A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.

Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Prayers of the People: We are All, Together 7th Sunday of Easter '19 Yr C

For Sunday, June 2, 2019, 7th Sunday of Easter, Year CReadings: Acts 16:16-34, Psalm 97, Revelation 22:12-14; 16-17, 20-21; John 17:20-26

     ...With Paul and Silas...we were going to a place of prayer...[Then the jailer] said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They answered, "Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."...He and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God. [Acts 16:16, 30-31, 34b]

         Light has sprung up for the righteous, and joyful gladness for those who are truehearted.  [Psalm 97:11]

       It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star." [Revelation 22:16]

               Jesus...looked up to heaven and said... "I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they all may be one...so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them[John 17: 1a, 20-21a, 26b]

       This recounting of Paul’s imprisonment is intriguing as it isn’t the typical story of being imprisoned for proseltyzing or performing miracles. On the way to a place of prayer, his miracle in a particular slave for which her owners lost money landed him and Silas in jail. Just as those imprisoned with them heard Paul and Silas praying and singing hymns to God, an earthquake loosed the chains that bound them all and yet the prisoners stayed inside despite the opened doors. The jailer and his family were instantly converted to faith in Jesus and baptized. 
       Faith is the primary element of any religious practice and for Christianity and other theological traditions, prayer is the backbone of faith. Sometimes, however, prayer comes ahead of belief through the longing to have the kind of faith observed in others, as with Paul’s jailer. It has been said that the mere desire to have faith is, in itself, an expression of faith. Tentative exploration of prayer may also occur in the search for the meaning of grief at an age when the onset of mortality becomes one’s reality.
       Without faith, “christian” becomes a mere empty label. Yet without sincere and frequent prayer, faith itself is unfulfilled; it has limited direction and action. The whole of John 17 is Jesus' prayer before he leaves the disciples to carry on without him, but it isn't just about himself or the disciples at hand. It is also about us. Jesus speaks of those who will believe in me through their word
       Now, as we end this Easter season, it is an excellent time for me to examine the state of my faith and, particularly, how I pray. Do I simply repeat familiar syllables in the liturgical rituals, is prayer only a way to call out for help when I want or need something for myself or someone else? Or, do I thoughtfully, and intentionally, make time to truly and sincerely pray in faith to build my relationship with GodEven during desert times when God feels absent, prayer keeps connecting me to God in Christ and the Holy Spirit who are already within me. 
       There are innumerable volumes of books written on various forms and schools of prayer, many worth exploring. If prayer seems difficult, intimidating, or mysterious, a simple way to begin is just to have a conversation with God, taking comfort with and confiding in your closest confidante ~ the Person who knows you better than you know yourself. There are no right words, no correct procedures, just everyday words in sincerity and faith, even if you think sometimes that your faith is wavering or weak. A plain, quiet help me, Lord can open your heart, and in turn your soul, to the experience of even a mustard seed amount of faith.     
       Jesus shows us the way of prayer ~ it strengthens faith, draws us together in community, and gives us blessings and hope. Prayer is, quite simply, the most perfect conversation we can ever have. Any time, any place, any way - aloud, silently, written, poetic, scattered, rambling. There is always an interested non-judgmental Listener. Prayer is the opportunity, in faith, to place cares, woes, hopes, dreams, thanksgivings, contrition, into the Heart of God. Let us pray without ceasing [1 Thessalonians 5:17] to our bright morning star, drinking deeply from the water of life. In prayer, we are complete, we are known, we with God are all, together.


Leader:  ~ O Savior Christ, You are the bright morning star of Creation, loved from before the world was founded. Draw us into the prayer of faith that binds us to You and to each other, to all be as one, complete in the eternal love of God.

                                                     Jesus, Root of the Tree of Life
RESPONSE:                  Let our prayer come to You

~ O Savior Christ, teach us the words to make God known in the hearts of those who lead the nations and all the people of the Earth, to ensure justice, peace, and the necessities of human life. We pray especially for: We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Jesus, Root of the Tree of Life
                                                Let our prayer come to You

~ O Savior Christ, hear the prayers and heal the bodies and minds of all who suffer through illness, anxiety, or hopelessness, and fill those who support them with compassion.  We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need…add your own petitions

Jesus, Root of the Tree of Life
                                                Let our prayer come to You

~ O Savior Christ, shine the light of Your Presence on all grieving hearts, as those we have sent ahead now enter the gates of heavenly peace and life everlasting. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Jesus, Root of the Tree of Life
                                                Let our prayer come to You

~ O Savior Christ, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently…add your own petitions

Jesus, Root of the Tree of Life
                                                Let our prayer come to You

~ O Savior Christ, as you prayed for the disciples of Your own time, pray without ceasing for us, the disciples of this time, especially those ordained to serve in Your Church to bring us Your Word and Sacraments.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Jesus, Root of the Tree of Life
                                                Let our prayer come to You

The Celebrant adds:  Jesus, Alpha and Omega, as the Word made Flesh You are in God, with God, and of God. Quench our spiritual thirst with the flowing water of eternal life that we may see Your glory and live forever in You as You do within us. We ask through the Holy Spirit, the Mother of Wisdom; and the Almighty Creator who together with You are One God, now and through eternity. Amen.

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