Executive Pastor Charlene Han Powell offered these Prayers of the People on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017.
God of Grace and Wonder, we come before you this morning with hearts full of gratitude. This very week, friends and families across the nation will gather together around tables to share food and laughter, joy and gratitude, love and thanksgiving. And that is what you call us to do.
In a world that focuses so much on what we don’t have, you challenge us to sit still long enough to consider what we do have, and we have so much. From the beauty of your creation to the warmth of our communities, Lord, you have bestowed on us an abundance of blessings. You alone see our innermost needs and you meet them, you provide for us, you give so generously to us. How can we not be thankful?
But this season of gratitude and celebration does not come without its challenges. Try as we might to focus these coming weeks on you and your faithfulness, the holiday season is more a reminder of our own sorrows and frustrations.
For so many of us, Thanksgiving is less about feasting with loved ones and more about fighting with our families. For those of us who dread the coming week, we ask for your grace, patience and compassion toward those we are at odds with.
For so many of us, the holidays are less about celebrating what we have, and more about being reminded of what we have lost. For those of us who are feeling the sting of sorrow, we ask for your comfort, peace and hope for a brighter tomorrow.
And for so many of us, this season is less about hope and joy, and more about fear and anger. Senseless violence continues to claim innocent lives. Those in power continue to abuse those who can’t defend themselves. For those of us who are struggling with doubt, we ask for your wisdom, strength and faith that you are indeed at work in this world.
So with hearts full of gratitude, we thank you for being a God who truly does hear and honor all our prayers, from our prayers of thanksgiving to our prayers of lamentation. We thank you for showing yourself to us in Scripture, in this church community and in the world. And most of all, we thank you for choosing to be in relationship with us and redeeming us through your son, Jesus Christ, in whom all our gratitude finds its source. And it is in his holy and sacred name that we now pray together the words he taught us to pray when he said…
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be 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.