A Prayer for Sabbath

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Steadfast God of love and mercy, how long you have waited for your people to bless your holy name! Through the words of ancient prophets and the Incarnate Word, you tell of your enduring, unconditional love for humanity. You call to us over and over again. Even now, your call to us continues.

We have wandered far from a time that honors the Sabbath. You gave us this day to help us be mindful that we are your people. We excel at ways to fill our quiet hours with our own thoughts and pursuits, forgetting our need to come to you for rest and to worship. Open our ears to the prophets of old, the teachings of Jesus, and those whose words point the way to you.

Gracious God, you are slow to anger and your steadfast love abounds. But, surely, we must test you. You have told us to feed the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted. You want us to stop binding ourselves to destructive ways, pointing fingers at one another, and speaking badly of those around us. Yet, we so often fail in these simple things. We frequently overlook the hungry and turn away from the afflicted. We continue our warring ways, blaming others for our wrongs, and speaking against our neighbors. Have mercy on us. Open our hearts to compassion and peace.

God of all, you remind us that there is much that bends us over, many spirits can cripple us at any time. But the time for healing is now. We can embrace the freedom you offer us right now. We can honor you by giving up our self-interested ways and giving things to you in all things. Even as we are overwhelmed by the tragedies in our lives and the world around us, you embrace us and call us to Sabbath rest. Open our lives that we may we come to you with all that is within us.

Passionate, fiery God, we live in a chaotic world with all kinds of noise and busyness to take our attention from you. We are so easily lost in work, information, entertainment, and in less meaningful activities. Set us on fire! Let us be consumed with a fire that brings light into the dark places of our lives. Open our spirits that we may worship you with reverence and awe.

In gratitude for the abundance of your steadfast love and mercy, we pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

RCL – Year C – Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost – August 25, 2013
Jeremiah 1:4-10 with Psalm 71:1-6 or
Isaiah 58:9b-14 with Psalm 103:1-8 and
Hebrews 12:18-29 and
Luke 13:10-17

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