"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble..." -- Psalm 46
I am lifting up all of you as Hurricane Ian passes, that you be safe from wind and water, that you experience a minimum of disturbance and damage, that you know God's presence and feel God's protection. I am praying for our food pantry clients and our entire community, that all may stay safe and have plenty of provisions to see them through the aftermath of Ian's effects. I am praying especially for those on the coast and those in the direct path of the storm, that they have found somewhere protected from storm surge and powerful winds. May we all be sheltered in God's mighty hands.
Here are our Prayer Ventures prayer concerns for the month of October...
1 International Day of Older Persons Give thanks for our older neighbors and siblings in Christ! Ask God to help us value, engage and nurture the skills, wisdom, faith and spiritual gifts of older adults and to respond to their diverse needs, circumstances and stages of life.
2 Praise God for the work of the Spirit that equips us for lives of faith and service, gathers us in communities of faith and enables us — individually and together — to engage in vital ministries for the sake of the world.
3 Pray that we will respond generously to the immediate and long-term needs of people and communities impacted by flooding and wildfires, and that we will bear hope, encouragement and care to those grieving the loss of loved ones and neighbors and rebuilding their own lives.
4 Feast of Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) Pray that we will greet each day with a sense of awe, gratitude and respect for creation, for the organisms and creatures that inhabit the earth and for humanity in all its diversity and complexity — the handiwork of God. Ask the Spirit to inspire us to live with greater simplicity and to manage wisely all that God has entrusted to our care, use and enjoyment.
5 We are living in times of economic uncertainty, a continuing pandemic, unresolved racism, political turmoil and human suffering. Pray for God to renew our spirit, calm our anxiety, strengthen our resiliency, draw our attention to the needs of our neighbor and help us make healthy choices.
6 “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you” (2 Timothy 1:5). Praise God for mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and others who invite us to believe in the life-giving love we have in Jesus Christ and who help us become fearless, faithful and compassionate disciples of Christ.
7 Thank God for our special relationship with the Reformed Church in America, a full communion partner with the ELCA since 1997. Pray for the church, its members and its leaders, that together we will find strength and resources for the work of sharing the gospel and serving our neighbor, especially in these challenging times.
8 Pray that the wisdom and knowledge of physicians, health care workers and medical researchers will continue to grow and be applied for the health and well-being of all people, especially those who suffer illnesses and conditions lacking effective treatments or cures.
9 Praise God for the example of Jesus pausing on his way to Jerusalem to heal the 10 lepers, which encourages our faith in the power of God to heal and renew and calls our attention to the needs of people around us.
10 Pray for rostered ministers and lay leaders who serve congregations in part-time or multiple-ministry contexts, that through their faith, energy and creativity those congregations might discover and use the assets they have, responding to God’s call to serve their community, share the gospel and give witness to God’s love and mercy.
11 Give thanks and pray for the ELCA Justice for Woman program and for the unique voices and experiences of women and girls — across race, ethnicity, ability, class, sexuality, gender identity and age — who raise awareness of and advocate for gender justice.
12 The ELCA Fund for Leaders helps provide scholarships for seminary students responding to God’s call to follow Christ as congregational leaders, campus ministers, missionaries, mission developers and more. Give thanks for the fund’s 25 years of helping seminary students continue their journey to ministry debt-free and for the generosity of ELCA members committed to encouraging and preparing new leaders.
13 Pray that we will live and serve with confidence in God’s promises, listen to and respect one another, and reflect the love and ways of God in all that we do and say as people of faith and disciples of Christ.
14 Remember in prayer young adults who are working, serving in the military or engaged in nontraditional education opportunities, that they might know that God has purpose for them and that their gifts, knowledge, interests, life experiences and work are valued by the church, their communities and the world.
15 “Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart” (Psalm 111:1). Give thanks for God’s trustworthy grace, activity in the world and daily blessings that renew and sustain us.
16 Rejoice in the promise that God hears the cries of those who suffer injustice, inequality and persecution; pray for the Spirit to help us persist in our prayers for our neighbors in need and our endeavors to make our church, society, institutions and laws just, equitable, inclusive and compassionate.
17 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty Supplying immediate relief for those who suffer poverty and hunger is critical, and the work we do together to address the underlying causes and eliminate poverty is essential. Pray that the Spirit will grant us wisdom, resolve and faith, that our efforts to end poverty will bear abundant fruit for the well-being of our neighbors in need.
18 Give thanks for this year’s Churchwide Assembly and pray that we will continue to create opportunities for mutual encouragement, prayerful discussion of difficult issues, Spirit-led decision making and recommitment to the work we do together to share the gospel, serve our neighbor and bear light and hope into the world.
19 “From where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2). Pray that our faith in God’s love and care will be resilient and that we will be aware of people near us whom God works through to assist and accompany us in times of need and distress.
20 Pray for abundant autumn harvests and for agricultural workers, farmers, ranchers and those who serve in distribution chains around the world as they strive to feed themselves and nourish people everywhere.
21 Remember in prayer the people affected by catastrophic flooding in Pakistan over the past months — about 33 million people, including millions who have been displaced from their homes and communities.
22 Give thanks for Lutheran Services in America, an alliance that includes the ELCA and 300 health and human service organizations and serves the diverse needs of more than 6 million people each year in the United States and the Caribbean.
23 Ask the Spirit to ground our faith and service in humility so that we regard others as equal in humanity, children of God receiving the same grace, mercy and promise of eternal life in Jesus Christ that we have.
24 Give thanks for the ELCA Youth Ministry program, ELCA Youth Gathering and ELCA Youth Ministry Network, and for leaders of children, youth and family ministries. Pray that their work supporting and equipping leaders and developing faith formation programs and initiatives will thrive.
25 “Happy are those whose strength is in you” (Psalm 84:5). Give thanks that we find true strength and comfort through faith in God, who enables us to endure every difficulty and crisis in life, no matter how complex or consuming.
26 Ask God to strengthen our relationships with theLutheran World Federation, National Council of Churches of Christ and World Council of Churches for the work we do together to share the good news of Jesus Christ, grow the church, share resources for ministry and leadership development, and promote ecumenical and interreligious understanding.
27 Pray that the Spirit will stir our determinationto challenge ideologies that set us against one another through fear, hatred, untruths and mistrust. Ask God to help us hold to what is true, exercise love and mercy, seek justice and equity, care for one another and strive for unity.
28 Give thanks for school counselors, social workers and psychologists who care for students and their diverse needs. Pray that all children and youth will have access to affordable, effective and supportive mental health services.
29 Pray that our generosity will be driven by our desire to honor God, share the blessings and resources we have received, ease the burdens and suffering of neighbors in need, help others become self-sufficient, and strengthen communities.
30 Reformation Sunday We receive God’s grace — undeserved love and forgiveness — through the gift of faith in the risen Christ, who restores our relationship with God. Give thanks for Martin Luther, for theologians and for siblings in Christ who inspire us to study Scripture, embrace God’s gift of grace and salvation, deepen our faith and love for God, connect our faith with daily life and spread the good news of Jesus Christ.
31 Zacchaeus’ life changed forever when he came down from a tree and met Jesus face to face. Pray that our lives will be transformed and filled with joy because of our encounter with Jesus, who reveals God’s gracious love for humanity.