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PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, Cycle C: 7th Sunday after Epiphany, Proper 6, February 24, 2019

Let us draw near to the Light of Christ, offering prayer and supplication on behalf of the Church, the world, and one another.

A brief silence

Loving Father, forgiveness is the hardest thing we must ever do – but refusing to forgive is ultimately worse. Thank you for that great, hard gift of forgiveness that you have bestowed upon us in Jesus. Cause the power of that gift to work deep within us. And though it be hard, teach us how to forgive – and to ask another for it – so that we may be restored to you, and to those who are separated from us by their sins or our own.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Make your Church unflinching in exposing sin, humble in confessing it, and unceasing in forgiving all who repent of it. Let it never re-brand sin as virtue, but let it never scorn or reject those who stumble. Make it wise and faithful in instruction, exhortation, and counsel, and make it gracious and tender in restoring and healing all who seek to turn from their sin and toward you.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Bless all counselors and pastors, and others who work to repair relationships and restore community. Help them to listen deeply and speak wisely; to seek your will for the people in their care; and to model your love in the way they serve others.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Embrace the people of this congregation with your holy and forgiving love. Make us eager to seek out those estranged from us, and patient in the work of reconciliation. Let all we say and do shine with love for Jesus, and with Jesus’ love for everyone we meet.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Give rulers of nations, and all in positions of authority, a love for justice tempered with mercy. Remind us all that revenge may destroy both parties; that “strict justice” can divide rather than build up communities, and that mercy and forgiveness, though difficult, can bring healing and reconciliation.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Restore the faith and the health of all who are burdened by suffering of body, mind, or spirit – especially {List}. Give them the joy of your saving help; and restore them to fellowship with all who love them.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father, we commend our beloved dead into your care, trusting your promise of mercy. Keep us, we pray, in your care as well! Help us to seek and to bring your mercy to the lost, the broken, the estranged, and the despairing. Sustain us with your never-failing grace, so won for us by the death and resurrection of your dear Son and lavished upon us by the indwelling of your Holy Spirit. Reconcile us, through Christ, to you and to each other, until we are welcomed into your eternal Kingdom and reunited with all your people, there to praise your goodness forever and ever.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

For all these things, dear Father, and for whatever else you will for us in your wisdom and compassion, we pray in the name of Jesus, our Savior, Lord, and King. Amen.