LORD, in the days of old, you gathered your people in the desert. It was there that they questioned you, they learned to depend on you for their every need, and they learned to praise you.
As your church, we come before you this morning as your people Israel did. We also live in a desert amidst the unbelief of others, and our perfect view of you is clouded by our own sinfulness.
But we praise you: our lack of resources demands that we totally depend on you. We praise you: you were Israel’s sustenance, you met her physical and spiritual needs and we trust you to meet ours. We praise you: you authored perfect justice, you invented wisdom, and you are love, shown to us in Jesus Christ.
There are those of us who rejoice freely today, feeling whole and bright in spirit, and there are those of us here who come before you broken-spirited, contrite, and needy. We remember, LORD, that you do not despise a broken heart, that you love the poor and needy. Comfort and sustain those of us who are wanting, who have been bruised and discouraged by poverty, misunderstanding, abuse, fear, mental illness, and disappointment. Show those of us who rejoice how to care for those who grieve, who struggle with unbelief, and who are deeply disappointed in themselves or in their circumstances.
There are those in this world who live righteously and fairly, and we praise you for their leadership. But we cry out to you: we live in a world where injustice often prevails. We tremble at the corruption of many of our country’s leaders. It warps our hope for justice. And we confess that we ourselves are unjust: we create unfair opinions of those we don’t understand, we shut our ears to the cries of the poor. We remember that you are the God of peace. We pray that you would raise new leaders in our country and the world who value the wellbeing of people over the hoarding of money or power. Likewise, make us a more just and honest church.
We live in a world of hatred. When we gather together every Sunday, something new and terrifying has disrupted our world. We pray for the families of those whose plane crashed in the Mediterranean. We pray for those who have lost those they love to terrorist acts. We pray for those who languish in prison and are innocent. We pray for refugees from Syria who struggle to find food, who cry out for justice, who have become invisible. We remember you are LORD, and you are love. As your people, fill us to overflowing with your compassion, and may this compassion move us to action.
We live in a world of mixed messages. We remember, LORD, that you created wisdom, that out of your mouth came understanding. Protect our church from misunderstanding and division. We pray that you would use our Sunday worship, our home groups, our bible studies, our coffee club, our pint night, to be locations where we encourage each other, become one in mind and thought, and share everything we have.
In your name we pray, AMEN.