Reading and Prayer: Sunday, July 18

Colossians 3:12-17

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

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.

Prayer:

Blessed are you, O God, for all your goodness to us.

In Christ, we meet your love and wisdom, face to face.

Through the Holy Spirit, we recognize the abilities and opportunities you create 

in us and for us, to reach out to the world you love.

We thank you for all the ways friends and families, neighbours and strangers, 

reach out to us and to others, 

offering support and kindness, 

speaking up when we must confront wrongdoing, 

celebrating when achievements bless us all with healing and happiness.

Today we pray for courageous leaders in cities, countries and congregations 

who strive to serve with integrity and honesty 

in a world prone to self-interest.

We pray for those who struggle to create justice where it has been compromised, 

and to build reconciliation and understanding in divided communities.

We remember before you quiet and reliable leaders 

who keep their word and meet their deadlines 

so that we can depend on them in these unsettling times.

We pray for patient church members and community volunteers, 

who work diligently towards long-term goals that will improve our life together.

And we pray for the creative, impatient change makers, who keep challenging us, 

to be bolder and more determined in righting wrongs and trying new strategies.

We pray for the troubled in mind or spirit, 

for the angry and unhappy, 

and for those who feel that every day is a struggle.

Soothe their concerns and open their hearts to claim the hope and help you offer.

We remember before you the sick and the dying, 

and the bereaved who must try to put their lives back together again.

We pray for those who are recovering from the pandemic, 

looking for better health, a fresh start, more stability or a glimpse of hope.

Draw close to all these who suffer, 

offering your comfort and courage to face whatever comes next.

Receive our prayers, both spoken and unspoken, 

and embrace us all in your love.

Give us hearts to understand not only what you do on our behalf, 

but also what you call us to do on your behalf, 

for we are friends and followers of Jesus, who taught us to pray:

The Lord’s Prayer