Prayers of the People: December 17

Published on Dec 17th, 2017 by Member of Congregation | 0
Prayers of the People: December 17

During the prayers, when I say: “Spirit of Grace and Love” please respond with “hold us and lift us.”   In our silence, and as one, we breathe deeply and rest our minds and bodies, answering the call to prayer.  Let us pray.This is the season of joy, or so we’re told. And many people rush about being happy, or so they say. But today we are called to think more deeply about joy, how it can be experienced as an expression of love, of grace, of ground, of God. It can be a challenge to feel joyful. Especially in a season when everyone expects you to be jolly. And so we may need to take time to pause so we can feel the spirit holding us. And, when we look around and see the hurting in the world, the outrages and ongoing disasters, we may struggle to feel the spirit lifting us.

We can ponder the words of a great Hindu saint, famous for always bubbling with joy. When asked at age 90 for his secret, he said it was very simple: early on he had learned that he could decide whether to be in hell or heaven, and so every morning he asked himself to choose where to be that day. “I always choose heaven,” he said.

Let us also choose heaven, the place of love and compassion. Let us strive to be joyful ones, bringing love and active caring to our marvellous, but troubled, world and to all its creatures.

We pray for clarity, and for strength, and for the wisdom of Jesus to guide us. Spirit of Grace and Love…   “hold us and lift us.”

This morning we join Kootenay Presbytery in praying for Robin Murray, chair of the Outdoor Ministry and Youth Team of Kootenay Presbytery, as well as Camp Koolaree representative to Kootenay Presbytery. Robin is also an online student at Vancouver School of Theology and of course, is in youth ministry at Nelson United. May the spirit of grace and love go with her.

We pray for the countries and people of the West African countries of Cabo Verde, the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal, in our World Council of Churches Prayer Cycle. May they be graced by love and joy.

 We remember and pray for peacemakers and peacekeepers, health care workers, teachers, engineers and others who serve throughout the world. And we pray for their families as they prepare for this season, perhaps missing a loved one at the table. May they all be held in safety and love. We pray for our friends, our brothers and sisters, at Nyanyadzi Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. May their new government act with fairness and compassion, and may their country be restored to prosperity and justice. And closer, we pray for those on our Prayer List, and for the people who care for them; we pray for those in our hearts, their names spoken aloud or silently…       …Spirit of Grace and Love…   “hold us and lift us.”

We are so grateful to have this Nelson United community to gather with today. Being together strengthens us to go forward with joyfulness in our hearts… and also perhaps with a funny story or a melody in our heads. Or perhaps we simply feel the pleasure of a remembered conversation or a big warm hug.  We go out with open arms, listening ears and gentle hearts… and in doing so, we follow in the steps of Jesus. Sometimes we may stumble into darkness…or perhaps the darkness of sadness, regret or loss arises from our hearts…but we know we are held and we are lifted by grace and love.

And in gratitude for all of these joys, we say…   “Amen!”



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