Prayers to the Living God

Responsive prayers by Margaret D. McGee, for use on a Sunday shortly before the Presidential Inauguration.

Living God, Friend of the Heart, Spirit of Life, we stand together in your presence.

Your hand is laid upon each one of us. 

Our ears tingle with words of truth and justice.

May we let none of your words fall to the ground.

We pray for this nation.

For [name], our President, and for [name], our President-elect. For Congress, for judges and courts. For all elected and appointed officials, both in our nation’s Capitol and here at home.

      [Pause for individual prayers.]

We pray for all those touched by war in the world: for soldiers and civilians, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, daughters and sons.

In the darkest hour, we pray with hope. In a world torn by war, we pray for peace.

      [Pause for individual prayers.]

We pray for anyone who is sick, suffering, alone, or afraid.

For every hurting heart.

      [Pause for individual prayers.]

We pray for those who have died.

And for all who mourn.

      [Pause for individual prayers.]

We pray for the Church and her ministers.

For all faithful people, and for everyone who carries your good news into the world. 

      [Pause for individual prayers.]

In our sitting down and rising up, in our journeys and our resting places, we walk with you always by our side, and we find you waiting for us when we arrive.

Holy, Holy, Holy, we stand together in your presence.  Amen.

These prayers were first used on January 18, 2009 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Port Townsend, Washington—two days before the inauguration of Barack Obama as the new President of the United States.

When we pray for the President in our Sunday prayers, the text is commonly structured so that the given name is pronounced by the leader, not the people. In this case, I structured the prayers so that the congregation says the names of both the out-going and in-coming Presidents. If the President has been re-elected, the phrase referring to the President-elect can be deleted.

These prayers take language and inspiration from the scripture readings for the second Sunday after the Epiphany, which you can find on The Lectionary Page.

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