Prayers of the People – September 27 – Exodus 15

Prayers have been put together by Robert, this year's emerging leader, and contain language borrowed from Gathered and Scattered: Readings and Meditations from the Iona Community and Presbyterian Church in Canada Worship Resources.


God of power,
You speak to us words of challenge and comfort.
You stand among us, calling us to acts of mercy.

Even now, the Holy Spirit is moving in our midst, 
filling us with hope 
and inspiring us to faithfulness.

And often we, in arrogance and insecurity, 
will play our part in preventing others
from seeing your justice. 

When justice fails 
and no one heeds the cries of agony, 
You speak to us: “Be not afraid.” 

You ask us to walk with you on the path to Calvary 
And take the risk of showing
that we’re not afraid to be. 

Compassionate God, 
you open your heart to those in need, 
and to your aching creation.
We confess we often turn away 
so that we do not have to see pain, 
suffering or injustice,
right before our eyes. 
We don’t like to feel uncomfortable 
or pressed into service. 
Forgive us and give us courage 
to love others as you love us 
and reach out with the care 
we have witnessed in Jesus. 

God of faithfulness and surprise, 
we look at ourselves and sometimes doubt 
we can make a difference or have an impact.
Challenge us 
to recognize the kinds of power we do have: 
love and compassion, courage and commitment, 
laughter and friendship, generosity and mercy. 

In all these gifts we know your power. 
Through all these gifts, our lives have been changed.
Using these gifts in our lives, 
bring Christ’s love and mercy to the world you love. 

[Prayers for this city, the University of Toronto, and this country.] 

“The Lord is our strength and salvation.”
“In your unfailing love you will lead
    the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
    to your holy dwelling.” [Exodus 15:2; 13]

Help us to see you not as a partisan God, 
but a God who died on the cross
out of love for the world. 

So Christ within and Christ without, 
Christ in whom all are one, 
Teach us not only how to be but also to become. Amen.

Prayers of Lament – 20 Sept 2022

The following were the prayers given at the Wine Before Breakfast service held on 20 September 2022.

At the inaugural service of Wine Before Breakfast in September 2001, we offered up a lament in response to the events of September 11. Each September at our first WBB of the season, we return to that lament and revise it in response to the world as we find it now.

How long, O Lord?
How long?
How long must we be held captive by our fears?
You created us for glory,
how long must we be architects of shame?

God who sees us,
you who look upon this world
through tear-filled eyes,
forgive our lack of trust in your abundance,
restore humanity for glory
and cover our shame.

How long, O Lord?
How long?
How long must we be ashamed of the gospel of
Jesus employed in the name of harm?
How long must creation be destroyed?
How long must the vulnerable be treated harshly?

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

How long, O Lord?
How long?
We are waiting,
waiting for those whom you see and name,
waiting for the students and professors
anxiously returning,
waiting for those still healing from the pandemic,
overshadowed by power that is too often abused,
among those devastated by drought and floods
amid those mourning unmarked graves.

They are waiting, O Lord,
We are waiting.
Lamenting lives lived in fear.
Lamenting days that have been shortened.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
[silent and spoken prayers for all who mourn]

How long, O Lord?
How long until there is justice?
How long until righteousness takes root
and bears its good fruit in our lives?

Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.

How long, O Lord?
How long must our hearts be afraid?
How long will be captivated by fear
and push away those who are different?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst
for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
[silent and spoken prayers for justice and peace]

How long must we mourn?
how long must we wait?
How long this hunger?

Healer of our every ill, light of each tomorrow,
give us peace beyond our fears
and hope beyond our sorrows.

How long must we lament?
How long must we sing this song?
How long must we wait for your Kingdom?

And draw us near and bind us tight,
all your children here in their rags of light;
in our rags of light all dressed to kill;
and end this night if it be your will.
[Leonard Cohen, “If it be your will”]

Give peace in our time, O Lord
And mercifully see us when we call upon you.
Amen.

Prayers for Luke 7:36-50

The following prayer was written by Deb Whalen-Blaize for the April 5 Wine Before Breakfast service in response to the text of Luke 7:36-50 where the outcast woman anoints Jesus.

Creator, Whole One,
who formed us, whole, from clay
and called us good;
Knowing we are broken,
knowing our ways are broken,
we come to be reminded that we are still good.
 
That we are loved
Even when we are sick,
when we are bankrupt,
when we numb ourselves.
 
In the face of a culture that expects us to perform,
to deliver, and to compete,
remind us again that you see us
already good, still good, created good;
 
Created to be loved
even when we are overwhelmed,
when we are fuming,
when we are losing our sanity.
 
We take this moment to let down our guard,
to pause our hiding and posturing,
to accept that you know exactly
who and how we are in this moment,
and to practice trusting that you love us -
that you always have and you always will.
 
(Moment of reflecting and opening ourselves to God)
 
What wondrous love this is that you offer us,
complete and full and rich and untainted.
It saturates all the places
where we are criticized and cracked
until we are full to overflowing.
 
When we are so full of this love
we long to offer it back to you in a meaningful way
But you are no longer a man travelling the desert
whose feet are tired and worn.
How do we demonstrate our passionate adoration?
 
You have said
that whatever we do to the least among us,
we are doing it to you.
We shall endeavor
to seek out the least and love them,
to give food to the hungry and water to the thirsty,
to welcome the stranger and clothe the naked,
to care for the sick and accompany the imprisoned.
 
We lift to you
the people and communities on our hearts
whom we love because you first loved us,
who are beloved regardless of their brokenness.
 
(Prayers for people and communities in need)
May each one be filled
with the certainty of your love.
May they find healing and wholeness,
confident of your acceptance.
 
We pray, too, for those in power,
those the world sees as the greatest among us,
but who you know are not without sin.
They, too, are only redeemed by love.
 
We ask that you persuade them, Lord,
to wield their power, wealth, and status,
not as weapons, but as tools to build your kin-dom.
May they contribute
to the healing and wholeness of your world.
 
(prayers for those in power)
 
May each of these,
know your love deeply,
be inspired to do your will,
and to act and decree with loving kindness.
 
Every day, God, we see our brokenness
and the brokenness of others.
If you marked our transgressions, Lord,
who would stand?
May your love fill us with such confidence
that we can meet the transgressions of others
with forgiveness and love,
tending to a cycle of healing
and breaking the cycle of brokenness.
 
May we, restored and full of gladness,
work towards the building of your kin-dom,
conquering pain with compassion,
overcoming fear with trust,
knowing we are nurtured and protected
by your love. Amen.

For more highlights on this text and others we’ve looked at this past semester, see our Instagram posts, other reflections, and the weekly emails.

Collect Prayer for Luke 20:9-19

The following prayer was written for the March 29 Wine Before Breakfast service in response to the text of Luke 20:9-19, the parable of the tenants.

Creator who sets free,
you give second and third chances
and punish those who are dishonorable.
Open our hearts to heed your word
so that the vulnerable receive care,
those who have done harm
are held accountable,
and we might welcome you with open arms.
Set us free, O Gracious God.

For more thoughts on the parable of the tenants, see our Instagram post and the weekly email on this text.\

Prayers of the people for Mark 11:12-25

The following prayers were written for the March 22 Wine Before Breakfast service in response to the text of Mark 11:12-25, which focuses on Jesus’ cursing the fig tree and the cleansing of the temple.

God of power,
Your word brings life and death,
shapes the world into being
and withers that which bears no fruit. 

You invite us to put our trust in you,
To send our voices to you.
You invite us to believe that you hear,
And that the answer will come. 

And so we pray for the world
    and all who are suffering,
especially for those in Ukraine and Russia,
and for those negatively affected 
    by the new covid regulations. 

[Prayers for the world and for our country]

God of power,
you entered Jerusalem on a colt
and with an army of peasants.
You entered the temple, 
became angry and raised your voice 
and overturned the tables of injustice.

Tear down the injustices in our churches,
the university and our workplaces. 
Remove those who have abused their power,
bring to light antisemitism and able-ism.
Let exploitation and thievery to wither
so that restitution may grow in its place.

May your house once again
be a place of prayer for all peoples. 
May the university and workplaces
be places where all may flourish.


[Prayers for the church and the university]

God of power, you have promised
that if we say to a mountain 
‘Lift up and go into the sea,’ 
with hearts that believe and do not doubt, 
then it will be done.

But, O God, we doubt.
Our world is filled with 
mountains of oppression,
valleys of polarization we cannot cross.  
We are weighed down by heavy burdens
placed on ourselves and one another. 

What sea can hold these mountains?
How do we not also drown from our efforts?

Help us to imagine a different world,
a world where rulers humble themselves
and fight for the poor and oppressed.
Help us imagine a world
where we tear down mountains together
and where all creation flourishes. 
 
We lift up ourselves and those close to us.
Help us to trust in you.
Help us to believe your promises.

[Prayers for those close to us]

God of power,
we believe you hear us. 
May we trust in you. 

As we wait for your answer,
give us courage as we fight for justice,
give us wisdom to rest in your presence,
and fill us with hope.
Amen.

Prayers of people from March 8, 2022 – based on the story of the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7:24-30

Prayers adapted from those written by Luke T on this passage in November 2017.

Creator, Son, Spirit
Your Kingdom is for us
Your Kingdom is for all
God of all earth, all people, all relationships
We are hurting.
The earth is not as in heaven.
 
We keep power for ourselves, abusing it even.
We eat the bread and keep the scraps for ourselves.
The earth is not as in heaven.
Or we discard the scraps,
only giving away what we no longer want.
The earth is not as in heaven.
 
But we want to be inclusive
Included
Welcoming
Welcomed
We want to love
Be loved
Because your Kingdom is for us
Your Kingdom is for all
 
[Silent and spoken prayers for hospitality and inclusivity for the church and the world]
 
God of grace,
For the times we have excluded
The times we have withheld even the scraps
Withheld the warmth of hospitality
 
Withheld care and compassion
Equality and empathy,
When we have forgotten
Your Kingdom is for all

When we forget the outsider
The foreigner
The less equal
We confess our sin to You.
[Prayers of confession]
 
God of hope,
For the times we are included
The times we have been given so much
Felt the warmth of hospitality
The comfort and love of community
The times we have been empowered
And seen so clearly
Your Kingdom is for all
 
When we find your love
In likely and unlikely places
We give you thanks.
[Prayers of gratitude]
 
Creator, Son, Spirit
Draw us into Your divine love
Ever present
Ever welcoming
Ever submitting
Ever generous
Teach us Your love
Amen.