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         Beloved God, you are as close to us as our breath and on this 1st Sunday of Lent we take time in these prayers to take a breath, a deep breath from our diaphragms, a deep inhalation and exhalation.  We pause for a moment to breathe, mindful that the word in Hebrew and Greek for breath is Spirit….  When we say, “O Breath of Life,” please respond with, “bring new life to your world.”  O Breath of Life… Bring new life to your world.

         O God of wilderness places, even there your Breath is present.  There is nowhere we can be where you are not.  Thank you for your presence in our lives and in the hopes and dreams we carry for new beginnings.  During this Lent, bless us with the patience to engage in the inner work of finding courage, discovering a new direction, or seeking to live more intentionally with love and compassion in the world.  We pray for people experiencing persecution for their sexual or personal identity; may they experience your justice-making presence and may those engaged in the oppression have their hearts opened.  We pray for those who are imprisoned or persecuted for matters of conscience, thinking especially of Myanmar and those protesting against the military.  We pray for people who are on the move due to political pressures, climate disruption or catastrophe, like those in the southern US, especially Texas.  In the Ecumenical World Council of Churches prayer cycle, we pray for the people of France, Germany, and Monaco.  In our own regional prayer cycle, we pray for the United Church congregation of 100 Miles House in the Cariboo and continue to pray for Lax Kw’alaams, north of Prince Rupert.  O Breath of Life…  Bring new life to your world.

We are part of a global community and we are thankful that we are connected to the land, the animals, the plants, and the global community of people.  In this time of COVID-19, when our economies are not in full swing and we are spending more time at home, and when we are thinking about what is important in our lives, may we expand our thinking to the global community.  Give us the courage to refocus on what is beneficial not only to future generations but to everyone now around the world.  We pray for Our Bienestar partners involved in Guatemala, our kin at Nyanyadzi Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, peacemakers and peacekeepers, health care workers, teachers, engineers, and the many who serve throughout the world through many organizations.  We pray for all affected by COVID-19, whether in body, mind or spirit.  And we pray for the future of our environment, protecting and respecting this gift of creation. Help us share new ideas, resources and be open to one another’s struggle everywhere in this world. O Breath of Life…  Bring new life to your world.

May your divine breath breathe into those who are ill in any way.  May we all experience your healing love and compassion.  In this time of prayer, we intentionally name all those on our Prayer List, and others we name silently in this moment…   …May we know and experience your presence in our Lenten journeys, and may we discover new hope for living as we look to the time when we can all be back together again.  O Breath of Life… Bring new life to your world.

And we all say together.  AMEN!

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