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Prayers of the People – Palm Sunday, 2017
Precious Lord, we praise you for this day, for with the sunshine and beautiful weather it is easy for us to lift up our voices in shouts of “Hosanna!” Our souls have so longed for the beauty of life and creation around us, that it can be hard to reconcile the anxieties, fears, and desolation that we not only feel hearing of all you suffered as you journey to the cross, but also in the world around us. We pray for all those who gather to celebrate both Palm Sunday as well as remember your trials and sufferings. We pray especially for those in Egypt this morning, who gathered to celebrate and remember You, but found their church homes bombed because of their gathering. O God, we take our freedom to gather together to worship You for granted, forgetting that there are millions around the world who gather to worship you at the risk of their own lives, and yet for your love, for the sacrifice you made for us on the cross, nothing can stop them from gathering. Be with the families of those who lost loved ones so unexpectedly today, and we pray for your comfort and presence to be especially near to them during this time.
O God, we pray for your beloved children in Syria, Russia, Chechnya, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom, where gas attacks and hate-inspired crime have taken the lives of children you love. Human lives are precious, and even when people commit crimes we don’t understand, we know that they are still your children, who bear your image. We pray for doctors and nurses who work to save lives in these countries and nations, who fight to preserve life even at the cost of their own health sometimes. Be with our world leaders, guiding them, that they would be more concerned with the desire to preserve life, harmony, and peace, rather than grasp for power at the expense of the lives of others.
Living God, we ask that you would be with us as we continue moving into this new season. We feel the ending of the academic year looming closer, with new transitions awaiting us just around the corner. God, help us to be present in these moments, that just as we are not to rush through this Holy Week to Easter morning, so too are we called to live into the transition moments when we feel pulled in so many directions. We pray for those who feel the pulling of disease and sickness, no matter how hard they will their bodies to fight, and ask that you would give them strength to whether the darkest of days. We pray for those who feel the darkness of the tomb, who are surrounded by anxiety, depression, loneliness, and feelings of being unwanted, and unloved. We ask that you would be beside them in the tombs, reminding them to breathe, and that you are beside them, shining your light and fighting the darkness alongside them. We pray for those who are in seasons of joy, and ask that you would help those who are celebrating the beauty of life, that it is only possible because of your love and grace, and that they would be filled with gratitude and thanksgiving.
We lay all of our prayers before you O God, and we pray together now the prayer that you taught us, saying, Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.