I usually don’t preach the lectionary, but I am dwelling in John 10 this week. This prayer doesn’t necessarily reference verses 1-10, but alludes to the shepherd’s voice, the one who knows us by name. I’m also always drawn to Ezekiel’s prayer in chapter 37 as he looks out over the valley of dry bones, “O Lord God, you know.” And that’s just it. Jesus does know. Because Jesus knows us.
Voice of Truth, we come before you in all of our everyday-ness: our sundry comings and goings; our praise and petitions; our simple and complex lives. We still struggle to comprehend how you care about this minutiae in the midst of galaxies. But in your unending grace, you have decided to love us and know us by name.
Accepting this gift, we lift up to you those we know by name who are sick or struggling or mourning. We know that life in all its fullness includes our difficulties as well as our joys. We ask for your very real presence with those who hurt. In boldness, we pray that you would bring the fullness of peace in the midst of pain and wholeness of spirit even when bodies are not.
By extension we pray for all those we do not know by name (but know you do). For those we see struggling with isolation, fear, or anger. For those we don’t see but hear about in the many wars and conflicts and in places of violence and persecution. We pray today for the person who will come out regarding their gender or sexual identity; those preparing to forgive; someone trying to balance an impossible household budget.
We put before you those who will be in a position to offer compassion, mercy, and justice to others — and ask you to grant them the courage and strength to do so. And we pray together the holy prayer of “O, Lord God, you know,” for the things we don’t have the words for, or don’t understand, or only suspect.
Jesus, the voice who calls us: give us ears to hear, an open heart to receive, and a generous spirit to offer others. May your glory save us and free us, and may our lives bear this witness every day.
As those who have been given your name, we join our voices together to pray, saying: Our Father…
If you are looking for more liturgical resources, please consider checking out my books:
Prayers for the People: Scripturally Based Prayers for Worship is a collection of prayers for worship. These prayers offer the worshipping community fresh perspectives for praying the words of Scripture, using current language and references. Cross-referenced to the Revised Common Lectionary, pastors seeking to lead their people in prayer have found a relevant and beautiful source for worship planning.
Come to the Table: Communion Liturgies of Invitation to Celebrate and Experience the Love of God is a collection of communion liturgies inviting worshippers to experience and respond to the Gospel. These meaningful liturgies enhance and reinforce the biblical message of the day. Worshippers are welcomed to the Table to experience the Word in preparation to go out into the world and live it. Come to the Table includes liturgies for the entire liturgical year providing pastors with a valuable resource in worship planning.