Prayers written by Deb for the January 24 Wine Before Breakfast service focused on 1 Samuel and the image of God as king. Creator God, We come before you in heartache and frustration Because the system just isn’t working. We long for the ease and confidence of a society that is just, fair and noble But the world in which we live is anything but just, fair and noble. The system just isn’t working. In our attempts to right the ship we have forgotten you and put our faith in the latest and greatest idea. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent... We confess that we don’t know how to meet the suffering in the world But, trusting that you do, we quiet our hearts and await what you are ready to teach us. Amen.
The following prayers were written by Robert Revington for the WBB service on 29 November 2022. Some text derived from “Darkness Goodness” by Jacqueline Daley and “Cloth for the Cradle: Worship Resources and Readings for Advent, Christmas, & Epiphany.
Lord, who created the universe and humankind out of darkness; “light for the day; dark for the night,” be with us. We came from the darkness of the womb and to darkness we will go. Through darkness you helped the Hebrews escape Egypt; Through darkness you summoned Moses; Through darkness the Holy Family escaped Herod; Through darkness you allowed the slaves to escape on the Underground Railway. Our saviour was laid in a dark grave to bring salvation from our sins. Darkness brings liberty to the captives. (Prayers for those who are oppressed in body, spirit, heart and mind.) Darkness is not evil. Your people sin in daylight, as in the stories of Adam, Eve, Cain, David in the afternoon light. As Jesus was crucified in the morning light. The greatest sins are not always on the streets at night but in an office in the daylight, where the poor are neglected. We remember your servants Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and others whose Black lives shone light on White sin, enlightening the world to let freedom win and that black is not the twin of evil. (Prayers for leaders and people of influence to move the world toward God’s justice.) In darkness, love ignites, passion soars, and lovers unite. Prayer and meditation happen in closed-eyed darkness; the friendly darkness, where sleep also rescues us from tiredness. We bless you, Lord of light and dark; teach us to be still in your deep darkness. (A moment of stillness and silence.) Two thousand years ago, in the town of Bethlehem, when the world was dark, and the city was quiet, you came. And no one knew, except the few who believed. As the old song says, “It came upon a midnight clear” —a child born, a message of peace to all. Show us how hope rises in darkness as it did in Bethlehem, whisper to us gently in the dark, and remind us that you are there even when we do not see you. Amen.
The following prayers were written by Amy for the Wine Before Breakfast service on 22 November 2022.
Lord we come to you as your creatures, your servants, your beloved children, your subjects, and collectively as your “bride.” And today we are reminded that you also call us your friends! In an age of social media platforms, where a person can have hundreds or even thousands of Facebook “friends” even some we have never met, it’s hard to know what ‘friendship’ even means. Has the term lost its meaning? Lord do we even have a sense of what it means for YOU to call US friends? You said that there is no greater love than when someone lays down their life for their friends. That is just EXACTLY what you did for us, each and all! This shows your friendship toward us. How do we show OUR friendship for You? Through how we demonstrate love for one another. In the way that we endeavour to follow your commandments, the greatest of which IS to love one another as you have loved us! By how we get to know what you are all about, and use that as our model for interacting with the people around us. Help us create spaces where we can gather to care for one another; Spaces where we can share refreshment of body and soul; Spaces where we see You in each other, You, who are the original, Source, purest, and most perfect Love. And in creating these spaces, may we learn from our failures and pursue healing for things that have gone wrong. Help us create space to bring our cares; laying it all out to you in prayer. And oh, we DO have cares on our mind, Lord. Overwhelmed hospitals, an ongoing pandemic, and the new flu season that is already claiming lives. Grief, sorrows, regrets, debts, wounds, and worries. A city that treats our vulnerable and homeless citizens as if they were disposable. The ongoing travesty of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and of Native communities without safe drinking water. Violence against those who are different, fears for the very climate we live in, and guilty concern about the impact of the everyday choices we make. The prospect of “Women, Life, Freedom” protesters in Iran being sentenced to death. Worries about the outcomes of the political representatives we choose, and the choices they make “for” us. It can feel overwhelming Lord, when there’s so much troubling news! Help us to bring it all to you in prayer. When we turn our cares over to you, may we find solace and courage there. In the expansiveness of your love, comfort, and care. In the streets, in our homes, and wherever we meet with others. May we meet, see, and greet each other In your love, your word, your example; Joining hands with friends and strangers alike. Treating those strangers as if they are Your own dear friends, and therefore to be valued by us, and cherished. Beloved, where we are, you are there. And you can brighten the darkest night, when we call on you and you meet us. Thank-you, Lord. Amen.
The following prayers were written by Alicia for the WBB service held on 15 November 2022. The theme was God as bread.
God who gives, we pray to you for bread each day. You taught us to pray like your people in the desert, receiving what they needed each day and no more, learning to depend on you. Jesus, bread of life, you turn our eyes from daily bread to living bread. Give us this bread always. God who came down from heaven, we thank you that you care about life in this world, that you are our staff of life. God who promises to raise us up at the last day, we praise you for the hope of resurrected life. Give us this bread always. (Pause for silent meditation and praise.) Jesus, living bread, we are hungry. Provide for those who have little to eat, whose budget is tight, who must often go without. We pray especially for your blessing on the work of the Common Table among the homeless and vulnerably housed in Toronto. Help us to be your hands to the hungry, baking and sharing daily bread. (Prayers for those struggling in the city, the country, and the world in a time of economic difficulty.) Jesus, living bread, we are hungry. Provide for those who lack wholesome spiritual food, who long for strength and meaning, who seek life that lasts. We pray for this ministry and others in the university, that you would use us to bring words of hope and life to those who need them. Help us to come to you and feed on you, and hold out that food to others. (Prayers for the university and the wider culture it feeds, for those lost and needing spiritual food.) Living God, those who feed on you will live because of you. We ask you today and every day: give us this bread always. Amen.
The following were the opening prayers for the WBB service held on 15 November 2022. The prayers build on the service’s theme of God as bread, as well as the opening song: “Falling at your feet” by Daniel Lanois.
Gracious God, we come to you stumbling and falling down, bringing with us our needs and imperfections. You invite us to surrender ourselves to you, to trust in your good and holy will. We come hungry for renewal and justice, thirsty for joy and restoration. Give us the bread of life. May we taste and see that you are good. Amen.
The following are the prayers of the people written by Deb Whalen-Blaize for the WBB service held on 8 November 2022.
Oh God, who is all-knowing Who forms us in the wom And is still placing stars in the sky We approach with confusion and yearning We ask: are you powerful and mighty Or humble and gentle? And we hear you answer: Yes. This morning we bring you all our assumptions, Our preconceived ideas The worldviews and narratives in which we find identity We offer them to you in trade for humility In your presence May we practice the art of listening, Mull over your morsels of wisdom, And learn to ask the right questions. (Moment of Silence and listening) O God, the journey to wisdom is long Thank you for your love along the way We pray for Your Church We have built so many walls Based on so many presumptions We have forgotten that sometimes It’s just more important to love Than to always have it right Will you foster in us not only humility, But curiosity? To delight in discovery, and marvel in mystery To remember that you have taught us To love the Lord our God With all our heart, soul, mind and strength And to love one another as we love ourselves. (Prayers for forgiveness for our faults and failings, for the strength to make amends, and to be who God wants us to be) O God, the journey to wisdom is long Thank you for your love along the way We pray, too, for your Spirit To guide all of us here At the University of Toronto For the students and faculty In pursuit of knowledge We pray that they will continue to experience The joy and excitement of learning We know that in every realm of society and community Your desire is for justice and equity We pray today for educators and support staff In institutions across the province Be with them in this time of outrage and protest Console and sustain those with stress or anxiety Free all from presumption and pride And from the temptation to abuse power and privilege May we see you at work Here on campus, and on the picket lines, O God. (Continued prayers for U of T students and faculty and for equitable working conditions in education in Ontario) O God, the journey to wisdom is long Thank you for your love along the way As Remembrance Day approaches, God, We thank you for your nearness As we continue to grieve loved ones And rage against history repeating itself (A moment of silence to remember those we have lost to war and violence, and to resonate with God’s desire for peace) We offer you these prayers Knowing you accept each and every one As we carry on along this journey towards wisdom, justice and peace. Thank you for your love along the way We know that, as we seek you, God You hide behind a tree, and laugh Beckoning us to come and play To walk beside you To consider and reconsider And to savour the richness of the journey Long before we reach the destination. Amen.
The following prayers were used at the WBB service on November 1, which focused on Psalm 32 and God as hiding place. Some of the prayers is an adaptation of prayers written by Carrie Bare from “On Prayer: At the Start of New Year.”
God of comfort, you are our hiding place. You know who we are in our inmost parts, You see what is beautiful and what we are ashamed of. You know this world in which we live, from the CN Tower to research labs, from city hall to grocery stores. You know what has wasted away in ourselves and in the world around us, and you do not hide. [Silent and spoken prayers of confession and lament] God of comfort, you are our hiding place. You grant forgiveness and healing, reviving our strength, restoring creation. You provide a safe resting place, may we create places of safety for others. Help us to listen. Help us to notice. May we see your presence. God of comfort, we pray especially for the university. May professors and students be full of grace so that classrooms are conducive to learning, to discovering together what is possible, to being places of joy and hope. You provide a safe resting place, Where there is anything toxic going on in any of the departments, bring wholeness. Bring peace and good will. Help us honour one another as your image bearers. [Silent and spoken prayers for the university] God of comfort, you are our resting place, and we are so often in turmoil. Provide wisdom to those who are struggling, bring peace to those who are anxious, help those who are lonely to find friendships. You are our resting place, and too often our strength is dried up. Refill us with the energy we need to live well. Renew us, restore us, and set us back on good paths, so that we can use our gifts to your glory, to help the university, the church, and our workplaces. [Silent and spoken prayers for wisdom and restoration] God of comfort, Please help us discern what is actually ours to do, and what is not. What you are calling us to do, and what you are not calling us to do. Help us be attentive to your Holy Spirit so that we receive guidance and help and insight, and the courage to do what lies before us. Help us not to over-commit, over-extend and fail to finish well. When we fail, may we know your grace, may we find in you a resting place. May we be surrounded by your steadfast love and find joy in you. Amen.
The following opening and closing prayers written by Sarah MH were used at the WBB service held on October 25 which focused on Mark 4:26-41 and Creation as God’s Body.
Opening Prayers God, we are full of hope and desire for goodness in this city this morning, For the Kingdom of God is here, and coming. It is like someone scattering seed on the ground. By itself, seed cannot grow, But with water, darkness, soil, warmth and light The seed grows into itself with stalk, leaves and fruit. God, we are ready for goodness and healing in this university, this city, this province, this country. For the Kingdom of God is here, and coming. It is like a mustard seed, small and fragile at first, But full of promise as it grows big enough to shelter all the birds of the air. Give us patience as we wait, Let us be strengthened for the harvest that is coming. Amen. Closing Prayers Creator God, You scatter seed on every kind of ground, And give what is needed to grow that seed into deep roots, strong branches and bountiful fruit. Remind us that for all the gifts you bestow on us, You do so thoughtfully and with joy. Give us patience to see those gifts through to fruitfulness to hold on to the promise that we will be a shelter to many. So we boldly proclaim, filled with hope, courage and perseverance: Glory to God, whose power working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory to God from generation to generation, in the Church and in Christ Jesus, forever and ever. Amen.
The following prayers of the people written by Deb Whalen-Blaize were used at the WBB service held on October 25 which focused on Mark 4:26-41 and Creation as God’s Body.
Creator, Sculptor, Breath of Life You brought life into being in the darkness and quiet Where you were priming, preparing, nurturing, and growing. Bring us to stillness and slow breathing Pause to our anxiety and make space for hope May we trust that you are with us. (Silence in which to breathe and be still before Creator God) We praise you, for you show yourself in Creation: Your strength and your beauty Your endurance and resilience. And you have created us in your likeness Though we sometimes forget. When the storm clouds gather, our brows furrow When the leaves begin to wither, we wring our hands Sometimes the spirits of deception Convince us the end is near. Where we have been worn down, and fear has set in Restore our faith in you and in your presence Remind us who you have created us to be (Prayers spoken and silent for places in our own lives where we need healing, nurturing and restoration) Despite our doubt and our callouses Hope persists like a sprout in concrete Defying imprisonment and death And refusing to give up. May we see our hope and our faith Grow thick as mustard and plentiful as mint And when we are fearful or wounded, O Creator, May we find nourishment in the faith of one another, In the relentless hope you have planted in each of us May we find home in its thick brush Shelter from the storms that trouble us so (Prayers spoken and silent for the needs of U of T, our neighbourhoods, workplaces and churches) Where we fail to serve, O Creator Forgive us May we not turn inward or crave dominance But revel in what you have given us to do for one another. Help us to celebrate life together, Cultivating connection and balance. We pray for places around the world Where life is threatened; Where humanity and dignity are disregarded; Where injustice is used to stockpile power, Causing suffering for so many. (Prayers silent and spoken for places around the world where Creator’s justice, compassion and welcome is needed) We pray, Creator God, That your justice and balance be restored; That suffering be tended to, down to its source. We trust that where harm has been done You are powerful to correct and to heal. May our prayers be pleasing to you, O God, Reaching your ears like the lapping of waves And rising like the fragrance of wildflowers. We pray all these things in the name of your Son, Jesus, Creator Sets Free, Amen.
Opening Prayers How long, O God, until things are made right? How long before you act? We lament the brokenness in the world. We lament how hard it is to discern your actions, to see the Spirit’s presence. As we come to worship, grant us your table-flipping, mountain-hurling convictions, and may we recognize your presence in your house of worship this morning. Amen. Prayers of the People 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, reveal racism and ableism. Let exploitation and thievery 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 spaces 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 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 ourselves and 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. Text borrowed partially from WBB service in March 2022 and January 2017.