Prayers for the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

Celebrating the coming of the One who brings the reign of God to all people, let us pray for the world God loves, the Church God calls, and all people according to their needs, saying, Lord, in your mercy, and responding, Hear our prayer.

[Brief pause]

God of the unexpected, in spite of his age, you called Jeremiah to speak.  Use us, in spite of our excuses, to say what you ask us to say, and to say it with compassion.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of the unexpected, we would rather use power to make things come out the way we want, yet you call us to love.  Help us embrace our vulnerability, and share your promise without force.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of the unexpected, we crave the familiar and the comfortable.  Set us free from our expectations.  Enable us to embrace the new thing you are doing.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of the unexpected, we want to be taken care of, yet you call us to care for others.  We want to hear that we are special, yet you call us to treat others as special.  Release us from our selfishness, that we may be the servants you have created us to be.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of the unexpected, you come in the middle of all that would deny you: suffering, illness, war, hunger, death.  Use your people to reach out to the isolated, the sick, the poor, and all whom we name before you now.
[Long pause]
May the reign of your healing justice come among us.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God of the unexpected, forgive our anger at your surprises.  Help us learn what we need to learn from our discomfort, and strengthen us to grow into what you have in mind for us.  Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God who shines in the darkness, receive these prayers and the prayers of our hearts, in the name of the one who is your light, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

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