Readings: Hosea 1:2-10; Psalm 85; Colossians 2:6-15, (16-19); Luke 11:1-13

Resources: Textweek.
Commentary on Hosea by Dennis Bratcher.

he qi Lord's Prayer

Lord’s Prayer by He Qi

Various versions of the Lord’s Prayer, including the following written by Rev Sarah Agnew.

Divine Source of Love and Live,
Holy is your unspeakable name.

May your Way of Love resound through earth,
heaven in our midst.

All we need to live and thrive
we receive from you, Creator;

forgive us when we turn away,
as we forgive each other.

Keep us on the path of Wisdom,
away from wicked tyranny;

Spirit ever breathe through us,
empower us with hope.

From you, through you and in you,
are all things, now and always;
to you be all honour and praise. Amen.

(Rev Sarah Agnew, Pray the Story)

And this one by Mark Berry:
O Breathing Life
(inspired by Matthew 6: 9-13, Luke 11: 2-4)
O Breathing Life, your Name shines everywhere!
Release a space to plant your Presence here.
Imagine your possibilities now.
Embody your desire in every light and form.
Grow through us this moment’s bread and wisdom.
Untie the knots of failure binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ faults.
Help us not forget our Source,
yet free us from not being in the Present.
From you arises every Vision,
Power and Song from gathering to gathering.
Amen! May our future actions grow from here!

And this by Steve Garnaas-Holmes:
Our Mother, our Father, Source of our being,
whose presence is heaven,
all Creation sings of you, “Holy!”
May your Realm unfold among us,
your desire be fulfilled,
this world blossoming out of your delight.
Give us the breath of life, one breath at a time.
Accept our brokenness;
give us acceptance of others who are broken.
Lead us beyond our desires
and save us from the grip of evil.
For the world is within you;
all power is from you,
and all glory is about you,
in eternity, which is in the present moment.

The Prayers of Who we Are/Prayers of Confession
(adapted from Thom Shuman’s call to worship)
Into this place of holiness we can come with our fears,
our doubts, all the questions of our hearts.
We come to this place, to hear the words of peace,
of hope, of joy God speaks to us.
Into this place of discovery we can come searching.
We come to this place, to find
the One who has been looking for us.
Into this place of openness we can come knocking.
We come to this place, to be embraced
by the One whose heart is never locked.
Here, in this place, in the company of God, we can open our lives
before the One who loves us. (A time of quiet reflection)

Prayer of Confession (Thom Shuman)
We are invited to pray – all who have hurt someone else, and all who have been hurt by another. We are called to pray: for hope, for healing, for mercy. We pray to the One who seeks to make us whole; whose will it is to restore us to new life. Join me as we pray, saying:
We do not find it easy to speak of how we do not live as your people, but you invite us to share our weaknesses and failures with you, Inviting God. Tempted to think your salvation is for a select few, we put up barriers for others. Clinging to all you give to us, we are reluctant to share with those in need. Surrounded by evil and violence, we find it easier to close ranks with those just like us, rather than seeking peace and reconciliation for our world.
Forgive us, Salvation’s God. Open our eyes to our sisters and brothers all around us. Open our ears to the word of hope you speak to us. Open our spirits to the presence of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who flings wide the open doors of your kingdom, that all might find life with you. Silence is kept
Assurance of Pardon
Here is the good news, my friends: Christ came searching for us, calling us by name, leading us into God’s kingdom.
In Christ, we become new people: broken, we are made whole; lost, we are found; forsaken, we are restored to new life. Thanks be to God. Amen.

A collect by Bob Eldan
Let us pray:
God, our Abba,
your son taught us to pray to you as our father,
an approachable parent.
Quiet our troubled spirits,
Teach us also to persistently listen in our prayers,
knowing that your original language is silence.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen

Ask, and it will be given you;
search, and you will find;
knock, and the door will be opened for you.
For everyone who asks receives,
and everyone who searches finds,
and for everyone who knocks,
the door will be opened.
Luke 11.9-10

Faith is not having; it’s searching.
Faith is not knowing; it’s asking.
Faith is not having arrived;
it’s knocking on the door.

See how often the Teacher praises people’s faith
knowing nothing of their beliefs or their attitudes,
only that they are reaching out.
Faith is reaching out.

Certainty doesn’t draw us near to God.
The lived question does, the open hand,
opening ourselves to what flows new each moment.

We are leaves turning toward the sun,
lovers longing for our lovers,
children calling for mommy,
swimmers coming up for breath.

Trusting the Beloved’s generosity,
deepen your pleading.
Let everything you do, every moment,
be an opening, a breathing in,
an ardent search,
a reaching out to God.

Look! The door is opening.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light

Reflection on the Gospel reading by Bob Eldan
Can we wear God down, getting God to do something that at first glance was against God’s better judgment? What kind of a God would that be, giving in to the best lobbyist? A disciple asks Jesus to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1). He first gives them what we now call the Lord’s Prayer. Then he tells them a story about a man who wakes up a friend at midnight asking him for provisions for a late visitor he has. The friend at first refuses, then gives in because of his persistence. (see Greek below*) By analogy, that sure sounds like we can get God to change his mind if we just keep pestering. But there is something else going on here. God is our very best friend. God is our parent (Luke 11:2). God is not an enemy to be feared. God is not an abusive parent to be feared. The message here is the approachability of God. We can be telling our needs to God day and night, even at midnight, knowing that God is always there for us. God does not consider it any imposition. God is not ignorant of our needs. We are. That is why in the Lord’s Prayer we say “Give us each day our daily bread.” (Luke 11:3) “Bread” stands in for any of our needs: a job, our health, good relationships, peace. In the Lord’s Prayer we don’t spell out the specifics. Maybe we are ignorant of them, but God is not. We can go to God at any importune time. We are not wearing God down. God just likes to listen to us. It’s like pillow talk between lovers. God not only loves us, he likes us. In the end God is for what is best for us, not necessarily for what we are asking. Prayer is primarily a time to learn. When all we get back from our prayer is silence we think God is not answering. However, the first language of God is silence. God’s voice is the sound of sheer silence (1 Kings 19:12). We also can learn to speak that language. Listen!
(*Greek: Luke 11:8 says that the friend will get up and give him bread because of his “persistence,” indicating this is how we should pray. That translation gives the impression that we just need to keep at it, and we will wear God down. But the Greek word is much bolder. It means something like shamelessness, importunity, impudence, boldness or shameless persistence. This is an amazing God who wants us to be impudent with him. But what good parent ever resents the brashness of the little child?)
“The most interesting thing about a postage stamp is the persistence with which it sticks to its job.” – Napoleon Hill

Reflection on Psalm 85: The Politics of Getting Justice and Peace to Kiss by Richard Davis

Prayers for Others: God is not reluctant (Ann Siddall)
(inspired by Romans 8:26-27, Luke 11:5-13, Luke 18:2-8)
People of God, as we come to prayer
let us remember that we do not
have to twist the arm of a reluctant God
to seek good things for this world,
nor find ways to persuade a distant God
to come near and listen to us.
Let us remember that as we pray
we kneel alongside Jesus Christ,
in the presence of God,
with the help of the Spirit.
So let us bring to mind now
those people who are in need of our prayers:
those who are ill, or anxious;
those who are lonely or sad;
those who are despairing or defeated;
those who are hungry or homeless;
those whose relationships are breaking apart;
those who are bullied or abused;
those who cannot find work;
and those who are over-worked.
In silence now, let us make our own specific prayers
for those on our hearts and minds today.
In the presence of God,
alongside Jesus Christ,
with help from the Spirit
may we go into this week
to live out our prayers through our lives. Amen.

Prayers for Others (using the Lord’s Prayer)
Our Father, who art in heaven
slow to anger, and of great mercy, lover of all peoples of the earth,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Remind us that “all the nations are as nothing before thee,”
their governments but a shadow of passing age;
Thy kingdom come on earth.
Grant to thy children throughout the world,
and especially to the leaders of the nations,
the gift of prayerful thought and thoughtful prayer;
that following the example of our Lord,
we may discern what is right, and do it;
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Help us to protect and to provide for all who are hungry and homeless,
especially those who are deprived of food and shelter,
family and friends, by the tragedy of war;
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us for neglecting to “seek peace and pursue it,”
and finding ourselves in each new crisis,
more ready to make war than to make peace.
“We have not loved thee with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves”;
Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Let us not seek revenge, but reconciliation;
Let us not delight in victory, but in justice;
Let us not give ourselves up to pride, but to prayer;
Lead us not into temptation.
Be present to all thy children ravaged by war:
Be present to those who are killing and to those who are being killed;
Be present to the loved ones of those who are killing
and to the loved ones of those who are being killed;
Deliver us from evil.
Subdue our selfish desires to possess and to dominate,
and forbid us arrogance in victory;
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
(Wendy Lyons, Progressive Church Planting)

Prayers for others, with Lord’s Prayer – by Wendy Ratawa
Our Father in Heaven, hallowed by your name. Jesus did not say to use words like El Shaddai – Almighty God or Elohim Creator of the Universe or Adonai, or Jehovah Jireh, but a word that means an intimate family relationship, a nurturing parent loving a child. Yet God we have made even this prayer into one of a thousand voices singing in eight parts, forgetting the simplicity of the opening words. However if ‘hallowed’ does mean holy, honoured, sacred, Jesus intends us to be respectful. We only know many things dimly, yet we believe that you God abide in Heaven in the place of everlasting blessedness yet mysterious to us earthed creatures. A silence is kept. 
Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. God, Your Kingdom is of our world and in the future. We know obviously your will is not always done here. We live in a world of both good and evil and the grey areas in between. Yet we earnestly wish to live in a place of safety and sharing and respect for all in our world family of nations.
Give us this day our daily bread. God, as people of the Earth we need clean water and nutritious food to survive so we ask for the ordinary needs for strength and health – that actually are not shared equally in our world. A silence is kept. 
And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. God if we are to share Jesus’ own prayer life — and with it his agenda, his work, his pattern of life, and his spirituality there is this emphasis on forgiveness. So we recognize our nature as in between the best we can do and the worst we can do, which requires the grace of reconciling between us and those who do hurt us. A silence is kept. 
O God, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. We ask you God to help us through the tough times. protection from all that is evil – whether it be spirits or attitudes or political powers. We ask you God for direction to take paths that lead to joy and happiness and crossing borders to accept strangers as potential friends. Save us from the evil that people can do to one another. A silence is kept. 
God we have added more words to the straight-forward prayer that Jesus taught his disciples. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever. We say these words to sum up the prayer list given by Jesus, who is our mentor, our life-example on how to live as faithful, even if flawed, children of your Kingdom. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
As you have done with us, may we do for others, holding nothing back, but offering our treasures and lives that hope may be restored, that healing might touch the broken, that the suffering might be revived, and that all might know of your steadfast love in their lives. This we pray in the name of Jesus. Amen. (Thom Shuman)

You have heard the words of peace and hope from God, so go.
We will go to speak to those filled with fear and doubt.
You have been reminded of the One who came looking for us, so go.
We will go to search for all tossed aside by the world.
You have been embraced in the love and grace of the Spirit, so go.
We will go to open our hearts to all searching for hope.

Communion (Thom Shuman)
Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of grace be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One who shares good gifts with us.
Children of the living God,
give thanks to the One who loves us.
We sing our praises to the One
who embraces us with righteousness
and showers us with kisses of peace.
Our greatest joy is to sing
our songs of thanksgiving
to you, Lord of all eternity.
When you first spoke,
creation was conceived and brought forth:
birds to swoop through the clear blue skies
and butterflies to flit about
in the gardens of Eden.
We were offered the chance
to run free in your good universe,
but we immersed ourselves
in the petty philosophies of pride,
and were enticed
by the empty lies of the world.
You sent the prophets
to knock on our hardened hearts,
asking us to turn to you,
but we continued to dance
in the arms of sin and death.
That is when you sent Jesus,
to put on flesh’s body,
so we might throw off
the chains of our captivity.
Therefore, we join with those in every time and place,
who have searched, and found you,
who have asked, and been answered,
who have knocked and been welcomed
in your all-forgiving grace and love,
singing our praises forever:
Holy, holy, holy, God of steadfast love.
Righteousness and peace are lifelong lovers in your kingdom.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes
to open the door to your forgiveness.
Hosanna in the highest!
Holy are you, God of restored lives,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son.
In him, you turned away from your anger,
so we might turn to you to receive forgiveness.
In him, you set down your indignation,
to hand us the Bread of Life.
In him, death and sin were defeated
so we could be revived to life.
So, as we gather at this Table,
remembering how he not only lived and died,
but was raised to life by your love,
we proclaim that mystery called faith:
Christ died, that salvation might be given to us;
Christ arose, ending the search for life forever;
Christ will come again, knocking on the doors of our hearts.
Pour your Spirit of peace and hope
upon these good gifts of the bread and the cup
and upon those who have gathered here
at your gracious invitation.
May the Bread which is broken make us whole,
so we may go forth to speak peace to a world
which has been fed violence and death.
May the Cup which is shared
open our hearts to the pain of those around us,
so we may bring healing and hope.
When we leave this Feast,
may we follow your righteousness
into the streets of the world,
taking all we meet by the hand
to show them the path to your heart.
And when our wills have been subsumed into yours,
and when your kingdom has come in its glory and grace,
we will gather with our sisters and brothers
from every time and place,
embracing and kissing all children of the living God,
sitting down at the great Feast of the Lamb,
singing your glory through all time and space,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

George Stuart’s website – new hymn for this week, Praying – Living Values.

When You Are Praying
AMAZING GRACE CM (“Amazing Grace”)

“When you are praying,” Jesus said, “Don’t put on vain displays–
But close your door and speak your heart, And humbly offer praise.”

Our Father in the heavenly realm, Our Abba, ever near–
Your name is holy, set apart; O bring your kingdom here!

God, give us all we daily need And we will be content;
Forgive our sins as we forgive The wrongs that we resent.

God, give us grace to follow you; Protect us on your Way.
When evil tempts us from your path, Deliver us, we pray.

O Lord, we turn in trust to you; You know the things we need–
And like a parent, you so love: The ones who ask, receive.

Music: Virginia Harmony, 1831 Arr. Edwin O. Excell, 1900
Alternative Tune: CRIMOND (“The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want”) (MIDI)
Text: Copyright © 1998 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved. Email:


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Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon). This blog may be a help to people planning worship services.
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