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October 15: 20th Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 23)

 

Note: even if your practice isn’t to have weekly communion, you might want to make an exception today! 😉

 

Isaiah 25:6-9 (On God’s holy mountain, a feast of fat things; death shall be destroyed)

 

Psalm 23 (You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies)

 

Philippians 4:4-13 (Rejoice in the Lord always; think on things excellent; thanks for Philippians’ gift)

                ELW/RCL, Philippians 4:1-9, Stand fast in the Lord, rejoice, think on these things

 

Matthew 22:1-14 (The wedding feast…and its, er, substitute guest list)

In the power of the Spirit, let us pray to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for the world, the Church, and one another.

A brief silence is kept.

 

Father, you promise to throw a splendid wedding feast for all whom you redeem through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Sometimes we act like it’s no big deal. Sometimes we look forward to the entertainment, so to speak, more than being joined to our heavenly Bridegroom. Thank you for your patience and kindness. Open our eyes and hearts to the joy you have set before us. Keep us always centered in Jesus, our Savior and our true love.

Lord, in your mercy, please hear our prayer.

You have made the Church the bride of your beloved Son. Make it radiant with faithfulness and lovely with holiness. Adorn its words and deeds with grace so that many people hear your invitation and gladly come to the banquet of salvation.

Lord, in your mercy, please hear our prayer.

 

Prepare a table for your persecuted people in the presence of their enemies. Feed them with patience, perseverance, and trust in you. Anoint them with the oil of mercy, and heal their hearts, minds, and bodies. By their faithful witness, soften the hearts of those who trouble them.

Lord, in your mercy, please hear our prayer.

 

Bless the people and ministries of this congregation. Help us to rejoice in your strong saving love and to speak gently and act with humility. Focus our minds and hearts on those things which are good, honorable, and pleasing to you. Help us encourage our family, friends, and neighbors to do the same.

Lord, in your mercy, please hear our prayer.

We pray for couples who are preparing for marriage, for newlyweds, and for all husbands and wives. Ground their love for each other in Christ, the true and faithful Bridegroom. Lavish upon them those gifts of your Holy Spirit that will sustain their marriage in difficult times. May their union bear rich fruit for their family, their community, and your Kingdom.

Lord, in your mercy, please hear our prayer.

Direct the thoughts, words and actions of our military personnel, police, first responders, and all who risk their lives to bring safety and justice to others. Prosper all they do that serves your will. Bring healing to the wounded, hope to their families, and honor to all who have honorably served.

Lord, in your mercy, please hear our prayer.

Save our world and its people from natural disasters and from human malice. Take away the reproach of our sins. Remove the death-shroud of the evils that beset us. Give us leaders who are wise, honorable, just, and excellent; and give to each of us the blessing of your peace.

Lord, in your mercy, please hear our prayer.

We remember before you all who walk through the valley death’s dark shadows, and all who are troubled by sorrow, anxiety, or despair. Today we also pray for: {List}. Teach them the truth of Paul’s words, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Revive their souls, restore their bodies, and refresh the hearts of all who care for them.

Lord, in your mercy, please hear our prayer.

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for the lives all who have entered your banquet-hall of eternal life. Keep us steadfast in faith until we also arrive there! Make our lives good, true, lovely, pure, honorable, and praiseworthy. Grant us the joy of sitting with all your wedding-guests at the table you have prepared for them as members of the Body and Bride of Christ.

Lord, in your mercy, please hear our prayer.

For Jesus’ sake, grant the fulfillment of all we ask that conforms to your holy will. Amen.