Gracious God, merciful God-
We praise and bless you as the creator of our world.
We thank you for the beauty and mystery of nature.
We thank you for the changing season.
We are reminded of the cycle of life that you set into motion.
We thank you that in the midst of storms, you are with us.
We praise and bless you as the merciful one.
We thank you that your mercies are new every morning.
We thank you that you love to extend mercy to us.
Because of your mercy, we are encouraged to confess our shortcomings, our sins.
We confess our distractions from you. Our lives are so filled with other things, duties and responsibilities, with working for peace and justice, that we forget you.
We forget that all we do is to be centered in you.
Have mercy on us, God, and help us to be mindful and aware of you.
We confess the dividing walls that separate us from others.
We confess that we carefully construct these walls to keep others out-those who disagree with us, who hurt us, who are different from us.
We admit that in keeping others on the other side of the wall, we also keep you on the other side of the wall.
Have mercy on us, O God.
Have mercy and give us the courage to break down those walls and begin to trust others, listen to others, to open our hearts to others.
Please give us the courage to be bold and to move toward reconciliation with those in our life with whom we are estranged.
Have mercy on us.
Gracious God, Merciful God-
We thank you for your forgiveness.
We thank you for your gracious and merciful heart.
Because we are forgiven, we are now bold to bring others to you.
God, we pray again for the entire Middle East. O God, again we ask-in fact, we plead with and implore you-to breathe peace into the region. We ask for wisdom for those working for peace in Israel, Palestine, Iraq and Iran. We thank you for the peacemakers who are risking their lives to be your embodiment of peace and justice. We continue to ask for both courage and stamina for them. Be present and close to them. Let them know they are not alone, but that others are praying for them and for peace from around the world. O God, we also ask you to touch the hearts of all of the extremists who want to destroy peace, no matter how severe the cost. We don't know how to pray for them but we offer them to you, trusting that you will move and act in their lives.
God, we pray for the people of Sudan, particularly in Darfur. We pray for peace and justice in Sudan. We pray for the government leaders who are unwilling or unable to stop the brutal actions of the janjaweed. We pray for the women who have been raped as a weapon of war, as a form of ethnic cleansing. We ask that there be trustworthy individuals to help them heal of their trauma. We pray, too, for parents who have held their starving, dying children. Please touch the place of their grieving and let them know your grieving presence. We pray for the people of the world to lift their voices, "Never again another genocide," in order to work effectively to halt this bloodshed. We cry to you for wisdom, boldness, creativity, and anger to act.
Holy Spirit, wind of love, we praise and bless your Merciful, Gracious name.
Let us proclaim that you are our God and we are your children.
We praise your holy Name.