Prayers of the people
Let us pray.
We can never travel too far from you, dear God. You are in the galaxies and in the depths of the sea, in all of history and in the arc of the future. You never leave us for you are the ground of our being. You invite us to live our true lives, to leave behind those things which hold us back and hold us down. You invite us to follow you in new and challenging ways, to keep working for your kingdom, to keep serving you in the world.
Help us to be the people of God. In order to do this, help us to put aside old hurts, bitterness and regret. Help us to forgive – ourselves and others. Give us strength to move past the comfort of familiar ways, in order to embrace new opportunities, new perspectives and hope.
In this New Year, may we look for signs of your Spirit at work, that we may find new life. Where are you leading us God, as individuals and as a church? What would you have us do, how are you calling us? Help us to have the courage to take on new challenges and may we have the wisdom to know the leading of your Spirit. We know already those things which are close to your heart: a sense of justice; a love for creation; a dedication to peace; a commitment to reconciliation. How would you have us pursue these things in this year, what is the work that you would have us do?
We pray that as individuals and in our life together, that we may know you better in this year ahead. May our lives be open to new ways of seeing you and growing closer to you and to each other. Help us to seek you in prayer, in community, in service to others, in creation. May our minds be open to new understandings, to new insights, open our hearts that we might learn more about your love.
Loving God, we bring our personal concerns and prayers to you, knowing that you are already sharing in them. We remember friends and loved ones who need a sense of your healing spirit, your peace and a sense of your presence. We think of them now. We think of loved ones and those dear to us who are absent, travelling, unwell, lonely or overwhelmed with life. Touch their lives we pray, may they know your love and may we know better how to support them.
We pray for our nation. We pray for justice and we pray for our leaders. May they be men and women who care about the welfare and wellbeing of all people, here and around the world. May their decisions be guided by a desire for equality, for the welfare of those who are marginalised and oppressed, and for the restoration of our damaged environment. May they be motivated by justice rather than greed and may they be people who seek peace. Help us too to be influencers and to never give up working for the values of your kingdom.
We pray also for nations and places around the world. For those countries reeling from the impact of the coronavirus, we pray for policies and practices which will offer healing, hope and comfort. May this virus mark a turning-point for our world, an opportunity to think again about what is important, a renewed commitment to good health systems and greater control over greed and financial markets. We pray for countries where poverty, oppression and war still rage. Dear God, we pray for peace, for a change in the hearts and minds of those leaders who seek power without justice, who refuse to listen to voices of peace. And we pray for all global leaders, including Australia, in their deliberations on climate change and climate justice. Forgive them and forgive us for being slow to change our ways. May they have the courage to repent of policies which are destroying the world, may there be a turning; a commitment to honour this planet and a change in values and priorities. Again, help us to know how to influence for change.
Loving God, sometimes we feel overwhelmed by our calling as your people. But we know that you are with us, that you are present among us and in this world and that you guide us, always offering hope and a new future. Help us to embrace this future, to know that you are there and that you seek to welcome us to a different way of living. Help us to keep discovering what it means to be the people of God. Amen.
Tim Budge, offered for worship, 17/01/2021, Epiphany 2B