~created for the A2J Quarterly Gathering 10-14-2017
O Lord Jesus, you who came to us to show the compassionate love of your Father, make us, your people know this love with our hearts, minds and souls. So often we feel lonely, unloved, and lost in the valley of tears. We desire to feel affection, tenderness, care, and compassion, but often suffer from inner darkness, emptiness, and numbness. Come, Lord Jesus, come. Do not just come to our understanding, but enter our hearts, our passions, emotions, and feelings.
-Henri Nouwen (1932-1996)
Prayer of the Bible
All: Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity
Side 1: It is like the dew falling on mountains, where the LORD promises to bless his people with life forevermore.
Side 2: How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!
Side 1: It is as if the dew were falling on God's mountain.
Side 2: For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.
Side 1: How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!
All: It is like the dew falling on the mountains, there the LORD ordains his blessing, life forevermore.
(Free prayers of thanksgiving and loving words to God)
Confession of Sin
Let us pray for the reconciliation of peoples and nations: Recognizing our personal responsibility and the responsibility of our own nation, races, and even churches for alienation and injustice, we offer these prayers in a spirit of penitence and faith,
Coventry Litany of Reconciliation
All: For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
The covetous desires of men and nations to possess what is not their own,
The greed which exploits the labors of men, and lays waste the earth,
Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
Our indifference to the plight of the homeless and the refugee,
The lust which uses for ignoble ends the bodies of men and women,
The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves, and not in God,
(Bring our own confessions, personal sin, sins of our people, sins our unique Christian traditions)
All: Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
The Words of Jesus
What do you want?
What are you after?
What are you seeking?
–John 1:38 NIV, The Message, & ESV versions
(Silently reflect on how would you answer Jesus)
Eternal God, you are the hope of those who have been omitted from the agenda of our world. You hear the cries of the wounded hearts and the voices of the despairing souls. Teach us in the power of your Spirit to hear with your ears and reach out through the silence to hear the voices of suffering and longing. As one body in Christ, make us more and more a communion of compassion and a prophetic sign of your incarnate grace, mercy and justice. Amen.
photo 1: Rembrandt's Prodigal Son (public domain)
photo 2: 'One Body' photo taken 8 years ago @ A2J's year-one Celebration, Woodland Prayer House
photo 3: Father's Heart Fountain taken at Canaan in the Desert