Categories
Bidding Prayer liturgy

Bidding Prayer for the Second Sunday of Advent

Image of a white dove in a glass ball, held in a hand. Background is red with faint stars and an outline of a Christmas tree.
Come, let us pray for the people of God here and everywhere.
 (People silently or out loud offer their prayers.)
Bringer of peace and hope, we turn our hearts and minds to you. We see your people in need all around us, all around the world. You frequently remind us that all people are your people, especially when we would separate one from another. Forgive us when we fail to treat any of our neighbors as your beloved children. Show us the way to comfort your people.
 May our voices join the one in the wilderness
 as we prepare the way of the Lord.
 
Come, let us pray for the United Church of Christ and our sister churches.
 (People silently or out loud offer their prayers.)
God of patience and grace, today we pray for our denomination and all those who lead it. Be with John Dorhauer and all the others who work in the national setting. Guide them with your wisdom and strengthen them with the power of the Holy Spirit. Be with Shari Prestemon and the other Minnesota Conference staff, as well as those who lead other conferences. May your renewing Spirit be with all those who lead the UCC, clergy and laity alike. May we be leaders in the way of unity and healing, offering hope in the midst of pandemic and all the injustices it has highlighted.
 May our voices join the one in the wilderness
 as we prepare the way of the Lord.
  
Come, let us pray for all the nations of the world.
 (People silently or out loud offer their prayers.)
Loving God, we long for a world in which “steadfast love and faithfulness meet; and righteousness and peace will kiss each other.” Yet, we often desire only that which will keep those we know and love safe and healthy, forgetting the needs of our neighbors near and far. We thank you for your patience with us and with the whole of humanity. Forgive our reluctance to repent of our self-protective ways and turn our hearts toward your vision of peace and justice.
 May our voices join the one in the wilderness
 as we prepare the way of the Lord.
  
Come, let us pray for all those in need of healing.
 (People silently or out loud offer their prayers.)
God of the past, present, and future, you have witnessed all that has brought us to this moment. You have seen humanity at its best and you have seen us at our worst, and you continue to name us beloved. We know that we are like the grass that withers, and only you last forever. Yet, we are in need of your healing love. We pray for those who have COVID and those who care for them. We also pray for those whose lives have been disrupted by pandemic – those without homes, those without work, those without access to mental health care, those without access to medicine… Shepherd us to new ways of being that allow us to care for the most vulnerable among us.
 May our voices join the one in the wilderness
 as we prepare the way of the Lord.
  
Come, let us pray for all who are grieving.
 (People silently or out loud offer their prayers.)
God of goodness and life, our hearts are breaking as we see the numbers of lives COVID has claimed. While we anxiously wait for a vaccine, keep us mindful of those who are grieving the loss of loved ones. Help us also to remember those who have few resources, those for whom pandemic has created unbearable suffering. As we pray for those in the midst of grief, we also pray for those who struggle with depression and other mental health conditions that can lead to suicidality. Enable us to raise up the valleys and level the mountains to reveal your way of peace and love, inviting all into communities of grace and radical welcome.
 May our voices join the one in the wilderness
 as we prepare the way of the Lord.
  
Come, let us give thanks for God’s steadfast love and faithfulness.
 (People silently or out loud offer their prayers.)
Amazing God, you have been with your people through plagues and pandemics, through oppression and captivity. Your faithfulness has not wavered, and we are grateful. We thank you for the moments of joy, for the reflections of your majesty, for the touch of loving-kindness… and all the ways you reveal your love for us. May our gratitude make us generous and compassionate with all our neighbors as we wait for and prepare for Love to break into the world once again.
 May our voices join the one in the wilderness
 as we prepare the way of the Lord.
 Amen. 

For sermon help, try here.

RCL: Year B Second Sunday of Advent December 6, 2020 Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

Photo: CC0image by Gerd Altmann

Categories
Bidding Prayer liturgy

Bidding Prayer for Thanksgiving Eve

Image of a white pumpkin on a plate with dried sunflowers with “Give Thanks” written in the background.

Note: I’m on vacation this week so this post is not based on the RCL. You are welcome to use this bidding prayer if you wish. If you have virtual services and would like to use my four minute recording of a shorter version of this prayer, with candle lighting, you can find the video on youtube. Download links and attribution are in the video description. You can use it.

Direct video download links are in the video description – click through to YouTube if you want to use my video this in your services, to download and copy the attribution.

Let us pray for all who gather to give thanks and worship God.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Creator God, you long for unity among all your peoples. On this Thanksgiving Eve, fill our hearts with love for all our neighbors and move us to live lives of compassion and generosity. Our fears and anxiety surrounding some of your peoples do not come from you. We are grateful for you love and pray for the courage to live more fully as your body.
God in your mercy,
Hear our prayers.

Let us pray for the church, gathered here and elsewhere. (silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
God who remains steadfast through all time, we celebrate the awesome diversity of your church. In this season of division, help us to be agents of your healing grace. Enable us to let go of all that keeps us from working side-by-side to bring about your realm here on earth. Forgive our tendency to think we are right and all other ways of worshiping you are incorrect. Be with us now; lead us into better days for all your people.
God in your mercy,
Hear our prayers.

Let us pray for all of Creation – this planet and all who live on it
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Eternal and compassionate God, we are a world in trouble. We have not been good stewards of your Creation, nor have we loved our neighbors as ourselves. In the midst of pandemic we have a tendency to protect our own and not be as concerned with others as you would have us be. Strengthen us for the days ahead. Let us bring hope and healing once more – for Earth and for all your children.
God in your mercy,
Hear our prayers.

Let us pray for all those in need of healing.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Holy and amazing God, we know we need healing – as individuals, as your church, as a community, as a country, and as a global community. We hold out to you all the broken places in our lives and in our world, asking that you would bring healing and wholeness. We also lift up all those who have COVID and those whose work puts them at higher risk. Be with those who seek to find a vaccine. Grant us courage and hope enough to get through this season of sickness and despair.
God in your mercy,
Hear our prayers.

Let us pray for all those whose hearts are heavy with grief and loss.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
God of hope and new life, there is too much sadness, loss, and grief in the world. We often feel helpless and don’t know how to be in the company of those who suffer. Teach us your compassion that we may bring comfort to those who mourn, that we may trust your light of hope to guide us all. We pray for your healing presence to accompany those whose burden of grief is too heavy to bear, especially those who have lost a loved one to suicide, murder, or sudden death of another kind. May we be gentle and kind and patient in response to the grief in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
God in your mercy,
Hear our prayers.

Let us offer up gratitude and praise to God for the goodness and blessings we experience.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
God of abundant life, we thank you that even in the midst of pandemic we can experience the wonders and mysteries of your blessings. We thank you for the people and prophets who challenge us, awaken us, and call us closer to you. We are grateful for what do have and what we are able to do on this Thanksgiving. Even as we yearn for better days, we continue to praise you for all that is good, and for your love for us which never ends.
God in your mercy,
Hear our prayers. Amen.

Photo: CC0image by Jacksonville

Categories
Bidding Prayer liturgy

Bidding Prayer for the Wilderness Journey

Come, let us pray for all those who worship the One who created all that is and loves the whole of the Cosmos.
(silence or time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns
Ever-present, Creator God, hear our prayers for all your people, those who gather in the name of Christ and those who worship by another name. Unite us in our desire to love and serve you by loving and serving all our neighbors. Make us mindful that we are your people and our siblings are numerous. In these days of change, conflict, and war, you call us to leave behind what we have known, and journey to strange places whose customs we have yet to learn or create. Grant us the trust of Abram and the courage of Sarai that we may all follow you into new and life-sustaining ways.
I lift my eyes to the hills from where will my help come?
My help comes from God, who made heaven and earth.

Come, let us pray for the United Church of Christ and our sister denominations throughout the world.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
God of all times and places, hear our prayers for the United Church of Christ and those who lead it. May we hear your call as clearly as Abram did and be willing to leave behind that which no longer serves. May our commitment to following you outweigh our love affair with the past. Grant us the temerity of Nicodemus to come to you, as with the yearning of our hearts. Open us to your call to life and love in new ways, paving the way for change, for growth, for the deepening of our covenant with you and with one another.
I lift my eyes to the hills from where will my help come?
My help comes from God, who made heaven and earth.

Come, let us pray for all the peoples of this world.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Patient and merciful God, hear our prayers for all the peoples of the world. We lift up to those near and far who do not know they are loved and valued. We acknowledge the ways we have participated in systems of oppression that have caused pain to our neighbors. Teach us your ways of mercy and grace that we may join with protesters rather than complain about the disruption to our days. As we journey through the Lenten wilderness, increase our awareness of the needs of others, especially those who remain willfully unseen. Remind us once more that your love is for the whole of the Cosmos and we are to leave no one out.
I lift my eyes to the hills from where will my help come?
My help comes from God, who made heaven and earth.

Come, let us pray for this nation and those who lead it.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)

God of our ancestors and God of all our days, hear our prayers for this country and all who live within its borders. In this season of political choosing, be present with us, enveloping us with your mercy and your love. As we participate in primary elections, guide us with your wisdom. Your Spirit blows where it wills, and so it should be with our lives. Let us not resist the power of your Spirit. Rather, let us resist those who would lead us away from justice, compassion, and equity for all those who call this country home. May we seek leaders who will care for the vulnerable among us more than they care for wealth or power.
I lift my eyes to the hills from where will my help come?
My help comes from God, who made heaven and earth.

Come, let us pray for all those in need of healing.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Healing and compassionate God, hear us as we pray for those who need healing in body, mind, or spirit. We especially lift up those who are wrongfully imprisoned or unjustly sentenced, especially those who are on death row. As we pray for those who struggle with the broken places in their lives, fill us with your compassion that our prayerful words may lead to acts of welcome and inclusion for those the world has pushed to the edges. May your Wisdom guide us to be the Body of Christ needed in the world today.
I lift my eyes to the hills from where will my help come?
strong>My help comes from God, who made heaven and earth.

Come, let us pray for all those who grieve and suffer the pain of loss.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
God of love and joy, hear us as we pray for those who are grieving. We pray for refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants who, like Abram and Sarai, have left all that they have known to seek a life of safety and peace. We pray for those like Nicodemus who are lost under the cover of night and desperately want new life. As we examine the barren places in our own lives, we come to you, trusting that you are a God of hope and wholeness. Be at work in us and among us that we may be your healing body where grief, sadness, and loss can be held until new life becomes possible.
I lift my eyes to the hills from where will my help come?
My help comes from God, who made heaven and earth.

Come, let us give thanks to God for all that we have and all that we are.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Generous and forgiving God, hear us as we give thanks for our lives. We often fail to express our gratitude for all that you have given us, focusing overly much on what we do not have or cannot do. As we travel this road to Jerusalem with you, shift our focus to your abundance, your love and grace, that is all around us. Jesus went into the desert with your words of “Beloved” echoing in his spirit; he did not go alone. Open us anew to your presence and our belovedness. We are agents of Love and Grace here and now, and we are grateful for your Love, mercy, and forgiveness which leads us through the wild places into the fullness of life with you.
I lift my eyes to the hills from where will my help come?
My help comes from God, who made heaven and earth. Amen.

RCL – Year A – Second Sunday in Lent – March 8, 2020
Genesis 12:1-4a
Psalm 121
Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
John 3:1-17 or Matthew 17:1-9

Photo: CC0image by Anja

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Bidding Prayer liturgy Prayer

Bidding Prayer for Advent Love

candle-2874569_1280.jpg

With hopes that we, like Mary, may find favor with God, let us join together in praying for all who share the sacred journey to Bethlehem.
People may quietly or silently voice their prayers
God who leads through example, be with all who seek the Christ-child who waits for us. Remind us that road is long and wide enough for all who endeavor to see you. As we prepare to offer our gifts to the newborn king, open our hearts. Open our hearts to make room for the extravagance of your love for us and for the whole of creation. May the love we celebrate this day, flow through us into the world.
Restore us, O God;
Let your face shine that we might be saved.

As we move through these last Advent days, let us pray for those who are in need of shelter, sanctuary, or safety.
People may quietly or silently voice their prayers
Holy One whose light proclaims the way of love for the whole of Creation, guide us to the day when hatred, fear, and oppression have no place in our lives. Mary and Joseph found safe harbor in a stable and Christ was born into these humble surroundings. You tell us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. May our love for our neighbors be demonstrated in our actions – building homes, welcoming refugees, and protecting children who dream of a life of safety and possibilities.
Restore us, O God;
Let your face shine that we might be saved.

As we remember the joyful meeting between Mary and Elizabeth, let us pray for all who gather in worship this day, near and far.
People may quietly or silently voice their prayers
God who broke into the world to draw us closer to you, unite us in our love for you. While we rush from one holiday activity to another, pass judgement on the celebrations of others, and forget the beauty and wonder of your love, remind us. Remind us that you are more Mystery than we can possibly know. All our traditions may lead us to you, but they separate us from one another. Let us see the gifts others bring and may our hearts leap with joy in recognizing you in everyone we meet.
Restore us, O God;
Let your face shine that we might be saved.

Remembering the promises of old, promises of the One who would bring peace. Let us pray for all who work to bring peace into the world
People may quietly or silently voice their prayers
God of steadfast love, you love us even when we forget to love you, our neighbors, ourselves, or creation. We have heard your call to love and we find it so much harder than it ought to be. We justify our wars, our violent ways, our fear of change, our racism, and all the ways we perpetuate systems built on oppression. You wait for us to remember your holy ways of love and justice. As we enter Bethelem this year, shine your love into our broken fearful places, those in ourselves and our churches, and those in our country and our world. Call us once again into wholeness, peace and love. And may we have the courage to respond.
Restore us, O God;
Let your face shine that we might be saved.

Anticipating, once again, the gift of the Christ-child, let us give thanks for all the blessings we have been given.
People may quietly or silently voice their prayers
God who loves without limits or conditions, we praise you for true gift of your love for us. A Child born so long ago leads us in your holy ways. In our gratitude, may we have the courage to embody your love with joy and faithfulness so that Child may never be forgotten. Hear our prayers of gratitude and praise for all the ways in which you fill our lives with hope, peace, joy, and love.
Restore us, O God;
Let your face shine that we might be saved. Amen.

RCL Year C – Fourth Sunday of Advent – December 23, 2018
Micah 5:2-5a
Luke 1:46b-55 or Psalm 80:1-7
Hebrews 10:5-10
Luke 1:39-45 [46-55]word

Photo: CC0 image by Gerd Altmann

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Bidding Prayer liturgy Prayer

Bidding Prayer for Vision

vision-2372177_1280.jpg

Come, let us pray for the Church throughout the world.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Patient God, your people have gathered throughout all generations to worship and sing your praises. Even today, your name is spoken around the world. May each community know the power of your presence and recommit to following you. While we are easily distracted and often lose track of your ways, you are always waiting to reclaim, restore, and re-form your church. Once again, reveal your vision to us, encouraging us to let go of all that prevents us from reflecting your love and glory. May we become the body of Christ needed here and now.
We seek you, O God.
Free us from all our fears.

Come, let us pray for the United Church of Christ gathered here and elsewhere.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Merciful God, may we remember the lessons you taught Job as the chaos of the world brings pain and suffering into our lives. Remind us that we do not always understand the mystery of your ways or recognize you at work in the world. While we strive to embody you love, keep us mindful that you are God of all, and we are not. Bless with wisdom and insight all those you have called into leadership, especially the Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, our general minister and president and the Rev. Shari Prestemon, our Conference Minister. Open our eyes wide enough to recognize you,your claim on us, and your call of serving all.
We seek you, O God.
Free us from all our fears.

Come, let us pray for God’s people throughout the earth.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Eternal God, you have long-spoken your desires for us through the prophets of old and the prophets of now. Your love has remained steadfast for all your peoples from generation to generation no matter what we have done or what we have left undone. You ask us to love you, love our neighbors, love our selves, and love creation. We find it so hard to live in the abundance of your love. May we recognize your Spirit moving among us, guiding us, re-forming us in this moment.
We seek you, O God.
Free us from all our fears.

Come, let us pray for this country and all those who live within its borders.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Merciful God, show us again the difference between following you and following the leaders of this world. You envision unity and oneness where we see only difference and division. You would have us welcome caravans of immigrants and refugees. You would have us embrace our *Trans siblings. You would have us protect those who are vulnerable to hatred and ignorance. You would have us shelter and feed those who live in poverty. You would have us see you in those we have been taught to ignore, reject, or pass by. Jesus, son of David, have mercy on us! May the day quickly arrive when the abundance of this great nation is freely shared with all who have need and that your vision becomes our truth.
We seek you, O God.
Free us from all our fears.

Come, let us pray for all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Liberating God, free us from the limits of our vision. You see wholeness where we see brokenness. You see blessings where we see uselessness. You see value where we see worthlessness. You offer healing and hope when we turn away. Show us your mercy that we might bring joy where there is weeping, hope where there is despair, and love where there is fear. Bring compassion and tenderness where we bring judgement and rejection. You are God of all people, not just those we choose to see. Show us how to love with your love and see with your vision of wholeness and joy.
We seek you, O God.
Free us from all our fears.

Come let us pray for those who are grieving.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Healing God, you are the One who leads us from weeping to joy, from despair to hope. You remember us when others would forget. You claim as your own beloved even as we lose ourselves in the pain of loss. You see us when we cannot find our way. Breathe new life into all those who are grieving. Heal the wounds that bind us to yesterday and open us to the abundant possibilities of life in you.
We seek you, O God.
Free us from all our fears.

Come, let us give thanks to God for all the blessings we have received.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Generous God, over and over again you have reclaimed, restored, and re-formed your people, and we are thankful. We are thankful that your love for us never wavers and you patiently wait for us to return to you every time we lose our way. May our gratitude lead us to the wisdom gleaned from past experience, the possibilities for growth in the present, and the joy the future holds for us. You are ever blessing all the earth. May we be courageous enough to seek out your ways with gratitude and praise, bringing your vision into life.
We seek you, O God.
Free us from all our fears.
Amen.

If you are looking for sermon help, try here.

RCL – Year B – Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost – October 28, 2018
Job 42:1-6, 10-17
Psalm 34:1-8 [19-22]
Jeremiah 31:7-9
Psalm 126
Hebrews 7:23-28
Mark 10:46-52

Photo: CC0 image by Wokandapix

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Bidding Prayer

Bidding Prayer for Christmas Eve

christmas-1098401_1280

On this holy night when we remember Jesus’ birth, let us pray for all the children of the earth, and those who parent them.
People may quietly or silently voice their prayers
God who claims us all as beloved children, as we remember the birth of Jesus, we pray for all the children of the world – those near to us and those far away. We pray for parents who do their best to raise their children without the resources they need. We pray for those who have no children of their own and still reach out to children in need of love. Grant us the imagination and the courage to create a world in which all children have food, shelter, and care. Let us make room at the manger for all who come seeking Love.
God who is Love,
Hear our prayers.

As we remember Mary and Joseph, and their long journey to Bethlehem, let us pray for all those who are far from home, for those in need of a home, and those who are lost.
People may quietly or silently voice their prayers
God who so loves the world, may the light we celebrate tonight, enlighten us always. May we see you in the face of the stranger, the refugee, the immigrant, the homeless, and the lost. As we think of the crowded in of Bethlehem and those words of “no room,” stir within us. Gift us with your vision of a world in which there is room for all, and no one is turned away. May our journey to this night, have meaning beyond this moment.
God who is Love,
Hear our prayers.

As we remember the angels who spread your Good News of peace on earth for all, let us pray for all those who worship tonight.
People may quietly or silently voice their prayers
God who yearns for peace on earth, we lift our voices with countless others in praise to you this night. We celebrate the ways in which you continue to break into the world and reveal your holy ways to us. Shape us into the church that is needed today so that we may truly embody you. May everyone who calls on your name, speak words of peace and work for justice until the day when all live in Love.
God who is Love,
Hear our prayers.

As we remember the shepherds who responded to the angel’s call, let us pray for all people who respond to your call by working to bring the light of justice the world.
People may quietly or silently voice their prayers
God of grace and mercy, we see brokenness and suffering all around us. As we celebrate your amazing love, may we see with your eyes and work with your hands. It is not enough for us to witness suffering and oppression. What would the story be like if something prevented others from noticing the birth in the stable so long ago? We have done so much in this world that interferes with your love for the whole of humanity. So for those who have the courage to cry out for justice, we give you thanks, and ask that you would guide our feet to your holy way.
God who is Love,
Hear our prayers.

As we remember the magi who journeyed far to bring gifts to the new born king, let us give thanks for gifts we have been given, even as we seek to share them with others.
People may quietly or silently voice their prayers
God who loves us beyond our ability to imagine, we give you thanks for the gifts you have given to us – those we know and those that are yet unknown. While we are tempted to think that these blessings are for us alone, we know that we are meant to share your abundance. As we remember this familiar story of your birth and all who came to the manger, may we be transformed by power of your light – your hope, peace, joy, and love – that we might go home by another road, a road that is widened by generosity and welcome of all whom we meet.
God who is Love,
Hear our prayers.

Photo: CC0 image by falco

Categories
Bidding Prayer liturgy Poetry

Liturgy in the Aftermath

A Call to Worship and Benediction for Indigenous Peoples Day (Written for use in Worship at Living Table United Church of Christ)
Call to Worshipdreamcatcher-1082228_640
One: The sun rises in the East, awakening the world with light.
All: May God’s wisdom and understanding guide us through this day.
One: Warm winds blow from the South, bringing warmth and growth.
All: May the Spirit of Life strengthen us to meet the challenges of this day.
One: Out of the West rains come and rivers flow.
All: May the Living Water quench our thirst and lead us to new life.
One: Cold winds of change and challenge come from the North.
All: May God grant us the courage to face into the storms and hold fast until peace returns.

Benediction
One: As we prepare to leave this sacred space, let us be mindful of the guiding winds. As each day beings
All: May we embody wisdom and understanding, awakening to the needs around us.
One: When we encounter suffering and oppression
All: May we hold fast to justice and love, widening our circle of welcome.
One: As we hear the anguished voices of those seeking liberation
All: May we respond with radical hospitality to all who thirst, offering Living Water.
One: As we make our way through this world
All: May we hold fast to all that is good, seeking the way of Peace.

A Prayer of Confession and Bidding Prayer in the Aftermath of Las Vegas (Written for the Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ)
sunset-188519_640Call to Confession:
One: In times of pain and anguish it is easy to turn to God in anger or frustration. We want to beg God to act, to change the circumstances in which we feel powerless. It is possible that God is waiting for us to make the changes required to bring about peace. In an attitude of repentance, let us open our weary hearts to God as we pray together:

Prayer of Confession
All:  Steadfast God, we turn to you, once again, in shock and horror. The impossible number of lives lost to bullets makes us want to blame someone, anyone, rather than look at the grief-stricken faces all around us. Long ago, the Psalmist told us to “seek peace and pursue it” and we have not yet begun to live in peace. Isaiah told us to turn our swords into plowshares and all we’ve done is build deadlier swords. Jesus told us to love one another just as he loves us and we can’t imagine a world where such Love exists.

Soften our hearts and “prosper the work of our hands” that we may have the courage to turn away from guns, violence, and war. Lead us away from our complacency, apathy, ambivalence, and shock into your “green pastures.” We yearn to be your body hear and now, yet we are distracted by fear, by politics, by our own sense of powerlessness. We claim that we are waiting for you to do something. Yet, you wait for us to repent and seek your holy ways of peace and love. Forgive us, O God, for we truly do not know the harm we have caused by our silence. Have mercy on us as we grieve. Move us through our excuses and into actions that awaken transformation in us, in our communities, in our towns, in our country, and yes, in the world. In Jesus’ name we ask that you hear our prayers. Amen.

Words of Assurance
One: Hear the Good News: It is never too late to seek the ways of Love and Grace. In Christ we are forgiven and made new. By God’s grace we can leave behind these days of violence and bring about God’s dream of peace for the whole of Creation.
All: By the power of the Holy Spirit we will live in Love and seek to be the peace the world needs. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Bidding Prayer in the Aftermathhands-1926414_640
Come, let us pray for peace for the people of God who live in the aftermath of gunshots and violence.
(people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
God of peace and hope, be with us in this place. Once more bullets have broken through our sense of safety and our hopes for a better future. We have reached a point where we grow numb when lives are stolen at the hands of a shooter. Compassion runs from us as we desire to place blame and demand that somebody do something to fix what is broken. Stir your Spirit within us and around us that we may help bear the burden of violence in our society, that we may find the courage to raise our voices with those of the grieving and wounded demanding change. Change our hearts, O God, that we may be seekers of peace and agents of hope.
Restore us, O God of hosts;
All:  Let your face shine.

Come, let us pray for people of faith, people who yearn for God’s ways of justice and peace to be made manifest here on earth.
(people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
Patient and Steadfast God, hear the cries of your people. We unite our voices with those of our neighbors who call you by other names, hoping that you will lead us in paths of peace. May we unite in service to you as we seek to respond to yet another nightmare, yet another time when your beloved children die senseless, violent deaths. May we overcome our fears and distrust of one another to work together to bring about your reign of peace. Unsettle us enough for us to reach beyond our pews to create conversations and actions that lead to lasting change. We cry out to you to do something. May the unrest of the Spirit fill us until we do something.
Restore us, O God of hosts;
All:  Let your face shine.Let your face shine.

Come, let us pray for our country and those who lead it.
(people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
Merciful and loving God, we recognize the deep wounds in this country where too often lives are destroyed for the sake of politics. Change our priorities. Empower us to make the changes that are desperately needed to disrupt this culture of violence with your ways of mercy and love. Strengthen us to embody you before one more life is stolen. Open the eyes and hearts of our leaders and politicians that they may all recognize that human lives have more value than policies and the wants of the NRA and other lobbies. May we dare to live in peace with all our neighbors. May the fire of Spirit fill us with courage and passion enough to demand changes to gun laws so that lives may be saved.
Restore us, O God of hosts;
All:  Let your face shine.

Come, let us pray for all those suffering in the aftermath of violence.
(people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
Incarnate and present God, words fail us when we think of the ways in which violence floods our streets. Las Vegas is one more atrocious tragedy in a stream of far too many in this country and around the world. When will we learn a better way? When will we realize that more powerful weapons do not yield anything more than an increase in deaths? You spoke words of Love. You command us to love one another. Remove from us this sense of powerlessness that keeps us from seeking justice. Remove from us the fear that binds us to this culture of violence that holds us captive. Remove from us all the excuses we make so that we don’t have to figure out what we can do to bring about real change. May the Spirit of Truth transform our hearts to keep us moving in the way of peace rather than falling back into complacency.
Restore us, O God of hosts;
All:  Let your face shine.

Come, let us pray for those who are grieving in Las Vegas and around the world.
(people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
Living and healing God, hear the pain and suffering of your people. How many lives must guns steal from us before we demand systemic change? Tears of sorrow flow like rivers year after year. We ask you to comfort those who grieve even while you work in us to turn us in the way of peace. We share this burden of sinful violence and desire to be free from it. Your forgiveness and mercy call to us. Awaken true repentance in each of us that we may turn to your holy ways, ways that bring healing to the hurting and hope to the grieving. May the Spirit take hold of us and not let us go until we bring Love into the world.
Restore us, O God of hosts;
All

Come, let us give thanks to God for the gifts of mercy, grace, forgiveness, healing, and love.
(people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
God of power and promise, you hold us fast and do not let us go. Your steadfast love and patience with us, your hope for us, is an amazing gift. When we turn to violence, you offer peace. When we turn to despair, you offer hope. When we feel powerless, you offer transformation. When we feel lost, you offer love. Hear our gratitude for these gifts and so many more that reveal to us your dream for all your people. May gratitude move us to new places and inspire us to work for peace and justice today and in all days to come. In humility we ask that that words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to you, O God, our rock and our redeemer. In the name of Jesus the Christ, the One whom you sent to teach the way of Love, we pray…
Restore us, O God of hosts;
All:  Let your face shine.
Amen.

See also Something a Little Different for a poem on Hope. Later published in Barefoot Theology: A Dictionary for Pilgrims, Priests and Poets.

RCL – Year A – Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost – October 8, 2017
Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20 with
Psalm 19 or
Isaiah 5:1-7 with Psalm 80:7-15
Philippians 3:4b-14
Matthew 21:33-46

Top Photo: CC0 image by Free-Photos

Center Photo: CC0 image by soonkeuk kwon

Bottom Photo: CC0 image by Myriam

Categories
Bidding Prayer Prayer

Neither End Times nor the New Jerusalem: A Bidding Prayer

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Come, let us pray for the people of God scattered throughout the earth.
(people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
God of Love and Grace, we offer our prayers and praises to you for faithful people everywhere. We trust that you hear the prayers of your people of all times, places, and religious traditions. Open all of us to your vision of a new heaven and a new earth, a vision of peace for the whole of creation. Grant us the courage to set aside all the division we have constructed between and among those who call your name. May your patience continue as we endeavor to turn from our human ways.
God in your mercy,
Hear our prayers.

Come, let us pray for those gathered here and elsewhere.
(people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
Visionary God, you spoke your Word of love right out loud. Over and over again you have painted a picture of peace and justice and have asked us to help make it real. Somehow it has always been easier for us to shelter ourselves from our neighbors and hide behind walls of fear than it has to courageously embody Christ in the world. Renew your vision within us. Strengthen us with your grace and mercy for the time has come for us to be the Body of Christ in new and surprising ways that we have yet to imagine. Let us remember that we are yours and you ask us to love one another.
God in your mercy,
Hear our prayers.

Come, let us pray for all people and nations.
(people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
God of justice and compassion, you created human beings in your image and filled us with the breath of your Spirit. We have yet to figure out that our enemies are your Beloved and that the gifts of creation all belong to you. We can turn our eyes from the horrors in Allepo or the injustice in Standing Rock or the violence in our streets. We can claim one nation over another but we cannot change the fact that your creation has no boundaries or borders. Teach us to view the world with your eyes. Fill us with passion and compassion so that we may be peacemakers and justice-seekers until your New Jerusalem is made manifest. May we be Christ to one another and to all our neighbors.
God in your mercy,
Hear our prayers.

Come, let us pray for this country and all those who live here.
(people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
Loving God, you see us for what we are. You know the depths of our division and the fragility of our hope. As with all nations, you envision a future of unity and peace where we live side by side and recognize you in one another. We lift up to you all those who lead this nation and those who have been elected to lead in the days to come. May your vision become their vision that we may heal all the broken places. May we claim your vision as our own and have the courage to become a nation that proudly celebrates diversity and welcomes those who seek sanctuary and home.
God in your mercy,
Hear our prayers.

Come, let us pray for all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit.
(people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
God of healing and transformation, your loving kindness never wavers. You are the hope amid our despair and the peace in the chaos. We so easily lose ourselves in the storms of physical sickness, mental illness, or spiritual despair, yet you remain constant. You see those we do not wish to see and desire for us to care for those who are in need. Until the day when we can love with your love, we pray especially for those who lose themselves in pain, those who struggle with addictions, those who suffer symptoms of mental illness, those who are suicidal, and those whose bodies have betrayed them. May we agents of your compassion and healing so no one suffers alone.

God in your mercy,
Hear our prayers.

Come, let us pray for all those who are mourning.
(people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
Ever-present God, you claim us as your beloved children. You gift us with blessings and strength beyond measure. And you know the very moment our hearts break and grief floods in. We grieve for lost dreams, lost hope, lost loves, things that have ended, things that will never be, and things we have lost. There is no limit to the ways in which our hearts can break or the depth of pain that floods in. Yet, it is often in the very depths of our lives that we encounter you and the possibility of new life takes hold. As you are patient with us, so may we be with each other offering gentleness and mercy to those who weep.
God in your mercy,
Hear our prayers.

Come, let us give God our thanks and praise.
(people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
God of generosity and blessing, you yearn for us to see all that you have given to us so that we might rejoice in your presence. You give us all that we need and have shown us the way of love. As we seek to follow you and help bring about your vision of a new earth, may our fears be overcome with gratitude and our anxiety transformed to generosity. When we quiet ourselves enough, we know that you are the way to life and we are filled with gratitude. May we discover anew our capacity for love and justice as we offer praise to you.
God in your mercy,
Hear our prayers.

RCL – Year C – Twenty-sixth Sunday after Pentecost – November 13, 2016
Isaiah 65:17-25 with Isaiah 12 or
Malachi 4:1-2a with Psalm 98
2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
Luke 21:5-19

Photo: CC0 image by Bess Hamiti

Categories
Bidding Prayer Emerging Church liturgy Prayer Uncategorized

A Bidding Prayer for the Living of These Days

Come, let us pray for faithful people everywhere.
(people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
Loving Creator, you are the Alpha and Omega of all that is. The names we have for you are more numerous than we like to admit. The theologies we have constrchurch-59514_1920ucted cannot define or contain you. Remind us that you call people of all ages and places and reveal to them a way of love and peace. While language, tradition, and beliefs may separate us, you make no distinction among those who honor you by seeking paths of loving kindness. Replace our judgments and fears with courage to see you in the face of neighbors and strangers.
God of compassion and mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Come, let us pray for the church as it gathers here and elsewhere.
people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
God who lived among us to teach us the way of peace, you yearn for us to turn to you. Your heart breaks when war and violence are perpetrated in your name. If we are to be the Body of Christ here and now, then we must offer hospitality and sanctuary to all who seek it – especially when asylum seekers speak a different language, call you by another name, or look different than we do. Remind us of the ways in which you spoke truth to power and set people free. Strengthen and encourage us to speak that same truth until justice is available to all.
God of compassion and mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Come, let us pray for all people, especially our enemies.
(people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
Ruler of all, robed in majesty, Holy One, we cannot imagine that you love everyone with the same unconditional, unearned love. We like to pretend that our way is the only way that honors you and that you love us best. Yet, if we are truthful, then we know that you love those who hurt us including the people of ISIS and Boko Haram and their hateful, violent acts hurt you as well. Yet, your love goes on forever. We are to live in this steadfast love. Give us the courage to lift our enemies before you and respond to hatred with your love and reminding ourselves that hateful, violent actions do not come from you.
God of compassion and mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Come, let us pray for this nation that is home to so many peoples.
(people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
Gracious God who is, who was, and who is to come, you have blessed us with an abundance and desire for us to share with those in need. We’d like to beliewelcome-976277_1920ve that our country is your favorite, yet we know that your love knows no bounds. We’d also like to believe that the troubles of other countries are not ours. You call us to bear one another’s burdens and to care for those who cannot care for themselves. Set us free from the fear that binds us to brokenness. Speak your truth to those in power and empower those who hide in shadows to join together in the work for justice and peace.
God of compassion and mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Come, let us pray for the marginalized, the overlooked, the dismissed, and the forgotten people all around us.
(people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
Indwelling, ever-present God, you would make your home in us. All of us are created in your image and you would make each of us a temple of the Holy Spirit. Nothing can change that – not homelessness, mental illness, disabilities, economics, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other category we have created that enables us to devalue another human being. You tell us to love our neighbors and ourselves without qualifiers. May the day soon arrive when we can see you in whom we meet.
God of compassion and mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Come, let us pray for all who are grieving.
(people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
Eternal God of both the living and the dead, we turn to you for comfort and hope. Grief has touched us all this week. We feel the pain of Lebanon, France, Iraq, and Nigeria and of those much closer to home who have lost loved ones to violence and suicide. Remind us that the way of violence is not your way, that you came to show us how to live in love and peace. Even now, as we reach for that peace that passes all human understanding, we ask for your forgiveness, your healing, and your grace.
God of compassion and mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Come, let us give thanks to God.
(people may silently or quietly voice their prayers)
Patient and generous God, our words fail to express the gratitude we offer. Even in times of sin, darkness, and despair you continue to love us and wait so patiently for us to return to the light of your love. Your truth calls to us over and over again. May the gratitude we feel in this moment open us even more to the power of your Holy Spirit to transform us that we may transform the world in love to bring about your peace.
In Christ’s holy name we pray.
Amen.

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RCL – Year B – Reign of Christ Sunday – November 22, 2015
2 Samuel 23:1-7
Psalm 132:1-12 [13-18]
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
Psalm 93
Revelation 1:4b-8
John 18:33-37

All images from Pixabay. Used with permission.

Categories
Bidding Prayer Emerging Church liturgy

Bidding Prayer for Compassion

courage-853466_1920Come, let us pray for the Church throughout the world.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Eternal God, “Teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.” Too often we complain like Job when suffering is unfair while at the same time turning from those who have greater needs. Let us hear Amos as he called for justice so long ago. May all those who call upon you band together to establish justice and embody your love for all people.
Turn, O God! How long?
Have compassion on your servants!

Come, let us pray for the United Church of Christ gathered here and elsewhere.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Compassionate God, “Prosper for us the work of our hands.” We can so easily become distracted by things that don’t matter, things that divide us rather than unite us. Eternal life is not a far-off, someday thing; it’s here and now. You call us to be peace-makers, hope-bearers, life-savers. Open our ears to words of mercy, grace and forgiveness so that we may be about your transforming work today. Be with all those you have called into leadership, especially the Rev. John Dorhauer, our general minister and president. May the service we offer in Christ’s name honor you.
Turn, O God! How long?
Have compassion on your servants!

gate-419890_1920Come, let us pray for God’s people in every nation.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Steadfast God, you yearn for the day when all people will “Hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate.” May the day soon come when all humanity grows tired of our warring ways. You created a world of beautiful, amazing diversity of people, places, words, and worship. Forgive us when our hearts fill with fear in the presence of neighbors and strangers. Too many have forgotten that people of all nations bear your image and that we are all created to live in communion with one another. Remind us that with you, all things are possible, even a world that lives in peace.
Turn, O God! How long?
Have compassion on your servants!

Come, let us pray for this country and all those who live within its borders.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Patient God, we “know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” You call us to live by them, to love our neighbors as ourselves. Yet, we find ourselves following the ways of money and power. We forget that we are responsible for those who are in need, those who are oppressed, those who live without justice. We are easily fooled into believing that things cannot change and politicians always want what is best for the nation. Grand wisdom to those who are elected to lead this country, especially Barak Obama. Call us out of our apathy and complacency that we may be a nation of hospitality, freedom, and justice for all who call this country home no matter where they have come from, the color of their skin, the language they speak, or the name they know you by.
Turn, O God! How long?
Have compassion on your servants!

Come, let us pray for all those in need.kindness-710209_1280
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Loving God, may we “approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” There are cries all around us – for help, for hope, for justice, for shelter, for food, for care, for safety, for acceptance… Sometimes we are exhausted and overwhelmed by the needs of people near and far. Remind us that we have all that we need in you, that you are a source of abundant grace, mercy, love, and hope. Use our hands, our feet, our voices, our community, our resources to ease the pain of those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit.
Turn, O God! How long?
Have compassion on your servants!

Come let us pray for those who are experience grief and loss.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Healing God, your word is “living and active” even in the midst of despair. May those who grieve the loss of a loved one experience your light shining through the darkest hours of grief. For those who struggle with a death that has been violent and unexpected, especially murder and suicide, grant us compassion and tenderness to care for survivors. For those who have lost jobs, homes, sense of purpose, physical ability, cognitive capacity, or sense of identity, may we have the grace to be merciful companions on this journey.
Turn, O God! How long?
Have compassion on your servants!

Come, let us give thanks to God for all the blessings we have received.
(silence or a time for people to quietly give voice to their concerns)
Generous God, you tell us that when we leave “house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for [your] sake and for the sake of the good news” we will receive a hundredfold. May we trust in this promise and freely give you thanks for the abundant life you offer everyone. Turn our hearts from fearful ways that prevent us from sharing your gifts to hearts filled with gratitude that enable us to live lives of kindness, mercy, and generosity.

We give you thanks for the compassion you bestow in abundance on your servants.
Amen.

RCL – Year B – Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost – October 11, 1015
Job 23:1-9, 16-17
Psalm 22:1-15
Amos 5:6-7, 10-15
Psalm 90:12-17
Hebrews 4:12-16
Mark 10:17-31

Photos from Pixabay. Used by permission.