Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Praying with thanksgiving: raised eyes, hearts, hands, and voices.

Prayers of intercession from Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church
21 August 2016

Great God of peace and love, we turn to you now with thanksgiving in our hearts to pray for the world you died to save. In the cross of your son Jesus Christ, we catch a vision of the end of violence, and the cessation of suffering.

As we lift our eyes to the cross in thankful worship, we see all the pain and hurt of this world present in the broken body of our saviour. So help us to lift our eyes with courage, to fearlessly face the forces of evil that continually seek to mar your image in humanity. May we see with your eyes those systems of oppression that masquerade as truth, and may we learn from you how to see through the propaganda that would deceive us. So we name before you the ideologies of division that distort and divide humanity. From racism to sexism, from socio-economic bias to homophobia, we see people divided one from another, with families fractured and societies segmented. And we commit ourselves to living differently, to modelling in our midst the unity that comes through Christ, where all are equal and loved by you. And as we lift our eyes to the cross in thankful worship, we ask that you will open our eyes to the alternative future that you are bringing into being in and through us your people.

So in thankful worship for all that you have done through the cross, we lift our hearts, our hands, and our voices.

Keep us from hardened hearts and compassion fatigue. As we hear the news each day, with seemingly unending stories of suffering from around the world, it is all too easy for us to close our hearts to the litany of sadness, and to focus on our more immediate, more parochial concerns. So open our hearts and drive us to prayer as we bring before you those close to us and those far away. We pray for the victims of the wedding massacre in Turkey yesterday, and for all those affected by terrorist activity over recent months. We pray for those who work for peace, and for those who have to try to keep the peace. We ask that they will have the courage and creativity to explore other paths to a future where the spirals of violence are disrupted, and where all people, on all sides, have their humanity restored. We pray also for those near and dear to us, and we hold before you our friends and our families. And we ask for your grace in all our relationships, that we might live in love with one another.

So with open hearts, we lift up our hands in thankful worship, offering our best efforts to the service of your coming kingdom. With hands open to welcome the stranger, and open to give as we have received, we offer our daily labours before you. From the workplace to the home, may all that we do reflect your love for all people. From those who we touch to the items we hold, may our lives become an offering of thankful worship. May we be the hands of Jesus in this world, and may all that we do be honouring to him.

And so with eyes open to the cross, with hearts open to the world, and with hands lifted for service, we raise our voices in thankful praise. And as we name your son Jesus Christ as Lord, we speak and sing into being an alternative reality where all other claims to power are brought under the lordship of Christ. As we worship you, and you alone, we unleash upon the earth the antidote to idolatry, and through the proclamation of your salvation the way is opened for people to find release from their fears, their guilt, and their sin. So help us to speak truth to power, to raise up our voices in advocacy for those who cannot speak for themselves, to speak comfort for those who mourn, and words of love to those who hear only condemnation.

In thankful praise we raise our voices, we lift up our hands, we open our hearts, and we lift our eyes to the cross. Receive our worship, great God of peace and love. 


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