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 23, 2022

Prayers of the People: Together, We Are One ~ 7th Sunday of Easter ~ '22 Yr C

For Sunday, May 29, 2022, Readings:  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 proselytizing or performing miracles. On the way to a place of prayer, it was his miracle in a particular slave, for which her owners lost money, that landed him and Silas in jail. 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. On this discovery, 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 [and our] word
       Now, as this Easter season is ending, 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 and memorized formal prayers, is prayer only when I want something? How 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, I must remember that prayer can keep me connected to God in Christ and the Holy Spirit who are already and always within me. 
       There are innumerable volumes of books written on various forms and schools of prayer and many are worth exploring. If prayer seems difficult at times, a simple way to begin is just to have an everyday kind of conversation with God as one might take comfort with and confide in a close confidante. God is the Person who knows us better than we know ourselves. There are no right or special words, no correct procedures, just ordinary words in sincerity and faith, even if we think sometimes that our faith is wavering or weak. A plain, quiet help me, Lord can open our hearts and our souls, to the experience of faith even smaller than a mustard seed and we will be heard.     
       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 form ~ aloud, silently, written, poetic, scattered, rambling, angry, fearful, happy, thankful, and so on. Jesus is always the most interested non-judgmental Listener. Prayer is the opportunity 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 are with and in God Who is with and in us. Together, We are One.


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, strengthen us to use the words You have given us to fill the hearts of those who lead this and all nations, for all the people of this Earth, to ensure justice, peace, and the basic necessities of human life. 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 grant compassion to all give support. We now join our hearts together to pray 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 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 for 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, the Alpha and Omega, as the Word made Flesh You are in God, with God, and of God. Quench our spiritual thirst with the water of eternal life that we may see Your glory, and live forever in You as You live 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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