Tag Archives: prayer

Prayer of Welcoming


Prayer following the sermon, What’s Your Story: Forgiveness (2 April 2017)

Father God, Jesus told us about a Father who welcomed his prodigal son back home.
He wouldn’t listen to his son’s confession.
He didn’t lecture him on the need to turn his life around.
He wrapped him in his arms and received him with love and anticipation.

Thank you, Lord, for welcoming us like that.
Thank you for creating space for us to grow.
Thank you for welcoming us, unfinished and unpolished, into your family.
Thank you for the work still to be done in us.
Thank you for your kindness.

Thank you for those in our lives who have simply loved us,
For those who have allowed us the space to discover our own paths,
to walk at our own pace.

Forgive us, Lord.
We so seldom get it.
We prefer to explain what people have to do,
tell them how to change,
push them to do better.

Help us to listen to the stories of others,
to hear their pain,
to carry their burdens.
Help us to love more
and to leave transformation to you and your Holy Spirit.

Lord, teach us to be kind.

In Jesus name,

Amen

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Receiving the Kingdom: a prayer


Lord our God,
We cannot begin to understand your love.
You invite us into your kingdom,
You invite us into your home,
Not as servants, or even as guests,
But as children of the King.

As a loving parent
You welcome us with joy and delight,
Celebrating our return
As if we were the most precious jewel in your collection.

Is that the secret? Is that how your love works?
You treat us as a precious pearl
Because that’s how you see us;
That’s how you have made us?
You treat us as your children,
Because that’s how you love us
And why you made us?

Oh wonder of wonders!
That’s why we don’t understand.
You don’t celebrate perfection
As we have taught ourselves to do.
You don’t just celebrate endings, you celebrate beginnings;
You celebrate our smallest victories,
Each little Easter,
Each decision to repent and to believe,
Each step along the way.

Thank you.
Thank you for new beginnings;
Thank you for planting your kingdom in our lives;
For nurturing it in the darkness of our sin and suffering;
For giving us a new way to understand our world,
A new way to relate to ourselves and to our neighbours.

Grow your kingdom in us;
Grow our faith and our understanding;
Grow our love and our caring;
That we might, more and more, reflect the glory of the King.

In the name of Jesus,
Our Lord and Saviour and Friend.
Amen

Used with ‘Receiving the kingdom: a sermon

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Salt and light: a prayer


A prayer used in conjunction with the sermon Salt and Light: what makes worship taste good? (5th Sunday after Epiphany, 9 February 2014)

Lord, we love the light.
We surround ourselves with bright and shiny things.
We mix with cheerful and happy people.
We keep our lamps lit, our fires burning and our salt at the ready.

But, Lord, we know that there are dark and unsavoury places inside us:
Places we have not allowed your light to shine;
Activities we have not allowed your salt to flavour;
Dark and unsavoury attitudes that affect the lives of those closest to us;
Dark and unsavoury actions and words that hurt and leave scars we cannot heal.

Forgive us, Lord.
Bring your light and healing touch to every part of our lives:
every relationship, every activity, every word.

And as we begin to experience your forgiveness and healing,
help us to move out into the dark and unsavoury places around us.
Help us to bring your light and hope, your joy and peace to those who need it most.

We pray for those for whom grief and loneliness are constant companions:
for those who have lost loved ones,
for those who have lost their jobs or whose livelihood is threatened,
for those who have lost their way and have lost hope.

We pray for children growing up in a technological world,
for whom technology has become a substitute for love and affection.

We pray for alcoholics and other addicts,
who cannot be helped unless they want it,
but for whom even asking for help is beyond their own ability.

We pray for South Africa as we move towards elections.
Help us to resist the temptation to wallow in negativity,
and help us to bring light and hope to our conversations and discussions.

Thank you for those who resist oppression and greed,
and who suffer as a consequence.
Help us find ways of joining them rather than simply cheering from the sidelines.

Keep us alert this coming week;
help us discover your light shining in unexpected places.
Help us find ways to share the flavours of your love with a hungry world.

In Jesus name,
Amen

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A prayer for Madiba


Almighty God,
We thank you for Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela,
our beloved Madiba.
We come to celebrate his life:
A hard life, but a life well lived;
A life committed to the freedom of others;
Unselfishly seeking freedom and justice for all.

Thank you for keeping and moulding his spirit
Through those 27 years of imprisonment.
Thank you for keeping his spirit
from the seduction of power.
We know how easily we become grumpy
When we do not get our own way,
Angry in the face of perceived injustice,
Ready to use power for revenge.
Yet you moulded Madiba’s soul in the furnace
of intolerance, violence, injustice and imprisonment
And helped him find true freedom.

Lord God, we celebrate Madiba’s life.
Not a perfect life, but a life well lived.
Thank you that, whatever he may have gotten wrong,
He got the big things right:
He learned how to forgive, and showed us how;
He learned reconciliation,
And ‘he made reconciliation happen in South Africa.’¹

Lord God, we celebrate a life well lived.
A life that allows us to live in freedom and peace,
That demands that we, too, strive for the freedom of others.
‘For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains,
but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.’²
We pray for this freedom for ourselves, our children and our communities.

We ask it in the name of the one whose birth we celebrate
And whose coming as a baby sets the tone
of vulnerability and peace our world so desperately needs.
Amen

A prayer shared at a brief interfaith memorial service for Madiba held at Shuter & Shooter Publishers (where I am privileged to be a consultant) on Friday 13 December 2013

1  FW de Klerk
2  Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, 1995

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A prayer to love my neighbour


Lord, it sounds so easy.
“Love God; love your neighbour; love one another.”
But who would have thought that love could be so hard,
so contrary to everything the world teaches us
about surviving on this planet?

Love your neighbour.
But, Lord, this is a dog-eat-dog, take-no-prisoners world.
My neighbours don’t care what I do for them;
they’re only worried about winning.
If I stop to wipe someone’s tears I’ll be left behind.
Must I lose all the time?

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Prayer of intercession: Lord, teach us to pray


Child Praying MS ClipartLord, teach us to pray. We really don’t know how.

If we bring you the details of our lives,
The bumped knees and parking spaces,
The lunch menu and what to wear,
We are in danger of trivialising prayer,
Of treating you as our personal fairy godmother.

Even our prayers for the sick,
And, Lord, there are so many we love and care for,
Even those prayers become shopping lists of things we want done:
People to be healed, problems to be sorted,
Lives to be straightened out:
“Here’s a prayer, Lord, now please fix these problems.”

And when our prayers focus on global events:
Zimbabwe’s elections, climate change
And the interminable conflicts of the Middle East;
Or politics, corruption and service delivery failures;
Our prayers become impersonal.
We have nothing to contribute and nothing to do,
Except complain and criticise. And our prayers become:
“God, you sort it out while we get on with our lives.”

Lord, teach us how to talk with you.
Not to bring you our lists, whether global or personal,
But just to talk with you, as we do with each other
When we raise issues that concern us,
Speak passionately about things that trouble us,
And express outrage over injustice and suffering.

Teach us to walk with you, on quiet days and busy days;
When we are blessed and full of peace,
And when we are angry and trembling with rage.
Help us to talk to you about our temptations and our weaknesses,
As well as our strengths and our delights.

And, Lord, as we bring you the cares and joys
Of our lives and of our world,
Help us to listen.
Help us to hear you say, “I care too. I, too, am angry.
I gave my life for this and for these.”

Help us, also, to hear you as you answer our prayers;
Calling us to go out in your Spirit,
To preach, to teach, to heal
And, through it all, wherever we are, to love—above all, to love.

In Jesus’ name,
AMEN

This (Supplication) and the previous prayer (Adoration) were used to introduce two sections of last week’s worship service. The service was divided into four sections along the lines of the A-C-T-S method of prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication (intercession). I was asked to introduce each section with a prayer, which was followed by songs and hymns. The confession and thanksgiving prayers were communal, extempore prayers.

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