Sunday Prayers May


 "The Church of the Warm Heart and the Open Mind"


 



A MEMBER CHURCH OF THE CONGREGATIONAL FEDERATION


 A MEMBER Of CHURCHES TOGETHER IN WALKDEN 


 



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PRAYERS FOR SUNDAY MAY 1ST 

THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER



Prayers of Approach and Confession

 

We repeat our Easter shouts of surprise and joy
again and again,
for news of your victory over powers of death and evil
is news so startling, so amazing,
so different from the news that bombards us day by day.

Beyond our comprehension
You startle us again and again with resurrection Life,
bringing grace and hope and joy.

 

You, in your risen power, are shaping all our days,
and so we praise you,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

 

God, empty tombs and risen lords

stones that have rolled and resurrection,

for some it is easy to believe

for others it is just daft

but for most we wonder,

we wonder what might be possible.

 

God, if love is the greatest power in the universe

we wonder what might be possible

if love chooses to carry on loving

even those who try and kill it,

what might be possible?

And if love decides to give of itself

for the sake of others, what might be possible?

So in our wonder and our longing

for such a love as this that changes things

may we dare to believe in what seems impossible

and dare to live impossible lives

that hope beyond death

but believe in life before death.

 

May we life this kind of love that dares to work for justice

and the fullness of life for everyone, dare to work for peace

and the fullness of peace for everyone

because we believe in love which has become

the most powerful thing in the universe

because it gives of itself.

 

God, may we make time this season of renewal and life

to wonder and wonder what love might make possible in us.

 

Lord, save us from ourselves.
We continue to do the same things over and over,                  expecting different results.
Lord, save us from doing too much.
We go fishing every day,                                                      not noticing you waiting with a meal on the beach. 
Lord, save us from doing too little.
We say we love you, and yet so often we neglect your sheep.
Lord, save us from ourselves.
Help us to hear and respond when you say, "Follow Me."        Amen.


The Lord`s Prayer

 

Prayers of Intercession


O God, with faces touched by the light of a new day,

and hearts warmed by our prayers and praises,

we come before you to pray

for the needs of our world.

 

Into the light of the Easter message

we raise those who are struggling with illness,

with despair over their lives, or with

the breakdown of relationships.

May the light of Christ shine upon them.

 

Into the light of the Easter message,

we bring those places in our world

where war, violence, poverty and need

are the experiences of everyday life. (These places may be named)

May the light of Christ shine upon them.

 

Into the light of the Easter message,

we bring the headline news of this weekend (this may be named):

we hold in our hearts the pain

of those suffering violence, bereavement or conflict.

May the light of Christ shine upon them.

 

And into the light of the Easter message

we bring ourselves, the private struggles,

the heart’s yearnings, the hidden dreams,

the unfulfilled potential.

May the light of Christ shine upon us.

Amen.

 

Sending Out

 

Christ asks if we love him?

If we say yes, he says; “Then care for one another.”

This is our opportunity to make a difference, to live lovingly

on the frontiers of his bright new world.

 

We cannot promise to do it perfectly, but we can give it a go,

relying on his abundant wisdom to take our small love,

and fit it into a larger pattern of good for all creation.

 

May God bless the world in which you move,

and bless your home and bless your friends.

May God bless the eyes with which you see,

and bless the ears with which you listen.

May God bless the way you use your hands,

bless the way you employ your tongues.

(From a Celtic prayer)

 

 

The Grace



PRAYERS FOR SUNDAY MAY 8TH

FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER


Prayers of Approach, Adoration and Confession


Lord Jesus Christ,
we come together because You call us.
Sometimes in the noisy bustle of life
Your call sounds faintly,
but somehow, we have heard
and we are here.                                                                 


We come in our weakness and uncertainty,
with our doubts
and our sense of unworthiness,
yet knowing Your voice
and trusting that our hope will not be disappointed.               


Draw us closer to You.
Meet with us in our worship,
and lead us through the coming week.


Living God,
we worship You.
We bless You for Your love
which will not fail us.                                                          As a shepherd gathers their flock
so, Good Shepherd, You gather us here today
to feed and refresh us.                                        


Some of us come rejoicing
because our path has led through green pastures;
some come battered and bruised by life
because our path has led through dark and frightening valleys.
We need to know Your strength restoring our souls.


Some of us, like foolish sheep, come before You ashamed
because we have wandered astray instead of following You
and now we come seeking Your forgiveness.              


Thank You that in Your grace
and through the Lord Jesus
You seek us out,
You find us,
You help us,
and give us now joy and hope.                                           


We hear Your call
to care for others as You care for us,
to love as You love,
to give and go on giving,
to heal, to feed,
to nurture and reconcile.                                                                                                                  

Help us to show our thankfulness
not only in our praise and prayers,
but by following You
in the way of self-sacrificing love,
bringing others to give thanks and love You too.

Meet with us by Your Spirit.
Make us one.
Lead us in Your ways
for Your glory.

Father
Forgive us when we stray
and bring us back;
forgive us for all Your wandering sheep
that are not found;
forgive us for those who are driven from the fold
and scattered
because of something we said or did or failed to do;
for those who have been left hurt,
bewildered and afraid.                                           


Forgive us when the hungry sheep look up
and are not fed;
forgive us when the sheep are tired
and we do not give them rest;
forgive us when they stray into danger
and we do not seek them out;
forgive us when we do not care
for others in the fold.                                                         


Forgive us and change us.
Oh let us be changed,
in the name of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.
Amen


The Lord`s Prayer


Prayers of Intercession


We praise You for the living Christ
the Shepherd who knows His sheep;
not only those who are safe in His fold
but all who are far away
and have not heard His voice.


Today we pray for all who suffer and are not cared for –
the old who die alone,
the young who are neglected or cruelly treated,
young and old whose weaknesses are exploited,
and sensitivities abused,
all who are led astray,
all who are exploited,
for the vulnerable who are taken advantage of
and have no-one to stand by their side.


We pray for all who have grown hopeless
in their hunger and homelessness –
refugees from war and violence
trapped at borders or in makeshift camps,
those whose lives have been wrecked by conflicts
they do not understand
and cannot affect or change, victims of military aggression
ethnic cleansing or political ideology.


In a world of so much suffering
we pray too for the affluent,
comfortable and cared for,
who do not care;
for those who know what they should do
but do not bother;
for those who close their eyes and minds
and those who do not want to get involved.


And we pray for those who do care;
for those who accept the pain, cost and disturbance
that knowledge brings;
for those who want to help
but cannot see how.
Show them a way.

We pray for those who go
Where there is trouble, pain and poverty,
risking life and limb,
facing danger and fear.


Father, as we pray,
increase the depth of love in us
that we might give ourselves to others,
as You give Yourself to us.

Give us such joy
that the sheep may be found;
given health, strength, food
and hope for the future
and shown the way home.

Give us grace to follow You
wherever You lead
for Jesus' sake,
Amen


The Grace



PRAYERS FOR SUNDAY MAY 15TH

FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER


Prayers of Adoration and Confession


Wonderful Creator, Friend of the earth,

all creation praises You.
You have shown Your healing love to the people of every land,
and You have filled the long centuries

with new songs of happiness.

By the gift of faith,
may the invigorating Spirit of the risen Jesus live within us
and serve the world through us.
Join our songs to all those who have gone before us
and let memories of our joy inspire those who come after us.


Please remind us, loving God,
that no person is too unimportant to receive Your attention,
and no personal flaw or sin is too ugly or large
to receive Your forgiveness and healing.                               


Remind us that our weaknesses are like hollows
where sincere goodness can take root and grow tall.             


Remind us that our ignorance is a wilderness
which under the refreshing wisdom of Christ

can blossom like a rose.


Remind us that our guilt for both small mistakes or grievous sins can, by God's grace,
become the compost for a fruit season not achieved before.

It is written: "Here is real love; not our love for God
but God's love for us in the giving of His Son
to be the remedy for the corruption of our sins."                    Through the love of Christ Jesus,
forgiveness and release is ours for the asking.                        Therefore ask and receive,
knock and let the door be opened to you.


Gracious and loving God,
as we reflect on the wonder and glory of Your being,
and the depth of Your love for us,
we are conscious of our failure to learn from You
and from the sacrificial love of Jesus.

So often our understanding of glory
is linked with prestige and power and position.
Jesus' understanding of glory was linked to a love
that was prepared to go to the uttermost limits of love.


Forgive us when selfish pursuit of glory takes precedence
over Jesus' command to love one another as He has loved us.

"As he has loved us"–
we confess our lack of commitment to make Jesus' self-giving love the truly identifying mark of our community of faith.


Forgive us when we put economic, racial, social or other boundaries on our love.         

When we express His limitless love in all our relationships
and dealings with people, both inside and outside the church
– then – Jesus said, "everyone will know that you are my disciples."


Remind us, O God,
that even when our love falters,
Your love remains constant.
You have the power to make all things new.

Renew and rekindle our love for You and for one another.
Fill our hearts and minds with Jesus' selfless love
so that, like Him, we glorify You in all we do and say.
This we pray in Jesus' name.                                                Amen


The Lord`s Prayer


Prayers of intercession


May we increasingly become respectful caretakers of all that is, including the waters so easily enjoyed, disturbed, polluted, exploited, taken for granted.

May we regard more highly the elements upon which our lives depend.
Might we, with greater gratitude, enjoy and honour
those refreshing gulps and glassfuls of water after a workout, during the day or on a quiet evening alone.

We remember the millions upon millions who do not have access to clean drinking water,
a necessity of life.
Might we challenge and change the systems we all enjoy
that would bring about a transformation of our global systems allowing more to be able to drink clean water,

just a cup of cold, clean water.
Might we literally and figuratively provide cold water to all who seek it – out of love, hospitality, care, generosity.

We pause now and lift up in sadness and hope all those who will die this day, this hour,

due to unclean and polluted waters.
Would we, with greater reverence, enjoy and preserve these life-giving elements that go so unnoticed.
As a community of care, we commit this day to using less and enjoying more!

We remember others here and others not with us who are healing, those in hospital,
those in jail, those depressed and discouraged.
Might we initiate intimate connections with neighbours, friends, lovers, alike.
May they know the love of their spouses and friends,
the love pervasive in this universe
and receive healing expertise from those making decisions about their care.

We yearn for the day when all tears are dried, all pain is abandoned
… but today is not that day.


So our prayers are for those who weep this morning
for whom the loss of someone they love
or their battle with illness in body, mind or spirit
or the adversities in their daily living
weigh heavy, are perhaps too much for them to bear.
Through the heartache and loss they need to sense the hope
that comes from the words,
"I am making all things new."

We yearn for the day when nation will no longer fight with nation and young people will not be sent to die in war;
when the animosity between peoples will come to an end.
… but today is not that day.


So our prayers are for those who wage war:

politicians, military leaders,
those on the front lines

and those civilians caught in the cross fire.
Through the gunfire and the smoke
may the cry for a different way of being still be heard,
whispering over the hatred,
"I am making all things new."

We yearn for the day when every one of those who seek to follow Christ will be truly one, when theology and denomination and personal grudges will not divide the body
… but today is not that day.


So our prayers are for those who struggle to love their fellow Christian, who find it hard to accept the differences in belief they see,
who wrestle with strong feelings of anger or revulsion for their brother or sister in Christ.
Through the power struggles and the infighting,

the cool receptions and stony silences
we hear the words once more,
"I am making all things new."


For today may not be that day, when tears are dried, and wars are over,
and God's people are one,
but it is coming
and in us, through us, if need be despite us,
we step ever closer to the day of a new heaven and a new earth when the universe reverberates to the song,
"I am making all things new."
Amen.

 

The Grace



PRAYERS FOR SUNDAY MAY22ND

SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER


Prayer of Approach


We humble ourselves in Your living presence,
holy, merciful all-knowing Father.


We rest in Your presence
gracious Jesus, Saviour, Lord and Creator of all that is.


We seek Your wisdom, guidance, presence and hope,
Holy Spirit, Keeper of the Church.


Three but One, perfect in all things,
we approach You in the mystery of Your being,
seeking to offer You our worship, thanksgiving and praise.


Come, through Your Spirit to heal, inspire and renew us.
In the name of Christ Jesus.

Amen


Prayer of Confession


In Your perfect love You lay down Your life for us
Forgive us our sins and have mercy on us


We have sinned in our thoughts and imaginations
Forgive us our sins and have mercy on us


We have allowed our emotions to lead us astray
Forgive us our sins and have mercy on us


We have permitted our actions

to be living contradictions of Your will
Forgive us our sins and have mercy on us


Receive our penitence and transform it into repentance.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord,                                              Amen.

 

The Lord`s Prayer


Prayer of Intercession


We pray for our needy selves and our needy world.


Where there is discord in our nation and beyond,

help us to be light and healing.


As Jesus was bold and confident

in reaching out to others in their need,
help Your Church to shine, to be healing hands and voices.


For those who hurt and grieve,
help us to bring comfort and hope, friendship and peace.


For those suffering in poverty whether in this land or beyond,
open our hearts to everything in our power

to make a difference.


Where there is division within the Church

and between Churches,
humble us so that we might seek reconciliation and peace.


For all present in this place,

who need a touch of grace from Jesus,
draw us to Him in confidence.


For those situations in the world today – [name them here]
where only You can make a difference,
act in powerful ways.


And all this and the unspoken words of our hearts and minds,
we offer in faith and expectation,
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.                  Amen


Benediction


May the mind of the Father inspire and renew us.
May the Word of Life invigorate us with new faith and hope.
May the Spirit breathe fresh vision into expectant hearts.


And, may the grace and the mercy, the peace and the love
of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with and within us,
this day and evermore.                                                        Amen.

 


PRAYERS FOR SUNDAY MAY 29TH

SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER


Call to worship


We bring our hopes and anticipations.
We bring our joys and celebrations.
We bring our sorrows and lamentations.
We bring our faith and adorations.
We bring to this hour of worship
all that makes our lives real and meaningful,
that they may be blessed by communion
with the lives of others.


We enter into this time and this place
to join our hearts and minds together
to remember what is most important in life.
To be challenged to live more truly, more deeply,
to live with integrity
and kindness and with hope and love,
to feel the company of those who seek a common path,
to be renewed in our faith in the promise of this life,
to be strengthened and to find the courage
to continue to do what we must do,
day after day,
world without end.

Amen.


Prayers of Approach


The light is spreading.
It started off one Easter
when tombstones rolled and graves were found empty,
Jesus was alive.
The news spread from disciple to apostle,
from followers to strangers.
It spread like a fire among us, this news of new life.
It spreads still today here in this place, among us
who dare believe that life and death is not all there is.
In this place new light is streaming,
the Good News still has power to unfold and renew.


We come to re-weave the unravelling fabric of community.
To re-connect once more with the larger human family.
To find once more that place of calm.
To remind ourselves that we belong.
And to remember what it is we belong to.
We are many, as the stars that fill the night,
as the cluster of the grapes upon the vine,
as a flock of birds in flight,
as the branches of a tree,
as the waves upon the ocean.
We are also one body, and the work of Christ is done
when we learn to live in true community.


We come –
To centre ourselves,
to open ourselves,
to remember ourselves.
And to celebrate the life we share together.

We enter into this time and this place to join our hearts and minds together.
To remember what is most important in life.
To be challenged to live more truly, more deeply,
to live with integrity and kindness and with hope and love,
to feel the company of those who seek a common path,
to be forgiven through grace for our faults and failings,                                                                              to be renewed in our faith in the promise of this life,
to be strengthened and to find the courage
to continue to do what we must do,
day after day,
world without end.                                                              Amen


Prayers of Intercession


Make in us a captive conscience,

quick to hear, to act, to plead;
make us truly sisters, brothers of whatever race or creed –
Teach us to be fully human, open to each other's need.


May God bless us with a restless discomfort

about easy answers,
half-truths and superficial relationships,
so that we may seek truth boldly
and love deep within our hearts.


Make in us a captive conscience,

quick to hear, to act, to plead;
make us truly sisters, brothers of whatever race or creed –
Teach us to be fully human, open to each other's need.


May God bless us with holy anger at injustice,

oppression, and exploitation of people,
so that we may tirelessly work for justice, freedom,
and peace among all people.


Make in us a captive conscience,

quick to hear, to act, to plead;
make us truly sisters, brothers of whatever race or creed –
Teach us to be fully human, open to each other's need.


May God bless us with the gift of tears
to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation,
or the loss of all that they cherish,
so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them

and transform their pain into joy.


Make in us a captive conscience,

quick to hear, to act, to plead;
make us truly sisters, brothers of whatever race or creed –
Teach us to be fully human, open to each other's need.


May God bless us with enough foolishness
to believe that we really CAN make a difference in this world,
so that we are able, with God's grace,
to do what others claim cannot be done.                                Amen.

 

The Grace.