All Saints Day prayer

image by geralt via pixabay
 
 
Before you, O God,
    we remember today the ones who went before us.
Not held back by the awesomeness of the task
    they followed you with tenacity and joy.
Full of courage and trust they went to new places,
    ready to stand and suffer with you.
 
Like a cloud of many witnesses
    they stand around us.
 
Before you, O God,
    we remember the saints of our day,
    who do not live by the rigid letter of the law
    but by the wild demands of faith,
    always prepared to give more,
    always ready to be turned inside out,
    knowing that new ways can only be found
    through risk and pain.
 
Like a cloud of many witnesses
    they stand around us.
 
Eternal God,
    we thank you for the witnesses of all times and all places.
May the stories of their lives show us the richness of your grace.
May they inspire us to look deep within our souls.
May they encourage us to take the risk of faith
    and to serve you in new ways.
 
Francis Brienen, United Reformed Church, UK
 
__________________________
 
 
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, 
    let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, 
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 
    looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, 
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, 
    despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, 
    so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Continue reading

for those involved with the law

Jesus Before Pilate, James Tissot, Wikipedia Commons
 
Lord Jesus,
    You were in prison, found guilty when you were innocent,
    You were executed as traitor when in fact you were Savior.
To you who died to set all free we pray for:
    All makers of the laws of the land,
         that they do so with reason and compassion.
    All interpreters of the law – judges, lawyers –
        that they be fair, honest and impartial.
    All administrators of the law – prison guards and superintendents – 
        that they be merciful in their firmness.
    All prisoners – that they may know that you are in prison with them,
        in their homes with their loved ones,
        and that in you is their hope.
    Though bound, may they be perfectly free in you and in your service.
 
John B. Coburn, 1914- 2009, Bishop of Massachusetts
 
_____________________________________
 
 
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
   the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.

Continue reading

give us hope to share

image
 
Do not give us rest, Lord
while people are hungry
and we are rich.
As long as justice is a dream
press us on
and do not give us rest.
 
Do not give us peace, Lord,
while people live in fear
and we are safe.
As long as hatred stifles love
stir us up
and no not give us peace.
 
Do not give us comfort, Lord,
while people are desperate
and we are well.
As long as lives are lived in pain
disturb us
and do not give us comfort.
 
But give us hope to share, O Christ,
hope that disturbs and stirs and shakes,
the hope of Job,
the hope of the lame,
a hope of new life
beyond the pain.
Until all find comfort
and peace
and rest,
Christ, give us hope to share.
 
Francis Brienen, United Reformed Church, UK
 
_______________________
 
 
 
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. 
Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 
Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 
Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 
Rejoice in our confident hope. 
Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 
When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. 
Always be eager to practice hospitality.
 

Continue reading

I pray for the children

Photo by Andrae Ricketts on Unsplash
 
This morning, Lord, I’m praying for many people,
    just a day after Dobbs v. Jackson…
 
I’m praying for those 
    disappointed and angry,
who believe their rights have been trampled and crushed:
    their choice and autonomy wrenched from their grasp…
 
And I’m praying for those 
    now claiming a victory,
who believe that justice has finally prevailed:
    the right to life, refreshed and reclaimed…
 
I pray for our country, 
    torn apart and embittered,
where the battle for rights will continue to rage,
    dividing our nation, body and soul…
 
I pray for the Church 
    to preach with compassion
the gospel of life as the wisdom for choosing
    what’s loving and true, what’s generous and good…
 
And I pray for the Church 
    to faithfully serve
with shelter, support, understanding and help
     people and life in all shapes and all forms…
 
And last, but not least, Lord, 
I pray for the children conceived every day:
    planned or unplanned, welcome or not,
    impaired or healthy, ill-timed or convenient,
        each one made in your image divine,
        each one named by your love and your grace,
        each one, your own, entrusted to us…
 
Many to pray for, many to hold
    in our arms, in our care, in our love.
Help us to welcome the gift of new life
    with its challenges, burdens and blessings, 
        with the strength and help of your grace…
 
Amen.
 
Fr. Austin Fleming, Roman Catholic Priest serving near Boston, MA  
Concord Pastor
 
______________________________
 
 
And the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, 
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, 
Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, 
do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, 
and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”

Continue reading

prayer for scrubbing floors

Cleaning Lady, Tomicmilos90, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
 
Thank you for the privilege of scrubbing this floor.
Thank you for the health and the strength to do it.
That my back is straight and my hands are whole.
I can push a mop. 
I can feel the hard surface under my knees when I kneel.
I can grasp the brush and let my energy flow down into it
    as I erase this dirt and make this floor clean.
Lord, thank you for everything that has to do with scrubbing this floor.
Bless the soap and the bucket and the brush and the hands that do it.
Bless the feet that are running in right now to track it.
Those feet are the reason I do it.
That are the living reasons for my kneeling here
    – half to do a job, half in prayer.
A floor is a foundation. A family is a foundation.
You are our foundation.
Bless us all, and our newly scrubbed floor.
 
Marjorie Holmes, 1910–2002, American columnist and author
 
___________________________
 
 
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named
 

Continue reading

Make me always busy in your service

Les femmes saintes, James Tissot, via Wikimedia Commons
 
Lord, I make you a present of myself.
    I do not know what to do with myself.
So let me make this exchange:
    I will place myself entirely in your hands,
    if you will cover my ugliness with your beauty,
    and tame my unruliness with your love.
Put out the flames of false passion in my heart,
    since these flames destroy all that is true within me.
Make me always busy in your service.
Lord, I want no special signs from you,
    nor am I looking for intense emotions in response to your love.
I would rather be free of all emotion,
    than to run the danger of falling victim once again to false passion.
Let my love for you be naked, without any emotional clothing.

St Catherine of Genoa, 1447-1510, Italian Catholic mystic
 
___________________________
 
 
Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, 
preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. 
He took his twelve disciples with him, 
along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. 
Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; 
Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others 
who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples.

Continue reading

to find our constant inspiration in you

image / picryl
 
Servant Jesus,
    what love you showed to your disciples
        and what humility in your service.
    You are the Life of life, Son of God,
        yet you stooped down
        to take off the grimy sandals
        and to wash their dusty feet.
    With loving care you dried them with the towel
        make them fresh and cool.
    Since you, our Lord and Savior,
        did such lowly service for us,
        ought we not humbly to serve others also?
Lord God,
    it is not easy to walk in your way
        when we seek peace among the nations.
    We find there are many who hate peace
        and prefer to seek the victory in war.
    Even amongst our neighbors and friends
        are those who want to prepare for war.
    I am for peace;
        but when I speak, they are for war.
    In my distress I call to you, O Lord;
    give me the courage and the faith
        to speak for peace.
Spirit of God,
    you call your people to patient endurance
        that we might not fail in time of testing,
        that we might not grow weary in well-doing.
        that we should not abandon our first love.
    Help us to find our constant inspiration in you
        that the lamp may be kept burning
            as we witness by your grace.
 
John Johansen-Berg, 1935- , English Minister
 
_______________________________
 
 
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.  Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

Continue reading

Labor for one another

Photo by Caleb Gregory on Unsplash
 
Grant, Almighty God,
    as You invite us so kindly and graciously to Yourself,
  that we may not be resistant,
    but with every evil affection subdued,
    offer ourselves to Your service.
 
  And since You require nothing else from us
    but to observe what is right toward one another,
O grant that we may be mindful of the brotherhood 
    that Your only begotten Son by His own blood has consecrated,
    and call on You as our father,
    and prove by our whole conduct that we are Your children.
 
And may every one of us so labor for one another that,
    being united in heart and affection,
    we may with one sentiment aspire towards that blessed life,
    where we shall enjoy the inheritance 
    that has been prepared and obtained by the blood of Your son,
    and through Him prepared for us in heaven. Amen.
 
John Calvin, 1509-1564, Swiss Reformer
Lifting Up Our Hearts, freely modified
 
__________________________
 
 
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Just as I had determined to bring disaster on you and showed no pity when your ancestors angered me,” says the Lord Almighty, “so now I have determined to do good again to Jerusalem and Judah. Do not be afraid. These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord.

Continue reading

to finish my course of service

image / Joshbdork at the English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
I know, O Lord, and do with all humility acknowledge myself 
    an object altogether unworthy of your love;
    but sure I am, you are an object altogether worthy of mine.
I am not good enough to serve you,
    but you have a right to the best service I can pay.
Do then impart to me some of that excellence,
    and that shall supply my own want of worth.
Help me to cease from sin according to your will,
    that I may be capable of doing you service according to my duty.
Enable me so to guard and govern myself,
    so to begin and finish my course that,
    when the race of life is run,
    I may sleep in peace and rest in you.
Be with me to the end, that my sleep may be rest indeed,
    my rest perfect security and that security a blessed eternity.
 
St. Augustine of Hippo, 354-430
 
_____________________
 
 
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

Continue reading

perfect freedom

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash
 
Almighty God, 
   in whom we live and move and have our being, 
you have made us for yourself, 
   and our hearts are restless until they rest in you. 
Of your great mercy, forgive us. 
Grant us purity of heart and strength of purpose, 
   that no selfish passion may hinder us from knowing your will, 
   and no weakness from doing it. 
In your light may we see light clearly, 
   and in your service may we find our perfect freedom
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 
 
St. Augustine of Hippo, 354-430, extracted from Confessions
 
_____________________________
 
 
 
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said,
    “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
     Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
 
     So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
 

Continue reading