3 Prayers for Lent


 

Lent is a time to get real and take stock. Here are 3 prayers that you might find helpful in your Lenten journey this year.

 


#1

God of the desert,
as we follow Jesus into the unknown,
may we recognize the tempter when he comes;
let it be your bread we eat,
your world we serve
and you alone we worship.
 

A New Zealand Prayer Book, from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #770
 


#2

when the world is no longer a paradise
and creation shows its full power over us still
and we are brought down to size on this small planet of ours

we worship

when the memories linger of the past
and war shapes us beyond our knowing
and conflict becomes a story of life

we worship

when the way is more barren than beautiful
when the path is more a climb than a stroll
when the desert expands and the horizon stretches

we worship

we worship
because we can

we worship
because we hope

we worship
because we know our vulnerability

when things shift
and we need to hold on

we worship

it is the only strength we have for the journey

welcome to Lent

 
by Roddy Hamilton, and posted on the Church of Scotland’s Starters for Sunday website, available on re:worship.
 


#3

“Lord, hear my prayer; do not hide your face from me in the day of my trouble; my heart is scorched and withered like grass; I have become like an owl in the wilderness; I have eaten ashes for bread, and mingled my drink with my tears.” (Psalm 102:1, 2, 4, 6)

Lord,
take my small offering of self-denial this Lent,
as a sign of my great longing for you.
I hunger for your presence in my life,
and I thirst for your love.
I hunger for justice for those who are wronged and oppressed,
and I thirst for your peace.
I hunger for a glimpse of your glory,
and I thirst for your stillness in my heart.
God of giving, God of longing, God of pain,
I hunger for you.

 
by Angela Ashwin, from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #774
 

3 Prayers for Advent


 

To kick off this month’s theme, Prepare, here are 3 short prayers to ready our hearts for Christmas and for Jesus’ Kingdom to come, now and in the future.

 
(Links to additional resources for Advent included below.)
 


Prayer of Invocation

(inspired by Matthew 11:3-5)

O God,
we come today echoing John the Baptist’s question to your Beloved Child:
“Are you the one who is to come?”
Give us eyes to see and ears to hear the answer for ourselves:
In the work of justice: Christ!
In the practice of mercy: Christ!
In good news for the poor: Christ!
In the vision of peace: Christ!
Make us ready, with open hearts and joyful spirits,
to follow in Christ’s Way.
Amen.

by The Rev. Susan A. Blain, and posted on the United Church of Christ’s Worship Ways website.
 


Prayer of Confession

It is never easy for us to confess our sins, Waiting God.
There are the hurts we have caused to our families and friends,
     which we would like to forget.
There are those we believe are impossible to love,
     and so we don’t try.
There are people who live on the edge of our society,
     and we ignore their cries for help.

Forgive us, God who comes near to us.
When we have lost our way, show us yours.
Lead us in humility down the streets of your kingdom.
Teach us your truth,
     so we might be able to keep your Word,
     revealed to us in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

by Thom Shuman. Source: re-worship.blogspot.com
 


Prayers of the People for All Ages

We have listened to God’s Word.
Now let us come to God full of hope for all our needs:

For a real sense of excited anticipation of the coming of Jesus
let us pray to the Lord:
Lord hear our prayer

For peace in our homes, our schools and our communities
as we approach the Christmas season
let us pray to the Lord:
Lord hear our prayer

For peace and harmony in countries torn apart by war around the world, that weapons be remade into garden tools
let us pray to the Lord:
Lord hear our prayer

That we always learn to be alert and aware of God’s presence in our daily lives
let us pray to the Lord:
Lord hear our prayer

God of light,
we bring these prayers to you through Jesus Christ our Lord
Amen.

~ from Children’s Liturgy of the Word, First Sunday of Advent Year A. Posted on re:worship.blogspot.com


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

These days there is so much material available online to accompany us on our journey through the season of Advent.

Here are a few examples:
Church of Scotland Advent Calendar
Pray as you go Advent retreat
Abbey of the Arts online Advent retreat

I also commend our 2017 Advent series on Faith, Hope and Joy, featuring meditations by three ministers in our Presbytery.

 

3 Prayers for Summer


A hot summer evening, Manchester inner city  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Another post in the “3 Prayers” series.

May these prayers prompt you to pray and help you remain vitally connected to God and his purposes for you this summer. And if 3 prayers are not enough, I’ve included links to more prayers on a summer theme below.

Note
I’m using the prayer, “Simple Gifts”, in the service this Sunday, with projected images to further enhance the impact of Bruce Prewer’s visual language.


Prayer for a summer day

Long warm days…
The pace of life slows…
A time for picnics and rest in the shade…

Lord,
help me to rest a while
in the cooling shade of your presence.

Slow down my restless heart
and fill me with gentle compassion
for all your people.

Amen.

From www.beliefnet.com – author unknown


Summer Heat

God, as the heat of summer intensifies, we pray for those without air conditioning or electricity, clean water, and health care.

For all of our neighbours in “survival mode”, give them the communities and resources to not only survive, but to thrive this summer.

And Lord, remind us to give you a drink when we see you thirsty.

Amen

from Sojourners website


Simple Gifts

The smell of the bush after some rain,
the desert in flower on a red plain,
the coming of sleep after much pain;
For gifts simple and profound,
we thank you, loving Friend.

The sound of waves along the shore,
the children’s laugher as they explore,
the promise of love for evermore:
For gifts simple and profound,
we thank you, loving Friend.

The sight of black swans on a calm lake,
the taste of summer in a fruit cake,
travelling by faith after a mistake:
For gifts simple and profound,
we thank you, loving Friend.

The scent of green grass from the cut lawn,
the pure-white blossom on a rough thorn,
the return of hope with a new dawn:
For gifts simple and profound,
we thank you, loving Friend.

The fragrance of bread just freshly made,
the brimming cup sipped in the shade,
the pardon of debts never repaid:
For gifts simple and profound,
we thank you, loving Friend.

written by Bruce Prewer, in More Australian Psalms.
Copyright ©B.D. Prewer & Open Book Publishers.
Posted on Bruce Prewer’s website


 
XTRA XTRA XTRA

 

3 Prayers for endings and beginnings

3 Prayers for Lent
 
Where do you go from here?
Where do you go from here? (photo: Irene Bom)
 

Here are 3 prayers for happier endings and good beginnings as we approach the end of one year and the start of another.

Go with God.

And if you’re looking for guidance on what to focus on in your walk with God in the coming year, here’s Paul’s advice, from his first letter to the Thessalonians:

16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this. 19 Don’t put out the Spirit’s fire. 20 Don’t despise what God has revealed. 21 Instead, test everything. Hold on to what is good.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-21 (God’s Word translation)


A new story

Author of Salvation, write in us a new story.
Erase the sins of the past and create a new narrative,
one in which we seek Your love and justice in this world.
Write a new direction for our lives,
away from the busy-ness
    and cares of the world for success and stability,
and instead plot us towards ways of living Your compassion,
care and grace in the world.

Create new opportunities for us, O God,
to explore and live this adventure of life in bold and daring ways,
in which new insights may unfold for us.
Grant us the fullness of life by living for others,
as You taught us to love our neighbour as ourselves,
but most of all, may our story be about You,
about Your love for us,
and what Your love for us calls us to do.
In the name of Christ,
who writes the new ending and beginning, we pray.
Amen.

by Rev. Mindi, and posted on her Rev-o-lution blog.


God’s timing

O God of all seasons and senses,
grant us the sense of your timing
to submit gracefully and rejoice quietly
in the turn of the seasons.

In this season of short days and long nights,
of grey and white and cold,
teach us the lessons of endings;
children growing, friends leaving, loved ones dying,
grieving over,
grudges over,
blaming over,
excuses over.

O God, grant us a sense of your timing.

In this season of short days and long nights,
of grey and white and cold,
teach us the lessons of beginnings;
that such waitings and endings may be the starting place,
a planting of seeds which bring to birth
    what is ready to be born –
something right and just and different,
a new song, a deeper relationship, a fuller love –
in the fullness of your time.

O God, grant us the sense of your timing.

by Ted Loder, in Guerrillas of Grace.


Prayer at the threshold

And so we take the ragged fragments,

the patches of darkness
that give shape to the light;
the scraps of desires
unslaked or realized;
the memories of spaces
of blessing, of pain.

And so we gather the scattered pieces

the hopes we carry
fractured or whole;
the struggles of birthing
exhausted, elated;
the places of welcome
that bring healing and life.

And so we lay them at the threshold, God;

bid you hold them, bless them, use them;
ask you tend them, mend them,
transform them
to keep us warm,
make us whole, and send us forth.

by Jan L. Richardson in Through the Advent Door: Entering a Contemplative Christmas, Posted on Prayers and Creeds.


Tip: World in prayer
Their final post for 2017 invites us to pray for everyone and includes a list of every nation, so we can pray for them by name.

 
Other posts in the “3 Prayers” series
3 Prayers to the Sacred Trinity
3 Prayers for Wayfarers
3 Prayers for Refugees

3 Prayers to the Sacred Trinity


Outside St Andrews Scots Kirk, Lausanne (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Here are 3 short prayers affirming our communion with the holy and glorious Trinity and seeking to deepen that relationship of love and trust.

Loved

To God the Father, who first loved us,
and made us accepted in the Beloved;
To God the Son, who loved us,
and washed us from our sins in his own blood;
To God the Holy Ghost, who sheds the love of God
abroad in our hearts,
Be all love and all glory
For time and for eternity.

Thomas Ken (1637-1771)

from The Open Gate: Celtic Prayers for Growing Spiritually
by David Adam, p. 114


Near

God, we praise you,
Father all-powerful, Christ, Lord and Saviour, Spirit of Love,
drawing us to share in your life and your love.
One God, three Persons,
be near to the people formed in your image,
close to the world your love brings to life.
We ask you this, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God, true and living, for ever and ever.

The Liturgy of the Hours

from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #869


With us

Father, go with us on the journey of life,
and may the peace of Christ
and the power of his Spirit go with us.
Amen

from 500 Prayers for all Occasions by David Clowes, #498

 
For more posts on the theme of “on a journey”, click here.

3 Prayers for Refugees


 

Refuge … refugee …

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) website:

FIGURES AT A GLANCE

We are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record.

An unprecedented 65.6 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 22.5 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.

There are also 10 million stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.

In a world where nearly 20 people are forcibly displaced every minute as a result of conflict or persecution, our work at UNHCR is more important than ever before.

189,300 refugees were resettled in 2016.

 

Last month I published a post entitled “3 Prayers for Wayfarers”. In some sense refugees are wayfarers too, but not by choice.

Here are 3 prayers to help us keep on praying and not lose heart (Luke 18:1-8); despite the size of the problem; despite the seemingly impossible hurdles to providing those forced to leave their homes with genuine “hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Also pray for the work of the UNHCR and other agencies, big and small, seeking to make a difference: for creative solutions, real breakthroughs, and grace.


A prayer from Sudan, 21st century

Lord Jesus,
many of us are waiting for you:
the war-torn are waiting for peace,
the hungry are waiting for bread,
the refugees are waiting for a homeland,
the sick are waiting for healers.
Have you forgotten us?
O Lord, come quickly, we pray.
Amen.

Posted on Bruce Prewer’s Homepage.


African Prayer for Refugees

O Brother Jesus
who as a child was carried into exile,
remember all those who are deprived
of their home or country,
who groan under burden of anguish and sorrow,
enduring the burning heat of the sun,
the freezing cold of the sea,
or the humid heat of the forest,
searching for a place of refuge.
Cause these storms to cease, O Christ.
Move the hearts of those in power
that they may respect the men and women
whom you have created in your own image;
that the grief of refugees may be turned into joy.

from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #452


For the Courage to Do Justice

O Lord,
open our eyes that we may see the needs of refugees;
open our ears that we may hear people’s cries for justice;
open our hearts that we may assist sojourners near and far.

Show us where love, hope and faith are needed.
Use us as ministers of your healing.
Let us not be afraid
to protect the weak because of the anger of the strong,
or to defend the poor because of the power of the rich.

Sustain us so that in these coming days
we may be able to do some work of peace for you.
We ask these things in your blessed name.

from The Uprooted Ones: Remembering Refugees (Uniting Church in Australia), in Welcoming the Stranger, posted on the Minnesota Council of Churches website.

3 Prayers for Wayfarers


Passing by the Colosseum, Rome (photo: Irene Bom)
 

Here are three prayers for wayfarers, including a prayer for safe travel from the Jewish tradition.

Wherever we roam, may we make the time to tune in to God’s presence with us – our constant companion and guide, ever wise and nurturing.

#1

O Lord God,
who called your servants
to ventures of which we
cannot see the ending,
by paths as yet untrodden,
through perils unknown:

Give us faith
to go out with courage,
not knowing where we are going,
but only that your hand is leading us,
and your love supporting us;
to the glory of your name.
Amen.

Eric Milner-White (1884-1963) and G.W. Briggs (1875-1959)
from Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #161


#2

Lord Jesus Christ,
You said that you are the Way, the Truth and the Life;
let us never stray from you, who are the Way;
nor distrust you, who are the Truth;
nor rest in any other but you, who are the Life,
beyond whom there is nothing to be desired,
either in heaven or on earth.
We ask it for your name’s sake.
Amen.

Erasmus (1466-1536)
from Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #156


#3

Wayfarer’s Prayer
Jewish Prayer for a Safe Journey

“May it be Your will, o Lord, our God and the God of our ancestors, that You lead us toward peace, guide our footsteps toward peace, and make us reach our desired destination for life, gladness, and peace. May You rescue us from the hand of every foe, ambush along the way, and from all manner of punishments that assemble to come to earth. May You send blessing in our handiwork, and grant us grace, kindness, and mercy in Your eyes and in the eyes of all who see us. May You hear the sound of our humble request because You are God Who hears prayer requests. Blessed are You, our Lord, Who hears prayer. Amen.”

Source: travelingilove.com


more …

At 36,000 Feet, Closer to God: Alana Newhouse’s personal reflection on the Wayfarer’s Prayer, published on the NY Times website.

Posts on theme of the month: on a journey