A Responsive Prayer - For such a time as April 29, 2017

God of grace and abundant mercy, you have made us in your beautiful image. You declared us to be  “good.” You love us with unfathomable intensity. We lift up our laments and shame when we fail to be mirrors of that love to our neighbor. We express our remorse when refuse to see each other as fellow beloved siblings made in your image. We grieve that we, so often, are unable to move past our addiction for conflict into reconciliation with those who are different from us in ideology, race, or any other characteristic that we use as building blocks for the walls we create between one another.

Forgive us, Lord, for our sin. We pray that you will guide us into fruitful living and joyful relationship with our neighbors.

God of enduring love, you have provided us with abundant blessing. You caused manna to fall from the sky in the desert, and sweet water to rush forth from the rock at Meribah. Your abundance surrounds us and should remind us of the urgent task we have of being stewards of your immense gift. We express our remorse when we destroy the beauty of your creation in search of quick solutions, quick resources, quick monetary gain. We grieve that we seem unable as a society to value the incredible and durable balance in creation that ensures the predictability that allows us to flourish as a society.

Forgive us, Lord, for our sin. We pray that you will lead us on the path of stewardship, reminding us that none of this is ours to possess. 

God of Hope, You have blessed your United Methodist Church. You have called incredible leaders who pave the way in sharing the gospel with a world thirsting for good news. You have protected the church from annihilation throughout its long history. Your Holy Spirit continues to inspire us today. We express our remorse when our worship becomes idolatry. We grieve our abuse of the covenant we share with one another, turning something You meant for us to grow in unity into something we can weaponize in order to legitimize our fear of change. We lament the ways we have caused harm to our LGBTQ+ siblings as a church community, as an annual conference, and as a denomination. 

Forgive us, Lord, for our sin. We pray that peace descends on all of us: Your warring children. 

We pray for our Bishops. We pray for our peacemakers. We pray for a way forward together in love and mutual understanding, rather than a way apart in vitriolic division. We pray that we can be messengers of justice and compassion as a congregation and as a denomination. We lift our prayers to you in the name of the one who did not come to abolish law, but to fulfill it; the one whose last command to us was for us to “love one another,” our Lord Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. 
Thy kingdom (kin-dom) come, 
thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. 
Give us this day, our daily bread, 
and forgive us our trespasses 
as we forgive those who trespass against us 
and lead us not into temptation 
but deliver us from evil, 
for thine is the kingdom (kin-dom), the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

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