Bidding Prayer for Epiphany and the New Year

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Come, let us pray for the people of God gathered here and elsewhere.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Eternal God for whom a thousand years are a blink of an eye, hear us as we lift up to you the entire Body of Christ. May this new year shine a light on all our dark places, a light that will lead us toward greater love and unity with all who call on you.

In the name of the Light that shines through all darkness,
Hear our prayers.

Let us pray for the United Church of Christ near and far.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Radical and unsettling God, just as the Magi long ago sought your presence in the world, let us do the same. As you reveal yourself in and among us, show us all the places where we get in the way of your transforming love. As a denomination we speak words of welcome, hospitality, and mercy. Let us linger at the manger long enough to see you in the world, in friends and strangers, and in ourselves. Remove our fear and our arrogance so that the light we share is your light and the ministry we engage in is truly in service to you. Be with those who lead us, those who challenge us, and those who have not yet come through our doors.

In the name of the Light that shines through all darkness,
Hear our prayers.

Let us pray for the whole of creation.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
God who so loves the world, forgive us for all our excuses and reluctance to change. We damage the environment and choose comfort and economics over a healthier planet. You hear the groaning of creation where we cannot. Make it audible to even the most stubborn among us that we may change our ways before it is too late. You created us to be good stewards of this earth. Fill all of us, but especially those in power, with wisdom and courage enough to act now. You come to us in the wonders of nature may we honor you by caring for these sacred places.

In the name of the Light that shines through all darkness,
Hear our prayers.

Let us pray for all the nations of the world.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Wise and transforming God, how long you have waited for all your people to live in peace. We see difference where you see your children. We resort to violence and war where you would have equity and justice. So many claim you on their side when you are always on the side of mercy, compassion, and justice. Wisdom still calls out in the world, waiting for an answer that is more than human foolishness. May all the leaders of the world hear her cry. Show us the way of peace and grant us the strength to pursue it with unflagging passion.

In the name of the Light that shines through all darkness,
Hear our prayers.

Let us pray for all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
God of the brightest noonday and the darkest night, be with all those who suffer and are in need of healing. Use our hands to offer gentleness and our words to speak comfort. Pain and brokenness touch us all, holding some more firmly than others. Remove the obstacles of fear and ignorance that we may bring the light of your love to those who have physical illness, those who live with mental illness, those who struggle with addiction, and those who seem lost.

In the name of the Light that shines through all darkness,
Hear our prayers.

Let us pray for all those who grieve.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Living God, you bind up the brokenhearted and free the oppressed. No pain is too great for you to bear and no loss can remove your love from us. In the dark days of grief and anger we may turn from your light, yet you remain present. May we be a witness to your light for those who are adrift in grief, holding hope for those who are unable to hold it for themselves.

In the name of the Light that shines through all darkness,
Hear our prayers.

Let us give thanks to God for all the blessings we have received.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
God who is both Light and Love, we would be a people walking in darkness still if you had not gifted us with your presence. Forgive us for the countless times when we have failed to recognize you, forgotten the wonders of your love, or neglected to serve you with our whole hearts. Hear our gratitude now. You have brought us through to another year and given us the choice of roads to follow from here. All that we need for the deepest of joy, you freely offer us. May our gratitude lead us to the Light.

In the name of the Light that shines through all darkness,
Hear our prayers. Amen.

RCL – Year B – Second Sunday after Christmas – January 4, 2015
Jeremiah 31:7-14 or Sirach 24:1-12
Psalm 147:12-20 or Wisdom of Solomon 10:15-21
Ephesians 1:3-14
John 1: (1-9) 10-18
Or the readings for Epiphany may be used:
Isaiah 60:1-6 with Psalm 72: 1-7, 10-14
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12

Photo from pixabay. Used with permission.

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