Father we thank you that you promised that when we pass through deep waters, you will be with us; and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm us; and when we walk through fire we will not be burned, and the flame will not consume us.
Prayer of the Bible
We praise you, Lord! We give thanks to you, for you are good; for your loving mercy endures forever. Who can express your mighty acts, O Lord, or fully declare your praise?
-Psalm 106: 1-2
(Free expression of praise and thanksgiving to God)
Confession of Sin
You, Lord, do not see as people see. People look at my outward appearance, but you look at my heart.
-I Samuel 16:7
(Time of silence for confession of sin)
The Words of Jesus
A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
-John 16: 21-24
(Think deeply on these life-giving words of Jesus)
Prayers for Ourselves and Others
O Lord, I cry to you; hasten to me. Hear my voice when I cry to you. Let my prayer be set before you like incense, and the lifting up of my hands like the evening sacrifice.
-Psalm 141: 1-2
(Time to bring before God our own needs and the needs of others)
In our secret yearnings we wait for your coming, and in our grinding despair we doubt that you will.
And in this privileged place we are surrounded by witnesses who yearn more than do we and by those who despair more deeply than do we. Look upon your church and its pastors in this season of hope which runs so quickly to fatigue and this season of yearning which becomes so easily quarrelsome. Give us the grace and the impatience to wait for your coming to the bottom of our toes, to the edge of our finger tips. Come in your power and come in your weakness in any case and make all things new. Amen.
-Walter Brueggemann (1933- )