Prayer from Gil Harvie
Great and magnificent God, we are in awe of you.
You are so all-encompassing that we can never fully understand the breadth and depth of your being.
When we try to look at the immensity and variety of the universe that you have created, we realise that we can only get a tiny glimpse of your power.
Your capability and power are all beyond our human comprehension, but we thank you that you are never unapproachable.
You hear the prayers of all your people of differing races and cultures.
You have given us so much that we cannot count all the blessings that we have received, and it is easy for us to forget that you are the source of all that we have, food and shelter, and all the material things that we enjoy.
We thank you Father for continuing to provide for all our needs.
Merciful God, forgive us for the times when we have misused your gifts by being greedy and wasteful.
Help us not to be selfish, and to share the blessings that we have received with others.
Your ways are much greater than we can imagine, and sometimes we do not understand your message.
When we do not understand, we are confused, and so we try to do things in our own way.
Lord, forgive us, and lead us to a better understanding of your plans for us.
We confess that at other times our pride and conceit lead us to ignore you.
In good times we feel that we are in control, and that we can do anything without your help, but we forget that without you we cannot achieve anything that is worthwhile.
Lord, forgive us, and help us to remember that you are the creator and sustainer of all peoples everywhere, and that you are ever-present and always willing to help us.
The peoples of this world differ in many ways, not only in their languages, but in nationality, traditions, customs and history, and these differences can be a source of mistrust and fear.
Sometimes the different groups do not even try to understand each other, so they cannot cooperate or help each other.
In many parts of the world such failures to understand, and a lack of cooperation have created barriers which have led to conflicts and wars.
Lord, guide all the leaders in this world so that they are willing to talk to each other, and to listen to each other, so that they can look for ways to bring peace and cooperation to the troubled regions of the world.
We confess that it is not only in international affairs that there can be a lack of understanding between people.
At a personal level, we are sometimes unwilling to take the time, or to make the effort to do even simple things, such as listening to others.
It is not surprising that when we don’t listen to someone else’s point of view, that we do not understand them, and so disagreements can arise.
Merciful God, we know that in our dealings with others our behaviour has often fallen far short of what it should be.
Forgive us, and help us to be more respectful of others, to be more willing to listen to them, and to understand them.
May we remember that we are all your children.
In the church too, our traditions, formality, and behaviour can create barriers with others which can make it difficult for them to hear your message.
Forgive us if the ways that we find familiar, and comfortable, have in fact been a hinderance to others.
Guide us, and show us how to be more open, and more welcoming to all.
Compassionate God, you know that many people find life difficult.
Some are short of food or lack proper shelter, some are unwell, and some are grieving.
Others feel lonely and isolated, and some are in situations in which they feel helpless.
We ask that you will send your Spirit to bring your comfort, peace, and guidance to all those who are in difficulty or distress.
You know who all these people are, and in this moment of silence we bring to you those who are known to us.