Prayers for others – various

Intercessory prayer is the purifying bath into which the individual and the community must enter every day.
(Source:Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Introduction to prayers for others
A teacher asked his students how can you tell when night has given way to day. Students were eager to please saying, “Night has given way to day when you can make our an outline of a tree in the distance or when you can tell a cow is a cow and a horse is a horse.”
The teacher shook his head no and said, “You can tell night has given way to day when you look into the eyes of another and see a brother and you see a sister. If you look into the eyes of another and you don’t see a brother or a sister, it is still night.”
Imagine if our lives joined as a living prayer seeing one another as brother and sister, in spite of our differences. Imagine if we joined together not in the words, “Lord, have mercy” but in becoming the presence of mercy together for those who need it the most. Imagine if we entered the darkest places of division and distrust and called forth the dawn daring to see and name one another as sister, brother.
(Source: Rev Steve Koski, Facebook post, May 2019)
Prayers are offered…….

Prayer for the Side-lined, Lost and Over-looked People
Holy One, may your Realm of Love come for
the insignificant, unremarkable, over-looked people of the world;
for the un-noticed and simply ordinary people;
back-water sort of people who will never make much impact.
For them
May your kingdom come.
Holy One, may your Realm of Love come for
those who are lost; who have disappeared or are missing;
for the up-rooted, exiled and enslaved ;
lost-rights sort of people who will seldom be seen or heard.
For them
May your kingdom come.
Holy One, may your Realm of Love come for
the fearful, the terrorised and the abused people of the world;
those who are unjustly imprisoned or entrapped;
voiceless people who will hardly dare to seek help.
For them
May your kingdom come.
Holy One, may your Realm of Love come for
the subjugated, silenced and subdued people of the world;
for the lonely, the lacking, the faded, the frightened;
shadowy people unable to bring attention to their suffering.
For them
May your kingdom come.
Holy One, may Your Realm of Love come for
the handicapped and disabled people of the world;
for the redundant and poorly educated; the timid and un-appreciated;
struggling people who have to strive for support and respect.
For them,
May your kingdom come.
In the dynamic of your Love, may your Realm become a reality for them all. Amen.
(Source: 2011 Glenn Jetta Barclay, Aotearoa/New Zealand)

Pray for All
Pray for victims of violence, be it physical, emotional or political
Pray for those who suffer hurt, harm or sadness, that they might find healing.
Pray for those afflicted by situation, state or habit that they might find freedom.
Pray for those oppressed by life, circumstance or others, that they might find release.
Pray for those impoverished in terms of wealth, education or lack of compassion, that they might find increase
Pray for those who hate, harm and do ill, that they might repent.
Pray for perpetrators of violence, be it physical, emotional or political, that they might stop.
Pray for those who hurt, harm or cause sadness, that might change.
Pray for those who afflict others by situation, state or habit, that they might be transformed
Pray for those who oppress others by life, circumstance or power, that they might undo such things.
Pray for those who impoverish others in terms of wealth, education or lack of compassion, that they might find compassion.
Pray for those who love, that they might inspire others.
Pray for those like us and unlike us that we might find understanding.
Pray for those who are similar to us or different from us that we might build respect.
Pray for those who share our beliefs or believe different to us that we might find a common ground.
May we pray for all,
For we all need prayer
And all need to pray.
So we pray. Amen
(Source: Jon Humphries)

“Let Justice Ring” Lyrics
by Andy Kirk from the album Wake Up My Soul
Verse: 1
Forgotten sons and hopeless daughters
The hungry child without a father
You love the broken man
Empty lives in desperate need
The humbled hearts the least of these
Find rest within Your hands
Pre Chorus:
(So) break our hearts
For what breaks Your heart
Chorus: 1
Let the saints of God be brought to life
Let your children be set free
To a broken world with one voice we sing
Let justice ring, Let justice ring
Verse: 2
Open eyes and hearts to see
Awaken love inside of me for those
Who’ve lost their way
Break the walls of hurt and shame
Release the power of Your name
For You are the God who saves
Pre Chorus:
(So) break our hearts
For what breaks Your heart
Chorus: 2
Let the saints of God be brought to life
Let your children be set free
To a broken world with one voice we sing
Let justice ring, Let justice ring
Let justice ring, Let Justice Ring, (yeah)
Chorus: 3
Let the saints of God be brought to life
Let your children be set free
To a broken world with one voice we sing
Let justice ring, Let justice ring
Let justice ring, Let justice ring
Down Chorus End: 4
Let the saints of God be brought to life
Let your children be set free
To a broken world with one voice we sing
Let justice ring, Let justice ring
Let justice ring, Let justice ring

All the poor and powerless
All the poor and powerless
And all the lost and lonely
All the thieves will come confess
And know that You are holy
And know that You are holy

And all will sing out
And we will cry out
And all will sing out
And we will cry out

All the hearts who are content
And all who feel unworthy
And all who hurt with nothing left
Will know that You are holy
Will know that You are holy

And all will sing out
And we will cry out
And all will sing out
And we will cry out

Shout it
Go on and scream it from the mountains
Go on and tell it to the masses
That He is God

And we will sing out: Hallelujah
And we will cry out: Hallelujah
And we will sing out: Hallelujah

Prayers for others
God of mercy and love let us serve you in our world
We pray for desert people,
who live in a dry, parched land who lack water
who travel constantly so that they might live.
Give them living water. Let the deserts bloom into flower.
We pray that those who work on climate change
may find solutions so that the erosion of soil may be halted or reversed.
We pray that water and other vital supplies might not be used as a weapon of war in countries where resources are scarce.
God of mercy and love let us serve you in our world
We pray for countries where justice seems far away,
where human rights are ignored.
Let us remind those in power that prisoners are not forgotten.
We pray that the dignity of life is respected
and remember those who have lost that dignity
through age or infirmity or neglect.
We pray for situations
where the sex of a baby may lead to abandonment,
where women are not offered the same opportunities,
or are actively demeaned or mutilated.
May we act to challenge injustice
and seek to affirm your love for all humankind.
God of mercy and love let us serve you in our world
We pray for those who have no peace –
for those who are troubled and torn apart by lack of self esteem
for those who torment and victimise the vulnerable.
We pray for men and women affected by violence in the home
and for those who live by violence.
We pray for those who are trafficked
and for those who organise and profit from selling other humans.
May they learn of your love
and somehow come to newness of life
even in the midst of despair.
God of mercy and love let us serve you in our world
Loving Lord let us not stand aside and tolerate
lack of basic human resources,
dehumanising practices,
or the use of violence to disempower your people.
Give us strength to act and challenge hatred,
and instead bring your justice and mercy.
In your name we humbly ask that we may be a channel for your peace and love. Amen.
(Source: UK Methodist Church website)

God of mercy and justice, shake us up!
Make the pain of the victims and their families our pain,
God of mercy and justice, shake us up!
Uproot the culture of abuse in our communities.

God of mercy and justice, shake us up!
Inspire us to reshape the Church,
God of mercy and justice, shake us up!
Attune us to the Gospel.

God of mercy and justice, shake us up!
Arouse our solidarity,
God of mercy and justice, shake us up!
Commit us to creating a culture of care with our Church.
(Source: Andrea Dean, inspired by Pope Francis’ Letter, 20 August 2018)

Prayers of interecession
Given the need in general, but particularly in the light of reports of the deaths of prominent people in the media who have taken their own lives, this may be a prayer to offer
From a Recovering Sucidalic
Christ of grace and compassion
The thoughts cannot be un-thought,
The plans cannot be unmade,
The past remains the past,
But hope can be restored and life can be lived.
Help me to discern my gifts and talents.
Show me how others need me to help them,
Even when the only thing I can offer at times is the opportunity for them to use their gifts and talents to help me.
As someone who has stood at that brink,
I know that there is no judgement or pity, only compassion.
Having looked into the peace that I thought promised by the void,
Be with all who struggle with the pain that they feel in living.
Be with all whose stress and anxiety has become unbearable
Be with all whose reserves of hope are running on empty.
Be with all whose sense of self has withered to a longing for others to be set free from the burden of their presence.
Be with all who have lost all sense of meaning and purpose.
May they know you
May they know love.
May they share your vision of their worth
May they know their purpose and meaning as hope.
Be with those who are suffering.
Enfold them in your love.
Hold them in your grace.
Continue to whisper to them hope and comfort,
And the offer of strength for living.
This I humbly pray. Amen.
(Source: Jon Humphries, Prayers that Unite)

A related hymn may be O Love that wilt not let me go, written by George Matheson who contemplated suicide after he’d shared with his fiancée the shattering news he’d just received from his doctor that he was losing his sight and would become blind. His fiancée couldn’t take this future life and broke off the engagement. Shattered, he stood on a bridge, peering down into waters as grey as his mood but as he stood on a rail to join those waters, it seemed as some strong unseen hand was pulling him back. And that’s how we got his hymn, “O love that wilt not let me go.” Read the hymn through again with this in mind, and feel the power of his inspired words.
And this plea by John Pavlovitz to young people considering suicide is excellent.

A reflection – and response
This reflection could lead into a response with ‘stations’ of salted water in bowls placed on tables or elevated in some way. After reading the reflection, people could be invited to dip their fingers in the salted water and trace the tears down their face, and pause in silence to remember those in the world and in our communities whose own tears call for our tears of compassion – and then a response. There could be multiple ‘stations’ around the worship space, and at the end there could be a symbolic pouring of the ‘tears’ into a larger container – the enormity of the tears of the world. Or some could be poured into the baptismal font. 
I woke up this morning feeling like I need a good cry. The conditioned part of me snarled, “Come on. Don’t be ridiculous. Get up and get on with it. There are things to do today. “ A deeper, more tender, vulnerable part of me whispered, “Cry. Your tears are sacred and soulful. I’m afraid if you don’t allow the tears to flow you’ll leave your heart behind. People may appreciate your ideas but they need your heart.”
I cried. I was a blubbering mess of snot and tears. I don’t necessarily feel better but I do feel more whole as I enter this day. I have always been curious that the resurrected Christ carried his wounds with him. He asked his friends to touch his wounds. Living the resurrected life is connecting in our woundedness. Father Greg Boyle wrote, “ If you’re a stranger to your own wounds, then you’re going to be tempted to despise the wounded.”
Some consider tears a weakness. We live in a cynical age where it is easier to be snarky, sarcastic and angry than it is to be vulnerable, honest and real. Charles Dickins wrote, “Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts.” Some things, important things, things of the heart and soul can only be seen through eyes that have cried.
Pope Francis asked for the “gift of tears” ahead of his visit to Auschwitz. He said he preferred to go to the concentration camp in solitude and silence. He said, “I would like to go to that place of horror, without speeches, without people… to enter alone, to pray and ask that God may give me the grace to weep.”
The gift of tears? Yep, I had a good cry this morning. It was a gift. I feel more connected to the gift of this day and pray I might be a gift to the woundedness in others I encounter.
(Source: Rev Steve Koski)

Join in “pilgrim prayers” for women overcoming violence
People across the world will have an opportunity to join in a special prayer for women who are standing strong in the face of gender-based violence. Each Thursday, beginning 31 May, the World Council of Churches (WCC) will release via its website and social media a prayer shared by members of “Pilgrim Teams” who have been visiting communities in conflict, and hearing the stories of women who are facing sexual harassment, rape, domestic violence and other injustices. These “pilgrim prayers” will reflect the experiences of Pilgrim Team members who, during the past two years, have been witnessing the deep wounds among women in conflict situations. Pilgrims visited Abuja, Jos and Yola in Nigeria in August 2017, and Burundi in December 2017. In February 2018, pilgrim teams visited Cauca, Uraba, Atlantic Coast, Bogota, Barranquilla, Valledupar and Bolivar in Colombia. A visit also took place in Juba, South Sudan in May this year. “In all the countries we have visited so far we were not prepared for the stories that our sisters have shared,” said Isabel Apawo Phiri, deputy general secretary of the WCC. “Our sisters are carrying unspeakable wounds. The women’s strength comes from their faith in God who is able to transform the conflict to justice and peace.”
The weekly prayers will be shared as part of “Thursdays in Black,” a global movement resisting attitudes and practices that perpetuate rape and violence.

We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit prays in us with sighs too deep for words. —Romans 8.26

Deeper than my words,
deeper than my knowing,
Spirit, pray in me.

I open the door of my heart for you.
I hold the arms of my spirit open for you.
Welcome. Spirit, pray in me.

I only hold the space.
I do not hear your prayers,
your sighs too deep for my hearing.

I do not know how to pray.
I only know how to be still,
Spirit, as you pray in me.

(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

Jon Humphries shared an activity he did at his church, Turramurra Uniting, for prayers of petition:
Everyone received a small piece of card (about the size of a business card. A4 folded in half length ways. Then in half and then in half again). Instead of a read prayer, I invited people to enter into silent prayerful reflection together.
I named in turn categories and each person was invited to reflect on one or two people, situations or issues that they would bring prayer to in relation to each category. For each category I allowed a minute or two for reflection. I encouraged them to write a reminder about each thing that they named so that they literally carried their prayer out with them into the week and their living in the world.
1. Their personal family and friendship circles.
2. The local community.
3. The Church – local, denomination, world- wide etc.
4. The nation
5. The World
The final category was, given that the Spirit or their conscience or mind had opened them to being prayerful about their list, to reflect on how God might be calling them to join in God’s work in these situations or issues or in the lives of the people named. How might they remember not only to be prayerful about the things on their list, but follow Christ in working for good in regards to each of them.
Each person was then encouraged to put the card in their phone case, wallet, purse or pocket and seek to remember to be prayerful about it in the week to come.
(Facebook post 2018)

Sad (a poem speaking to us of all the turmoil in the world)
There is something immensely sad
resounding in the depths,
and carrying on the airwaves.
That is finding a response in us.
The groaning of the earth
is felt by the sensitive.

We don’t know what we are listening for,
but we hear it.
We don’t know what is moving us,
but we register it.
Others’ tears we brush from our own cheeks.
Others’ wounds run fresh with our blood.

We are intrinsically connected.

While the waves jolt us,
and the earth appears even to expel us,
as if we were superfluous,
we are still rocked in unison.
The tide carries us in one direction.
We make landfall on a common shoreline.

One person’s healing becomes another’s hope.
One person’s hope is sowed as a seed
to grow in the heart of the other
until love takes root, and
sprouts as the tree that heals the nations
and the broken earth.

Yes, there is something immensely sad
resounding in the depths,
and carrying on the airwaves.
There is an ache, a worry at the edges of our thoughts,
that we might recognise what it is we fear.
And yet name the shapes we see in the dark.

But for light, we might indeed be lost.
But hand in hand we carry a torch each,
that from our hands will never be knocked.
Not while your tears are brushed
from my wet cheeks,
and my heart healed by your love.
(Source: Ana Lisa de Jong, Living Tree Poetry, October 2017)

Prayer for others
Gather in our hearts Lord
Bring peace through our words.
Gather in our hearts Lord.
Bring peace through our listening.
Gather in our hearts Lord.
Bring peace through our actions.
Gather in our hearts Lord.
Bring peace through our silence.
Gather in our hearts Lord.
Bring peace through our lives.
A time of silence is kept. Could invite candle lighting during this time.
May our silence: speak the peace of God.
May our silence: sing the peace of God.
May our silence: bring about the peace of GodAmen.
(Source: Christian Aid website)

An Africa Mercy Community Prayer
Merciful Father,
You have called us from many tribes and nations,
Drawn us from many cultures and creeds,
As rich and poor, young and old,
You have embraced us together with all the hurting people of this world,
You have welcomed us as part of your eternal family.
Compassionate Christ,
You have shown us so much of the world’s injustice and pain,
And in its midst you are always there.
Let us see you in those with deformed faces and broken lives.
Let us hear you in the grieving and the oppressed,
Let us know you in the hungry and the vulnerable,
Transforming Spirit,
You whose indwelling presence brings renewal and restoration,
Flow through our hands and pour out healing,
Flow from our hearts, extend hope to the hopeless,
Flow through our lives with saving grace,
Flow through all we do and make others whole.
Eternal God, Creator, Redeemer, Comforter,
One in essence, Three in person,
Touch and transfigure us,
Let your love grow strong and deep within us.
Let your compassion bloom and overflow through us,
Let your righteousness bear fruit of mercy love and justice,
Until your world is changed,
And all creation is restored and made new.
(Christine Sine, Godspace)

When our neighbors live on the street wandering from place to place…
where is the love?
When powerful men use their power for sexual favors…
where is the love?
When our neighbors turn to narcotics because life holds so little hope for them…
where is the love?
When medical care is neglected because it just costs too much…
where is the love?
When shooters come into churches and gun down worshipers…
where is the love?
When Jesus speaks truth to power, loves fully, and is crucified for it…
where is the love?
Holy One, We don’t understand! It makes no sense! God who dreams of loving community for all humanity, help us to understand!
Move us in this hour to do our part to heal our culture and bring your kin_dom to earth. Amen.
(Source: Tim Graves, Liturgy Bits)

God, draw us to you in constant prayer, that we might grow in the intimacy that makes your passion ours.
(Source: Common Prayer, adapted)

These words could be added to the end of the Prayers for Others, as we pray for ourselves:
May we daily be mindful
not only of others’ needs
but those of ourselves,
taking time to be still,
rest from our busyness,
and in your embrace
breathe in your peace
God of wholeness, we pray. (followed by a time of silence)
(Source: John Birch, Faith and Worship)

Let us pray:
O God
to those who have hunger, give bread
to those who have bread, give a hunger for justice.
to those who have thirst, give clean water,
to those who have water, give a thirst for righteousness.
to those who have war, give peace
to those who have peace, give a renewed call to be peacemakers.

Creator God, Loving, Persistent,
Thank you for the risk takers for justice.
Thank you for the persistent ones for righteousness.
Thank you for the imaginative ones who call us back to the concerns of our hearts
for the hungry, the thirsty and the war weary.

Thank you for never giving up on us.
May we never give up on you. Amen.
(Source: Adapted from “tablemanna” as part of the time of prayer for SACC Ecumenical Partners for Justice and Peace)

(A prayer, usually with connection to one or more of the lections for the day, to gather the spoken and silent concerns/joys/thanks expressed by the congregation and lead into a more structured Intercession. Sometimes this prayer also borrows lightly from other sources e.g. Uniting in Worship 2 or publications of the Iona Community.)
Tender and loving God,
comfort of the sorrowing,
strength of the suffering,
embrace them in your mercy
and by the presence of your Spirit,
moving as a gentle breeze,
or blowing as a turbulent storm,
strengthen us to serve them.
Hear our prayer
for those whose names are on our lips
and those for whom we pray in silence…
In Jesus’ name we pray …   (The Prayers of the People continue…)
(Source: Jeff Shrowder, The Billabong)

Prayer of Intercession
Bless your people, O God of light and glory.
Bless your people across land and sea, from north to south,
with your healing and peace.
No matter the names and nationalities
and races and religions by which we call ourselves,
we are yours.
Work out a reconciliation among us that extends to the heavens
and draws together all creation.

We pray for those in anguish,
whose hearts are broken and weary with weeping.
We pray for those overwhelmed by despair,
struggling for hope, desperate for life.
We pray for shelter to those who need a hiding place,
and relief to those who are weighed down by burdens.
We pray for our brothers and sisters sitting beside us in the pews.
We pray for our brothers and sisters in this town and around the world.

With the strength of your rock beneath our feet
and the joy of your call giving wings to our spirits,
we set our faces to follow you through all of life.
Make us foolish for you and for the work of the cross.
We pray in the name of our Light and our Salvation. Amen.
(Source: Rachel Hackenberg, RevGalBlogPals)

Dear God, please enlarge our hearts to love each other,
to love our neighbour, to love our enemy as our friend.
Love and ever more love is the only solution
to every problem that comes up.
If we love each other enough,
we will bear with each other’s faults and burdens.
If we love enough, we are going to light a fire in the hearts of others.
And it is love that will burn out the sins and hatreds that sadden us.
It is love that will make us want to do great things for each other.”
(Source: Dorothy Day)

Beloved as we are, this does not exempt us from experiencing darkness – betrayal, loss, grief, death. We face these things every day, we get distracted by the darkness, so we need to be reminded of the light, of God’s great love for us. We need to be reminded that God is taking care of us. (Source: Br. John Braught, Society of Saint John the Evangelist)

How Long? (a song, but could be spoken as well, with silences)
God, we thank you for your blessings, the plenty we enjoy
Your abundance is enough for everyone
But when children die of hunger we know we’ve lost our way
How long will we allow it, God, how long?

God, our hearts need a revival, our vision needs to change
And the Gospel needs to capture us again
We need you to renew in us the passion and the praise
That make us live as Jesus – here, today

God, we thank you for our sisters, our brothers ‘round the world
And we celebrate your image in each one
But when difference leads to violence and fear turns into war,
How long will we allow it, God, how long?


God, we praise you for the beauty, the diversity on earth
And for all the ways this planet keeps us strong
But when life itself is threatened as we recklessly consume
How long will we allow it, God, how long?


(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

For People of a Big God Who Think Small
For people of a big God,
Who think small,
We pray.
For followers of a radical Christ,
Who live conservatively,
We pray.
For those gifted by the Spirit,
Who wait on the service of others,
We pray.
For the people of a just God,
Who participate and perpetrate injustice,
We pray.
For those on the giving way of Jesus,
Who keep to, and for, themselves?,
We pray,
For those accepting of the Spirit of God,
Who refuse to be guided or counseled,
We pray.
For those who are immersed in the grace and forgiveness of God,
Who stand in judgement of others,
We pray.
For the Body of Christ,
Who fail and fall short of his glory
We pray.
For those who live with the presence of the Spirit,
Who turn a deaf ear to her still small voice,
We pray.
For us,
For we carry the marks of all these things,
We pray.
Lord, have mercy,
Christ, have grace,
Spirit, bear with us,
In God’s love
May this be so.
(Source: Jon Humphries)

We thank you for the blessings of food, water, shelter, family and well-being. As we enjoy healthy food, we will think of those who struggle to feed their families every day.
You taught us to pray.
As we say “Give us today our daily bread” we make that prayer also for the millions who go hungry every day.
You fed the hungry.
Inspire in us the commitment to follow your example, showing compassion in action and sharing what we have with those who have less.
You cared for all.
Help us to remember your command to love one another. Help us to see you in each of our brothers and sisters – especially those who are in need.
You are the Bread of Life.
Strengthen us as we work for justice in the world.
Help us to stand in solidarity with the poorest of the poor.
You came so that we could have life and have it to the full.
Our prayer is that this might be true for all.
We pray that communities and governments recognise our shared responsi- bility to be more just in sharing the world’s resources.
Help us to care more deeply, live more simply and share more fully. Amen.
(Source: Caritas Australia)

God of all places
God of all places and climes,
we are glad to thank you for our friends and partners in faith and vision throughout the world,
for people with the strength of character
to survive in difficult circumstances,
And to live out their faith
In joy and thanksgiving for all your gifts.

God of all people and nations,
God who loves all
without distinction of colour or feature
Hear our prayers for the people and churches of the world
who stand firm in the face of injustice and,
with imagination and determination,
share a spirit of adventure which can lead to miracles.

Generous God, we give thanks for the life of faith,
and being able to share it freely.
We pray for your people,
Who face persecution,
and help them to offer love freely
to one and to all, no matter their faith or religion.

Loving Christ, born in simplicity,
May your Living Stones be salt to all,
That both hope and justice may be real; that prejudice and bigotry be banished.
Awaken all people from complacency and give us courage to invest in peace.

God who is always close,
We remember our neighbours,
And pray for all you churches and peoples.
You promise us your Holy Spirit: Come Holy Spirit,
Clear away the cobwebs of complex histories
Tangled thoughts, and messy motives,
And help us all to flourish, living your love in our daily lives

Loving God, you challenge us to be a place of welcome,
A Church without walls,
offering your love, care and compassion
to those who need it most.
Lord, help us to be people of courage,
That our Church may be a witness to your vision of how we should live together. Amen.
(Source: World Mission Council)

Open Me Up, Christ
Open my mind, Christ,
That I might think beyond myself,
And spare a thought for those less fortunate .
Open my heart, Christ,
That I have compassion l for those who come to mind,
When I think about those who suffer in the world,
Open my voice, Christ,
That I might join in your call for justice
And speak up for those whose lives are downtrodden by poverty and affliction.
Open my hands, Christ,
That I might find ways to serve the needs of others,
Having thought about those who deserve compassion.
Open myself, Christ,
That I might follow in your way,
And give all in response to your call to love others.
Open faith, Christ,
That I might be compelled beyond naïve belief,
And narrow, self-focused religion.
Open my life, Christ,
So that I may be saved from myself and connected with life eternal,
And work with you in your work of redemption and re-creation.
So may I pray.
(Source: Jon Humphries)

Prayers for ourselves and others
We bring to mind our times of discouragement and disconnection…
(time of silence is kept)
Wild wind of the Holy Spirit
Breathe, blow, fan the fire of life in us.

We bring to mind those known to us in need of comfort, peace or healing…..
(time of silence is kept)
Wild wind of the Holy Spirit
Breathe, blow, fan the fire of love in us.

We bring to mind instances of human suffering that we have become aware of…..
(time of silence is kept)
Wild wind of the Holy Spirit
Breathe, blow, fan compassion’s fire in us.

We bring to mind situations where we see injustice…..
(time of silence is kept)
Wild wind of the Holy Spirit
Breathe, blow, fan your justice in our hearts.

We bring to mind those concerns and cares we hold in our hearts and minds…..
(time of silence is kept)
Wild wind of the Holy Spirit
Breathe, blow, refresh the life you have given each of us.

We pray in the name of Jesus who taught us to pray (Lord’s Prayer)

Song: composed for the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, 2006, in Porto Alegre, Brazil:

Gracious Friend
Gracious friend, and God of compassion,
we reach out to you for understanding
whilst hardly understanding ourselves.

We turn to you for eternal truths
yet can barely look ourselves in the eye
when our words are less than honest.

We ask that our open hearts be blessed by you
yet dither and deny
when your existence is questioned and challenged.

We take part in catastrophic wars
yet turn to you looking for peace
and fail to understand when the war rages on.

We ask that poverty ends here, ends now,
yet look over our shoulder in horror
when a hand is held out in desperation.

God of our understanding,
help us see the real face:
ours and yours.

Help us see the real needs,
ours and theirs,
and help us catch a glimpse
of a world that can be. Amen.
(prayer by Alma Fritchley, in Ruth Burgess (ed) Moments of our Nights and Days, Wild Goose Publications, 2014, p.262)

God who is Love,
God who is Christ,
God who is Spirit,
Help us be your prayer of love in the world.
For those who suffer, we pray.
May we work to alleviate the suffering of others,
Raising compassion in our own hearts and the hearts of all people,
Advocating for justice,
Giving generously in charity and care.
May we not add to any suffering through our actions, behaviour or lifestyle.
For those who are vulnerable, we pray.
May we we work to make life safe for those whose wellbeing is at risk.
People displaced from their homes.
People at the mercy of institutions and systems of power such as governments and other agencies like the Church.
People who are or have been victims of evil and are seeking healing and wholeness in the wake of trauma and distress.
May we not add to their difficulties or risk by our ignorance or apathy
Or by our inadvertent buying into the ways of society.
Or through our prejudice or bias.
For those who live in poverty, we pray
May we strive for a more equitable world where all have what they need for a dignified existence of meaningful purpose.
May we work for justice
Working hard to change our attitudes, economics, and consuming
Working hard to advocate for just policy and practice of our governments and institutions.
May we no longer be complicit in their oppression
and a barrier to a just world through our unintentional and intentional support of a worldview which means more for me and mine at whatever the cost, before wanting some for others.
For those who are unwell, we pray.
May we work for the healing and wholeness of all.
May we deal with, and help, those whose wellbeing is compromised by the state of their health, their mental state, or the state of their relationships.
May we support the work of people and organisations who care for and bring healing to those who need it.
May we not erode the wellbeing of other through our words or actions,
Neither by our lack of words or action.
So may we, who seek to wear your name, not become a cross for others.
Instead, way we take up your cross of sacrificial, costly love.
May we bear it
to each other
to all others
to ourselves
May we thus be your people
Your body
Your hands
Your feet
Your prayer
This we seek to do and be.
May it be truly so.
(Jon Humphries)

Using a song e.g. Helen Wiltshire’s ‘A Prayer for Sacredness’ (Helen’s songs are free to download, from the Pilgrim Uniting Church website – scroll to publications and click on ‘Here’s a New Day’ which links to a PDF of new songs set to familiar tunes).
Sing one verse and then pause for reflection. The idea could be used for other songs.

May we love goodness and give praise
and offer reverence all our days.
May joy infuse our day and night,
as hope fills life with inner light. Reflect on and/or name our joys

May words of justice fill our ears
and faithful trust dispel our fears.
May insight make us truly wise
as beauty’s gifts our hearts surprise. Reflect on and/or name our concerns

May spirit, soul and thought combine
with feelings, body, heart and mind.
May sacredness our lives infuse,
as love and truth we daily choose. Reflect on and/or name prayers for ourselves

As we give thanks and offer praise,
God’s peace will fill our nights and days.
As we give care and gently bless,
we walk the path of sacredness. Reflect on and/or name our prayers for peace. 

Africa – photos
These photos from ‘People in need – Cordaid‘ (UK) could be used most effectively in ‘prayers for others’, simply by projecting each of the four photos in the set. The images seek to draw consumers’ attention to the fact that the money we spend so easily in our daily lives can make a huge difference to people living in disaster areas. Could choose to music (instrumental, or music to a well known song that evokes a message). Thinking ‘Brother, sister, let me serve you’ could be music played during the slides…. Africa3.sunglasses Africa2.aftershave Africa 1.handbagBBC ‘best of 2015’ photos
Here’s a link to other photos that could be used in a similar way – some may need a descriptor or voice over explanation to resource the prayers. There are twelve images from 2015’s Environmental Photographer of the Year competition which have been released as part of the 111 shortlisted works of photographic art due to be showcased. Over 10,000 entries were submitted by photographers and filmmakers from more than 60 countries around the world. Run by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), the competition was launched in 2007 and created to enable photographers to share images of environmental and social issues with international audiences, and to enhance our understanding of the causes, consequences and solutions to climate change and social inequality.

plastic bag

the world consumes 1 million plastic bags a minute (photo from Bolivia)

Lord God, we give you thanks for all your gifts to us—for daily food, for health, for each breath we take, for freedom to choose, and for the gifts of your word, your power and your love. Our hearts are truly overwhelmed, O God, when we consider how you have entrusted so much to us. May we be worthy of that trust—may we be a people who are unafraid to live as fully and as richly as you want us to live.
Help us, O God, as followers of Jesus, to multiply all that you have given us, to risk spreading your word and perhaps see it misunderstood, to gamble by loving those whom others think worthy only of hate, to take chances by doing good to those who have not done good to us. Help us be faith filled and desire to increase your glory and your goodness in this world. Make us people who share in both word and deed that which you have given to us.
We pray for the church gathered today, both here and around the world, that it may encourage all of its members to discover, develop and use all their gifts, those of nature and those of grace.
We pray for those who are poor in body or in spirit, for those oppressed and heavy laden, for those sick or in despair.   Minister by your Spirit and by us, to all those for whom we have prayed, and help us walk faithfully in the path of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. (Source: Life in Liturgy, UCC)

Using symbolsdeflating balloons.

A desperate world by John van de Laar
We are a world that is desperate for you, God.
When powers struggle for dominance,
and war, oppression and abuse result;
When groups of people oppose one another
because of ideology, religion or culture;
We need a God who is bigger than ourselves,
and our personal interests.
Prayer may be offered for specific areas of conflict in the world.

When people are disregarded and devalued
because of poverty, geography or disease;
When compassion and justice is withheld to some
because of sexuality, race or gender;
We need a Saviour who is more compassionate than we are
who includes even those we would exclude.
Prayer may be offered for specific people and places of suffering in the world.

When resources are mismanaged and abused,
and the world and its creatures are destroyed;
When motivation is scarce and creativity is in short supply
to address the challenges that we face;
We need a Spirit who is more powerful and more creative
than we could ever be.
Prayer may be offered for specific challenges and issues that we struggle with in the world.

Lord God, Loving Saviour, Empowering Spirit,
we offer you these prayers
because we need you so desperately.
Captivate us, call us and fill us,
that we may be carriers of your eternal life
to this world that you love so dearly. Amen.

‘A Prayer for the World’, by Rabbi Harold Kushner
Let the rain come and wash away ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds,
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the sun heal us wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that we can see each other clearly.
So that we can see beyond labels, beyond accents, gender or skin colour.
Let the warmth and brightness of the sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and feel the sorrows of our neighbours.
And let the light of the sun be so strong that we will see all people as our neighbours.
Let the earth, nourished by rain, bring forth flowers to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.
For the new year
Our LORD, We pray for this coming year and what it might mean for us as a nation. We pray that people in places of power administer their responsibilities correctly, remembering the weak before any others. We pray they listen and take note of the issue they should address and respond to the cries of help in our society.
We pray, as your church, for our neighbouring families who have struggled over Christmas, trapped in debt, strained relationships that have broken up families, children neglected, elderly isolated. We ask for wisdom to know how to share the security of your love so others can discover the reassurance you bring that our lives are important to you.
We reflect on our own situation not for selfish reasons but to have a better idea of what it means to make a difference to other’s lives.
Whether in our workplace or in the home, or out with our friends help us to hear the cry for help whether from a work colleague, our nearest and dearest or friend. We ask for the insight and energy to respond and be there for them in their time of need. Let them know that in us, through your strength, they can find a safe space to share and that their voice is heard and we are ready. In the name you gave us to pray, Jesus. Amen.
(by Rev. Dr. Alister W. Bull, Church of Scotland, ‘Starters For Sunday’, 2015.)

To walk in your light
Help us, Lord,
To walk in your light.
Gracious God, we call to mind the world Church;
particularly our partners around the world …(an opportunity to name them)
We acknowledge our divisions and mistakes
and thank you for transforming them even as we pray …
A silence is kept.

Help us, Lord,
To walk in your light.

We call to mind the wounds of our world,
born of collective greed and terrible blunders
by politicians, bankers, business,
and those of us who live beyond our means;
and we seek you help and guidance
as we work to bring wholeness and justice to our world …
A silence is kept
Help us, Lord,
To walk in your light.

We remember all who nurture children,
parents, schools, local authorities and foster carers;
May we take seriously our responsibilities
as parents and communities;
we need your guidance and grace,
your protection and courage …
A silence is kept
Help us, Lord,
To walk in your light.

We call to mind those who have died …(may name them if you so choose)
.. and those who are dying now …(may name them if you so choose)
especially those unnoticed and unloved.
A silence is kept
Help us, Lord,
To walk in your light.

We call to mind the way you have dealt with us so lovingly in the past,
and we commit our future into your keeping.
Teach us, to walk in your light,
and lead us on right paths as we live according to your kingdom,
through Jesus Christ, Amen.
(Rev. Chris Vermeulen, Church of Scotland, ‘Starters For Sunday’, 2013.)

Prayers for people
We yearn for the healing of all people.
May our hearts be filled with the fire of love
and our minds with the thirst for justice.
May we be emboldened to speak out against oppression,
and empowered to work for peace and justice.
May we feel the touch of your life-giving Spirit
and be healed. Amen.

A source of help
O God,
We look to you for strength to make a difference.
May we be a source of help to others.
While we thank you for our own families
we think of families who are struggling.
The most vulnerable.
The children in need.
The children who are unsafe
The children who are hungry and sick.
The distant brother
The younger sister
The partner neglected
The spouse who’s hurt
The grandparents who long to see their family
The son who is angry and lost
The daughter who hates looking in the mirror
The parent seeking wisdom
The single person struggling with pressures
May we extend compassion,  show patience and understanding,
and live with perseverance and openness,
May we show kindness, and give hope to others where there was none before,
May others see by what we do that we follow a God who cares through all times.
May they see that God has changed us so we can dare to change the world to be more like God’s home. In the name you gave us to pray, Jesus. Amen.
(by Rev. Dr. Alister W. Bull, Church of Scotland, ‘Starters For Sunday’, 2015, adapted)

The gift of generosity
Gracious God, may we know the gift of generosity and the joy that it can bring.
Generous with time, helping those who need a hand.
Generous with care, being there when times are bad.
Generous with wealth, thankful that we have so much.
Generous with hope, reassuring those who fear.
Generous with prayer, when there’s illness or distress.
Generous with love, giving without counting cost.
Gracious God, may we know the gift of generosity
and the joy that it can bring both to those who receive and to the one who gives.

© John Birch,

A Changing Prayer (a prayer which may be used to conclude prayers for others)
God, the author change,
Christ, the embodiment of change,
Spirit, the bringer of change,
We need to change.
Our world needs to change.
Our religion needs to change.
Our discipleship needs to grow – which is change.
Help us to change.
Help us to want to change.
Help us discover how to change.
Help us, Lord.
Change us, Lord.
Amen – May it be so. (c) Jon Humphries

An Ugly Prayer
God of beauty and wonder
We are sorry for our ugliness of spirit which brings ugliness into your beautiful world.
We are sorry…
For the ugliness of politics
For the ugliness of bigotry
For the ugliness of racism
For the ugliness of prejudice
For the ugliness of injustice
For the ugliness of slavery
For the ugliness of sexism
For the ugliness of gossip
For the ugliness of oppression
For the ugliness of war
For the ugliness of violence
For the ugliness of persecution
For the ugliness of cruelty
For the ugliness of degradation
For the ugliness of selfishness
For the ugliness of greed
For the ugliness of consumerism
For the ugliness of evil
For the ugliness of ignorance
For the ugliness of indifference
For the ugliness of apathy
For the ugliness of mean spiritedness
God of beauty and wonder,
Teach us, who are created in your image, to value true beauty.
May we look for the beauty of the spirit.
May we strive for beauty in our souls,
May we work to bring beauty of
May we bring all such things into the world,
so that the beauty of creation may be echoed in the beauty of us who are created.
As Christ revealed what the image of God might be for us,
May we seek to grow in that image as well.
This we pray. Amen. (c) Jon Humphries

A prayer in response to the sadness of human history
God in Christ,
who challenges us to care,
Be with all who suffer and those who would cause suffering.
May your healing work in those whose pain seems to know no hope of ending and which pushes them to the edge of their sanity and into the desert of hopelessness.
Come alongside them in the wilderness of their desperation that they may know comfort and support.
May your joy break though to those trapped or walled in by sadness, and whose lives are muddied by difficulty and struggle.
May they glimpse a future with some sense of positivity.
May your gentleness soak into the spirit of those whose view of life is immersed in negativity and which results in them viewing only negative aspects in situations or circumstances and only seeing negative options for action.
May they find redefinition which opens up that which is truly good, rather than seeing the negative as good.
May your forgiveness wipe clean the sense of betrayal or need for vengeance for those who feel wronged or offended.
Pour in your grace into the void left by what people feel has been taken or robbed from them so that the cycle of pain may be disrupted to open the potential for healing and hope.
May your peace transform those whose hate and anger boil and rage within them towards violence.
Open their hearts to be filled with compassion that they might truly know the mutuality of our humanity.
May your love infiltrate all of our living as people and take the place of our selfishness or apathy.
As you opened a new way of being for us, may we embody the change that is needed to end the misery of suffering that we as humans release into the world.
May it be so.
May it be so.
May it really be so.
Amen. (c) Jon Humphries

A Care-Less Prayer
Caring God,
Expressed in Christ,
Help me to care less.
Less about what I look like
Less about what others look like
Less about what others do wrong
Less about what others have done wrong to me
Less about what I want
Less about what I think that I need
Less about what I don’t have
Less about what I want to have
Less about what I am yet to have.
Help me think less about the trivial in my life.
Less about the small things.
Less about annoyances
Less about what frustrates me in others

Help me to care more
More for the feelings of others
More for the affliction of suffering
More for those downtrodden by injustice
More for degradation of our planet
More for the victims of violence and oppression
More about listening for your spirit.
More about working with you to bring in the Kingdom
More about justice and compassion
More about grace and mercy
More about forgiveness and reconciliation
More about our repentance and transformation
More about how we go about our faith and discipleship
More about the call of Jesus to live love into the world.
Help me to let this be so.
(c) Jon Humphries

Prayers of the people
We are your people, God
In this time and place,
you have called us to pray for those in need.
We pray for the people whose names the world knows,
whose stories are told daily in the news…. A silence is kept
God in your mercy/hear our prayer.
We pray for people in places of suffering
whose names only you and their friends and family know
and whose lives you cherish….. A silence is kept
God in your mercy/hear our prayer.
We pray for the people whose names and lives we know,
those who today are in pain or distress or trouble,
those who are happy, those who are sad….A silence is kept
God in your mercy/hear our prayer.
We pray for ourselves, God,
you know each of us by name.
We bring you ourselves and our prayers. A silence is kept

Youtube clip, Peace in our time – words and music by Melvyn Cann, Australian musician and composer, sung by Rachel. The youtube link has the words of the song printed as text (not on the clip itself), and images overload on the music so it could easily be projected as a meditation in a time of war, or generally in prayers for others.

God for all who at this moment in time are threatened with death
for no reason other than the colour of their skin, their ethnicity,
or that they are seeking enough to eat, we pray.
For all who risk their lives on a journey
to find a place of freedom and hope, we pray.

For all who are willing to exploit others for their own enrichment,
for those who are willing to imprison and kill others for their own poetical ends,
and for those who can stand by while the innocent are made to suffer
and who profit from that suffering, we pray.

We pray that hope will not die in the hearts of the afflicted.
We pray that joy and the possibility of renewal will not be suffocated in the hearts of the afflicters.
We pray that all whose lifestyles are propped up by the suffering of others
will not long be deaf, blind and numb to their complicity but will rise up and demand change.

We pray for the one-day-to-come-world when death is done,
and all our wildest hopes become our everyday experiences.
We pray in the name of the suffering, innocent Jesus. Amen.

Creating God

The lovely fragility of this song could be a prayerful response to prayers for the world and for the people.
 Here’s a Youtube video with images that might be used. Words are below. Sung by Fran McKendree.

Creating God, your fingers trace
The bold designs of farthest space:
Let sun and moon and stars and light
And what lies hidden praise your might.

Sustaining God, your hands enfold
Earth’s mysteries no one yet has told;
But waters fragile blend with air
Enabling life, proclaim your care.

Redeeming God, your arms embrace
All now despised for creed or race;
Let peace descending like a dove
Make known on earth your healing love.

Indwelling God, your gospel praise
One family with a billion names;
Let every life be touched by grace
Until we praise you face to face

Creating God, your fingers trace
The bold designs of farthest space:
Let sun and moon and stars and light
And what lies hidden praise your might.
(Words: Jeffery Rowthorn, Music: Rob Sabino)

O God, Who Formed Creation
AURELIA D (“The Church’s One Foundation”)
O God, who formed creation and made each living thing,
We’ve seen the devastation that war and conflict bring.
We long to stop the violence and end the scourge of war;
We yearn for peace and justice, now and forevermore.

We join in celebration of those who’ve heard your call
To bring together nations and seek the good for all.
We thank you for their labors to bring a lasting peace,
That we might live as neighbors and justice might increase.

Some care for your creation, some daily feed the poor;
Some offer education, or seek an end to war.
Some labor bringing healing, or care for refugees;
It’s you, O Lord, they’re serving, in doing each of these.

This work to heal the nations becomes our calling, too.
For reconciliation is first a gift from you.
As we have been forgiven, may we reach out to share
The peace that comes from heaven with nations everywhere.

(Written by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette as a hymn for the celebration of United Nations Day 2007, October 24. Youtube clip here)

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.
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