Prayers of the People

January 1, 2013

When you hear the words, "God who gives strength to your people", please respond with "Hear our prayers."

On this New Year's Day we celebrate new beginnings, as the passage from Luke describes the presentation of Jesus in the temple, and as Rod Lindstrom is baptized into the United Church of Canada. We are to remember our promises as witnesses to such beginnings and hold them to guide us; we dare to follow the way of Jesus in the community and the world, embodying the love of God as we go. God who gives strength to your people...    "Hear our prayers."

In our province we think today about Reverend Doug Goodwin and the members of the BC Conference; may they be strong and wise when they meet and work. We think of our own church and the transitions and opportunities we embark on this month, with a new constitution that begins today; bless our new Church Board leaders as they re-establish our context. In the World Council of Churches prayer cycle, we hope for new beginnings in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories—may they find some peace in their complicated relationships. We remember our friends in the Nyandyazi Methodist Church; may they see new peaceful beginnings in Zimbabwe and sustain their strength. And we wish courage for the peacekeepers and peacemakers serving throughout the world. God who gives strength to your people...    "Hear our prayers."

Closer to home are the folks who are failing or sorrowing and need to find strength and consolation; we can lend them ours. We ask that those named in our Prayer List who are dear to us be given what they need... and others we name silently or aloud...    ... God who gives strength to your people...    "Hear our prayers."

New beginnings require courage and tenacity; the example of Jesus and the inspiration of God's love and creation are the guiding tools to move us to make new things the best that they can be—why would we do otherwise with road maps like this? God who gives strength to your people...    "Hear our prayers."

To remember our promises and give us courage, we now say the prayer that Jesus taught us:

Our Father, who is in heaven,
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come. Your 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 Yours is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.