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Prayers for worship



Prayer for a busy world


As you know,  we are enjoying a holiday weekend;  but we hope that you are not sticking to your own union rules and taking a rest on Sunday.

So we come to you in prayer,  bringing our usual list of matters for your urgent care and attention — while we get on with enjoying our busy weekend.


Please do something for the following:

Overworked public health doctors,   nurses,   officials and chaplains

Workers who are oppressed and exploited by their employers

Those without paid employment,  who are desperate and demoralised for lack of work

People whose work is boring,  demeaning,  dull and repetitive,  day in and day out

Scientists who carry out research in ethically difficult areas

Medical and social welfare personnel who must make life-and-death decisions every day,  and live with the possibility of error and wrong choices

People who must juggle the demands of work with the demands of family,  partners and children

What?   You leave these things in our hands?

You are too busy dealing with radical suffering and grief in the too many war-torn areas of the world?

You are totally exhausted coping with all the death-dealing hatred, ill will, greed and hostility among us?

You need a rest?

A holiday?


Colin Gibson      10/2003


In response to Genesis 3

Is that how it really happened, God?
Six thousand years ago?

Then what were you thinking of?
Didn’t you know it would turn out like that?
Did you miscalculate?
Did you expect us to remain aimless?
Just to wander,  endlessly,  round the garden?
Without being inquisitive?

Or    …
Did you actually set it up?
Did you mean it to be like that,  all along?
Did you know all along what Eve would do?
Did you want our race to imagine and experiment,  to learn and grow?

To be honest,  we rather admire Eve.
Her spunk.   Her curiosity.   Her wish for experience.
We would like to think we take after her.
We have been given so much through her.
So much that is warm  …  beautiful  …  clever  …  exciting.

Yes, we know:
… so much that is terrible too,  awful.

Did Eve do right or wrong?
What will it all come to?
Do you know how our story will end,   God?
We don’t know.
And we are afraid.

Deep down,   we all want what you want —
What we think you want:
Love, compassion, community, peace.

Will it ever turn out like that?
Stay with us,  God.
Keep talking to us,  God.
Help us to make it happen,  God.   Amen.

Evan Lewis      9/2003

Immortal,  invisible,  God only wise

God,  you are so busy being immortal,   invisible and wise that we find it hard to connect with you.     We are told so often that you are completely perfect,   almighty and all-knowing that it is difficult for us to imagine anyone so different from ourselves.     In fact,   if it hadn't been for Jesus's rocky life on earth we could never have believed that you are fully present with us;   that 'in all life thou livest the true life of all'.

We are battered,   bruised and sometimes simply overwhelmed by life.     We know there is nothing perfect about us:   some of us are physically or mentally disabled;   others of us are past our use-by date   -   a bit tottery and forgetful;   illness and disease have taken their toll,   leaving us weakened and fragile;   many of us bear the scars and bruises inflicted on our bodies,  our hearts and our minds by those whom we have lived and worked with,   and others whom we never knew.     Yes,   you can still see some of the wounds open and unhealed.

We are not now,   and we are never likely to be,   'the beautiful people'  we keep seeing in the magazines and on the film and television screens;   you wouldn't give much for any of us if you only looked at the shape and quality of our bodies.     And we are not the worst cases,   we assure you.     Only the doctors and nurses,   the police and the ambulance teams,   the priests,   the psychologists and psychiatrists,   the counsellors and therapists,   the social workers and the international aid bringers   -   only they know much of the smashed-up,   imperfect,   defective,   raw,   sick and wounded world which is our concern as we pray here today.

Oh,   and just in case you misunderstand,   and think we are doing the usual mouth talk about the miseries of others,   would you come close and hear us as we whisper to you that often we are part of that world ourselves;   we are some of the sufferers;   ours is some of the unhappiness.    Sorry,   but we really don't want to seem disloyal by admitting our share in the grief of the world.

So,   lover God,   we hold up to you for healing,   for restoration and  (if nothing can be done)  simply for your love and acceptance,   everything that is bruised and broken and spoiled;   all that is disfigured and defective,   unfinished and unfulfilled;   all that is dashed down,   cracked and shattered;   all that is blemished and blameworthy;   all that is impure,   mixed and muddled,   in our lives and the lives of others for whom we pray.      All things counter,  original,  spare,  strange;
      Whatever is fickle,  freckled  (who knows how?)
      With swift,  slow;  sweet,  sour;  adazzle,  dim;
      You bring forth,  whose beauty is past change.


Colin Gibson

For respect

Blessed God,  there are things we would wish you to protect us from:

   Keep us from belittling ourselves   . . .

      because we sometimes make mistakes;
      because obeying the rules doesn't seem to us to be
         the most important thing;
      because we don't actually remember all the rules.

   Keep us from belittling others   . . .

      because they haven't learned our particular skills;
      because they appear to infringe some of the rules
         we do remember;
      because they refuse to see things exactly our way.

   Keep us from belittling you   . . .

      by doing your judging for you;
      by being unaware of your Spirit at work in other people;
      by setting ourselves up as some sort of universal standard.

God,  there are also things we would have you grant us:

   a gift for contributing something;
   a gift for appreciating the contributions of others;
   a gift for seeing you at work in our world;
   a gift for hearing what you are saying;
   a gift for discerning what is true.


Evan Lewis

Thankyou for the songs

We bless you,  God,  for all the good songs that have been sung:
   songs that have celebrated life,
      and love,  and people together;
   songs that have told of light shining in darkness,
      of promise and hope;
   songs that have conjured new creative possibilities into being.

And we bless you for the singers of the good songs in all ages.
   For we have caught snatches of their poetry and their melody,
      enough for us to try to become singers in our turn.

Forgive us if we have not always picked up the tune as well as we might.
   Forgive us if any embarrassment has made us try to hush the singers.
   Forgive us if we have ever thought that the real world
      does not need the song.

Let there still be songs,  blessed God,  and the singers of songs:

Let the singers at last win over the non-singers
   and the anti-singers,
   so that a new world comes to birth
      and all rejoice.

Evan Lewis

The parable of the good Samaritan


In the wilderness of this life there are many thieves and robbers

we do not wish to pray for them because we have much to lose
and we cannot in good conscience approve lawless lives
driven by greed  -  or perhaps by desperate need
but you have taught us that the compassionate love of God
shuts out no-one at all,  not even thieves and robbers
and so we lift them towards you
wishing that we could love them with your love
asking what we can do to create a world
where there is no need to survive by brutality or theft

In the wilderness of this life there are many nameless victims

we find it easy to pray for them because they claim only our sympathy
and because we have a sneaking idea that we too are victims
also because you have taught us that the compassionate love of God
is lavished on all,  especially on those who suffer deeply in this life
and so we lift them towards you
wishing that we could love them with your love
asking what we can do to create a world
in which no-one is ever victimised by another

In the wilderness of this life there are many unutterably holy and righteous persons

we do not wish to pray for them because we resent and reject
their exclusion and rejection of others
but you have taught us that the compassionate love of God
shuts out no-one at all,  not even the unutterably holy and righteous
and so we lift them towards you
wishing that we could love them with your love
asking what we can do to create a world
where there is no place for arrogant and self-righteous holiness

In the wilderness of this life there are many who do simple good to others

we find it hard to pray for them because we cannot imagine that they need our prayers
but you have taught us that the compassionate love of God
rejoices in those who do the simplest good to others
and so we lift them towards you
wishing that we could love as simply and effectually as they do
asking what we can do to create a world
in which all live for the good of others and themselves

In the wilderness of this life there are many who live like beasts of burden,
only exchanging one load for another

we find it hard to pray for them because we can scarcely imagine such never-ending oppression
but you have taught us that the compassionate love of God
yearns to release all captives
and free them from every kind of heavy load
and so we lift them towards you
wishing that we could love them with your unsatisfied love
asking what we can do to create a world in which none are oppressed,
none ground down by what is almost too hard to bear

In the wilderness of this world there are some who operate places of refuge and healing

may our lives be those of such responsible and tender care-givers
may our houses be places of refuge and healing open to all


Colin Gibson


For a healed future

Blessed God,  these are some of the things that belong
to our vision of a healed future:

A world that uses resources only as fast as they can be replaced, 
so that the wealth of today does not destroy hope for tomorrow.

Leaders who are honest,  respectful,
and more interested in doing their jobs than in keeping their jobs.

Material sufficiency and security for all,  and therefore,  by choice,
low death rates,  low birth rates,  and stable populations.

Work that dignifies people.
Incentives for people to give of their best to society,  and to be rewarded for it.
And at the same time ways of providing sufficiently for people under any circumstances.

An economy that is a means,  not an end,
one that serves the welfare of the community and the environment,
rather than demanding that the community and the environment serve it.

The kind of agriculture that builds soils,
uses natural mechanisms to restore nutrients and control pests,
and produces abundant,  uncontaminated food.

Print and broadcast media that reflect the world's diversity and,  at the same time,
bind together the cultures of the world with relevant,  accurate,  timely,  unbiased,
and intelligent information.

Reasons for living and thinking well of oneself
that do not require the accumulation of material things.

Help each one of us,  God,  and all of us together
to believe in the possibility of such a future,
and by loving and by hoping and by working,
according to what each of us has to contribute,  to help it to come true.


Evan Lewis,  after Donella Meadows


For openness to God's Spirit

God of greatness and of mystery,

there never was a time when your Spirit did not move over this world,
seeking to bring order out of chaos,  pattern out of confusion.
In the history of every race
there have been people who have been sensitive
to at least something of what you hoped to communicate.

Some of them have become teachers
endeavouring to express in words what they learned from you.

We bless you for those who have been our teachers:
for those we have known as people,
who by their own grace of spirit,
as much as by their words,
have enabled us to see more of your Spirit.

We bless you, too,
for the wise of all places and times whose insight is on record,
to be passed on to us as riches.

Our God,  we acknowledge the danger
that we will try to make do with what others have learned and taught,
without becoming ourselves directly open to you.
What happens then is that you become for us
no more than a collection of quotations from a book,
or from many books.

Awaken us to the idea of being ourselves people of the Spirit,
people alive to your Spirit,
reading beyond the words,
living beyond the formulas,
giving beyond due measure,
aware,  when you are doing your new things.

Make it possible for us to be not just inheritors of the past,
but contributors to the future.

God of greatness and mystery,
ours is still a world of disorder and chaos.
Its prospects are less certain than ever they were.

Move above us,  and within us,
as the Spirit who will renew the world
and make it beautiful
and give it a future;

as the Spirit who will renew us
and make us strong
and make us creative
and fill us with hope.


Evan Lewis


Prayer for women

Earth Mother,  Sky Father,  Creator and Sustainer of us all,
We know you as the one God who provides,  protects and prompts us to reflect.
We acknowledge all good comes from you.
We are grateful for good thoughts,  good ideas,  and good actions.

We reflect now on womankind   -   womankind and sisterhood.
We remember women who inspire,  create,  encourage and nurture.
For such women we say Thank You and God Bless.

We recall the glistening web of women that hangs in our own family tree  - 
whether these women live in this world or the next,  they are known to you.
We silently name them before you  -
mothers,  grandmothers,  aunts,  sisters,  cousins,  and others we claim as family.
God Bless our kinswomen.

We recall a tapestry of significant women in our own lives 
teachers,  leaders  mentors,  friends.
We bring names from the past into conscious memory;
we recall women unknown to us,
whose achievements have notched names in our memory.
We name some and remember their work.
God Bless these special women.

We give thanks for the vast network of women:
presbyters,  receptionists,  cleaners and carers,
who hold society together.
God Bless working women.

We give thanks for the visible fabric woven by poets,  authors,  dancers,  musicians,
and all who influence through creativity.
God Bless inspired women.

We give thanks for the hidden skeleton of women who work
to change laws and attitudes for the cause of justice;
invest time and talents in working at the raw edge of human need;
give their skill and patience to the nurturing of families.
God Bless caring women.

For unremarkable women,  struggling women,
and for ourselves we pray:
Strengthen our sisterhood as we support each other
and work for a better world;
Show us how to become more like the women we admire;
Grant us understanding to claim the best feminine values and feminine wisdom;
Use us to infuse the Material with the Spiritual,  and the Secular with the Sacred;
With strong threads from the past and bright hope for the future,
help us weave a faith suitable for today   - 
a mantle worthy of tomorrow's daughters.
God Bless us all.

Rosalie Sugrue



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