A Call to Worship
Pentecost 6C [Ordinary 13C] or [Proper 8C] 2013
Psalm 77: 1-2, 11-20

Holy God, on this day we come in reverent awe to worship and praise you.
We also come in faith to you, with all our human problems and uncertainties.

Saving God, you have been rescuing your people since memories began.
We come to you in hope, confidently remembering your compassion for us.

Mighty God, we come to you because of your love and power over all creation,
and because your involvement with humanity is an ongoing miracle of grace.
Keeping God, we come in trusting expectation, because your ways are holy—
and you are the God, who, compassionately and lovingly make things happen! Amen.

Prayers of Lament and Petition
Pentecost 6C [Ordinary 13C] or [Proper 8C] 2013
Psalm 77: 1-2, 11-20

Come to us this day, God of mercy and grace, as we are deeply in need
of your abiding and reassuring presence to strengthen and reinforce our
faith in you. We come to you, Holy God, because in our fears and troubles,
we do not seem to be able to experience your calming presence or your
encouraging love. We have prayed earnestly for wisdom and insight into
the troubles that beset us; but because of our anxiety, God’s presence is
not really real to us, and our prayers seem rather empty and worthless. Yet,
Reliable God, we know that you are the God of our ancestors, and that you
never deserted them or left them to bear their burdens alone; because their
Trustworthy God travelled with them through every step of their faith journey.
With that hope, knowledge and understanding, we again seek your renewing
and mysterious presence; as in anticipation and hope, we wait for new signs
of guidance to your pilgrim people, as we journey towards our home in you.

Come to us this day, God of love and compassion, and speak to us in the
depths of our souls and our inner thoughts, reminding us that if we will listen,
that God’s times of powerful acts to save and heal God’s faithful people are
not confined to ancient biblical times, but that if we have eyes to see; ears to
hear; and minds to comprehend, God’s acts of grace and mercy continue on
every day and every minute. Lord, give us eyes, ears and minds to see, hear
and recognise these new signs of God’s gracious and timeless mercy and love.

Come to us this day, God of hope and encouragement. We give thanks for our
memories when we had previously experienced your guidance and blessings in
times of change, or when we faced unexpected problems, and that in all our fear
and vulnerability, that was the opportunity for God’s power and strength to be
revealed to us. Patient God, remind us again that when we are willing to learn
things from God, then we are able to teach others about God; and remind us once
more that when we act foolishly and thoughtlessly, then God’s wisdom can be
exercised more fully because of the emptiness of our minds! Great Shepherd of
your wayward flock, guide and direct us now we pray, as we struggle to find answers
to life’s tough questions, and the challenges that living presents to us every day.
Renew our faith and trust in you, and remind us once again that the God we
worship is the God of daily miracles; and the God who loves us so endlessly. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Pentecost 6C [Ordinary 13C] or [Proper 8C] 2013
Psalm 77: 1-2, 11-20

When I was still rather new at the skills involved with being a mother, my twelve
month old daughter was in hospital gravely ill, and I had another sick child at
home. My dilemma was with which child my time should be best spent, at home
or at the hospital. As I cried out to the Lord for help, I received a phone call from
a friend, telling me she had contacted my minister inviting him to join us in our
prayers for healing, as this man was a very holy man, and that God would surely
hear his prayers and answer them, and thus bring healing to both my daughters
and to me. This idea about prayer has bothered me for more than 40 years! Are
the prayers of one person more effective than another’s prayers? The Psalmist
wrote: “I cry out to God without holding back. Oh, that God would listen to me!
When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I pray, with
hands lifted toward heaven, pleading. There can be no joy for me until God acts…”.

Creative pause: Do some people have a greater influence with God than others?

The Revised Common Lectionary set reading of the Psalm 77, excludes the
continuing cries to God of the author, (Vs 4-9) claiming that: “…You don't let
me sleep. I am too distressed even to pray!........... Has the Lord rejected me
forever? Will he never again show me favour? Is his unfailing love gone forever?
Have his promises permanently failed? Has God forgotten to be kind? Has he
slammed the door on his compassion?...”
Then there is a pause, to pray and think
about what he had cried out about to God! The author of this Psalm was obviously
a leading figure in his era, yet he had no inhibitions in declaring his pain and fears.
Did the Psalmists lengthy cries for help make any difference to his prayers? Did
he think that by his many words that that would have ensured God’s response?
The mystic Meister Eckhart once said: “If the only prayer we ever said was ‘Thank
you’, it would be enough...”
- Is that really enough for God or for the person at prayer?
There are many people who say that prayer is simply “Resting in God’s presence...”

Creative pause: Is prayer simply “resting in God’s presence...”?

James Montgomery’s hymn about prayer and the way we approach prayer, is in
my opinion, is extremely useful and quite timeless. 1“Prayer is the soul’s sincere
desire, / uttered or unexpressed, / the motion of a hidden fire / that trembles in the
breast / Prayer is the burden of a sigh, / the falling of a tear, / the upward glancing
of an eye / when none but God is near….Prayer is the contrite sinner’s voice /
returning from his ways, / while angels in their songs rejoice, and cry: ‘Behold
he prays!’…. / O thou by whom, we come to God, / the Life, the Truth, the Way! /
The path of prayer thyself hast trod: / Lord! Teach us how to pray….”
So why do I
(and the Psalmist too) cry out so eloquently to God in prayer, when God already
knows our real needs? Is true prayer about being in God’s presence in awe and
wonder, and being open and empty before God - to allow ourselves be filled by God?

Creative pause: “Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, uttered or unexpressed…”

1 Methodist Hymn Book (1933 version) #533
Words by James Montgomery 1771-1854
Words are in the Public Domain.

Unless stated otherwise, all Bible readings and extracts used in these weekly Prayers and
Meditations are from the ‘New Living Translation’, © 1996. Copyright. All rights reserved.
Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189 USA.

*The additional weekly numbering is from the Revised COCU Indexing Scheme
COCU = ('Consultation on Church Union'); as it offers an easy sequential numbering
for the Revised Common Lectionary for the Church Calendar.

If any part of these Prayers and/or Meditations is used in shared worship, please provide
the following acknowledgement:
© 2013 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year C. Used with permission.


Download/view a pdf file of this document here: pentecost6[13]c_2013.pdf