The Same Kind of Suffering

Be sober-minded.  Be watchful,” the apostle Peter writes to a young church undergoing intense persecution.  “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

© Copyright John Kerstholt  and licensed for reuse at Wikimedia.

© Copyright John Kerstholt and licensed for reuse at Wikimedia.

I read my copies of The Voice of the Martyr’s and Gospel for Asia, and I learn that more Christians have been martyred in the 20th century than all the centuries preceding.  The stories are difficult to digest:

The pastor’s wife, who finds herself a widow with twelve children to raise after her husband is machete-ed to death.  The solitary girl whose parents and two other sisters were slaughtered for their faith.  The wrongfully imprisoned.  The hidden church.  The children rejected and abused for their faith.  The missionaries hiking miles through hostile jungles to share the gospel with remote villages.

When I’m having a day beset by fear and doubt, I often read the life-stories of these brothers and sisters, and my heart gains courage.  Because despite my suburban existence, I’m desperate for courage.  

Resist [your adversary],” Peter goes on to say, “firm in your faith, knowing that the same kind of suffering is being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” I read this the other day and was stopped short.  Really?  The same kind of suffering?  My American Christian life is nothing like that of the persecuted church.

Or is it?

A Ugandan pastor’s life is snuffed out by a violent physical assault.  An American pastor’s witness destroyed by a life of hidden addiction and sin.  In both, the collateral damage is immense.

An Indonesian church building is bombed by a hostile grenade, and a prosperous southern congregation ripped right down the middle with gossip and slander and righteous indignation.  A middle-eastern theological seminary is denied permits for their building by an intolerant government and a western denomination grows fat with luxurious campuses set to tickle the ears of listeners.

© Copyright Jerzy Hulewicz and licensed for reuse at Wikimedia.

© Copyright Jerzy Hulewicz and licensed for reuse at Wikimedia.

A Chinese pastor is tortured in a prison camp, because of his preaching, and a western Christian is chained up by addiction and despair.  A North Korean believer cannot teach their children about Jesus under penalty of death, and an American believer is paralyzed by the lie of affluence and free-time.

Christians in hostile countries are faced with the life-or-death moment: will you deny the faith or face years of imprisonment and torture and you and I stick fast in our spiritual inertia and the captivity of a mindless cultural norm. 

It’s no use quibbling over what qualifies as an enemy’s attack.  The church is besieged, and you, if you are a Christian, are smack dab in the middle of the battlefield.

Because the truth is all Christians are undergoing the same kind of suffering.  We do not have the imminent threat of a machete attack, but we, too, live in a world torn asunder.  One full of loss and fear and doubt.  Of broken relationships and broken hearts and diseased minds.  Of fractured souls and hidden pain and “coping mechanisms” that strangle the life out of us.

 You are fooling yourself if you don’t think you have an enemy.

You have a real enemy.  The one who is looking to devour you.  And the reality is, your enemy isn’t a movie version, the kind that will only push the hero so far until she can break free and save the day.  Your enemy comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy. The time is short and the stakes are real.

Whether literal physical imprisonment or spiritual chains, both kinds of oppression have the same aim: to keep you from being effective and fruitful in the kingdom.

Your real suffering is whatever paralyzes you, the things that keep you from fulfilling God’s purpose for you.  You know what I’m talking about.

That deep-seated long-held fear that keeps you safe at home.

© Copyright Jerry Segraves and licensed for reuse at Wikimedia.

© Copyright Jerry Segraves and licensed for reuse at Wikimedia.

The addiction that’s destroying you but you still can’t set it down.

The lies that lull you into drowsy complacency or riles you up to self-protective indignation.

The voice that tells you you’re being too legalistic or intense or whatever, the one that claims what you do might not really matter all that much.

The insatiable appetite for entertainment that keeps you from truly living.

Whatever battle you find yourself in, take heart!  Peter’s words are for us today.  This exhortation to watchfulness and sober-mindedness comes right after the familiar verse: Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

You are not alone in the battle you face today, in whatever threatens to unmoor you and keep you immobilized.  God cares for you.

Almighty God, the one who stretched out the heavens and sustains all things by the word of his power.  He cares for you.

He invites you to cast all your cares on him, to put yourself under his mighty hand.  He is the one who has promised to be with you always.

And Peter’s exhortation doesn’t end there.  It concludes with a promise:  “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself confirm, restore, strengthen, and establish you.

Almighty God will complete the work he has begun in you.  The one who works all things together for good for those who love himHe will not leave you to yourselfThe hope of your transformation rests on his faithfulness, not yours.  His promise is triumph over suffering, hope in the midst of adversity, the weight of glory surpassing momentary sufferings.

Because whether we see victory this side of heaven or not, we are people-who-live-by-faith.  We look with hope to the promise of resurrection, to the day when we can celebrate with God how he brought good from that particular suffering, from that unbelievable loss.  Hope-filled people see the tragedy of the martyr’s widow and orphaned children, the ministry destroyed by sin, the broken and crippled churches, and all the collateral damage on the battlefield and even yet trust that good can come of all of it.

Because good will come of it.  God promises you a feast.

© Copyright Daniel Dauria and licensed for reuse at Wikimedia.

© Copyright Daniel Dauria and licensed for reuse at Wikimedia.

Your enemies linger on the outside, pressing in and tempting you to leave the table, or perhaps try and keep you from ever sitting down.  Resist them, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kind of suffering is being experienced by the church around the world and across the centuries.  Look around the table.  You are not alone.  Your brothers and sisters are there, too, joining the feast.

And do you know who else is there?  Christ himself, the one who has prepared the table for you in the presence of your enemiesChrist himself serves youChrist himself offers you his life for your daily breadChrist himself, who shows us his own wounds, engraved with the weight of the world’s suffering.  Come at his invitation.

For where Christ is makes a heaven even of the wilderness.  

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Prayers for the 4th Sunday of Easter, Year C (RCL)

Download Prayers for Easter 4 – Year C, RCL

In faith, let us pray to the Lord, saying….

Hear us Risen Lord,
Our resurrection and our life.

Good Shepherd, we rejoice that we are under your care.
In our great need, your love leads us, satiates us, and sustains us,
And your companionship restores our souls.
You, the Lord God Almighty, are with us.
We dwell in your house,
Surrounded by goodness and mercy
And we give you thanks and bless your Name,
For Jesus has triumphed!  Jesus is exalted!

Silence

Hear us Risen Lord,
Our resurrection and our life.

Lord Jesus Christ,
You are the Lamb who was slain,
The one worthy of blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might forever and ever.
Salvation belongs to you alone,
And by your blood you have ransomed people from every tribe and language and people and nation,
We join our voices with the church throughout the world, saying together, “Jesus has triumphed!  Jesus is exalted!”

I invite you to pray for the work of the church, remembering especially people who have not yet heard the good news about Jesus.

Silence

I invite your prayers for Advent Anglican.

Silence

Hear us Risen Lord,
Our resurrection and our life.

O Lord, you know the world in which we live.
You dwelt among us and lived the suffering of the human condition.
You took upon yourself the weight of injustice and evil.
You see the entire world in this moment and no instance of pain escapes your attention.

We consider your cross, Jesus, and how hopeless it once appeared,
And we rejoice in your transforming power that brought about victory and new life from such a moment of darkness and despair.
We will say it again and again, “Jesus has triumphed!  Jesus is exalted!”
We trust in your everlasting triumph and look to you with hope.

I invite your prayers for those who suffer throughout the world and for those ministering to them in Christ’s name.

Silence

Hear us Risen Lord,
Our resurrection and our life.

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Good Shepherd,
And we listen attentively for your voice.
You know each of us so well,
And are intimately acquainted with all of our ways.
Speak to us that we might follow hard after you.
Direct all our comings and goings with your word,
And give us an awareness of your sure hand of protection on our lives.
We offer our lives to you, Lord of all, desiring to surrender every corner of our person to your lordship:

I invite you to cast all your worries and concerns on the Lord.

Silence

I invite you to commit the work of your hands to the Lord.

Silence

I invite you to ask for discernment in all your decisions this week.

Silence

I invite you to offer up any other prayers and intercessions.

Silence

Hear us Risen Lord,
Our resurrection and our life.

How good it is to be part of your church, stretching back to those who first believed and spreading throughout the corners of the world.
We thank you for the millions of our brothers and sisters throughout the ages who together have believed and proclaimed your victory.
We join our voices with theirs to say it again and again, “Jesus has triumphed!  Jesus is exalted!”
Our hearts are encouraged by the faithful examples of those who have died in the faith,
And we remember them now, trusting that they are in your care.

Silence

Hear us Risen Lord,
Our resurrection and our life.

We pray to you also for the forgiveness of our sins.

Silence

Leader & People:
Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father;
in your compassion forgive us our sins,
known and unknown,
things done and left undone;
and so uphold us by your Spirit
that we may live and serve you in newness of life,
to the honor and glory of your Name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Prayers for Proper 11, closest to July 20 – Year B (RCL)

Download Prayers for Proper 11 Year B RCL

King of all the earth,
Creator of the universe,
Holy Triune God,
From everlasting to everlasting, you are Lord.

When you lead us into spacious places where we find living water and rest for our souls,
You, O Lord, are our shepherd; we shall not be in want.

When we are surrounded by fears and beset by disease and death,
You, O Lord, are our shepherd; we shall not be in want.

When we find ourselves in the presence of our enemies,
You, O Lord, are our shepherd; we shall not be in want.

When we see the need of the world and are ourselves driven by our own insatiable appetites,
You, O Lord, are our shepherd; we shall not be in want.

When we are weary from serving and have nothing to offer the hungry,
You, O Lord, are our shepherd; we shall not be in want.

When our souls are restored with the goodness and mercy of your presence,
You, O Lord, are our shepherd; we shall not be in want.

I invite you to add your own praises to the Lord.

Silence.

You are worthy, Holy God, to receive all our praise.  We worship you in the glory of your perfect Trinity and ask for grace to steadfastly believe and proclaim your unity.

We pray for your holy catholic church;
May our unity demonstrate your gospel of peace.

You have joined your people together in Christ;
By your Spirit, build us into your holy dwelling place.

Grant that every member of the church may truly and humbly serve you;
Thank you for being a righteous and gentle shepherd.

We pray for all bishops, priests, and deacons;
That they may be faithful ministers of your Word and Sacraments.

I invite you to add your own prayers for the worldwide church.

Silence.

Creator of the earth, you spoke the world into existence and sustain all things by your life giving word.  Consider the toil and sorrow of the people of the earth and, in your compassion, have mercy on the world.

We pray for all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world;
That there may be justice and peace on the earth.

We pray for the poor, the persecuted, the sick, and all who suffer;
For the refugees, prisoners, and all who are in danger;
Relieve and protect them, O Lord, and grant them eternal hope in you.

Teach us how to rightly steward the gift of your creation,
That the resources of the world would be used to your honor and glory.

I invite your prayers for the needs of the world.

Silence.

God of all love and peace, we come to you in faith, offering you access into every area of our lives.

We pray for this congregation,
Heal us with the peace of your miraculous provision.

Remove the obstructions that keep us far from you;
Lift up our eyes to see you alone.

Deliver us from hardness of heart;
We trust in your all-sufficient care.

We look to you, Lord of all, mindful of our helplessness,
Glorify your name in the midst of our need.

I invite you to cast all your cares and concerns on the Lord, remembering that He cares for you.

Silence.

We praise you for your saints who have entered into joy;
May we also come to share in your heavenly kingdom.

We believe in you, Lord Christ.
We cry out to you, Father God.
We receive your witness, Holy Spirit.
Abide with us as we abide in you this week and always, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Prayers for the 4th Sunday of Easter – Year B (RCL)

In faith, let us pray to the Lord, saying….

Hear us Risen Lord,
Our resurrection and our life.

O Lord, our Shepherd,
You have led us into spacious places,
Where we find living water and rest for our souls.
When we are surrounded by fears and beset by death,
We look for the peace of your presence,
And we trust in your promises.
We join the feast you have prepared for us, proclaiming that
 “Jesus has triumphed!  Jesus is exalted!”
Surely your goodness and mercy will keep us all our days,
And we shall dwell in your house forever.

I invite your praises and thanksgivings.

Silence

Hear us Risen Christ,
Our resurrection and our life.

Lord Jesus Christ,
You alone are the anointed one,
The one who fulfills the purposes set from before the foundations of the world.
Grant your church great grace to continue to speak your word with all boldness.
Fill us up, Holy Spirit, that we might testify to the healing and saving power of the resurrection,
Saying with one heart and soul:
“Jesus has triumphed!  Jesus is exalted!”

I invite you to pray for the work of the worldwide church, remembering especially people who have not yet heard the good news about Jesus.

Silence

I invite you to pray for the global Anglican Communion, remembering especially our lay ministers, priests, deacons, and bishops.

Silence

Hear us Risen Lord,
Our resurrection and our life.

O Lord, you know the world in which we live.
You dwelt among us and lived the suffering of the human condition.
You took upon yourself the weight of injustice and evil.
You see the entire world in this moment and no instance of pain escapes your attention.

We consider your cross, Jesus, and how hopeless it once appeared,
And we rejoice in your transforming power that brought about victory and new life from such a moment of darkness and despair.
We will say it again and again, “Jesus has triumphed!  Jesus is exalted!”
We trust in your everlasting triumph and look to you with hope.
Teach us to live in a world so torn asunder.
May your kingdom come in the midst of our suffering and pain.

I invite your prayers for those who suffer throughout the world and for those ministering to them in Christ’s name.

Silence

I invite your prayers for the leaders of the world, remembering especially Barack Obama our president.

Silence

Hear us Risen Lord,
Our resurrection and our life.

Lord Jesus Christ, how good you are to us!
You have laid down your very life for your sheep.
You have brought us into your flock,
That we might listen to your voice and find safe pasture.
Protect us from the one who would steal and kill and destroy.
Who would rob us of your precious gift of abundant life.
You are our Good Shepherd.
How we long for more of your presence!
We offer our lives to you, Lord of all, desiring to surrender every corner of our person to your lordship:

I invite you to cast all your worries and concerns on the Lord.
Silence

I invite you to commit the work of your hands to the Lord.
Silence

I invite you to ask for discernment in all your decisions this week.
Silence

I invite you to consider how you might love well those the Lord brings into your life this week.
Silence

I invite you to offer up any other prayers and intercessions.
Silence

Hear us Risen Christ,
Our resurrection and our life.

How good it is to be part of your church, stretching back to those who first believed and spreading throughout the corners of the world.
We remember the millions of our brothers and sisters throughout the ages who together have believed and proclaimed your victory.
We join our voices with theirs to say it again and again, “Jesus has triumphed!  Jesus is exalted!”
Thank you Lord for those who have gone before us, those who have died in the faith.
Our hearts are encouraged by their faithful examples and we pray for them now, trusting that they are in your care.

I invite your thanksgivings to God for those who have died in the faith.

Silence

Hear us Risen Lord,
Our resurrection and our life.

We pray to you also for the forgiveness of our sins.

Silence

Leader & People:
Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father;
In your compassion forgive us our sins,
Known and unknown,
Things done and left undone;
And so uphold us by your Spirit
That we may live and serve you in newness of life,
To the honor and glory of your Name;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

4th Sunday in Lent – Year A

Readings: 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:1-14; John 9:1-38

In faith, let us pray to the Lord, saying….

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

O Lord, who looks upon the heart, who sees us as we truly are, come now and shine your light into our darkness.  Let the true light of the whole world break into our darkness, awaken us from our sleep, and ready us to do your work.

Silence

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Lord, you see all things, you know every detail of the plight of the world.  You see in this moment the strife, suffering, and evil that covers the earth.  You, in a glance, know the acts of mercy, kindness, and charity that are happening right now.  You see the hearts and intentions of all people, from the loftiest ruler of the nations to the seemingly forgotten family living in poverty and obscurity.  Have mercy on the peoples of the world, Sovereign Lord, and remember them in their present need.  Jesus, light of the world, bring the glory of your presence to all the nations on the earth.

I invite you to pray for the world, remembering especially the people of Kenya, the Congo, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Korea.

Silence

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

We pray for your church throughout the world.  Awaken us from our slumber, Lord Christ, and renew our energy to work your will!  We desire to imitate you, to walk in love as you did.  Grant us the grace and willingness to offer up our very selves, for we believe that our surrendered lives are a fragrant offering before you, the one who is worthy of all worship.

I invite you to pray for the church throughout the world, remembering especially our brothers and sisters in Rwamagana Parish, Rwanda, and in Boma, Dominican Republic.

Silence

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Lord, we believe that you have brought us from darkness into light.  We receive our new identity as children of light.  Come, Holy Spirit, and help us to discern your will in every area of our lives that we may follow after Christ, pursuing all that is good and right and true.

Silence

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Lord we lay before you the cares and worries of our lives, looking to you, the Living Water, the source of all life and hope to satisfy us.  We remember those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit.  We think of the glaring need of the world: the starving, the sick, the poor, the homeless, the terminally ill, those crippled by pain and infirmity.  You who took on the frailty of human flesh, remember those whose physical needs overwhelm them.

I invite you to pray for those  in need.

Silence

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Lord of all the earth, we believe in your kingdom of justice, righteousness, and truth.  We pray for those who suffer because of injustice and human evil.  We remember victims of abuse, slaves, prisoners, orphans, widows, and those captive to addictions and despair.  We pray for the depressed,  the lonely and forgotten, for those weighed down by anxiety and guilt, for anyone whose spirit has been crushed and deeply wounded.   The groaning of the world is too much for us to bear.  Come quickly to us, Lord Jesus, you who understand all our pain and let us drink deeply of the peace of your presence.

I invite you to pray for your own requests and for the needs of others.

Silence

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

We thank you for your church—for all who have been given your grace in Christ Jesus. How beautiful is the bride of Christ, stretching back throughout the ages and across the world, crossing boundaries of time and place! We remember now those who have gone before us, those who have died in the faith, trusting that they are in your care.

I invite your thanksgivings to God for those who have died in the faith.

Silence

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Our hearts are full of gratitude for your nearness, holy God who dwells among his people.  Who is like you, O Lord?  Your majesty astounds us, your holiness overwhelms us, and yet, in your mercy you draw near to us.  You are the Living God, the giver of all life, the God who reconciles even his enemies to himself.  We rest in your peace, putting all our hope in you alone, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Prayers for the Fourth Sunday in Lent – Year A (BCP)

Readings: 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:1-14; John 9:1-38

Download Prayers for Lent 4 Year A BCP

In faith, let us pray to the Lord, saying….

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

O Lord, who looks upon the heart,
You see us as we truly are.
Come now and shine your light into our darkness.
Let the true light of the whole world break into our darkness.

Silence

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, you uncover all things.
You know every detail of the plight of the world.
You see in this moment the strife, suffering, and evil that covers the earth.
You, in a glance, know the acts of mercy, kindness, and charity that are happening right now.
You see the hearts and intentions of all people, from the loftiest ruler of the nations to the seemingly forgotten family living in poverty and obscurity.
Have mercy on the peoples of the world, Sovereign Lord, and remember them in their present need.
Jesus, light of the world, bring the glory of your presence to all the nations on the earth.

I invite you to pray for the world, remembering especially the people of Kenya, the Congo, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Korea.

Silence

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for your church throughout the world.
Awaken us from our slumber, Lord Christ,
And renew our energy to work your will!
We desire to imitate you, to walk in love as you did.
Grant us the grace and willingness to offer up our very selves.
You are worthy of all worship;
Receive our surrendered lives as a fragrant offering of thanksgiving.

I invite you to pray for the church throughout the world.

Silence

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We ask that your will be done in our lives and in the world.
We humble ourselves before you, praying for all that weighs heavily on our hearts as we remember our own cares and the needs of others.
We pray for those who suffer because of injustice and human evil.
We remember victims of abuse, slaves, prisoners, orphans, widows, and those captive to addictions and despair.
We pray for the depressed, the lonely and forgotten, for those weighed down by anxiety and guilt, and for anyone whose spirit has been crushed and deeply wounded.
We remember the starving, the sick, the poor, the homeless, the terminally ill, and those crippled by pain and infirmity.
The groaning of the world is too much for us to bear.
Come quickly to us, Lord Jesus, you who took on flesh and understand all our pain.
Let us drink deeply of the peace of your presence.

I invite you to pray for your own requests and for the needs of others.

Silence

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Lord, you know us through and through.
Look in the deep places of our beings, and create in us clean hearts.
Give us a right abhorrence for our own sins.
Help us to be alert and self-controlled,
That we may flee the snares of our enemy.
Reveal areas of unconfessed sin,
And give us godly sorrow that leads to repentance.
Show us where we have withheld forgiveness,
And, because of your great mercy, grant us grace to forgive others.
Deliver us from evil, Merciful Father,
And sustain us with your gracious and bountiful Spirit.

I invite your prayers for repentance and perseverance.

Silence

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We thank you for your church,
For all who have been given your grace in Christ Jesus.
How beautiful is the bride of Christ, stretching back throughout the ages and across the world, crossing boundaries of time and place!
We remember now those who have gone before us, those who have died in the faith, trusting that they are in your care.

I invite your thanksgivings to God for those who have died in the faith.

Silence

Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Holy God, you dwell among your people,
And our hearts are full of gratitude for your closeness.
Who is like you, O Lord?
Your majesty astounds us,
Your holiness overwhelms us,
And yet, in your mercy you draw near to us.
You have brought us from darkness into light.
We receive our new identity as children of light.
Come, Holy Spirit, and help us to discern your will in every area of our lives,
So that we may follow after Christ, pursuing all that is good and right and true, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Prayers for the Fourth Sunday of Easter – Year B (BCP)

In faith, let us pray to the Lord, saying….

Hear us Risen Lord,
Our resurrection and our life.

Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them,
You alone are God.
You have made us, and we belong to you.
We come before you with joy and gladness.
We give thanks to you and call upon your name, saying:
 “Jesus has triumphed!  Jesus is exalted!”
You are good, O Lord.
Your mercy is everlasting,
And your faithfulness endures from age to age.

I invite your praises and thanksgivings.

Silence

Hear us Risen Christ,
Our resurrection and our life.

Lord Jesus Christ,
You alone are the anointed one,
The one who fulfills the purposes set from before the foundations of the world.
Grant your church great grace to continue to speak your word with all boldness.
Fill us up, Holy Spirit, that we might testify to the healing and saving power of the resurrection,
Saying with one heart and soul:
“Jesus has triumphed!  Jesus is exalted!”

I invite you to pray for the work of the worldwide church, remembering especially people who have not yet heard the good news about Jesus.

Silence

I invite you to pray for the global Anglican Communion, remembering especially our lay ministers, priests, deacons, and bishops.

Silence

Hear us Risen Lord,
Our resurrection and our life.

O Lord, you know the world in which we live.
You dwelt among us and lived the suffering of the human condition.
You took upon yourself the weight of injustice and evil.
You see the entire world in this moment and no instance of pain escapes your attention.

We consider your cross, Jesus, and how hopeless it once appeared,
And we rejoice in your transforming power that brought about victory and new life from such a moment of darkness and despair.
We will say it again and again, “Jesus has triumphed!  Jesus is exalted!”
We trust in your everlasting triumph and look to you with hope.
Teach us to live in a world so torn asunder.
May your kingdom come in the midst of our suffering and pain.

I invite your prayers for those who suffer throughout the world and for those ministering to them in Christ’s name.

Silence

I invite your prayers for the leaders of the world, remembering especially Barack Obama our president.

Silence

Hear us Risen Lord,
Our resurrection and our life.

Lord Jesus Christ, how good you are to us!
You have laid down your very life for your sheep.
You have brought us into your flock,
That we might listen to your voice and find safe pasture.
Protect us from the one who would steal and kill and destroy.
Who would rob us of your precious gift of abundant life.
You are our Good Shepherd.
How we long for more of your presence!
We offer our lives to you, Lord of all, desiring to surrender every corner of our person to your lordship:

I invite you to cast all your worries and concerns on the Lord.
Silence

I invite you to commit the work of your hands to the Lord.
Silence

I invite you to ask for discernment in all your decisions this week.
Silence

I invite you to consider how you might love well those the Lord brings into your life this week.
Silence

I invite you to offer up any other prayers and intercessions.
Silence

Hear us Risen Christ,
Our resurrection and our life.

How good it is to be part of your church, stretching back to those who first believed and spreading throughout the corners of the world.
We remember the millions of our brothers and sisters throughout the ages who together have believed and proclaimed your victory.
We join our voices with theirs to say it again and again, “Jesus has triumphed!  Jesus is exalted!”
Thank you Lord for those who have gone before us, those who have died in the faith.
Our hearts are encouraged by their faithful examples and we pray for them now, trusting that they are in your care.

I invite your thanksgivings to God for those who have died in the faith.

Silence

Hear us Risen Lord,
Our resurrection and our life.

We pray to you also for the forgiveness of our sins.

Silence

Leader & People:
Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father;
In your compassion forgive us our sins,
Known and unknown,
Things done and left undone;
And so uphold us by your Spirit
That we may live and serve you in newness of life,
To the honor and glory of your Name;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.