Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts.
Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Lord God, we bring you our thanks and our praise.
We thank you for your Church, which you have preserved through the ages.
In the times that your Church has done right you have blessed and prospered it.
In the times when your Church has failed, you have been patient and kind, and have ever led its way out of darkness.
We thank you for those who have given their lives for your Church, thinking not of their own welfare, but of others; risking all that your Word might go forward, risking all that your love might be shared.
We thank you for the martyrs of the church, who in ancient days refused to deny you, and were led to their deaths, yet out of whose courage the Church was inspired and grew strong. We thank you for martyrs of our present day, who in the face of hatred and violence have stood for the cause of the right.
We thank you for the Reformers, men and women who worked to bring the church out of the darkness into which it had fallen, and into new light and life.
We thank you for Zion Presbyterian Church, a descendent of those Reformation people. Help us to be true to the vision of the Church which you gave our forefathers and mothers, ever challenging us, moving us forward in the world and deeper in the faith, ever reformed and ever reforming.
Fill our sanctuary, our homes, and our hearts, with music, with joy, with courage, with hope, with forgiveness, with love, and with songs of praise to your great and holy name.
We pray for our community and our world.
• In our world, bring sensible behavior, access to vaccine, and a rapid cure for Covid.
• In those nations ravaged by senseless war, bring a spirit of wisdom and peace.
• In those nations ravaged by hunger, bring concord and vision and food from afar.
• In those nations seeking lasting peace and settlement, bring understanding and empathy.
• In our nation, bring unity and common purpose, patience and understanding, tolerance and justice, prosperity and the compassion to share of our wealth.
• In our community bring peace to the distraught, hope to the discouraged, joy and safety to the children, healing to the sick, and comfort to the grieving.
We pray special prayers for…