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Prayers of the People: March 22

I want to start by saying what an honour it is to write these prayers this week. It’s been a challenging week for us all, and at times I have been slipping into despondency. This opportunity to focus on God and prayer is just what I need right now.

The people of the Bible were no stranger to human tragedy and calamity.

While I am no Biblical scholar, the repeated message that I get from these Bible stories is of a God-centred perspective. A worldview in which prayer to God is at the center of people’s lives. And so now, in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, we draw on our age-old human resource of prayer as the connection to God. When you hear the words “steadfast God of wholeness and healing,” please respond with “Hear our prayers”.

Loving God, Thank you for the beautiful creation of the natural world. Starting with the basics: water, rocks, dirt. Thank you for the opportunities that we have here in the Kootenays to go out into the forest and the mountains, to sit by a stream, to unfold a lawn chair beside the house, close our eyes and listen to birdsong. Thank you for our windows that look out onto trees. Thank you for the animal visitors who pass by our window to say hello.

Thank you for our pets. Thank you for phone calls. Thank you for words of comfort and encouragement. Thank you for Children and their quirky wisdom.Thank you for the helpers who are working hard right now around the world. Doctors, nurses, care aides, paramedics, cleaners, garbage removers, bus drivers and grocery clerks. Folks who, in many ways, are on the front lines of this situation. Steadfast God of wholeness and healing…     “Hear our prayers.

Compassionate God: Sometimes it feels like our world is coming apart at the seams. Are you crying too, God? Thinking about families stuffed into overcrowded refugee camps in Greece, or Hospitals in Zimbabwe without water, where families must provide buckets of water to their loved one. What happens when a patient has no one to bring them water? What about the homeless encampments in California? Without proper access to bathing and toilet facilities? Millions of people living in slums around the world, how are they all going to deal with this virus that is making people sick and killing them?

We pray for the people of your world God. We pray for healing and wholeness. We pray for calm and compassion. We ask your special blessings God on the family and friends of those who have died from this sickness. We pray for those who are ill, who are suffering from sickness. We pray for the folks who have been laid off from their jobs and who feel uncertain about how they are going to make ends meet. We pray for ourselves. Help us to be calm and connected. Help us to remember that your world is one of mystery: some parts of it we will never understand. Help us to remember that your world is holy, no matter what is going on. Steadfast God of wholeness and healing…     “Hear our prayers.

Mother and Father God, We petition you with our prayers because we believe in you and we believe in the power of prayer. In our World Council of Churches’ prayer cycle we pray for the countries of the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. We pray that they are able to contain the spread of coronavirus and that their health care systems are able to care for the sick.

In our Pacific Mountain Regional Council Prayer Cycle, we pray for Denman Island United Church. We pray that this small community of faith can be a spark of comfort and a reminder of God’s love during this difficult time.

In our Nelson United Church Prayers, we pray for Our Bienestar partners involved in our outreach project in Guatemala, Our brothers & sisters 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 those affected by COVID-19, whether in body, mind or spirit. We pray for LGBTQ2SIA+ people who are persecuted in many countries; We pray for the future of our environment; protecting and respecting this gift of creation. We pray for all those named on our Prayer List. And now we mention, each in our own way, silently or aloud, the names of people that we wish to pray for…    …Steadfast God of wholeness and healing…   “Hear our prayers.”

God of Beauty, Love and Creativity, I end these prayers with a poem by the American poet Mary Oliver, “I Worried”

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.”


And the people say…   “Amen!”



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