Pastoral Prayer for the Third Sunday after Epiphany

We thank you, O God, for your creation and our place in it.
We thank you that the cycles of the earth
provide not only for our sustenance, but also for our enjoyment.
And as we think about the cycles of life,
guide us to think about our own lives—
both the stability and the changes,
our victories and defeats, our hopes and our fears.

You bring our paths together on Sundays
to strengthen us,
to empower us to share our stories with one another,
and to give us the chance
to know how to pray for each other in the days to come.
Just as we gather here in community, you also send us out,
for we know that when worship ends, our service begins.

Strengthen us in our joint calling to be the church in this place,
and strengthen us in our individual callings.
May the work that we are given be meaningful.
And when work is difficult or thankless or hard to find,
help us even then to know your presence in our lives,
and to share that presence with those we come into contact with.
May they see you in our faithfulness,
may they feel your love in our actions,
may they hear your voice in our words.

Forgive us when we have not sought you in our work,
or complained that our calling isn’t good enough.
Forgive us when we make others’ vocations more difficult
through our impatience, or our demands.
Forgive us when we receive your gifts
without giving thanks for the hands—both known and unknown—
that tilled the soil, planted the seed, worked in the factory,
wove the cloth, mined, pumped, cobbled, or invented,
for everything that we call ours
came to us through a neighbor, whether near or far.

We thank you that you have called people
not only to jobs, but to ministry,
and we acknowledge before you all those who serve you
in your church, in the community, and in the mission field.
As Andrew and Peter, James and John
put down their nets and followed you,
empower us to leave behind a way of life
that is lived only for ourselves
and follow you into service to the world.
We pray all these things in the Name of the One who taught us to pray.

Our Father...