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Prayers
Prayers

Prayers (6)

Friday, 21 August 2009 11:07

UCA Mission Prayer Handbook

Written by

Published by the Uniting Church Assembly

God of Many Names
L God of a thousand names,
You come to us in many forms - manna to the hungry
R water to the parched
L embrace to the grieving
R rainbow to the despairing
L champion of the oppressed
R defender of the exploited
L friend to the lonely
R rescuer to the lost
L rest for the weary
R shock to the comfortable
L peace to the restless
R gift to the joyful
L mystery to the knowing
R revelation to the seeking
L manna, water, embrace, rainbow, champion, defender, friend, rescuer,
rest, shock, peace, gift, mystery, revelation...
In silence, let us reflect on what God's name is for
us at this moment...

(Silent reflection)

Let us give thanks to God.

ALL. God of many names. and still the one, true God,
You reveal Your name to us in our need,
yet remain beyond our control or understanding.
You are God. and we are Your people.
In trust and love. we commit ourselves to exploring and discovering
who You are and whose we are.

John and Norma Brown

Racism

But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream. Amos. 5: 24

"As the Indigenous people of this land, we fight for our rights such as: to be heard; to have access to our Sacred sites; to maintain and participate in our cultural ceremonies and to have our spirituality recognised; and for the survival of the many generations which are to follow. We the Aboriginals of Australia lift up our voices and cry: 'We have survived.'"
Racism thrives on dominance and control. It demeans the oppressor and destroys the oppressed. It goes against the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It renders the oppressor and the oppressed into a state of spiritual disability. Lilla Watson, an Australian Aborigine writes:

"If you have come to help me you are wasting your time.
But
If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine
then let us work together."

Working together commits us into taking risks for each other;
recognising the dignity of every human being;
accepting the interconnectedness of justice and righteousness for all peoples.
Prayer
God of Justice, give us ears to hear with You the cries of
Your children held captive by race and colour;
God of Justice, give us eyes to see with You beyond race
and colour to dignity and identity;
God of Love, give us hearts to love with You beyond the
structures and systems we have created to keep Your
children in bondage;
God of Love, give us courage to seek reconciliation and to
be mediators for peace and freedom for all. Amen

Ranjani Rabera

"When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." (John 20: 19)

In the Moving

Prayer
It is a fearful thing to move, O gracious God.
The ones who wait for us may not be kind.
We may never know what to say and what we do may be misunderstood.
Our faith may fail and justice may keep traveling into the distance before we reach it.
Be present in our moving, O God of the human and the small ones,
flow through our life in freedom, fill our hearts with Your courage
and breathe into our souls Your wisdom and love. Amen

Dorothy McRae McMahon


Mysterious, stranger God
Never confined by culture, colour, class or creed,
Meeting us anew in the mystery of the stranger,
Becoming in Jesus both refugee and migrant.
Thank you for newcomers,
Settling bravely in Australia's remoteness,
Forsaking familiar, families and friends,
For stranger's insecurity in a strange land.
Stranger God of the stranger,
Ever welcoming excluded outsiders
Celebrating life's richness in difference and diversity,
May your Spirit still stir this cultural mix, Australia,
That we may continue to embrace the gift of new migrants,
Including their skills, valuing their difference.
And in them, meeting You.

Frontier Services

"How good and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in unity.
It is like precious oil poured on the head...
It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
Even life for evermore."
(Psalm 133, NIV)

Prayer
My dear Lord,
We are amazed by the way of Your creation.
You created us all different but in Your own image,
And You said, "It is good!" with full satisfaction.
When we were rebellious against Your throne,
You scattered us in different languages.
Now we can see that You are gathering us back.
People are moving into safe places to live,
forming multicultural communities together.
Lord, we look up to You, searching for Your work.
What does this change mean, Lord?
What is Your will to fulfil through this huge change in our time?
Show us Your ways, O Lord.
Guide us in Your truth.
Teach us how to live all together in harmony and in unity.
We are all different,
But together, we want to please You and glorify You,
as Your precious and holy people.
Amen.

Seongja Yoo-Crowe

 

Friday, 21 August 2009 11:05

Prayer Service: In Praise of Hands

Written by

Introduction
Our hands are an important part of who we are. We use the symbol hands to focus the work we do: our pain, our passion and our promise. With its focus on hands, this prayer service focuses on our hands introduces an image of God that may not be familiar to young people.

Set-Up
Materials
A copy of the closing prayer for all the participants (provided)

Worship space
This prayer could be done indoors or outdoors. Be sure that the room is well lighted so people can see their hands.

Ministers Needed
• Leader
• Reader

Order of Service
Call to Worship
LEADER: Our hands are an important part of who we are. We use the symbol hands to focus the work we do: our pain, our passion and our promise.

Let us reflect for a moment on these questions as we begin our prayer. Who have my hands touched today? For what have my hands reached out? With what have they been filled?

Reading
The New Woman
Kurinji Nathan of Sri Lanka

The hands which gently tend the leaves(1)
Will now help to banish gloom;
They'll work hard to put down evil,
And to raise up for all, new life.

The hands which gently tend the leaves
Will help nourish all that is good;
They'll work hard to weed out poverty,
And bring new culture and art.

The hands which gently tend the leave
Will show new ways for humankind;
They'll work hard to build those structures
In which truth and right will be found.

(1) Refers to the tea leaves on the bushes in the tea plantations of Sri Lanka, which are tended and plucked by Tamil women workers.

A Hand Blessing
LEADER: Look at your hands. Notice their power and gentleness. Let us bless these hands together. I invite you to repeat each phrase after me.

Blessed be the works of your hands, O Holy One.
Blessed be these hands that have touched life....
Blessed be these hands that have been creative....
Blessed be these hands that have felt pain and tiredness....
Blessed be these hands that have embraced others....
Blessed be these hands that have closed in anger....
Blessed be these hands that have planted new seeds....
Blessed be these hands that have cleaned, washed, mopped, scrubbed....
Blessed be these hands that have thrown a football....
Blessed be these hands that have written homework assignments....
Blessed be these hands that have carried books home from school....
Blessed be these hands that have reached out....
Blessed be these hands that hold the promise of the future....
Blessed be the works of your hands, O Holy One....

Closing Prayer
Distribute copies of the Closing Prayer, "BakerWoman God" on the next page. Invite all to join in prayer. Another prayer may be used if it is more suitable.

BakerWoman God

Bakerwoman God, I am your living Bread.
Strong, brown, Bakerwoman God.
I am your low, soft, and being-shaped loaf.
I am your rising bread, well-kneaded by some divine and knotty pair of knuckles,
by your warm earth-hands.
I am bread well-kneaded.

Put me in fire, Bakerwoman God,
put me in your own bright fire.

I am warm, warm as you from fire.
I am white and gold, soft and hard, brown and round.
I am so warm from fire.

Break me, Bakerwoman God!
I am broken under your caring Word.
Bakerwoman God remake me.

 

Copyright - Center for Ministry Development, PO Box 699, Naugatuck CT 06770, USA, 203-723-1622;
www.cmdnet.org
Used with permission, all rights reserved

 

Friday, 21 August 2009 11:03

Prayer Service: Bless Our Lives

Written by

Set-Up

Materials
• A central table decorated with cloth, candle, and the Scriptures. The candle is unlit until the blessing prayer. If possible, the cloth should be from a country from Africa, Asia, or the Americas. Also on the table, place the following:
• A bowl of earth and some seeds
• A pitcher of water
• A loaf of bread (or a roll, depending on the size of the group)

Ministers needed
• Leader
• Two or more readers (the additional readers can be used for the blessing and litany, if desired.)

Order of Service
Opening Song
If desired, an opening song may be sung or played. The song should reflect the theme of justice, peace, and/or blessing. One song that would greatly contribute to the theme of the prayer is "Against the Grain" by Donna Peña found on her own album, Against the Grain or on Marty Haugen's Tales of Wonder (both from G.I.A.)

Opening Prayer
LEADER: God of peace and justice,
we thank you for calling us together to participate
in your work of liberation and re-creation.
Support us, inspire us, and strengthen us
to continue to prepare for the coming of your Reign.
We make our prayer through Christ the Lord.

Reading
Five centuries of the Gospel's presence on [the American] continent have still not produced a fair distribution of the goods of the earth. And this is all the more painful when we think of the poorest of the poor: the indigenous groups, and together with them many campesinos, offended in their dignity by being excluded from the exercise of even their most fundamental rights, which also are a part of the goods destined for all. The situation of these brothers and sisters of ours cries out for justice from the Lord (Pope John Paul II, Lent 1992)

Scripture Reading
Isaiah 65:17-25 and/or Matthew 5:13-16

Prayer of Blessing
All may stand in a circle or semi-circle around the prayer table.
The first reader lights the candle and prays:
READER: Blessed are you, God, Flame of hope: may we be fuel and kindling for your fire.
ALL: Blessed be God forever.
The second reader lifts up the bowl of earth, then lowers it and plants several seeds in the dirt. He/She then prays:
READER: Blessed are you, God, Seed of justice: may we be fertile ground for your harvest.
ALL: Blessed be God forever.
The third reader lifts up the pitcher of water and then pours water onto the bowl of earth planted with the seeds. He/She then prays:
READER: Blessed are you, God, Water in the wilderness: may we be streams in your river of peace.
ALL: Blessed be God forever.
The fourth reader lifts up the loaf of bread and prays:
READER: Blessed are you, God, Bread of life: may we nourish our sisters and brothers.
ALL: Blessed be God forever.
The bread may then be passed so all may take a piece and eat.
Litany of Blessing and Intercession
There may be one or several leaders/readers for the intercessions. Inform the participants of the response, "Bless Us, God of Justice" before beginning.
READER: Bless us, O Holy One of Blessing, that we may bless you in our lives of justice and peace.
ALL: Bless us, God of justice.
READER: Bless all who mourn for their sisters and brothers who die from starvation or through war or injustice.
ALL: Bless us, God of justice.
READER: Bless all who experience your mercy through the work and witness of women and men who unloose the bonds of oppression.
ALL: Bless us, God of justice.
READER: Bless all who hunger and thirst for righteousness in solidarity with those who put their lives on the line for justice in their homelands.
ALL: Bless us, God of justice.
READER: Bless all who seek your face in the laughter of children, the wisdom of elders, the mystery of creation, and in the solace of prayer.
ALL: Bless us, God of justice.
READER: Bless all who work as your peacemakers to resolve conflicts, in our homes, communities and world.
ALL: Bless us, God of justice.
Concluding Prayer
LEADER: God of all peoples,
bless us in our work as members and supporters of development and peace.
Bless us through the challenges, struggles and joys we experience.
Bless us when we falter and when we grow weary.
Bless us with your peace.
We make this prayer through Christ the Lord.

Exchange of Peace
Invite all to exchange a sign of peace. An added option: As they greet another person, ask the participants to share with that person where or with whom they would like to share peace: a group of people, a country divided by war, places where violence or poverty is extreme, etc.

Closing Song
A good closing song that would greatly contribute to the theme of the prayer and balance the suggestion in the opening song is "Walk in the Reign" by Rory Cooney found on his album, Safety Harbor (from G.I.A.).

 

Copyright - Center for Ministry Development, PO Box 699, Naugatuck CT 06770, USA, 203-723-1622;
www.cmdnet.org
Used with permission, all rights reserved

 

Friday, 21 August 2009 11:00

Prayer Service: Runaway Train

Written by

A Prayer for the Lost and Broken (Scripture-Song Worship Experience)

Introduction
This prayer is a basic celebration of the Word, ideal for a short opening or closing prayer. It can be expanded by adding optional songs, additional readings, etc. The proclamation of a "Scripture-Song" reading is accomplished by mixing verses of the reading with portions of the song in a dialogue fashion. When practiced beforehand (especially if the proclaimer wishes to memorize the Scripture passage) and proclaimed clearly, in dialogue with the song, the experience can be a creative, inspiring, and involving encounter with the Scriptures in our own time.

In the "Scripture-Song" which follows, portions of the reading will be proclaimed during an instrumental bridge or other portion of the song. It will be necessary to pause the song once, using the tape-or CD player's "pause" button. No alterations to a recording of the song are necessary. Simply practice the reading/timing beforehand for an effective proclamation.

Set-Up
Materials
• A copy of the song "Runaway Train" from the Soul Asylum album, Grave Dancers Union.
• If desired, a table set up with the Scriptures, a candle, and plants.
Ministers Needed
• The prayer can be led by a single presider or by a presider and a reader who proclaims the scripture-song.

Order of Service
Opening Prayer
LEADER: God of healing, God of forgiveness,
Many of Your people are lost or hurting.
And sometimes, we, too find ourselves on that train
of despair or pain.
We gather at this time to pray for those who most need Your love.
Remind us once again of the healing, reconciling mission of Your Son.
Let us accept the comfort He brings when we are the broken ones,
And let us accept the challenge to be healers and guiding lights for those who walk the tracks of hopelessness or hurt.
We make this prayer through Christ our Lord.

Gospel Reading (with interacting song)
Matthew 9:9-13 with "Runaway Train"

To proclaim the gospel with the song, have the tape cued to the beginning of the song. (It's a good idea to start with both the "Pause" and the "Play" buttons depressed).

Begin the reading (with the tape still on "Pause"), proclaiming verses 9-10. At the beginning of verse 10, lift the "Pause" button, allowing the music to come up while you finish the verse:

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him. (Start song) While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.

Allow the song to play through:

Verse One -- "Call you up in the middle of the night..."
Refrain -- "Runaway Train, never going back..."
Verse Two -- "Can you help me remember how to smile..."
Refrain -- "Runaway Train, never going back..."

At the end of the second refrain, there is an instrumental bridge. Over the instrumental bridge, read verses 11-13 of the gospel:

The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" He heard this and said, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
(If timed correctly) the reading will end just as the instrumental bridge ends and Verse Three begins ("Bought a ticket for a runaway train..."). Let the song play out.

After the final refrain, you may want to repeat verse 13 of the gospel for additional emphasis:

Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Reflection
It may be appropriate to share a brief reflection on the gospel, the song, and the theme of "those who are lost and broken." Include the following thoughts in your own words:
(Ask rhetorically) How many of us know people who are on "runaway trains?" How many of us are on one themselves? The simple reminder of the gospel (whether we are the ones ministering to someone feeling lost and broken or we are the lost and broken in need of ministry) is that our God is a God who cares about people on runaway trains. In fact, in the person of Jesus, God makes a point to search out the sick and hurting. Jesus was known for the company he kept and often he was the "blowtorch burning" for "fireflies without lights." And if that scandalized the prim, the proper, or the self-righteous, he would remind them that to such belonged his mission ("those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do"). So, if we know people who've bought tickets on those trains, let us remember the special place they have with Jesus. And if we are the ones on that train, there is only one conductor qualified to lead us off, one physician who can heal our every ill.

Option: Prayers/Response
If desired, other prayers, responses, or symbolic acts can be added to the prayer to create a more lengthy service. One short, but concrete way to respond in prayer to this gospel is to invite the participants to call to mind the names of people they know who are on "runaway trains." These names can be recalled in the silence of memory or simply spoken aloud (first names only). Invite the entire group to lift their hearts in a special prayer for those individuals and all the unnamed riders of the runaway trains of our world.

Concluding Prayer
The leader may conclude the prayer in these or similar words:

LEADER: Loving God,
We come to You -- not with sacrifice, but in praise of mercy.
We ask for your mercy and healing on all those who are lost and broken, riding the rails of a runaway train of despair or sin.
Send forth the Spirit of Your Son to be the healer and light to their pain and darkness.
And send us forth, as merciful disciples of Your Son, to continue His mission.
Don't let us settle for "saving the saved," but remind us to cross the tracks, as Jesus did, to bring light and peace to those who most need it.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen

Copyright - Center for Ministry Development, PO Box 699, Naugatuck CT 06770, USA, 203-723-1622;
www.cmdnet.org
Used with permission, all rights reserved

 

Friday, 21 August 2009 11:00

Litany

Written by

LEADER: I was hungry and you gave me food…
ALL: Let us act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God.
LEADER: I was thirsty and you gave me drink…
ALL: Let us act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God.
LEADER: I was a stranger and you welcomed me…
ALL: Let us act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God.
LEADER: I was naked and you clothed me…
ALL: Let us act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God.
LEADER: I was ill and you comforted me…
ALL: Let us act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God.
ALL: God, true light and source of all light, may we recognise you in…
LEADER: oppressed people,
ALL: poor people,
LEADER: homeless people,
ALL: hungry people,
ALL: May we be open to your Spirit that we may be a means of healing, strength and peace for all your people. We ask this through Jesus, your son and our brother! Amen.

Friday, 21 August 2009 10:53

We Pray for Peace

Written by

doveNameless God of all people,
We pray for peace.
We acknowledge our anger, and yours.
We pray that our common humanity and love might prevail in the face of the horror of the extended conflict in the Middle East.
In our helplessness and our fear, God, guide our actions towards a peaceful and just resolution.
Amen.