A Prayer to Remind Us That 'There Are No Ordinary People'
Note: For our annual Hope for New York Sunday event at partner churches, this Prayers of the People was shared at Redeemer Lincoln Square.
Father, we praise you for your goodness. You are the source of all that is true, good and right in this world. You have created this earth and all that is in it to flourish and be a reflection of your glory and we praise you for that. And, you chose to make people in your image, to reflect your likeness in the earth.
Father, remind our hearts that there are no ordinary people, that there are no mere mortals, but that every person is an image bearer of the most high, deserving of honor. Father, would our thoughts, words and actions toward others be free of contempt, envy, resentment, arrogance and indifference; give us an attitude of honor toward those that you have made and placed in our path, in your sovereignty.
Jesus, we thank you for the humility you showed when you left heaven to come and live among us for some time. We praise you for the example that we now have. In particular, Jesus, we think of your care and love for children. While others pushed them aside, you drew them near, and spoke harshly to those who would harm them. Jesus, there are many children who are suffering in this world, in this country, and in this city. Children who are in unsafe home situations, who are being exploited, abused or neglected. Children who have been separated from their families for any number of reasons.
Jesus, we pray for your peace to be with those children. We pray for your protection over them. We pray for wisdom for the child protection services agents, social workers, lawmakers, and all those involved in the systems that impact children. Would you fill their spirits with love and gratitude, and give them special insight when making difficult decisions about how best to protect these children, whom you love.
Jesus, you also showed special care for the immigrant, the oppressed, those who are in prison, and all who are feeling alone and overwhelmed. Sin has entered the world and wreaked havoc, but, Holy Spirit, would you transform our hearts and renew our minds, that we would have the same compassion and wisdom when addressing these complex problems that sin has created.
Spirit, we know that a moment of tender compassion when we hear sad stories is not enough to change the situations of those who are afflicted. We pray that you would catalyze your church into action. You have not held back, but have gifted your church abundantly in the time, talent and treasure you have given us stewardship over. Would we be faithful stewards of the abundance you have bestowed upon us, and use it in alignment with your heart and your will.
God, we acknowledge and lift up the places where this is already happening. In particular, we think of Hope for New York and their 50+ affiliates, especially those that our church family will be intentionally coming alongside—for Avail, Open Hands Legal Service, Prison Fellowship, Safe Families NYC, St. Paul's House, The Bowery Mission, and The Open Door. We pray for the staff and volunteers at these organizations, Spirit, that you would knit their hearts to you, that they would abide in your love them, and that their actions would flow out of that love. Protect them from pride and ego, which the enemy would use to distract and divide. Root their identity in you, that their self worth would not be attached to the outcome of their service. Fill their spirits with gratitude for how you have been merciful to them. Grant them wisdom in their decision making, to find sustainable solutions that empower and build capacity, not dependence. Would you bless them and making them highly effective in your Kingdom work.
Father, we ask that not our will but yours be done. In the big and the small, attune us to your will, that we could hear your Spirit and grant us obedience to respond. We ask, Spirit, that you would expand our imagination of what is possible, that our thinking and planning would not be confined to the limitations and barriers we see, but that we would truly believe that the power that raised Jesus from the dead is alive and at work in us. Jesus, in your Kingdom there is freedom, reconciliation and flourishing. Help us to believe that this is for all people. Destroy in us the unbelief that the enemy uses to hold us back from sharing the truth about your Kingdom with those around us. Destroy in our society and in our churches the unjust systems of oppression that elevate some voices and silence others. Would we experience the freedom and joy that comes from true sacrificial giving, when we’ve obeyed beyond our comfort zone and seen you provide abundantly.
We ask all this, knowing that you hear us and believing that you are willing and able. In the name of Jesus, Amen.