SERVICE PRAYERS FOR THE 23RD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Unless the Lord builds the house,
its builders labor in vain. (Psalm 127)
have come into this house, built by the Lord, to worship the God of Creation.
the Lord watches over the city, those who watch stand guard in vain.
People: We have come to listen to the stories of people who throughout the
generations have shown us
the way by their trust in the promises of God, who is always watching over us.
Leader: The widow who gives her last coin and Naomi and Ruth who are lifelong companions for each other remind us of the risks we are free to take with confidence that God will take care of us through times of plenty and times of want, all along our journey through life.
ALL: So let us celebrate this gathering which can bind us together. Give thanks that we are no longer strangers with God’s people here or throughout the nations. Let us worship God!
PRAYER OF INVOCATION
All: Ever living God, instill in us, we pray, the trust and self-giving that your Word imparts to us. Teach us again during this time together that you are always with us. Remind us that all that we have is a gift from you and is meant to be shared. The Holy Spirit calls and empowers us to live beyond our own desires. So, send your Holy Spirit, we pray, that we might be overcome with its liberating courage and sustenance.
CALL TO CONFESSION
Christ has gone ahead to intercede for us.. Christ has entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. (Hebrews 9). Let us confess our sin knowing that Christ is there on our behalf. Let us reconcile ourselves to each other and to Christ.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
All: O God, hear our confession of our sins. We know that we are already rich, but refuse to see those in our midst who live on meager resources. In fact, we find it comes natural to ignore those who have the most to teach us. We don’t want to acknowledge that it is often those with the least who give the most. It embarrasses us each time we are reminded of the examples of Ruth and the poor widow. We are experts with prayers that make us feel important and we assume that special recognition is due to us. We expect special privileges. We speak of our belief that you will provide for all that we need-resources and partners on life’s journey. Yet, we still don’t give ourselves over to your promises. Even with our wealth, perhaps because of our wealth, we need help to live faithfully. Forgive us, we pray. Lead us to live boldly as witnesses to the strength we have in Christ Jesus.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
Take heart. God gives new life, even to those who hold back from giving fully of themselves or who think God had abandoned them. Let yourselves be restored to God and each other, knowing that God will provide without limit.
CALL TO OFFERING
God has made us stewards of the rich resources that were given in Creation and are given anew each day. On this day, we give our offerings and our pledges for the church’s mission and ministries throughout the year to come. Give, knowing that all that we have has come from God who will continue to provide. Pledge, knowing that there is much still to be done as witnesses to God’s goodness. Let us put our hearts into our offerings as signs of our trust and faithfulness.
PRAYER OF DEDICATION
We lift up these offerings as a sign of our gratitude for your love and care, O God. We pledge ourselves, time, talent, and treasure. We pray that we may follow in the spirit of the poor woman who gave her all without hesitation. We dedicate our lives to you and seek to grow in our faithfulness to your Word.
Go forth into the world. Be for one another as Ruth and Naomi were for each other. Go on the journey together, wherever it may lead you. Share the gifts of God with the people of God. Be gentle and bold, courageous and trusting. God will be with you, this day and always.