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Prayers of the People

Offered by Rev. Matt Nickel in 11:00am Worship Service on January 17.

Invited, you gathered for a wedding, in a small village, off the map.

Celebrating with the festivals and friends,

we are reminded that you became human; one of us.

And you created this sign with the simplest of elements: water.

We need it to drink, we need it to live.

It gathers in lakes; it flows through rivers.

So simple, yet so mysterious and complex.

With water you recieve us into your dying and rising in baptism.

With water you reveal your sign in the world.

At a glance, it looks like a simple raise of the glass to the wedding party

—but these waters we know are so much more than a good gesture:

These jars of water show signs that you long for equality in a world so thirsty for it.

The wine of abundance you made for all the people, not just the privileged.

It is liberating, humanizing, as you transform your people with grace and possibility.


When we need your signs more than ever, O Lord.

We’ve lived through a bad year for loving our neighbor.

And a new set of political elections are challenge us to love you,

when so many political idols seek to disturb us.

O God we need you in our time in the same way we need water.

And we need your promised glory like the transformations Jesus can author.


The witness of Martin Luther King Jr. exposed to the world

that none of us can walk alone and that we do not walk alone.

So we ask that you O Christ would walk with us, for we know you are alive by the Spirit.

May the world follow in the direction of your eternal promises made flesh,

your divine hope for reconciliation made earthly, for here, for now, for we cannot wait.

We know you do not hold back your abundance, or hesitate

that you are never reluctant with grace poured out upon grace.

So guide us by another way that we may do the same.


May your peace disrupt the systems of violence and inequality still at work.

May your grace break through barriers of ignorance and naiveté regarding racism.

May your hope inspire all to discover their responsibility to build wholeness.

May your love form deep roots that nourish your ways endlessly in our lives,

And in the life of the world.


And when we think we may have had enough,

When we are not sure where to turn,

When we do not know if we can keep going,

Call us again to worship fo here we turn to you with thanks and praise,

always seeking strength through the prayer you gave the people to pray saying…

Our Father…

Prayers of the People

This prayer was offered by Rev. Matthew Nickel in worship on Sunday, June 21, 2015 for the Prayers of the People.


Our lives and the life of the world O God, are constantly in transition.

Change is weekly, if not daily,

like the tides rising and falling, like the seasons always turning.

In all the shifting transitions,

we are knit together a one community in you, Lord, by your Spirit.

Gather us, God, by the grace of our savior, Jesus Christ,

to be one with you and with each other.


We give thanks for the new life that forms among us.

For the gift of babies born into families of our community.

Particularly, we celebrate Julia and Sam and thank you for their family’s health.

Bless them as we anticipate meeting them.

Bless all families who are in transition,

whether with exciting births and in saying goodbye.

When we send beloved friends with blessing to new adventures,

send them O God with a reminder that a beloved community

will always welcome them in and that such a community receives them in transition.


On this day our nation celebrates fathers.

There are Fathers who have seen us from birth to life to independence,

And we celebrate their commitment walk with us through our lives.

There are Fathers who chose us, not by birth, but by willingness to raise us,

Regardless of where we came from, or what we’ve been through,

You called them to be a father.

There are men in the world who have acted with a father’s love,

Even without being a Father. Bless their gifts of grace and possibility,

We give to you O Christ, our gift of thanks, for raising abundant life among Fathers.


We prayer for reconciliation where there is violence,

healing where hatred and contempt are cultivated.

We also pray once again for the life of our nation and community

as we transition to an awareness of pain and racism

that has long dwelled among us and within us.


Our hearts wail and groan this week

for Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal in Charleston, SC

For the people of that church and that city.

For the family and friends of

Clementia, Sharonda, Cynthia, Tywanza, Ethel, Suzie, Depayne, Daniel and Myra.

When we lose our words facing such tragedy, let silence speak.




Awaken the community in Charleston,

and awaken all of us to the healing power your reconciliation.

Do not let the sun set on our anger and frustration with racism.

Guide us O God to be people who live to reflect your grace among all people,

to let our hands and our voices to do justice

for living a good life is simply not enough

when strong witness to resurrection is required.

When walking humble is called for every day,

when people remain captured within the prison of brokenness.

Heal and awaken your people to be faithful disciples of that most powerful love,

to be neighbors bound by love

to be the people of hospitality that you created and have called us to be,

And may we gather our voices as one, as the children of God who pray

the prayer you gave us to pray saying…

Prayers of the People

This prayer was offered by Rev. Matthew Nickel in worship on Sunday June 14, 2015 during the Prayers of the People.


The gospel writer tells us that you, O God,

are like one who scatters seed on the ground,

anticipating growth

so that mature plants could live your grace in the world.


We pray that in our worship and our lives,

and among the lives of all people in the world,

that your grace would be scattered among us like seeds,

that we might reach out like long branches,

where possibilities would grow strong and faithful.


Would you scatter a grace that surpasses all understanding,

in a world so vulnerable.

We seek the peace and hope of Christ alive.


We hope that we and the world would raise children of all nations,

to be good citizens, to enjoy learning and faith,

who learn to love well.

Scatter your grace among those who nurture the children.


We ache with human bodies that feel the weight of fragilility.

You designed us beautifully and resilient and yet as we age,

health can do things the body does not intend and we struggle.

Scatter healing that goes beyond the physical needs,

Among those seeking resilience.


So too, we feel hopeless in the face of the world’s refugee crisis.

As the Somali-British Poet Warsan Shire writes,

“No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.”*

We pray for the 50 million plus displaced peoples of our global community,

these from too many nations to count.

We pray for seeds of courage and an end to the fear.

We pray for seeds of radical hospitality and places of safety to receive refugees.

We pray for an end to such violence, so home can remain home for all people.


When we only have stunned silence. When have no words.

When we do not have a place to turn.

You gave us a prayer that unites us. A prayer to say when we mourn,

when we celebrate, when we gather in solidarity.

So when we gather, we turn to you with the prayer Christ gave us to pray saying,

Our Father…


* This quote come from the New York Times editorial Lost Voices of the World’s Refugees. Highland Presbyterian Church seeks to be a neighbor to the refugee community in Louisville through Kentucky Refugee Ministries, whose offices reside on the church campus.