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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Vespers - 8 October 2017


O our God and Father, who is making the first last and the last first, who has made little children the measure of your kingdom; please give us that wisdom from above which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere (James 3.17). As we operate, deliberate, expostulate, and at times, remonstrate, may it not be as enemies and adversaries, but as fellow human beings made in your image, made to have unending fellowship with you, O Father, Son and Holy Spirit. May we grasp right from wrong and chose that which is right, for ourselves, our families, and our people. May partiality and prejudice be put far from us, and integrity and equality gain the upper hand. O Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, as we pray for our local, State and National leaders, we affirm with the Sage in Proverbs that the wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving (Proverbs 14.8); we cry out to you to endow our leaders with discerning hearts and perceptive minds and to see that the decisions they make are not mere abstractions, and that their deliberations are not about winning contests of muscle and might. Instead, they are called upon by the townsfolk, citizenry and inhabitants to guide us toward the common good. Their decisions are for and about real flesh-and-blood men, real flesh-and-blood women, real single parents worn thin and worn down, real fathers, mothers, sons and daughters who are unemployed and underemployed, tangible girls and boys who giggle and laugh, but who also see hard things and hear harsh words, etc. And so we pray for clear-headed discernment so that there will be true liberty and justice for all, the free born, the foreign born and the unborn. O Lord, hear our prayer.

Honestly, Lord, it is easy – all too easy – to let our positions and privileges go to our heads. Whether we’re pastors, politicians, parents, professors, police officers, or proprietors, we can effortlessly fall into the trap of believing our own propaganda and praise. But Lord, you are the potter, we are the clay. May we never harden to the point of brittleness or big-headedness. Keep our hearts ever and always soft and supple in your masterly hands so that we may be able to learn, grow and blossom. O Lord, hear our prayer. 

Finally, Father, since we recognize our lives, successes, upswings and downswings are in your hands; that though every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but you, O LORD, weigh the heart (Proverbs 21.2): we pray for this coming week. Smile on us in our day-in-and-day-out routines; guide our conversations with family, neighbors, fellow-workers, employees, fellow-parents, grocery clerks and baggers, doctors and nurses; and direct our plans and proposals we will be mapping out. Provide richly for us, and supply us with thankful hearts. O Lord, hear our prayer.

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