I was honored to wrote and offer the prayers of the people during morning worship on Saturday, September 3, 2016, at the 21st World Methodist Conference, meeting in Houston, Texas, USA.
Will you pray with me?
How good it is to praise you, O God!
How wonderful is your Name!
How gracious is your love!
How generous is your mercy!
We gather, O Sovereign Lord, as sisters and brothers,
your church from around the world,
to worship you,
to sing your praises,
to be transformed by your Good News,
and to rededicate our lives to serving Christ and His Holy Church.
We thank you for these last days together.
You have poured your abundant blessings upon us until our cups are overflowing.
But as we come this morning,
we confess that we have sinned against you and one another.
We have fallen short of your commands.
We have not headed your call of justice and peace.
We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are stuck,
unable to move,
unwilling to be catalysts of change,
unconscious of your mission in the world.
We want order, measured change, and control.
We would rather be breathless than breathtaken.
Forgive us we pray.
Dispel from our lives grieving for what once was and fear of what will be,
so we may go forth into the world to love our neighbors and share in your redemption.
Dismiss from our congregations and the church disunity, meanness, bigotry, and animosity,
so we may go forth into the world to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and call all humanity to you.
Dislodge from our hearts hatred, prejudice and intolerance,
so we may go forth into the world to share your grace as we fight racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, and transphobia.
Displace from our minds privilege and entitlement,
so we may go forth into the world to love those at the margins.
Disassemble our busyness and self-importance,
so we may go forth into the world with wholehearted living marked by connection, compassion, and courage.
May your Holy Spirit descend upon us like a dove.
May your Holy Spirit sweep over us like the waters at creation.
May your Holy Spirit enliven us like a fire.
Prime and ready us to respond to the Spirit as it touches our lives and communities.
Aid us in glimpsing the missional kingdom of God.
Upend our church with your creative, redemptive, and chaotic Spirit.
Ignite, unite, and reinvigorate our Wesleyan movement.
We pray for our sisters and brothers departing from our ranks to return home today and over the next days. Grant them safe travel.
We pray for our sisters and brothers who live on the streets around this hotel and convention center. Grant them protection and grace. May we have courage to share with them and be blessed by them.
We pray for our sisters and brothers who find themselves in places of conflict, war, and terror especially in Ukraine, Syria and Iraq, Libya, and Nigeria. Grant them peace and safety. May we be peace-makers.
We pray for asylum-seekers and refugees who are traversing stormy waterways and dangerous roads to be confronted by hostile neighbors. Grant them safe passage. May we have willing hearts to receive and welcome them into our congregations and communities.
We pray for those suffering in body, mind, or spirit. Grant them release from their pain. May we bring your healing.
We pray for workers who are honored this weekend by the people of this nation. Grant them rest from their labors and make them renewed for work ahead. May we have the courage to free workers from trafficking and exploitation.
Gathering all our prayers we offer them to you, O God. Hear our prayers.
And with the confidence of the children of God, we pray the prayer our Lord taught us in the language of our hearts.