Since then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
We take these moments to acknowledge the world day of prayer, to pray together. Feel free to read alone, or aloud in your own prayer time:
God of heaven and earth, we approach your throne of grace today with boldness that you hear our prayers, that you are with us, and that our high priest, Jesus Christ was touched in every way with what we face as believers in this world. We thank you for the assurance that we have a God in this land who is yet present and sympathetic to all that we face.
We have faced a year-long pandemic. Jesus, you must have known how that felt as you dealt with sickness and disease in your day. We have faced a divisive election. Jesus, you must have known how that felt, dealing with political forces and leaders of your day. We continue to face loved ones dying, many in isolation from COVID-19, as tears continue to fill our eyes. Jesus, you must have known how that felt, as you experienced your own death and resurrection.
We continue to face hatred and oppression because of skin color and cultural differences. Jesus, you faced the same as well in your day, yet without sin. We face churches struggling to connect, to be transparent, to ask for help. Jesus you must have known how that felt as you looked out over crowds and had compassion on them.
We confess our sins and shortcomings and pray for forgiveness through your precious blood that was shed for us. As we go about our day, help us to receive the mercy that you give to each of us. As we receive that mercy, help to us extend that same mercy. Help us to find grace, to seek grace in ourselves and in others. Give us your eyes to see you in all of creation, and to embrace the other with the love that you poured out through your temptation, death, burial and resurrection, as our high priest.
And so, we pray for churches, pastors, lay leaders, and volunteers in our congregations, through the local, regional and general manifestation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the church universal around the world. We need strength, courage, and boldness to face the difficulties and challenges before us.
Help us to pause, to consider our world as we live, move, and have our being in you. Teach us how to embrace, consider, and acknowledge that which we do not understand, the ills of race, gender, culture, and orientation of the other. Move us from theological surfaces to deeper levels of knowing, caring, and affirmation. Help us to love gently those who are ignorant and going astray. As you call us your sons and daughters, show us the way to be in covenant as brothers and sisters in Christ with all your people.
We ask it all in the name of the one (Jesus Christ) who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or think, according to the power that is at work in us.