Prayers for these days...            Shared by the Rev. Sanford K. H. Wright,

                                                                                 Pastor Emeritus, First Presbyterian Church, Alpena

Thursday, April 9--

   O God of endless love, as we follow the ways of Jesus, we regret that we cannot join today in the symbolic meal that he created.  Yet we ask you to bless us with new visions of how united we could be. As we sit at our private tables, enjoying our humble feasts, keep us aware that we live in a world where millions of people are denied the daily nourishment of bread and cup.  Encourage us to share more generously, remembering Christ's words, "Whatever you did for the humblest of my people, you did for me."  Amen.

Tuesday, April 7--

   Heavenly Father, help us to lay aside our own frustrations and fears today in order to thank you for the courageous people who are doing amazing things.  We are grateful for medical workers who are willing to expose themselves to dangers in order to care for strangers who are sick or even dying.  We thank you too for those who are not on the front line of the battle, but who still serve us in so many essential ways.  Keep them safe and remind us to tell them how much we appreciate their efforts.  Amen

Sunday, April 5 - PALM SUNDAY

   O God of all nations: today we begin our observance of Holy Week.  In truth , there wasn't much holy about it.  Rejection, shame, and suffering were its real theme.  Help us to change that in the days ahead.  Let us add our own Hosannas to those of all who really want Jesus to rule their lives.  Then keep us faithful when celebration turns to sorrow and joy gives way to grief.  Encourage us to show the world that Christ is our only King.  Amen.

Friday, April 3--

   O God our Refuge, as the days pass with the evil virus continuing to spread, we keep on appealing to you to help us conquer it.  We shudder whenever we hear the numbers of those who have been afflicted, especially the reports of those who have died.  Hear our prayers for them and their families as much as the appeals we make for ourselves.  Hold us fast and keep us safe until the storm is over.  Amen.

Wednesday, April 1--

   Some of our days are exciting, O Lord, and others are uneventful or even boring.  Help us to find signs of your love and goodness no matter what any day brings.  In our joys may we find opportunities to bless others.  In our sorrows may we see evidence of a promise of better times.  In all the in-between moments may we be alert to the challenges that can make us better people and resourceful and strong enough to follow through.  Amen.

Monday, March 30--

   O Lord, we never know what news we may receive on any given day or what circumstances may arise to alter our lives.  But the record of the ages is that those who try to follow you usually have a better chance than others of finding their way through the darkest valleys.  Help us to remember that whenever the paths we walk are especially rocky and steep.  Amen.

Saturday, March 28--

   O God, one of our hymns reminds us that you have been our help in past ages.  It also declares that you are our hope for years to come.  More important at the moment is its promise of sheltering care during stormy blasts.  We turn to you in this stressful time thanking you for what you have been, what you are now, and what you forever will be.  Amen.

Thursday, March 26--

   Most Holy One, You live far beyond the limits of our imaginations.  Sometimes we see clear evidence of your majesty and power.  On cloudless nights we stand in awe as we behold the countless stars and planets floating through the sky.  But during our moments of doubt and fear we know that we need a Heavenly friend much more than an infinite superhero.  We thank you that Jesus has showed us that personal and caring side of you.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 24--

    Oh God of sky and space, we ask you to watch over all the people who travel today.  Some of them are desperate to return home from distant places and are anxious about the journeys they must take.  Others will be compelled to run errands that they would prefer to avoid.  There will be those who will be moving about for unnecessary reasons, ignoring requests and orders to stay home.  Protect them all.  Protect them all:  the fearful and the foolish;  the wise and the witless.  Amen.

Sunday, March 22--

   Eternal Lord:  We greet you today from our homes on a Sunday morning.  We would much rather be together with friends for public worship, but we know that the risks in that are too great in these difficult times.  So we ask that you accept our private requests and prayers of thanksgiving.  Sustain us with a firm faith and the knowledge that you will continue to be with us in every situation we encounter.  We pray with the confidence that Jesus encouraged his friends to embrace.  Amen.

Wednesday, April 8--

   Everlasting God:  It hurts us to be confined to our home.  We miss the direct conversations and warm hugs that usually keep us going.  When we are locked inside , we have too much time to dwell upon our fears.  Turn our thoughts away from disasters that are unlikely to happen to us.  Build up our confidence.  Enable us to trust that you are doing everything possible through human effort to bring an end to this dreadful season.  Amen.

Monday, April 6--

   O Divine Healer, there are those who believe that you send hard times to test us but it is difficult for us to imagine that you have sent a worldwide illness in order to make us strong.  We know that bad things often happen to people who do not seem to deserve them.  Whenever such things occur, help us to remain firm in our faith.  Encourage us to find signs of your everlasting love beyond every tragedy that confronts us.  Amen.

Saturday, April 4--

   Be our vision, O Lord, not only during these days of darkness and fear, but for all time to come.  In moments like the ones that we are experiencing, we realize how little it matters to accumulate the riches that are so often valued above all else. We face the fact that the empty praises frequently sought and easily offered are of little account.  Continue to remind us that the only treasure that can enrich us is our faith in you.  Amen.

Thursday, April 2--

   O Lord, Our Shepherd, we trust you are continuing to watch over us all.  Today we ask for your special favors for everyone who has moved from this life into their Heavenly home.  We pray for their friends and family members who feel pain and separation.  Assure them that the sting of grief will soften as time passes.  Encourage them with joyful thoughts of the happy reunion you have promised us in your Eternal Kingdom.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 31--

   Eternal God, increase our understanding as we grapple with life's mystery.  Teach us that whatever we know about the universe is never as important as our faith that you truly exist and are ultimately in charge.  May every day be one in which we feel your presence and rejoice in your unconditional love.  Amen.

Sunday, March 29--

   Almighty God, you minister to us when we are hurting.  You correct us when we go astray.  You strengthen when we are weak and try to make us humble when our pride gets out of control.  In every situation we encounter, may we be quick to sense your presence and ready to accept your guidance.  Help us to share freely and joyously everything you give so that others also may be enriched by what you provide.  Amen.

Friday, March 27--

    Our Heavenly Father, some things repeat themselves through the ages.  Today we find ourselves praying like a king of ancient times during another national crisis.  We believe that whenever we are faced with any calamity, we can cry out and you will rescue us.  We do not know exactly how to protect ourselves just now, but we are looking to you for help.  Show us some certain signs of your care.  You are our only hope on this day or on any other.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 25--

    O Great Spirit, as we continue to confront the terrible virus that is creeping across the globe, we pray that you will be producing some good from it.  Impress upon us the truth that we cannot afford to build upon the ideas, creeds or convictions that separate us. Convince us that our spiritual health, our mental and physical well being all rest upon a foundation of unity.  Help us to create a world in which we are forever relying upon the features of our common humanity.   Amen.

Monday, March 23--

    We turn to you, our Creator, in a difficult moment of our lives.  We are trying not to panic in the face of a terrifying illness, yet our prayers today are not only for ourselves, our friends and our families.  We also ask that you will help us find and implement ways to meet the needs of those whose income, means and support are being threatened. Enable us to share freely so that they also will be able to enjoy the things and the relationships they need to sustain themselves.  We know that Jesus would expect no less of us.  Amen.

Saturday, March 21--

   Almighty God:  You have brought us through another night safely into the brightness of a new day.  We do not know what these hours will bring to us but help us to take each opportunity that they present.  Let our gratitude and faithfulness be evident in everything we do and say.  May we be aware of your presence wherever we are and grant us your peace.  Amen.