Image compliments of Vanderbilt Divinity Library
Living, loving Father,
We sing praise to Your name, and we lift up our songs to You, for You are both the one who is right here with us just as much as You are the one who rides upon the clouds.
You are the one who cares for those who find themselves all alone, becoming the Father of orphans, the protector of widows, and creating a home for those who have none.
Teach us to open ourselves to the power of Your Holy Spirit in our lives, so that we may join You in this amazing work of Your love all around our world, bringing Your life to those across the earth, to those here in our community, and to those with whom we live and share our lives every day.
Although we know of Your unfailing love toward us, many of us are praying today with much anxiety in our hearts. We pause now for a moment and entrust to You the weight of these things that have been burdens to us, knowing that You care for us, You are able to provide all that we need, and You are with us.
Lord, keep us alert and aware of the ways that our enemy is seeking to destroy us, and may whatever trials we face today serve to remind us of the suffering of so many around the world, many of whom are suffering precisely because of their love of You. May Your grace be abundant toward them, and may they be confident in knowing that Your own Son will restore, support, strengthen, and establish them.
Unite us with them as we pray, so that we may be devoted to one another as we each continue to find our life in You through this gift of prayer.
You have given us more gifts than we are aware of, above all, the gift of the opportunity to know You and Your Son, Jesus Christ, whom You sent to give us the life that never ends.
Just as He did, as long as we are in this world, we will know ourselves by Your name, as Your people, and we will seek to destroy all of the things that divide us and live with one another in peace, just as we have seen in His life among us.
Until He comes back to us in the same way that He went up to sit at Your right hand, we, as His students, will continue to earnestly pray the prayer that He taught us, saying,
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
A Prayer for Ascension Day is also appropriate for use this week. The readings for this week, on which this prayer is based, are:
- Acts 1:6-14: This is the seventh of eight consecutive weeks (from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday) when our reading that would normally come from the Old Testament comes instead from the Book of Acts. This passage, part of which was also in the reading for Ascension Day earlier this week, recounts the story of Jesus' last instructions to the disciples before being lifted up and taken out of their sight. The disciples then return to Jerusalem, and together with others, devote themselves to prayer.
- Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35: David praises God for his great power and faithfulness.
- 1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11: This is the final of six consecutive readings from 1 Peter, which heavily emphasizes the life we are to live in light of Jesus’ resurrection. In this passage, Peter continues to encourage his readers to endure the hardships and persecution they were facing, in light of Jesus' own persecution and the hope that they had in him.
- John 17:1-11: This is the final of four gospel readings from John during the Easter season. (Most of this year’s gospel readings come from Matthew.) It is also the final of three that come from John’s account of Jesus’ last night with his disciples, after washing their feet and prior to his arrest. This week's passage is the first part of Jesus' famous prayer which concludes his lengthy conversation with his friends on that night (John 14-17), in which he prays for unity among his disciples as they remain in the world while he prepares to leave it.
(Ecumenical version of The Lord’s Prayer from The United Methodist Hymnal)