PRAYING THROUGH STORMS

Opening Prayer

Eternal God, we are too easily overcome by the seas that surge around us.  They are dark and deep and mysterious, suddenly raging and overwhelming us; we cannot protect ourselves.  But, in Christ, our storms are calmed, our Red Seas parted, our dangerous waters stilled.  You tread upon all that frightens us.  Let us hear again your words, “It’s all right; I am here!  Do not be afraid!”—words echoing not only in our quivering, faithless hearts, but throughout the world.  Amen.

TEXT

Psalm 77:16-20

When the Red Sea saw you, O God,

its waters looked and trembled!

The sea quaked to its very depths.

The clouds poured down their rain;

the thunder rolled and crackled in the sky.

Your arrows of lightning flashed.

Your thunder roared from the whirlwind;

the lightning lit up the world!

The earth trembled and shook.

Your road led through the sea,

your pathway through the mighty waters—

a pathway no one knew was there!

You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep,

with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.

NLT

Matthew 14:22-36

Immediately after this, Jesus made his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake while he sent the people home.  Afterward he went up into the hills by himself to pray.  Night fell while he was there alone.  Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.

About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came to them, walking on the water.  When the disciples saw him, they screamed in terror, thinking he was a ghost.  But Jesus spoke to them at once.  “It’s all right,” he said.  “I am here!  Don’t be afraid.”

Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you by walking on water.”

“All right, come,” Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.  But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink.  “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

Instantly Jesus reached out his hand and grabbed him.  “You don’t have much faith,” Jesus said.  “Why did you doubt me?”  And when they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.

Then the disciples worshiped him.  “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.

After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret.  The news of their arrival spread quickly throughout the whole surrounding area, and soon people were bringing all their sick to be healed.  The sick begged him to let them touch even the fringe of his robe, and all who touched it were healed.

NLT

Prayer of Confession

Why do we doubt you, Lord Jesus?  Why do have so little faith?  We can only cry with Peter, “Save us, Lord!”  We can only draw near, like the sick, begging you to let us touch even the fringe of your robe.  Lord, have mercy on us.  Christ, have mercy on us.  Lord, have mercy on us.

Prayers of Intercession

We cannot hear this story without remembering how mighty you are.  We cannot hear this story without recalling your deeds of power, your swift mercy, your gentle rebukes calling us higher.  Because you are such a God, because you are such a Savior, we turn to you now and beseech your help throughout this world.

We intercede, Lord God, for those we know who are threatened by the storms of life…

(Name your requests before God, concluding with:)

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We intercede, Lord God, for those we know who have stepped out in faith but now find themselves sinking and crying out to you…

(Name your requests before God, concluding with:)

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We intercede, Lord God, for all your Church—all its leaders, its members, and its mission.  Renew us in faith, draw near to us in our distress, tread upon the waters that assail us.  Guide us safely through the storms, that we might land and bring blessing to all who need you…,

(Name your requests before God, concluding with:)

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We intercede, Lord God, for all the nations of this world.  Let those not yet knowing your voice learn to cry, “Save us, Lord!”  Let those drowning in distress hear your words, “It’s all right; I am here.  Do not be afraid!”  Let those dying in poverty and disease find you are ever-present to heal.

(Name your requests before God, concluding with:)

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done, on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours

now and for ever.  Amen.

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