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Posts Tagged ‘peace’

Wonder-working God

A prayer based on Matthew 5

Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess you as
Giver of Life,
Word of Truth,
the Way of Hope.

We have heard you tell us
to turn the other cheek,
to go the other mile,
to give more than is asked of us.
You summon us
not to resist evil with violence,
not to lie.
You command us
to love our enemies
and to pray for those who hurt us.

We confess that we cannot be
the people you have called us to be.
We are caught
by our fears
by our wounds
by our selfishness.

More than this,
we are surprised that still you
call us to be instruments of your peace.
We have settled for so much less.

Holy, wonder-working God,
you have opened up new futures
for your people before.
You have taken what looks
weak and defeated
and worked miracles of grace.

Be what you are among us,
so that what we are
is transformed into
your light that shines hope in dark places.

We ask in Jesus’ name,
who took ordinary men and women
and blessed them
and transformed them;
then gave them to the world
as signs and witnesses to
your revolutionary power. Amen.

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Christ’s way of peace

Truth-telling Saviour,
you have set before us your way of peace:
a way of loving our neighbours,
caring for the weak,
stewarding creation,
living in justice and mercy for all people.
We would be instruments of that reconciling peace.

So, we pray today for leaders in
government, business, industry, education and health care.
Grant them wisdom, humility and courage
to do what is right for all people.
We pray especially for the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt
as they head into a new future.

We pray for leaders in our churches,
that they may lead in a way that
gives voice to all your people
so that our congregations shine your light
in each neighbourhood where you have placed them.

We pray for those for whom we have special concern today.
We are grateful that you are a Lord who knows how
to weep with us,
to be strong for us,
to lead us through the dark valleys.

Lead us and those for whom we have prayed
deeper and deeper into your love
for the sake of your glory and your praise.

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Continuing reflections on Galatians 1: 11-24

Following Jesus on his Way takes us down paths that are different from what we have been used to. We have been trained to work very hard to maintain the illusion that we are in control in our lives. We have been taught to get what we believe is right or what we think will make our lives turn out right. Sometimes, we are even willing to trample over other people in order to make that happen. We are even prone to using religion to get us there. That is when we are most dangerous.

As Christians, at the end of the day, all our actions are answerable to Jesus who refused the way of arrogance and intimidation and coercion. This way is so odd and so counter-cultural that transformation is required. We need constant retraining in it. For Paul, that transformation began in the three years after his encounter with Jesus on the road. For us, that retraining happens every Sunday when we gather to worship. In worship, we practice being the kind of people who are formed by Jesus’ way of freedom:

We practice looking in the right direction by hearing stories of the way Jesus saw people. Our eyes begin to see them differently. Even strangers and enemies become brothers and sisters.

We sing our songs to God. If they are good and faithful songs, they re-direct our hearts toward God. All week long, there are forces that pull us toward what is happening in the world and toward what we are doing or need to be doing. Regularly, we need to intentionally direct our attention to God and to what God is doing. If we don’t, we’ll miss the signs of God’s action. Then, we shall miss out on the most important thing that is going on in any situation.

We gather regularly around the table where Jesus offers to meet us in all our diversity. At that table, we learn to welcome even strangers into our midst. We come with empty hands and we receive the gifts God has for us. Doing that in worship, we learn to receive the gifts of God in the world as well.

We spend time with our crucified and risen Saviour so that our whole life, our being, gets shaped in grace-filled ways.

Living in the freedom Christ gives does not come naturally to us, but that freedom is the atmosphere that allows new relationships to emerge — the kinds of reconciling relationships that this world desperately needs.

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A prayer based on John 20: 19-31

Reconciling God,
You invite us into life ruled by resurrection,
into your new country shaped by your grace,
into your transforming presence.
Break into our lives and speak your resurrection words
again and again until we receive your life-changing breath.
Break into the places where we need reconciliation;
into the places where we hide wounds that will not heal;
into the places where we cannot find peace.

Faithful God,
meet us with your Spirit’s healing power.
Restore your image in our lives and in our life together,
so that, through us, other may see the new creation
You make possible.
Let your peace flow among us and through us
into all the world.
We ask these things in the name of our crucified and risen Lord.

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You are on your way to Jerusalem, precious Lord —
on your way to suffering and to death
for the sake of our freedom and our salvation.
We are those who have signed up to follow you,
so, today, we shout, “Hosanna!”.
We hail you as King and Lord and Prince of peace.

But you alone know what the road ahead will require of us:
You know the powers that will seek to silence
your Word of Truth from our lips.
You know the fears that will lead us far from
the peace that you give.
You know the weariness that will overcome
our courage and our hope.
Yet, knowing all that, you love us still.
You weep over us when we are blind to your presence.
You lament that we are so stubborn in
resisting your way to peace.

As we enter into this holy week,
let your tears wash over us.
Cleanse us of our fearful doubt;
Heal us in our broken places;
Renew us where hope has died;
for we do not want the stones to do our proper work.
Blessed are you, King Jesus,
our joy, our peace, our hope.

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A Prayer for Busy People

We are a busy people, God.
Busy making a living,
Busy giving our children opportunities to grow and thrive,
Busy meeting deadlines and expectations,
Busy keeping a pace that the world sets for us.

Yet, You have sought and found us —
with our hungry hearts,
our thirsty spirits,
our tattered souls.
You have made us members of your household,
citizens of your kingdom.
As we worship you,
we pray that you would
usher us into a different space,
a different time —
one that is shaped by the rhythms of your grace.
Help us to recognize our need for one another,
as different as we are.
Usher us into a different space,
a different time —
one that is shaped by the rhythms of prayer.
Help us to take time to rest in the sure confidence
that you who created the world,
still govern its destiny and ours.
Usher us into a different space,
a different time–
so that our busyness gives way to your peace.
We ask in the name of Jesus
whose resurrection from the dead
redeems this world. Amen.

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