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Saturday, November 26, 2016


Section A: Prayers From the Church (1-35)
Section B: Notecards From the Church (36-76)
Section C: Prayers of the Church (77-108)

IV, Section A: Prayers From the Church (1-35)  
For Faith (1)
For Guidance (2-3)
Attendance at a Spiritual Retreat (4-5)
Return from a Spiritual Retreat (6-9)
Thanks for the Kindness of Others (10-11)
Baptism (12)
Commissioning or Ordination (13-16)
Ordination Anniversary (17-19)
For Shepherds of the Church (20-22)
For a Troubled Pastorate (23)
When Church Professionals Leave (24-26)
Pastor’s Retirement (27)
Recognition of a Church Teacher or Leader (28)
Recognition of a School Teacher (29)
Award Recipient (30)
Church Visitors (31)
New Church Members (32)
Organization of a New Church (33)
New Church Building (34)
Closing of a Church (35)

Section B: Notecards From the Church (36-76 )
To Visitors (36-48)
To New Members (49)
To Absent Members (50-55)
To the Grieving (56-57)
To Those Grieving Broken Relationships (58-59)
Celebrations (60)
Commendation (61-69)
To Young People (70-73)
To Someone on the Church Prayer List (74-76)

IV, Section C: Prayers of the Church (77-108)
Praise (77-78)
Thanksgiving (80-84)
Confession (85-87)
Intercession (88-89)
Supplication (90-92)
Dedication (93-97)
Illumination (98-101)
Listening (102-104)
Benediction (105-107)
The Family Prayer (108)
For Faith (1)
Faithful God,
            Through your Design for life, some are given the ability to “see” your unseen Presence at work in our lives and in the world. Charge us anew to use this precious gift on behalf of those who cannot see you and do not believe, that we may be the hands of Christ upon them as we reach out to touch and to bless.
Your beloved child, _____, is seeking (revitalization of) your gift of faith. We pray you will fan the embers of her hopes and help her to leap where she cannot see, to flourish in love, and to abound in a New Life in Christ. We pray all this (1)

For Guidance (2-3)
Precious Lord,
            We rejoice that your promise is to be with us no matter the way we take.  So what have we to fear? We ask the blessing of your guidance now for our friend, _____, as she struggles with the options that lay before her.  Abide with her as she seeks clarity and open the doors according to your good will and mercy.  Help her find the still waters of your grace and bless her with peace all along the way.  In Christ we pray. (2)

O Mighty Jesus,
You are the Carpenter of our life together, teaching us what it means to be a people chosen to be merciful, a people called to be loving as we seek justice and peace.  Chisel our hearts until they resemble your own.  Hammer our wills until they fit the blueprint of Heaven.  Build us up in humility, self-discipline, and hospitality of heart.  We pray especially for our sister, _____, who earnestly seeks to follow in your ways of love and grace now and forevermore; through Christ we make our plea. (3)

Attendance at a Spiritual Retreat (4-5 )
O Fountain of Life,
             How we thank you for your gift of grace and for your providential care! We thank you today for _____, for her tender heart and kind ways.  We are grateful for her wit and wisdom, and for her grace-softened spirit that seeks your guidance and will for her life.  Bless her this weekend in a special way, as you kindle the fires of her faith.  And stir her to deeper trust, wider compassion, and higher hopes through Jesus our Shepherd.  In Christ we pray. (4)

God of the Journey,
            We rejoice that you cause us to blossom and flourish as you woo us toward a life of hope and peace. We pray your deep blessings upon _____ in a special way at this time of retreat from the everyday.  Teach her what she must learn, strengthen her faith, deepen her love, and widen her compassion.  And lead her in the paths of wisdom and courage that she may need to continue to follow the path of Jesus all her days. In the grace of Christ we pray. (5)

Return from a Spiritual Retreat (6-9)
Great God of All Life,
            Your touch upon us is the kiss of new life.  We pray for _____, your beloved child who rejoices in the touch of your Spirit’s kiss upon her at the retreat.  Plow the renewed fervor she now feels into the marrow of her days, and help her to continue to pursue your ways of love and peace.  Let the joy of your salvation mark the path of her journey and the peace of Christ light her way.  In Jesus’ name we pray. (6)

Gracious God,
            How grateful we are that you shape and reshape us, making us fit for your Great Cause of reconciling the world through love! Bless your beloved child, _____, who rejoices at your regeneration of her faith at the retreat.  We pray that the dazzling grace she experienced there will take root deep within her very being and that the song of her life may be praise and the story of her life may be grace.  In Christ we pray. (7)

O Source of All Goodness,
            How refreshing is the worship and friendship of your people, gathered in retreat from everyday cares!  As your beloved child, _____, re-enters the everyday, let your Spirit continue to touch her in profound and life-changing ways.  Fill her with the love of Christ that she might be a radiant beacon of hope to those around her each day.  And may her joy in Christ overflow in praise and thanksgiving to you all her days.  In Jesus’ name we pray. (8)

Creating God,
The earth and its creatures, the solar systems and the multi-verses, all bear your fingerprints.  Your Infinite Love and Electrifying Creativity is embedded in each atom and molecule, each body and form of being.   We thank you for times of retreat when we can catch our breath and recognize the width and breadth of your amazing power to reach into infinity and to vitalize all that is.  Bless now your daughter, _____, revitalized by her apecial time attending to your Presence.  May it be a stepping stone of wisdom and hope for all the days to come.  In the peace of Christ we pray. (9)

Thanks for the Kindness of Others (10-11)
God of Dazzling Grace,
            How clearly we see your Spirit blowing upon and through those saints sent to bless and encourage the family of faith!  It is with much gratitude we pray now for _____, a saint who has blessed and encouraged us.  We thank you for her servant leadership and for the goodwill she spreads among us as she joyfully shares her faith in ways large and small, especially for . . . Bless her as she has blessed us, we pray in the love, hope, and joy of Jesus. (10)

Light of All Goodness,
            We thank you for our dear friend, _____, whose life reflects the rainbow intensity of your Spirit’s touch.  For the red of her passion, for the green of her hospitality of heart, for the yellow of her joy, we give you thanks. For the orange of her creativity, for the violet of her vitality, and for the blue of the settled peace within her, we bless your name.  Continue to bless and keep her now and always.  In Christ we pray. (11)

Baptism (12)
God of Covenant Love,
            Through the waters of baptism, you seal us to Jesus, and with the kiss of your Holy Spirit upon us you anoint us as one in a beloved community of faith.  As (little) ______ has now received the sacramental grace of waters and anointing, we ask your deep blessings upon her that she may continue to grow in humility, hospitality of heart, and compassion for the world and all its peoples.  May she flourish in love, abound in hope, and rejoice in your abiding presence now and always.  In Christ we pray. (12)

Commissioning or Ordination (13-16)

O God of Benediction,
            We bask in the glory of your smile upon this world you create with such precision and care, and pray you will smile now upon your new servant of the Church, _____.  May she be an instrument of your laughter, compassion, justice, peace, and integrity through the years of service she offers to you now. 
May she live fully and be fully open to those you will bring into her life, that her ministry may be the love of Christ through the bubbling joys and the quick sands of despair, that the Spirit of your Being will flow in her and through her to all whose lives she touches.  In the laughter and tears of Jesus we pray. (13)

Eternal God,
            You call us to use our gifts and skills for Heaven’s sake and the sake of this world you love with such passion.  Your child, _____, has heard your call to the office (ministry) of _____ and she seeks your blessing at this special time. Make your truth be known through her words, songs, prayers, and joyful service to the Covenant Community.  May wisdom and humility be the hallmarks of her ministry as she seeks to follow Jesus on the Way of kindness, justice, and peace.  In Christ we pray. (14)

Abiding God,
            Thy hold upon this world is an embrace of passionate love and of steadfast mercy.  Thy plan for each of us in Jesus Christ is startling in its encompassing embrace.  As Thou callest us into the life of faith, we find it amazing in its goodness and challenging in its power to help us become the people you intend us to be.
            We pray that Thy will may be sought out and lived through Thy beloved child, _____, as she once again takes up the cross of servant leadership.  May Thy love and mercy upon the world shine through all the she says and does.  Be Thou her vision, her perseverance, her light and her peace, now and in the coming years.  We pray all this through Jesus Christ who came to serve the world. (15)

Great God of Dazzling Grace,
We magnify your name, O Holy One of Israel, for all of the wonders of your steadfast love and mercy and for the holy mysteries you work within this world and beyond it to accomplish your good and gracious will throughout the generations.
We thank you for our ancestors in the faith, for women and men throughout the ages who have witnessed to your compassionate love in the midst of the darkness of human failure and weakness. 
We are especially grateful today for your particular servant, _____, called to shepherd your people, to proclaim your Word and to celebrate the sacraments of Water and Table.  As you shape and renew us through the sacraments, we ask you will continue to shape and renew her for a flourishing ministry, so that her love is your love reaching out into your world.  In the name and life of all that is holy. (16)
Ordination Anniversary (17-19)
Abiding Grace,
            How grateful we are for your steadfast love and mercy that creates, redeems, and sustains our world and all that is within it.  We are particularly grateful for your beloved child and faithful servant, _____, who you have guided, encouraged, strengthened, and used to bless your children through _____ years of ordained ministry.  We pray that you will continue to use her according to your good will and to bless her with all she may need each day.  And may the light, joy, and peace of Christ be his faithful companion throughout her journey with you. (17)
Great Symphony of the Spheres,
            We kneel in praise and rise in awe at the untold ways your steadfast love shapes, resurrects, and sustains your Creation and all within its embrace.  We are grateful that you awaken all that lives, giving meaning and purpose for each creature, each life. 
Today we lift up your servant, _____, who finds her meaning and purpose through the office of _____.  Continue to guide, strengthen, and encourage her as you use her for your good will and merciful blessings.  And as she sings the faith-song of trust, joy, justice, and peace, tune her heart to sing your grace, now and always.  In Christ we pray. (18)
I know whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him. Ecclesiastes 3:14

O Beginning and Ending of All,
You give the human family a sense of time, that all may come to cherish the gift of the NOW as we stand in awe before you.  In your Providence, you call us to take pleasure in our moments, hours, days, and years according to your good will as we seek to serve you.
We thank you now for your servant, _____, and for her vocation as _____(pastor, minister, teaching elder).  We are grateful for the multiplicity of ways you guide her as she leads your people with integrity, humility, perseverance, creativity and joy. 
Bless her that she may continue to work your eternal Good through her offerings of time and energies as a shepherd to the flock of your own choosing.  In the name of the Good Shepherd we make our prayer. (19)

For Shepherds of the Church (20-22)
Most Gracious God,
            For those who are yoked to Jesus in work and witness, the promise is rest for their souls. From the unfathomable depths of your grace, we ask you to bless and sustain your servant leader, _____ as she continues to follow her call with integrity, humility, and courage.  Grant your Spirit’s breath upon all that she says and does, to the end that your Reign is proclaimed and your good will is done.  And may she find rest for her soul each day.  In Christ we pray. (20)

God of Grace,
             We are grateful for our call to dwell under your canopy of grace through ministry with and for others.  May your Holy Spirit abide with your servant, _____, as she seeks to shepherd and tend your people.  Let your goodness fill her heart to overflowing, that it may spill out upon those whom she leads.  Grant her patience in the times of unknowing, wisdom in the fray, and light for her journey.  May joy be her companion and hope the song she sings.  In Christ we pray. (21)

God of All Life,
            In the light of Christ, you lead us on our Hallelujah journeys, and through the Breath of Holy Spirit, you make us vessels of your goodness as you resurrect this world each day. We lift before you those who offer the hope-filled good news of your power to redeem and make new in the place and in this time.  We are graced by their love, comforted by their friendship, encouraged by their faith, touched by their compassion, and mentored in their faithfulness to the Way of Jesus.
We thank you especially today for _____, your good and faithful servant in this place for _____ years.  We pray you will continue to use her as you lead her ever onward on her Hallelujah Journey.  With our spirits joined together as one, we bless you with our hearts, our minds, and our strength for her life and witness.  Through your holy Presence as Creator, Christ, and Spirit we pray. (22)

For A Troubled Pastorate (23)
Our Rock and Our Salvation,
            When our feet are in sinking sand, you place us on solid ground.  When our way is fraught with hostility and distrust, you are strong to save. How we thank you for your endless care and tender mercies.
            Bless now your servant, _____, whose way forward is difficult to see.  Bless her and her family and the church family that they may find your guidance in the process they are undertaking, and that your justice, peace, and love may prevail.  In the light and peace of Christ. (23)

When Church Professionals Leave (24-26)
God of Unswerving Love,
We are grateful for our call to life as part of the human family.  We are grateful as well for our call to servant-hood to and with others, ever sheltered under your canopy of grace. We ask that the Spirit of Life that blows upon Creation and animates the Church will breathe upon your servant, _____, as she journeys to _____to tend and serve your people (under hospice care/in her new call). May your goodness fill her to overflowing, to spill out upon all those she tends and serves.  Grant her patience in the times of unknowing, wisdom in the fray, and light for each day, that joy may be her constant companion and hope the songs she sings.  In Christ we pray. (24)
Holy God,
            We give you our thanks for the ministry of your child, _____, as she leaves her ministry with _______ Church.  We are grateful for the love, faith, time, and energy that she has invested in your people as a servant leader.  And we thank you for all of the lives touched by your Spirit and the hopes restored in her time here.  Bless her now as she continues to seek your good will and guidance.  And let the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus flow out upon her abundantly always.  In Christ we pray. (25)

Precious Lord,
            We are grateful that you are working your good will out through the life and ministry of your servant, _____.  We ask that she will continue to reflect the light of Jesus in everything that she says and does all her days. Bless and guide her during this time of transition and lead her into a future where she may flourish. And may your Spirit fill her with your peace, in the time ahead.  In Christ we pray. (26)
Pastor’s Retirement (27)
Shepherd of the Generations,
            We are so grateful to you for the guidance and wisdom, the inspiration and growth, the joy and the hope of those you have chosen to shepherd the flock of this church.  We especially thank you for _____, the faithful and inspirational shepherd of this congregation for _____ years, and for other church families throughout her _____ years of ministry. 
Gentle her days in green pastures as she lays down the yoke of leadership and lead her beside the still waters of peace.  Grant her deep blessings of rest and peace, of fun and exploration of new interests, of wonderful times with family and friends. And may she hear your voice proclaiming, “Well done good and faithful servant.” In Christ we pray. (27)

Recognition of a Church Teacher or Leader (28)
Holy God,
            We bless you for all your servants who help us learn how to rejoice in your works and to trust your love. We are especially grateful today for _____, a teacher with great faith and love who brings wisdom through her teaching, happiness through her hugs (and cookies!), and well-being through her quiet spirit.  Bless her with all she may need to continue to proclaim the good news of Jesus in both word and deed.  And grant her your peace.  In Christ we pray. (28)

Recognition of a School Teacher (29)
Giver of our Vocation,
            We thank you today for the call you have given to _____, who has been Christ’s faithful disciple as a public school teacher, dedicating these past _____ years to the welfare of her students.  Continue to be with her this next academic year as she labors in love to help bring the light of learning to those in her care.  Give her the wisdom, perseverance, and fortitude that she needs to inspire and guide all of them, but especially the troubled ones who cry out in need for love and the ministrations of angel. In the name of the Great Teacher we pray. (29)

Award Recipient (30)
God of the Ages,
            How grateful we are that in each and every generation you plant fields of grace, harvest your crops of goodness, and share the bountiful yield with your world.  We are especially thankful today for your beloved daughter, _____, servant of Christ’s Church and bold pioneer for this generation.
            We have been blessed in ways beyond our ken through her ministries of _____, _____, and _____.  We celebrate this award and thank you for her gifts, her humble and gracious ways, her humor and intellect, her love of family and friends, and her ability to bring light, order, and energy into the valleys and shadows.  We pray you will continue to bless her, to lead her, and to use her as she daily follows in the steps of Christ, in whose name we pray. (30)

Church Visitors (31)
God of Grace,
            We are grateful that you bind us together as brothers and sisters in Christ.  We thank you that even strangers are friends in the faith. We are grateful that _____ joined us in our worship on Sunday, and pray she may find a home here.  Open doors of blessing for her and pour out your Holy Spirit as you steady her in the steps of faith, hope, and love each day. And we ask that if this is not the spiritual home she seeks, you will guide her onward to that church family you have prepared for her.    In Jesus we pray. (31)

New Church Members (32)
Gracious God,
            We are so grateful to you for leading _____, ( _____, and _____) into the arms of our church family, and for the blessings that come from her presence within this community of faith.  Let your face shine upon her as she begins this new phase of her journey with us.  Deepen the roots of her faith and stretch out her courage to meet all the storms of life with child-like confidence in your care. Pour out your grace as together we seek to be your loving children following in the path of our Lord Jesus.  In Him we pray. (32)
Organization of a New Church (33)
O Light of All Life,
            We offer our utmost thanks and praise for the Spirit’s call that has beckoned the people who now commit to be the charter congregation of ____ Church in _____.  We are grateful they are dedicated to serving our Lord Jesus and this world for whom He lived, died, and rose again. Let your Spirit blow in a mighty way upon those now here at its birthing.  Grant that they may be a beacon of love and a harbor of hope to all those around them.  O, prosper the work of their hands and hearts for generations to come.  In Christ we pray. (33)

New Church Building (34)
Great Architect of Life,
            Your blueprint for life is etched in the cosmos, written boldly in the skies and seas, the earth and air, and in the life of Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone of the Church.  We praise your name for the wonders you perform in every time and age, and especially today do we exalt your greatness as we open this new building to be a light in the darkness of this corner of the world.  Let it stand firmly as a witness to your everlasting love and faithful mercy through the ministries and services that will seek to serve your Kingdom for generations to come. 
May hospitality and gentleness of heart flow out to all who pass this way.  And may justice, peace, and hope be harbored and encouraged within its walls, to the end that it is a sanctuary where all may come to know and your Spirit’s blessing and find wisdom and direction for their journey.  In Christ our Firm Foundation we pray. (34)

Closing of a Church (35)

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:  a time to be born and a time to die. . .a time to search and a time to give up.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a, 6a

God of the Ages,
            In each generation, you plant your Word, reaping fields of goodness and new life, and plucking up that which you have planted.  We pray for the members and friends of ______ Church whose time has come to lay fallow and at rest.  We thank you for the generations that have found your goodness and new life through its worship and teaching and services of compassion.  And we ask you blessing upon those who now shut its doors and leave the future in your good and faithful keeping.  In Christ we pray. (35)

Section B: Notecards from the Church (36-48)
To Visitors (36-48)
Dear _____,
            We were pleased that you came to our service on Sunday and hope that you found inspiration, hope, and food for your soul as you worshipped with us.  Your presence was a blessing to us and we hope that you will come again whenever you are able.
            The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus be with you. (36)

Dear ______,
            We were delighted that you could serve God with us through our worship on Sunday.  We hope that you will feel free to participate in any of the ministries, activities, and programs of our church family, and that you will join us again for worship any time you are able. Our church calendar (of Sunday School/Bible Study/Circle, etc schedule) is enclosed.
            The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus be with you. (37)

Dear _____,
            Thank you for worshipping with us on Sunday.  We always feel blessed when brothers- and sisters-in-Christ from far away are able to share time with us as we offer our praise, thanksgiving, songs, and love to God.  Thank you for adding your listening heart(s) to ours as we were nurtured by God’s Word and Spirit.  We hope you know that you have a spiritual home here whenever you are in our area.
            May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus be upon you. (38)

Dear _____,
            Thank you for worshipping with our church family on Sunday.  We always feel blessed to have visitors come and add their prayers and songs as we praise and thank God together.  It is our prayer that you, too, experienced God’s blessing while in our midst.  We hope you will come again when you are able.
            May the grace and peace of Jesus Christ be yours now and always. (39)

Dear _____ and _____,
            Welcome back to (town or church name).  We are delighted that you once again joined your listening hearts to ours in worship.  It is a joy to be nurtured by God’s Word and Spirit together.  We pray that you will return whenever you can so that together with your beautiful family, we might blossom and flourish in the love and mercy of our gracious God.
            May the grace and peace of Jesus be yours now and always. (40)

Dear _____,
            How good to see you back with us on Sunday!  It is a pleasure to have you among our worshipping community once again.  We look forward to whatever God has in store for us in the coming months together.  May it be a time filled with signs of God’s goodness, love, mercy, and grace as together we follow in the steps of our Lord Jesus.  May His peace be yours. (41)

Dear _____,
            What a pleasure it was for our church family to welcome your family to our worship on Sunday.  Your presence enhanced our service and enriched our time together.  It is our prayer that you encountered God in a meaningful way while you were with us and were blessed through our offering of praise, prayers, thanksgiving and love.  We hope you will come again when you are able. 
            The grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you. (42) 

Dear _____,
            Grace to you and peace from Jesus Christ, our Bread of Life.  We were so pleased that you chose to worship with our church family this past Sunday.  This loaf of homemade bread is our way of thanking you for joining your praise, prayers, and joyful songs with ours.  May it be an aromatic and delicious reminder of God’s nurturing love.
Please feel free to join us in any or all of our services, gatherings, and ministries.  God bless you. (43)

Dear _____,
            We are always grateful when God sends us visitors to join us in our worship, but Sunday was a special cause of thanksgiving to have you and your folks with us.  We want you to know how very welcome you are here.  It is our prayer that you will return soon. 
If there is anyway that we can be of service, please don’t hesitate to call on us.  Enclosed is a _____(card/refrigerator magnet) with our phone number, email, website, and office hours. May the peace of Christ be yours each day. (44)

Dear _____,
            How good it is whenever we can gather together as God’s children to let our hearts and spirits soar in thanksgiving and praise!  Your presence in our worship was a gift to us, and we consider ourselves blessed by your joy, your songs, and your beautiful smile.
            We hope that you will come again whenever you are able.  May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus be with you. (45)

Dear _____,
            The congregation of _____ Church was so pleased that you were able to join us in our service of worship on Sunday.  We hope that your time visiting in our area will be blessed with good times, good health, and the knowledge of the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus with you each and every day.  Please come back and see us again whenever you are able.  May God’s blessings be upon you. (46)

Dear _____ and _____,
            It was truly a blessing for our church family to have had you among our worshipping community while you were visiting our city these past (two months).  We pray that God’s tender mercies will keep you safe and well until we meet again.  In the meantime, we hope you will remember us in your prayers, as we will you.  May God grant you all that you need as you follow in the steps of Jesus.  We remain your bothers and sisters in Christ’s love. (47)

Dear _____,
            We feel that our worship is enhanced and enriched by your presence, prayers, and listening heart.  We are very pleased that you have become a part of the church family as a regular visitor and we would love you to consider joining this congregation as a member.  We are praying for God’s guidance for you in this matter.  But whether you feel called to take the “spiritual plunge” by joining us or decide to continue with us as a visitor, please know that we are blessed to have you with us.  Grace and peace in Christ. (48)

To New Members (49)
Dear ____ Family,
            The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus be yours now and always.  What a wonderful blessing it was for our congregation to be able to celebrate your joining of the church (and _____’s baptism) on Sunday!  We are so very pleased that God has led you to discover what it means to be a child of God and a follower of Jesus within our community.  We are looking forward to our life together in Christ in the coming years.  In His love, (49)

To Absent Members (50-55)
Dear _____,
            The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus be with you.        We have missed seeing you at church lately.  Please know this congregation feels the loss of your love, prayers, faith, and listening heart(s) when you are not there.  We will be calling to schedule a visit with you in the near future just so we can “catch up” and in the meantime, if there is some way that we can be of help to you, please don’t hesitate to call.  Most sincerely, (50)

Dear _____,
            We just wanted to take a moment to tell you how blessed we are as a church family whenever you come to worship.  A quick handshake as you’re leaving seems just that—too quick.  So consider this note a “longer handshake” to let you know that we are truly grateful for your presence among us.  We thank God for joining us together in Christ as one family here at First Church. We hope to see you again soon. May the grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you. (51)

Dear _____ Family,
We want to convey to each of you how pleased we are whenever you are able to come to worship.  We have missed you recently.  When you’re not with us, there is a “(family name)-shaped” hole in our church family.  If something has occurred that we might be of help with, please call on us.  If you all have just been too busy to come, then we will call on you and talk about it!  Know that you are missed and we hope to see you soon.  God’s blessings on you, (52)

Dear _____,
            What a joy it was to see your wonderful face(s) in worship again on Sunday!  It lifted our spirits to see you back among us; you have been missed.  Please know how much your presence, prayers, and songs add to our offering to God each week.  You are an important part of our church family and we will rejoice greatly when you are able to back with us on a regular basis. May God’s blessings be upon you in abundance. (53)

Dear _____ and _____,
            We thank God for the love and faith-lift we experience when we think of you.  Even in such hard and sorrowful times, we see the light of Christ shining in you and your wonderful family, and we are blessed.  May God’s healing Spirit continue to be upon you in a mighty way until you both are able to come back and join us in all of our services, programs, and ministries. With much love, (54)
Dear _____,
            Several people have commented that you are among “the missing” because a constant state of “busy-ness” is taking its toll.  But we want you to remember that we need you in worship because our fire dims and the praise of our gathered community is diminished without you. So, this is a “heads up!”  We will be calling on you soon to see how we can help you return to regular worship with our community of saints.  In the meantime, dear Saint, know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.  With love, (55)

To the Grieving (56-57)
Dear _____,
            At this first (anniversary of _____’s death/Christmas) without _____, please know that we are holding you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.  We pray God’s grace will continue to comfort your heart and give peace to your spirit.  And may the profound grace of Christ, the deep love of God the Father, and the abiding companionship of the Holy Spirit be yours, now and always.  In Christ’s love, (56)

Dear _____,
            We were saddened to hear of your _____’s death.  Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.  We think of all of the wonderful characteristics of your dear one, and we thank God for her that was love, goodness, and joy.  And we pray that God will comfort you in your loss and bless you with the Spirit’s consolation and strength as you continue to follow in the light and peace of Christ.  In His Love, (57)

To Those Grieving Broken Relationships (58)
Dear _____,
            We want to remind you that you are in our thoughts and prayers as you make your way through the grief of _____(the divorce).  Although we can’t possible imagine all that you are going through, we do know very well that God is with you and will see you through it all, not just somehow, but with grace sufficient for all your needs. May God bless you greatly at this time, and may you find the profound and healing peace of Christ within your heart and mind each day.  In Christ’s love, (58)

Celebration (60)
Dear _____,
            We know that you are making plans to celebrate _____. . .and we wish to add our prayers of love and joy to the party mix.  We will be thinking about you and holding you in our prayers during the actual time of (ceremony/ritual/gala, etc.).  May it be a special time of memories shared, bonds of friendship strengthened, and gratitude to God for the blessings you receive from this special event.  In the hope for a great report, we are yours in Christ’s love. (60)

Commendations (61-69)
Dear _____,
            We are so pleased to tell you of the high commendation of _____(the Session/Board) and the congregation for your good work in/at/for____ . . .
            We are most grateful to you for all that you do to serve God and this church family with such grace, enthusiasm, and joy.  May the Lord continue to prosper the work of your hands and heart.  In Christ’s love, (61)

Dear _____,
            We were thrilled with your gift of _____(money, time, energy, cookies, etc. that made our _____ such a success.  Many folks have commented on your helpfulness, your cheerfulness, and your ability to _____. . . Please know that we are blessed by all that you do to serve the Lord with gladness, and that we thank God for your presence with us.  With deep gratitude, (62)

Dear _____,
            Our community ministries are prospering in works of compassion and righteousness, in no small part because the God of glory hears our prayers and responds with your help.  We thank God for you and for all the ways that you share the light of God’s glory and unfailing love through your ministry of _____ to _____.
May Jesus our Righteousness, continue to pave your way.  With many thanks, (63)

Dear _____,
            Blessings abound in and through this church family, and one of the reasons is because folks like you—loaded with talent and enthusiasm—are eager to offer their gifts to the glory of God for the uplifting of the people.  We’re so grateful for your presence with us and for the beautiful (music/banners/leadership, etc.) that you contributed so graciously (last week).  Thank you, thank you. Grace and peace. (64)

Dear _____,
            It’s (finally!) time for you to start accepting our accolades for your extraordinary work in making our _____(new church family picture directory) a reality.  On behalf of _____ and the entire congregation, I offer you our deepest thanks.  We appreciate the “sweat equity” you have given to the project.  Such an investment always heaps up blessings far beyond our ability to measure them.  Thank you, thank you!  In Christ’s service, (65)

Dear _____ and _____,
            Our (Bible Study/Home Group/Shepherd’s Meal, etc.) last night was as warm and gracious as your lovely home.  God’s abundant goodness was tangible in our time together through our meal, fellowship, and the spiritual feeding we received in our Bible study.  We are most grateful to you both for the blessing of your home, hospitality, faith, and joy!  Many thanks and much love, (66)

Dear _____,
            We have once again been recipients of your wonderful culinary skills.  Our _____ (Fellowship Luncheon/Family Night Supper/Women’s Tea) was a great success in no small part because of the _____ that you provided for us.  It helped make for a fabulous time of feasting and church family togetherness.  How blessed we are to have you in our midst!  Many thanks with prayers for grace and peace to you and your family, (67)

Dear _____,
            We were certainly blessed as a church family by your leadership in worship on Sunday.  Your (reading of the Scripture stories/Psalter/offering of the prayers) was expressed very well and easily heard.  God was indeed praised through our worship, and your contribution was very valuable in making that happen. On behalf of the entire congregation, I extend our heartfelt gratitude for your service.  In Christ’s love, (68) 

Dear _____,
            How kind of you to fete (our church office) with the beautiful gift of flowers!  They are brightening up the days of all the staff and lift our hearts each time we see their cheery faces and smell their delightful fragrance.  We are most grateful for your thoughtful gift and for all the ways you contribute to the hospitality that the church staff offers to those who come through our doors.  Good job! (69)

To Young People (70-)
Dear _____,
You are _____ years old today!  Happy, happy birthday!  Your friends are praying for you on your special day.  We pray that God will bless you BIG TIME in the coming year to help you grow strong in body, mind, and spirit.  May you know God’s comfort when you are afraid, God’s wisdom when you have choices to make, and God’s joy when you help others.  Just remember, God is crazy about you!  Much love, (70) 

Dear _____,
            Happy birthday a little late!  I’m sorry we missed your special day.  I’m writing to let you know that your friends are (church family is) praying for you and asking God to bless you REAL GOOD!  We pray you will keep on growing strong and healthy in body, true and wise in mind, and kind and loving in spirit.  We love you! (71) 

Dear _____,
            Your parents have told us of the excellent progress you are making in school.  Your church family is very proud of you for your academic accomplishments and honors.  But even more importantly, we are so very proud of you for who you are as a young (woman/man) of kindness, integrity, and courage.  May God continue to lead you in the paths of Christ where peace, joy, and hope may always be found.  Much love, (72)

Dear _____,
            We saw your _____(picture in the paper, school play, baseball game) and want you to know how proud your church family is of your special gifts.  It is wonderful that you . . . We rejoice that God has given you these talents and is helping you to use them to bless the whole community with _____ (fun, enjoyment, knowledge, etc.).  We are very proud of you!  With love, (73) 
On the Church Prayer List (74-)
Dear _____,
            Your _____(cousin, mother, sister, friend), _____, has told us of your struggles and burdens.  We want you to know that many prayer warriors in our congregation are interceding for you, seeking God’s healing touch upon you and your entire family.  Although we cannot say what God’s answer may be to your prayer concerns, we can state with utmost confidence that God loves you and will shower you with saving grace, day by day.  In Christ’s love, (74)

Dear _____,
            Your (sister) has requested that our prayer list include you as you (serve out your prison time/await the mending of your injuries from your accident).  Since we are connected through the bonds of her love, we feel that you are not a stranger to us, but a new friend. We shall stay in touch with you to remind you of just how much you are loved and cared for by our good and gracious Lord and by the congregation of _____ Church.  In Christ’s love, (75)

Dear ____,
Yay God! We are all agog at the news that the adoption process is finished and that you are now mother to _____ ______ ______ (full name). We rejoice at her advent into your heart and home.  We know that a single mother bears an extra load of care and so we will continue to keep you on our prayer list for God to grant you all you and ____ may need to thrive in love, good health, and joy.  A family is born!  Hallelujah! (76)

Section C: Prayers of the Church (77-108)

Praise (77-79)

Great God of All That Is,
You call us into life and give us all that we need to prosper and flourish:  the sun shines, the rain falls, the good earth yields crops and foods for our nourishment.  You give us bodies in which we live and move and find meaning and purpose each day.  You bless us with family to love us and to love, with community to support us and to support, and with a faith to recognize that your abiding presence and faithful love is the Source of our being and the End of our journey. 
We render unto you our deepest praise and highest songs of joy for the life you offer us with such amazing grace.  Through Jesus Christ our Rabbi, Friend, and Shepherd we pray. (77)
God of All Life,
We praise you for the opportunities of being a part of your Great Design of Life where your passion for all you create finds voice as we lift our hearts in songs of adoration and joy.  We bless you with bodies that can enjoy the beauty and bounty of the earth and we fling wide the portals of our hearts to allow your grace to permeate and soften us.
And we extol you, O Power of the Cosmos, that we are bound to you and to one another with ties that can be broken neither by life nor death, in this world or the next.  Pour out your Spirit in overflowing radiance upon each woman, man, girl, boy, family, and friend who bows before you now that this may be a time of renewal and awakening within the heart of this gathering today. In your holy love we pray. (78)

Almighty God, Our Faithful Father, Our Loving Mother,
            Our hearts and spirits join the psalmist in offering Thee praise:  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.  We bless Thy name and we rejoice that our hearts are robed with the benefits of Thy grace. We praise your mighty acts as you forgive all our iniquities, heal all our diseases, rescue us from the Pit, crown us with steadfast love and mercy, and fill our lives with good things so that our joy and integrity may soar like eagles.  Our souls exult Thee for Thy immeasurable blessings of abundant grace now and forevermore.  Through Jesus Christ our Brother we pray. (79)

Thanksgiving (80-84)

Creating Power,
We thank you for this astounding gift of life you offer us each day.  We are grateful for the faith you give us to recognize that both the blessings and the challenges of our days are your gift to us.  And we praise you now and always for the caress of your Breath upon us to comfort us and the light of your love to guide us. All honor and glory to you, world without end. (80)

Loving God, Monarch of life,
We lift our hearts to you and bless your name for all that you are and for all that you give us with such extravagant grace.  We thank you today that you do not hand life to us on a platter, for you have not designed life to be perfect but for our lives to be completed in you.   We thank you that you faithfully give us what we need each day: faith, love, hope, patience, courage, endurance, forgiveness, and joy.  We count ourselves rich and praise your name, because you give us yourself, and it is enough.  Through Jesus Christ we pray. (81)

O Holy One,
With overflowing hearts we thank you for all the magnificent gifts of grace you bestow upon us throughout our days.  Especially this day do we offer up our gratitude for the community gathered here, that now join hearts and minds and voices together through worship, sacrament, and fellowship.  We are grateful for these holy gifts that bless us time and time again. As we find blessing through them, we ask that you might use us as a vessel of blessing to others, so that they too might find great cause to thank you with radiant hope.  In your Cause of Compassion we pray. (82)

Gracious and Holy One,
We thank you that you are our pastor, our shepherd, our fountain of gladness.  We bless and thank you that in your sustain grace you nurture us with all that we need to live abundantly each day. We are grateful for the countless ways you guide us through difficulties and sorrows, restoring our souls, over and over again.  We thank you for the comfort of your Word, it’s light that grasps us, and it’s power to transform us.  We bless you for the goodness and mercy that follows us each day as we seek to follow our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. (83)

God of Patient Love,
With hearts joyfully lifted in gratitude, we thank you for the blessing it is to know that you have faith in us.  Though we often bumble around, ignorant of your will for us, you abide with us still.  Though we often hesitate or run away in fear even knowing your will, you never lose hope that this is the day we will say “yes” to your “YES!” to us.  Thank you for trusting that we can be your ambassadors of grace, peace, and hope to your waiting world.  In Jesus’ name and for your sake. (84)

Confession (85-87)
Holy Trinity of Love,
            We come before you confessing our brokenness and sin.  We do not love every human being as our sister and brother, and fail to see even a glimpse of your face in them.  We forget to treat one another with openness, hospitality, warmth, and respect.  We do not want to listen to one another’s concerns, and are slow to accept and prize our differences of culture, religion, ideology, and nationality. Help us, of God of Mutuality, and lead us to seek peace and harmony in your name through less judgment and more understanding.  We pray in the spirit of your unity, in the precious name of Jesus. (85)

Good and Loving Teacher,
            We are in sore need today.  We confess we are often too slow to learn and too stubborn to try to follow the Jesus Way of forgiveness and resurrection. Forgive us we pray, and hear the prayers of our hearts and minds, as in these moments of silence, we open our sins to the searing light of your judgment and forgiveness. . .In the name of Jesus Christ who sets us free for new life today. (86)

O Holy Touch of Forgiveness, 
Again and again, you bless us with your Spirit’s compassionate, gentle touch, to rescue us when we fall, to lead us toward repentance and hope, and to heal our diseases or spirit and mind.  And so, we pray the power of your forgiving healing hand upon us gathered here today as we confess to you in this moment of silence. . .
We pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. (87)

Intercession (88-89 )
God of Compassion,
You watch over those who wake or watch or weep.  You give your angels charge over those who sleep.  You tend the sick, you bring rest to the weary, you give courage to the fearful, you soothe the suffering, and you embrace the dying. We pray you will bring peace into your world so wracked with conflict, corruption, and greed, especially in (specific situations, wars). . .  And we ask you will bring comfort and hope to all those who those in need of your healing balm, and especially those we now name in our hearts. . . We pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. (88)

O Refuge of the World,
Because we cannot love Thee apart from loving our sisters and brothers, we offer these prayers of intercession on their behalf (pick from list of the following):
for those who lack the basic necessities of life: love and touch, food, shelter,
health, jobs, safety, and hope. . .
for those who suffer the ravages of natural disasters and human made ones. .
for those who languish and suffer with physical, spiritual, social, emotional,
or mental illness. . .
for those who are victims of ignorance, superstition, or greed. . .
for those in the grip of affluenza, who ignore your call to intentional
simplicity while suffocating in the frenzied quest for more . . .
for those whose lives are bruised and battered by social prejudice, racism, injustice,
partisan politics, war and bloodshed. . .
for those who seek interfaith dialogue and understanding. . .
for the generations who will inherit the world we help to shape today. . .
for women throughout the world who too often bear the brunt of violence and
ignorance on their bodies and souls. . .
for police officers and officers of the law and courts, for firefighters and those who
risk they lives each day to secure public safety and peace. . .
for social workers, physicians, therapists, and others who daily work for the healing
 of the ill and the afflicted. . .
for our President and staff, for our senators and congressional leaders, for leaders of
 all nations, and of our community who daily seek the public welfare. . .
for those in the grip of loneliness, depression, addictions, or thoughts of suicide. . .
for families of every configuration, and for parents and guardians and those who
work to give every child a healthy place to live and thrive.  . .
for families torn apart by addictions, and by diseases that ravage bodies, minds, and
souls . . .
for the dying, the grieving, and those with no hope and no help. . .
for the families of those who are ill, suffering, or dying. . .
for the Church of Jesus Christ in every place and time, that we might be loving
neighbors and friends to your to those you send our way. 
for those who grieve the death of a relationship or . . .
for those in slavery, for refugees and victims of war hate, discord, and violence. .
for those in any kind of distress, for the confused, and for those who have lost their
way. . .
for all who work for healing, justice, and peace. . .
and for children—all children everywhere—those discarded and discounted as well
as those loved and cherished—those abused and maligned well as those raised with kindness and respect—those starving as well as those well-nourished.
for the earth you have given us as our home, for its skies and winds, it waters
and soils, its environment and all who work for its health and sustainability. .
for those who are homeless, without clothes, food, clean water or family. . .
for the victims of war and violence, for addicts, for prisoners, and for those who
 suffer from hatred or neglect. . .
for those in our church family who are sick, in hospitals, in treatment centers, in
nursing homes, and in hospice care. . .
for those who work and volunteer in those centers of healing. . .
for those who bear afflictions as outcasts that they might find themselves loved for
 who they are as your beloved children. . .
Hear us now as we offer you our silent pleas for help and hope . . .
Touch them all with your healing hands and show us how to bring relief and comfort. Through Christ your Crown of Mercy we pray (89)

Supplication (90-92)
Whispering Hope,
Because we cannot love Thee until we first learn to love ourselves with compassion and mercy, we ask Thy abiding Spirit to sweep upon us anew that we may hear with strength, depth, and clarity the good news of our creation as Thy beloved children.   Grip us anew in Thy light, that we may we see Thee more clearly, and love Thee more dearly that our lives may proclaim the joy and peace of Thy amazing grace to our families, neighbors, and enemies through all that we think, say, and do.  In Jesus Christ we pray. (90)

Compassionate Light,
You know how greatly we need your saving grace this day, how hungry we are for your mercy.  For with the world, we also know the slings and arrows of lives gone awry, of grief and sorrows too deep for words, of hopes turned to ashes. Bless us now, we pray, and touch the deepest parts of our souls, that we may be made whole again.  In the embrace of your Spirit’s healing breath we pray. (91)

God of Unity Everlasting,
We seek your vision, your wisdom, your Spirit’s power to become the people you would have us to be.  May the presence of your Breath of Life transform us into a congregation that is eager to serve you, both within our church family and in the community around us. Give us the heart and mind of Jesus and make us ambassadors of your love, your justice, your compassion, and your hope.  We pray through Jesus the Christ of your saving grace. (92)
Dedication (93-97)
Strength of the Meek,
We come before you, dedicating all that we have to you.  We offer our strengths and abilities as well as our human brokenness and frailties, for we know that these too are all part of your Grand Design for Life.  We offer our gifts of money, time, and talents for your use to meet the needs of this community and those who suffer. In faith and hope, we yield our wills to yours, that you might keep your gentle yoke around our wandering hearts.  Guide us toward compassion, steer us in wisdom, and provoke us to service as we follow with joy the path you call us to walk.   We pray in the name of Jesus and in the light and peace of Christ. (93)

God of the Generations,
Throughout the ages, you have poured out your abundance upon all life, offering a wealth of goodness for all people.  We are grateful for our generation’s portion of your bounty, and treasure the faith to know that we give to you what is your own.  Since all we have is a trust from you, we ask that you will help us to be good stewards of these gifts, and dedicate them in service to your good will and purpose of your Sovereign Rule.  Through Christ we pray. (94)

O Way of Truth and Life,
Have Thine own way, Lord, have Thine own way as we seek to become people of overflowing goodwill and mercy for the sake of Thy Kin’dom.  Help us be the springboard of hope for the despairing, the assurance of hope for the doubting, and the army of hope for those torn asunder. We give Thee but Thine own as we pray in the name of Jesus who is the Hope of this world and the world to come. (95)

O Gracious God,
We know that all of life is in your hands, and trusting us to be your hands and heart in this place and time, you call us to join hands together in the vital work of reconciliation and peace.  May the gifts we offer to you today work in your good will to help give freedom to the oppressed, consolation to the sorrowing, and the hand of friendship to the forgotten.  In Jesus’ name we dedicate ourselves anew this day. (96)

Source of all Hope,
We dedicate our lives in helping to bring your goodwill and mercy to fruition in a hurting world.  Help us to be a light of hope to the forlorn, a sweetness of joy to the soured, a model of courage to the frightened, and a breeze of gentleness to the violent.  In Christ we pray. (97)

Illumination (98-101)
O God our Wisdom and Light,
Through the Lamp of your Word our spiritual senses are energized, so that the eyes that are blind may see, the ears that are deaf may hear, and the hearts that are stony may beat again to the rhythm of your grace.  Settle us now to attend to your Teaching, that we may find the fullness of eternal life with you this day.  Through Christ we pray. (98)

Heavenly Voice,
You cry out in the clamor of our days and the wilderness of our nights. As we gather to attend to the Sacred Story, silence in us any voice but your own.  Quiet our spirits and tune our hearts that we may heed what you have to say to us.  Through the welcoming peace of Jesus we pray. (99)

 Light of the Ages,
Thy Teaching is a lamp of courage, a beacon of wisdom to show us the path of right living.  Pry open the eyes of our hearts as we attend to Thy Word this morning, that we may see your world through the lens of Thy compassionate love.  In Christ we pray. (100)

O Word of All Words,
May we find the fullness of life within the human words of your eternal Word this day.  Clear our bleary eyes, refresh our dulled ears, and enliven our weary souls, that we might be your faithful people.  In Christ we pray. (101)

Listening (102-104)
O Stronghold of Love,
We still our busy minds, full of petitions and worries, and in the silence of this moment we wait upon you to speak to us in the still small inner voice we have come to know as yours (time of silence) . . .Through Jesus Christ we pray. (102)

O Ever Listening God,
We remember the stories of Jesus and how he cautioned us not to pray long prayers in public places.  And so, in obedience to him and in reverence to you, we pray by listening to the holy, regenerating silence of your presence with us at this time and place (time of silence). . .Through the Breath of Stirring Hope we pray. (103)

God of the still small voice, we quiet our bodies, we open our spirits, and bid our minds be silent, that we may hear your personal, intimate Word to us this day (time of silence). . .through Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word we pray. (104) 

Benediction (105-107)

May each day continue to bear witness to the miracles God weaves from the tangled threads of our human life together into a tapestry of gratitude and joy.  In the name of the Weaver of Life, Creator, Christ, and Spirit. (105)
May the Way of Jesus lead in the light of your days and the Hope of Heaven shine in the darkness of your nights.  May you come to know God as you are known, and come to see others as God sees you.  May the sacred texts write your agendas, and the Holy Spirit help you to bring them to life until we gather together again.  In the name of the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sustainer of us all.  Amen. (106)

May the tongues that have sung the praise and thanksgiving to our Loving God in worship, speak truth in love in grateful living this week.  May the hands that have held the sacred elements at Table, hold sacred the hands of all with whom we share our bread. And may the feet that are washed in baptismal waters, bring welcome messages of good news and comfort to friend and enemy alike.  So go swiftly now to bear gospel love in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen. (107)

The Family Prayer (108)
Our Father . . .Abba-Daddy, Mommy- Love generating new life within all that is
Who art in heaven . . .embracing us in your precious, holy presence,
Hallowed be Thy name. . .your BEING and authority uniquely exist
Thy Kingdom come . . .that justice, kindness, and humility may flourish
Thy will be done . . .according to your Good Plan
on earth as it is in heaven . . .so that our lives with you are full of grace and truth.
Give us this day our daily bread . . .Nurture our hungering spirits; feed all in need,
And forgive us our debts . . .and restore our integrity,
as we forgive our debtors . . .that we may be transparent vessels of your grace.
And lead us not into temptation . . .Do not let us teeter toward evil doings
But deliver us from evil . . .nor succumb to the lure of self-righteous judgment.
For Thine is the Kingdom . . .For your good will is the beginning and ending of life,
And the Power . . .bringing challenges and blessings for each on the journey
And the Glory forever . . .as galaxies of praise abound beyond time and space.
Amen . . .Hallelujah! Hallelujah! May it be so. (108)

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