We invite you to pray with us this week.
Aauthor of life, giver of grace, creator of the cosmos, we pray to you. We thank you for breath—for that simple reminder that we are alive. For the freedom to pray without persecution, for the love of family and friends, love that makes life sweet—sweet like honey.
We thank you, God, for the people who made us and mentored us. We thank you for the women and men who criticized and encouraged, challenged and bolstered, calling us to be our best selves.
We thank you for those who shared their faith: Sunday School teachers, grandparents, pastors, uncles, aunts, mothers, fathers, friends, professors, spouses. These people told us your stories. They told us that we are part of your story.
They warned us, too: Faith is no rabbit’s foot—no lucky charm. It will not make us perfect. It will not free us from trouble. It will not stave off suffering and heartache.
Still, they urged us to embrace this journey. To pursue faith, to chase after it, to work at it, on it, in it, to make it our own. To tattoo it onto our hearts.
Faith, they said (getting so serious, so earnest), faith provides hope in the face of hardship, friends in deserts of loneliness, and direction in times of chaos.
Faith teaches us to look for you, God, to listen for your unmistakable voice, to anchor ourselves in your impossible love, and then to turn and stand alongside those in need.
Faith teaches us to love the self and to love the stranger; to care about the homebound and the homeless.
Faith enables us to peer through dust clouds of fear to see a world full of your children, your struggling, imperfect, beloved children.
Renew the eyes of our faith, O bright God. As we look at your world—at people struggling with poverty, with disease, with hatred, with apathy—lend us your spectacles. Help us to look for neighbors and not enemies, hope and not futility. Shape our eyes with love and not vanity, mercy and not vengeance.
The living of these days is not easy, God. Sometimes it is all we can do to hold it together. So we ask, we plead with you: Ground us, Good Shepherd. Hold us close. Guide our steps. We are eager to follow your path and to repeat your precious words, saying…
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.
Senior Pastor Scott Black Johnston offered these Prayers of the People on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020.