Today’s reading and prayer are from the sermon for Pentecost:
Ephesians 4:1-6 (NLT) 4:25-32 (NIV)
I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neigh-bour, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is help-ful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
We thank you, Father, for the gift of your Holy Spirit.
We thank you that through the work of the Holy Spirit,
we can experience the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
Thank you for giving us a love that loves the unlovely;
Thank you for giving us a joy in the face of sorrow,
Thank you for giving us peace in the midst of chaos,
Thank you for giving us patience when things don’t go our way,
Thank you for giving us kindness
when it is easier to just walk away,
Thank you for giving us generosity to another
in the face of our own endless needs,
Thank you for giving us faithfulness when it is not convenient,
Thank you for giving us gentleness
when our first thought is anger,
And thank you for giving us self-control when all around us
people are losing theirs.
Thank you for giving us a life worth living,
thank you for giving us the chance
to be a blessing to all with whom we share our lives.
Father, help us be a church that evidences all of these things
in all of its people,
a church in which the Risen Lord is alive in our hearts,
a church where the Fruit of your Spirit is in dazzling abundance, a church ready to change the world.
Help us be ready to prune our lives of all that keeps us
from serving you as your children,
from all that makes our lives less
than you would have them be.
We pray for those who do not know love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness,
who badly need these to come to fruition in their lives.
We pray now in silence for the needs in our hearts, for the needs of those we love, and for the needs of the unloved and forgotten.
Remember the sick, O Lord, the discouraged, the confused, the distraught, and those who grieve. May the reality of the Risen Lord and the gift of the Holy Spirit transform and renew their lives.
Come, Holy Spirit, we pray, even as we pray the words Jesus taught us, saying ,
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.