Prayer is Central (May 9, 2012)

…Opening To…

The purpose of the worship of God is to help us see our dependence on God and the vast resources that God wants to lavish on our lives. (Ian S. Markham)

…Listening In…

Grant, Almighty God, that all who confess your Name may be united in your truth, live together in your love, and reveal your glory in the world… Guide the people of this land, and of all the nations, in the ways of justice and peace; that we may honor one another and serve the common good… Give us all a reverence for the earth as your own creation, that we may use its resources rightly in the service of others and to your honor and glory. (excerpt from Form IV of the Prayers of the People)

…Filling Up…

In the very center of our service, we come to our sixth moment – the Prayers of the People. I love the fact that these prayers fall in the middle because their location reminds us of the centrality of prayer in our lives. Of course, the entire service is prayer, but in the very center we find these prayers dedicated to God working in very specific facets of our lives and in the life of the world.

Indeed, the Prayers of the People follow a prescribed formula. We pray for “The Universal Church, its members, and its mission; the Nation and all in authority; the welfare of the world; the concerns of the local community; those who suffer and those in any trouble; and the departed.”

In each of these categories, we invite God to be present and to be at work. But these categories also function as the map for our own service. When we pray these prayers, we can ask ourselves how we are participating in God’s work in each area – in the church, in our country, in the world, in our local community, among those who are in trouble. In the final category we pray for those who have died to remind ourselves that our service to God and God’s relationship with us does not end when we pass away. Rather, the relationship becomes more perfect. This hope propels us to continue working to bring God’s reign ever closer here on earth.

Prayer is central to our lives. Anything we do in response to God’s movement is prayer – this includes kneeling at our bedsides, serving at the homeless shelter, singing songs of praise, sitting in silence just listening, and so many other responses that it would take a lifetime to list them all. The more we strive to be responsive to God’s call in our lives, the more we will be praying, and the more central will God be as we move through our days.

…Praying For…

Heavenly Father, you have promised to hear what we ask in the Name of your Son: Accept and fulfill our petitions, we pray, not as we ask in our ignorance, nor as we deserve in our sinfulness, but as your know and love us in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (from the Collects at the Prayers)

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, glad to have the opportunity to worship you freely and to bring my weekend worship into my weekday life.

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