We bring to you now, Lord, the Prayers of the People.
Lord, we seem to live in a world of extremes.
Driven by political and religious causes, terrorists - extremists -destroy, main and kill.
In the name of freedom, they take hostages. In the name of justice, they kill the innocent. In the name of God, they behave like devils.
Lord, help us to develop a terrorism strategy based not on violence and retribution, but on love and compassion.
As they spread fear, help us to spread comfort. As they fire bullets, set us alight with your compassion. As they make threats, may we speak of love As they seek revenge, help us to show forgiveness.
Lord, we ask you to open their closed eyes and to soften their hardened hearts that they may realize that the way they have chosen is wrong.
Lord, for their many victims of terrorists, we ask you to ease their pain, and to bring light into darkened lives; Children, parents, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters. Lost. Australians, Americans, Indonesians, Iraqis, Palestinians, Christians, Jews, Arabs, Muslims, ….. the list goes on. All lost. At the hands of extremists.
We pray that you will care for them all, and comfort them in their despair. We ask you to touch their lives with your presence.
Lord, we pray for all those facing the extremes of nature.
We remember the people of New South Wales battling devastating bushfires.
As homes are destroyed, as hopes are destroyed, as lives as destroyed,
we pray that you will sustain, and sucker them. Help the victims of these fires rebuild their homes, and their lives. As the flames of the wild fires burn away their lands, may the flames of the Spirit set their hearts alight with your love.
Lord, we ask for your help, as our country bakes in drought. As livestock thirst and hunger, and crops wither, we pray both for rain, as well as for a more sensible water management system. Guide our governments and scientists, so that they might progress strategies to both conserve water more wisely, and to manage its distribution more effectively.
And as we bake and thirst in drought and bushfire, we also remember those elsewhere, who are experiencing other extremes, of floods, storms, and cold; such as Europe and America. Bring warmth and shelter to those in need. Bring them hope and cheer.
Lord, as we try to do the right thing, to rid the world of sicknesses and disease, we sometimes take extreme measures, blinded to the impact of these measures. We sometimes feel that the end does justify the means, forgetting that the costs of our actions can often outweigh the benefits.
We ask you, therefore, to guide our leaders and decision makers in their current debate over the use of human embryos in research. We pray that you will clarify their thoughts and motives, and help them remember that embryos are your miracle of life.
Lord, we pray for the economic extremes - the poor and the rich.
May the poor be richer for knowing you. Touch their lives with your majesty. Help them seek not simply for more, but for enough.
And may the rich develop the insight and compassion to transform their excesses into your service. May they be given the opportunity to put their time and money to good use, helping the disadvantaged, and re-dressing the extreme gap between the fortune-ate and the un-fortune-ate.
Lord, we pray for the sick and the lonely. May they know you, and be comforted by you. When they see no future, light up their lives. When they feel alone, comfort them with your presence.
May we remember our own youth, and so be as a protector, and a rock to the young.
May we accept our own future, and so be protector and rock also to the aged.
Lord, we pray for our Minister and his wife, and their continued health, safety and guidance.
We pray also for the members of our congregation, the Uniting Church, Synod, Presbytery, and Elders. Lead them that they may lead us. Keep them safe, healthy, and always in your presence.