Lord, we sometimes are tempted, but unlike Jesus, we often give in to our temptations.
We are tempted to doubt, when we should have faith. We ask things like ’why me?’ and ’what have I done?’ We look at those who have more than us, and question why. We wonder if we might do better in a material world, by being more material people. Lord, we ask for your forgiveness, and pray that we will grow stronger in our faith. Remind us that "it is by our faith that we are put right with God" (Romans CH10V10) We pray for all those whose faith is being tested, whether that be due to personal tragedies, or to decisions made by the Church. Draw them close, and support them in their needs, fill them with the Spirit that is Holiest.
We are tempted to put ourselves first, when we should put ourselves last. While we eat chocolate biscuits, millions in the world are starving. While we sleep safely in our beds, many hide themselves away in terror. While we welcome friends into our houses, we turn others out of our country to be tortured or killed. While we complain about interest rate, third world countries are crippled with foreign debt. Lord, we ask for your forgiveness, and pray that we might remember what Jesus said - that "If one of you wants to be great, you must be the servant of the rest; and if one of you wants to be first, you must be the slave of the others - For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, he came to serve" (Mark CH10V43-45). We pray that we might learn to serve. And we pray for a world of hungry people. For those who thirst. For those who need shelter. May they find all of these, in You.
We are tempted to hit back when we should turn the other cheek. Too often, we wish to strike back, to hurt others in payment for their treatment of us. We wage wars, we lock people up. We plot and plan retribution against any who cause us harm. Forgive us, Lord. We pray for those for who our first instinct is revenge, and ask that we may be reminded of Jesus’ words - "If anyone hits you on one cheek, let him hit the other one too; if someone takes your coat, let him have your shirt as well". (LUKE Ch6V29)
We are tempted to hate when we should love We find it easy to hate others, especially terrorists, child molestors, rapists and murderers. Lord, forgive us when we give into the temptation to hate, and help us to live out Jesus’ command to "love our enemies". We pray for those who hurt us (or those we love), that You will be merciful to them, and that they might become aware of your light, of your love. (Luke Ch6V27-31)
We are tempted to blame or judge when we should forgive. We are guilty, Lord, of judging others, and blaming them for things that happen to us. We rarely accept any responsibility for the way things are, prefering to condemn others. Forgive us, Lord. We pray that we might learn not to judge others, and that might learn not to condemn others, but that we might learn to forgive others, as you forgive us. And may we forgive "not seven times but seventy times seven" (MATTHEW18V22 Luke Ch6V37V41-42)
We are tempted to be silent when we should cry out. We stand silently, while devilish works are carried out around us. We tut tut at an injust decision, but hold our tongues. We enjoy the fellowship of the church, but do not carry the Word to all those who need it. Lord, forgive us. As Paul tells us, "Our purpose is to do what is right, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of others" (Cor Ch8V21). May we speak out against injustice, as Jesus did, though we may not be popular for it. We pray for our strengh in this, and for all those needing our support.
We are tempted to see when we should be blind, and to be blind when we should see. We have made our indigenous population exiles in their own country. We see colour, and the shapes types of faces; we notice gender, and clothes; Yet we do not see that they have hearts, as we have hearts. That their children are children like ours. That they aspire, as we aspire. That they have hopes, just as we have hopes. We do not see that they are the children of God, just as we are the children of God. Lord, forgive us for seeing differences when we should be blind, and for being blind to our sameness when we should see. We pray for tolerance, and for love, and for the people of the world, whatever their race or culture, their sex or their politics. May every difference be a reminder that "whoever believes in You will not be disappointed. This includes everyone, because there is no difference" We pray especially for those we have alienated in our own - their own - country - help us to help them build a full life, free from the problems of alcohol, unemployment, segregation, poverty and racism.
We are tempted to avoid the difficult. Lord, we pray ernestly for those we know who are suffering. For those with illness. For those who have lost loved ones. For those who would be named ……. For those who would not. Forgive us, when we say nothing because we do not know the right words, or when when do not know what to do. We pray that we can help and support all those who need us, in our families, in our congregation, in our country, in our world.