that are costing us a lot of money, but doing us very little earthly good.

God, help us to experience the true joy of family and friends in community. Help us to realize that no amount of money can buy the deep satisfaction of family, and nothing on earth can take the place of loving friends.

God, may every person be loved and cared for and be part of a supportive community. Help us, God, to realize that no amount of technology can fill the desire for human connection.

Help us break our slavery to being busy and wanting more and more things. God, help us to slow down and spend time every day just being with ourselves without hurry. Help us to realize that the joy in real face-to-face conversation fills a need that e-mail and text messaging, and even phone calls can never do.

God, help us to see the needs of our people. Help us to realize that everyone is dealing with something, and some people are doing all they can to just hang on for dear life.

God, we pray for those who have returned from military service and their families. We know it is an adjustment for all.

We pray for everyone who is dealing with disease or disability. We pray for those who continue to grieve and mourn. We pray for those who are secretly suffering and who wish that someone knew about their situation enough to help.

We pray for those who see themselves as different and for those the world sadly judges as different, even though they are who You made them to be and they are just fine as You made them. We pray that our communities may celebrate the gifts that each person brings, and that a diversity of interests is a blessing and a strength to everyone.

Most holy God, hear our prayers. Be who You want to be in our midst. We open our hearts and welcome You.

Your will be done on earth with us as it is in heaven. Forgive us our sins as we forgive others their sins. In every way, lead us closer and closer in relationship to your Son, our blessed Savior Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray this day. Amen.