Jul 26, 2021

Prayer for Others: God's Provision

Here’s a prayer of thanksgiving and intercession inspired by the ways in which God cared for the Israelites while in the wilderness.

Prayer for Others

God,
like the Israelites in the wilderness,
we too have known Your love,
and experienced Your care and provision.
You invite us to extend that love to the world around us—
to care for others as deeply as we care for ourselves.
And so we bring the needs of our world before You now.
In Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the many who do not have enough:
  enough food to eat, or shelter to keep warm;
  enough employment, or money to pay their bills;
  enough medicine or medical care.
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We also pray for those who have more than enough,
  but who still struggle to find meaning and purpose in life;
  who indulge in dangerous or self-serving activities
      to dull their pain or loneliness.
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

God, Your grace reaches out to all of us.
You call us to live as citizens of heaven,
working together with one heart and mind.
Strengthen us to live in a manner worthy
of the Good News we have received,
offering our lives in service of Your kingdom,
where the last are first, and the first are last,
and there is grace enough for all.
Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord, Amen.

~ Christine Longhurst, re:Worship

Litany


Closing Litany

(based on Ephesians 2, 4 and I Peter 2)

One:    People of God,
            I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
            Be completely humble and gentle;                      
            be patient, bearing with one another in love.
            Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit    
            through the bond of peace.
            There is one body and one Spirit—
            just as you were called to one hope when you were called—
            one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
            one God and Father of all,
            who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph. 4:1-6)

Two:   Remember that at one time you [were] without Christ,
            aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,       
            and strangers to the covenants of promise,
            having no hope and without God in the world.
            But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off
            have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
            For he is our peace….
            He came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off
            and peace to those who were near;
            for through him we all have access in one Spirit to the Father.
            So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,
            but you are citizens with the saints
            and also members of the household of God. (Eph. 2:11-14; 17-19)

One:   Once you were not a people,
            but now you are God’s people;
            once you had not received mercy,
            but now you have received mercy. (I Peter 2:10)

Two:   Come to him, a living stone,
            rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight,              
            and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house,
            to be a holy priesthood,
            to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God
            through Jesus Christ.  (I Peter 2:4-5)

One:    For you are a chosen race,
            a royal priesthood,
            a holy nation,
            God’s own people,
            in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him
            who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  (I Peter 2:9)

~ Compiled by Christine Longhurst, re:Worship

Opening Prayer: Feed Us, Lord

Opening Prayer
(based on Psalm 145:15-16, Isaiah 55:1-3, John 6:35)

Lord,
the eyes of all look to You in hope;
and You give them what they need.
You open Your hand
and satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.

We, too, turn to You again, longing to be filled—
to eat of the Bread of Life,
to drink from Your life-giving streams,
to taste Your goodness and live.

May the time we spend together in Your presence
nourish our hearts and minds;
may it strengthen our relationship with You,
and renew our commitment to live in this world as Your faithful disciples.

For You alone are God,
the Source and Sustainer of life.

In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

~ Christine Longhurst, re:Worship

Litany: Psalm 51 and Psalm 103

Here’s a responsive litany of confession and assurance, contrasting verses from Psalm 51 with verses from Psalm 103.  The congregation (or a second reader) is invited to read Psalm 51 (in bold print); the worship leader reads Psalm 103 (in regular print).

Litany of Confession
(Psalm 51 & Psalm 103)

Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.
            Our God is merciful and gracious,
            slow to get angry, and full of unfailing love.
Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my shameful deeds—they haunt me day and night.
            God will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever.

Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.
            God has not punished us for all our sins,
            nor does he deal with us as we deserve.
            For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
            so great is his love for those who fear him;
            as far as the east is from the west,
            so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

I was born a sinner—from the moment my mother conceived me.
            God is like a father to his children,
            tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
            For he understands how weak we are;
            he remembers that we are only dust.

You desire honesty from the heart;
teach me to be wise in my inmost being.
            For our days on earth are like grass;
            like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
            The wind blows, and we are gone—
            as though we had never been here.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and make me willing to obey you.
            For the love of the Lord remains forever
            with those who fear him.
            His salvation extends to the children’s children
            of those who are faithful to his covenant;
            those who obey his commandments.

The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit.
A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
            Our God is merciful and gracious.

Bless the Lord, O my soul.

~ Christine Longhurst, re:Worship

Jul 19, 2021

Prayers of the People: Open Your Hand

Here’s a prayer of intercession which draws on Psalm 145 and Matthew 14:13-21 (the feeding of the 5000).  Feel free to revise it to suit your context.


Prayer of Intercession

(based on Matthew 14:13-21 and Psalm 145:15-16)

Loving God,
You are our Creator and Sustainer.
When You open Your hand,
You satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.
And so we look to You whenever we are in need,
trusting in Your love and Your abundant goodness.

As You once fed the hungry crowds with five loaves and two small fish,
we ask that You would again fill those who are empty this day.
Pour out Your Spirit on all who hunger and thirst.

We pray for those who are physically hungry—whose stomachs are empty.
We think especially of the people in Somalia and Eastern Africa
who are facing critical food shortages;
    who are suffering the effects of malnutrition and starvation;
        and watching helplessly as loved ones die.

Lord, in Your mercy, open Your hand.
Pour out Your Spirit, so that they may be filled. 

We pray for those who are empty emotionally—
who are lonely and long for companionship and love,
        who are caught in the grip of depression,
            or overwhelmed with grief.

Lord, in Your mercy, open Your hand.
Pour out Your Spirit, so that they may be filled. 

We pray for those who are spiritually empty—
who are troubled, but don’t know where to turn;
    who long for purpose and meaning, but don’t know where to look;
        who need You, but do not yet know You.

Lord, in Your mercy, open Your hand.
Pour out Your Spirit, so that they may be filled. 

God, we praise You for Your abundant gifts in our lives.
Pour out Your Spirit on us as well.
Fill us with Your compassion and love,
so that we would willingly share some of our abundance
with those who have need.

Lord, in Your mercy, open Your hand.
Pour out Your Spirit, so that we may be filled.

We pray in the name of Jesus Christ,
who came so that all of humanity might come to know
the abundant life that comes from You.

Amen.

~ Christine Longhurst, re:Worship

Offering Prayer: Matthew 14:13-21


This offering prayer was inspired by Matthew 14:13-21, the account of how Jesus uses five small loaves and two fish to feed a vast crowd of hungry people.  

Offering Prayer
(inspired by Matthew 14:13-21)

Merciful God,
the gifts we bring are so small in comparison to the vast needs in our world—
nowhere near enough to save the thousands dying of starvation all around the world,
or even to meet the needs of the hungry and homeless in our city.
Yet we have brought what we can.

As You once multiplied the five small loaves and two fish,
multiply these gifts as well,
so that, once again, the hungry may receive all they need, and more.
Amen.

~ Christine Longhurst, re:Worship

Prayer: Enough for All

Here’s a prayer for the offering inspired by the story of the loaves and fishes in Matthew 14:15-21 (or Mark 6:35-44, Luke 9:12-17, John 6:1-15). It comes from the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand website.

Offering Prayer
(inspired by Matthew 14:15-21)

On my own
what I have to give
doesn't amount to much
in the light of all you have given to me
and in the face of so much need.
Put together as a congregation,
what we offer you here in love
becomes more,
not simply added together,
but somehow multiplied in its usefulness.
We ask you to bless our gifts
and with the addition of your blessing,
just as it was with the loaves and fishes,
there is enough for all.
Amen

~ from the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand website. http://www.presbyterian.org.nz/