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On Sunday I will be preaching at the congregation where I am worshiping and work with adults with dementia.  I will be talking about the welcome they have given me, and the signs of the kingdom that I see active among them, and then I will lead them in a prayer for the congregations and the various ministries that are offered to God in the congregation.  It seems to me, however, that this prayer is one that needs to be prayed for every congregation.

So please join me in praying for the health and vitality of congregations and the ministry that happens within them.

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Let us join our hearts and voices to offer our prayers to God.:

Most holy God, from time eternal you have called us your people and directed us in your paths.  You have provided for us from the bounty of your earth.  You have provided salvation through Christ who died for our sins.  You have loved us, forgiven us and called us into your church. You have directed our hearts with the infilling of your Spirit and sent us forth to bring the good news to all people.  All that we have is yours.  All that we do is given to you with all the love and gratitude of our hearts.  You are truly great, and truly to be praised.

Today we praise you that you have called us into the Congregation of [name of your congregation].  Here we have been blessed by your love, challenged by your Word and called into your service.  Through the worship and labour of this congregation you have given our lives meaning and purpose and we praise you for the joy that we know in you and in one another.  May your blessing continue to flow in and among us.

We pray for the ministries of this congregation and all those who support those ministries with prayer, financial assistance and loving service, in order that your blessing may indeed abound.

We pray for ourselves as a congregation of your people, vowing to grow in faith, in truth, and in grace as we work together in patient service to one another and to the community outside our doors.

We vow to most sincerely acknowledge you, the only true God,  to trust you alone, look to you for every good thing, to humbly and patiently love you, fear you, and honor you with all our hearts.

The things good Lord that we pray for,
Give us the grace to labour for

We vow to regularly attend the assembly of your people and to learn what your Word teaches, to pray to you and for your church publicly, and to bring Christian offerings for the poor.

The things good Lord that we pray for,
Give us the grace to labour for

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We vow to love our neighbors as ourselves, to be patient, peace-loving, gentle, merciful, and friendly to them, to protect them from harm as much as we can, and to do good even to our enemies.

The things good Lord that we pray for,
Give us the grace to labour for

We vow to love the truth, speak it candidly, and openly acknowledge it. And we vow to live the way of love for you O God and for our neighbor.  We vow to serve all the least of your people with all our heart and to take pleasure in doing whatever is right.

The things good Lord that we pray for,
Give us the grace to labour for

We ask especially that you will maintain and prosper the ministries of your people in this place.

We ask all these things in the strong name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, who has called us to faith and who sends us forth in ministry. Amen

May your congregation be blessed and may it be a place of blessing.

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