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Intercessions for 19th Sunday after Trinity (Proper 23): Mercy

Job 23.1-9, 16-17; Psalm 22.1-15; Hebrews 4.12-16; Mark 10.17-31

These are tough readings. I expect you know the lovely psalm 139.8? Job turns it on its head with

‘If I go forward, he is not there; or backward, I cannot perceive him;
on the left he hides, and I cannot behold him; I turn to the right, but I cannot see him.
God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me;

The psalm is a complaint to God on the same lines as Job, ending with: ‘My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my gums: and thou shalt bring me into the dust of death’

Hebrews begins: ‘The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow;’

Mark’s gospel is the story of the rich young man who does not want to give it all away: ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’

Although most of us have felt like this at some point in our lives, and have been helped through prayer, I think it is difficult to base intercessionary prayers for the whole congregation on our pain, concentrating on the pain. Instead, I suggest we base the prayers on asking for God’s mercy, which is hinted at in the gospel and, not for the first time, we are saved by the Collect:

O God, forasmuch as without you we are not able to please you;
mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts;

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Lord, in times of need may we know your mercy and grace; through Christ our King, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit.

 

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, we have allowed our Church to be distracted into division and debate. We pray for your help in turning instead to concentrate on mission. We ask you to inspire the choice of a new Archbishop of Canterbury to lead the Church of England and perhaps the Anglican Communion into a new chapter of our life together. May the Church learn to accept the help of each according to their ability, whether male or female, priest or lay, and may the Church also seek to give to each according to their needs.

 Lord, have mercy; Lord, have mercy; in your mercy, Lord, hear our prayer.

¶Creation, human society, the Sovereign and those in authority

Have mercy on all whose wealth in this world holds them back from the knowledge of where true riches are to be found. Inspire the rulers of wealthy nations like ours to feel compassion for those that are poor, not only those in poorer countries but also those on our own doorsteps. In your mercy, Lord, do not send the rich empty away but show them how their wealth can be used for good, without waiting for ‘the authorities’ to do everything.

 Lord, have mercy; Lord, have mercy; in your mercy, Lord, hear our prayer.

¶The local community

Lord, we pray for all that see you in simplicity and humility, for all who find you in the service of others. We ask you to bless all who seek to consecrate their lives to you, and we pray for any who have lost their faith and their way.

We pray for all who are choked by their riches, for people possessed by their possessions, for all who are afraid to give and afraid to share, for all who have amassed wealth but are poor in spirit, and for all who are suffering through the greed of others.

God, we thank you for all who have sacrificed for us, for all who have enriched our lives through their goodness, for all who have been gracious and generous to us. Teach us in turn to be generous and ready to give. Make us springs of strength and joy to all whom we serve.

 Lord, have mercy; Lord, have mercy; in your mercy, Lord, hear our prayer.

¶Those who suffer

We commend to your care all those who find life too difficult; those who have daily to face tasks with which they cannot cope; those who are daunted by the business of life itself; those whose families make demands on them which they cannot meet; those who cannot summon up the strength to do the things they know have to be done. those who feel they cannot go on. *

 Lord, have mercy; Lord, have mercy; in your mercy, Lord, hear our prayer.

¶The communion of saints

(After a prayer by St Columba)

Lord, allow us to keep a door in Paradise. That we may keep even the smallest door, the farthest, darkest, coldest door, the door that is least used, the stiffest door. If so it be in your house, O God, if so it be that we can see your glory, even from afar, and hear your voice, and know that we are with you, O God.

 Lord, have mercy; Lord, have mercy; in your mercy, Lord, hear our prayer.

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The illustration is by Kostas Tsipos, via Shutterstock

* From ‘Further Everyday Prayers’

2 comments on this post:

UKViewer said...
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Thanks Laura

10 October 2012 18:27
Wendy Dackson said...
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So much here that speaks to how I am personally feeling (and have been for a while). Thank you.

10 October 2012 23:47

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