Loving and holy God, your servant Paul wrote that we don’t know how to pray as we ought, and so your Spirit helps us in our weakness, interceding for us with sighs too deep for words. We thank you for that assurance, because these are days when our hearts fill to overflowing with an abundance of cares and concerns, anxieties and anger, grief and gratitude, longing and love. We lay the tangled mess before you and ask you to hear the cries of our hearts and of our world, to separate that which is faithful from that which gets in the way and trips us up, to encourage that which nurtures life and blesses others while helping us loosen our grip on the fear to which we cling. By your wisdom, help us to grow in courage and compassion; teach us when to be patient and wait, and when to stop waiting and call for change; reveal to us the difference between anger that lashes out and anger that’s rooted in love; disturb our apathy, open our ears and hearts to the pain of others and show us what we can do and where we can serve. Help us to honor our own needs and limits, and to hold them alongside the hungers and hurts of those around us. Open our eyes to recognize the ways all our lives are intertwined, and guide us in choices that protect and shelter, care for and honor all those whom you love.
Holy One, the needs of our community, our country and our world are great. You know them far better than we do, and so we bring them before you yet again, praying for the sick and grieving, healers and caregivers, scientists and researchers, the unemployed and hungry, homeless and those who fear they soon will be homeless, protesters and law enforcement, parents separated from children and children crying for their parents, teachers, students and parents struggling to forge a path for education. Tear down the walls that divide us from one another, and show us how to come together again – to listen and collaborate, care for and protect, honor and build up.
Hear our prayers, O God, spoken, unspoken and those sighed on our behalf by the Spirit’s breath. Draw us together, hold us close, wrap us in your love and send us out to do your work in the world. And hear us as we join in the prayer that Jesus taught, saying: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.