Mar 9, 2014

Congregational Prayer: Good Shepherd

Here’s a pastoral prayer inspired by Psalm 23.  It was written by Carol Penner.

Prayer
(inspired by Psalm 23)

Gentle Shepherd:
Thank you for the way you have led us to green pastures and still water;
you’ve shown us beauty this week that has fed our souls.
The brilliant green of the budding trees glowing in the morning sun
the delicate symphony the birds sing each morning
the caress of the warm sun on our upraised cheeks,
the fragrance of lilac in the evening.

Some of us have walked through dark valleys this week,
and all of us know someone in a dark valley,
valleys of sickness, grief, uncertainty, fear.
You meet us there in the darkness, you protect us.
Our enemies are present in our lives;
forces that would take us away from you.
Pride, envy, hatred, selfishness,
all played out on an individual and corporate level.
We need your help in our lives.
You have heard the concerns of our hearts
that were spoken during our sharing time today,
and you heard the concerns that were unspoken,
which weight too heavily for us to share them.
We call on you for help; you guide us carefully.

You have provided for our basic needs this week,
thank you for the food we’ve eaten,
for the luxury of variety in our diet,
for the joy of cooking,
for the clean water that comes out of our taps.

You anoint us with oil,
you gift us with grace,
providing unexpected blessings over and over,
encouragement and new strength when we falter
tender compassion when we are spent.
Goodness and mercy is following us
all the days of our lives.
We give thanks for this good life,
for life and breath this day,
a day to praise and thank you,
we want to stay in your Presence forever.   Amen.

[after this prayer we moved straight into the song "Gentle Shepherd"]

~ written by Carole Penner, and posted on her Leading in Worship blog. http://carolpenner.typepad.com/leadinginworship/