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Prayer resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2004

We wish to thank all those who have granted permission for the publication of the above prayers on the WCC web site. We have made every effort to trace and identify them correctly and to secure all the necessary permissions for publication.

01 January 2004

Prayers based on a Palestinian litany written by Bishop Munib A. Younan

Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and
for all people according to their needs.

Merciful God, in the birth of your Son Jesus Christ in Bethlehem you became one of us; you shared our joy, suffering and pain. We thank you for taking refuge in Egypt and for identifying yourself with refugees and victims of political power. We thank you for your suffering on the cross and for identifying yourself with those who suffer from injustice and live under occupation.
Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

Eternal God, you know the troubles and pains of the people of Israel-Palestine: We pray for the victims of injustice and violence but also for those who have caused suffering. We pray for those who cannot enter their places of work. We pray for young people who are losing their hope for the future and for mothers who are tired of bloodshed and killing. We pray for the bereaved families, who have lost their beloved ones.
Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

We pray for the recovery of the injured. We pray for those who have to live with permanent disability. We pray for politicians; grant them wisdom and courage to search for reconciliation and peace.
Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

We are all created in your image. Grant us courage to recognize every person's human, religious, civil and political rights. Help us to build a culture of peace, justice and reconciliation. Free us from all hatred and bitterness.
Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said to his disciples, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you." (Jn 14:27) Give peace to your church, peace among nations, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts. Merciful God, accept our prayers and yearnings. You are our only strength, refuge and hope. In the name of Jesus - our liberator and redeemer.
Amen.

© Bishop Munib A. Younan, ELCJ, Palestine

Creed of hope

I believe in God.
The God of all creeds, with all their truths.
But, above all, in the God
that rises from the dead words
to become part of life.
I believe in God that accompanies me along
every step of my path on this earth,
many times walking behind me, watching me and suffering with my mistakes,
other times walking beside me, talking to me and teaching me,
and other times walking ahead of me, guiding and marking my pace.
I believe in the God of flesh and blood, Jesus Christ,
the God who lived in my skin and tried on my shoes,
the God who walked in my ways, and knows of lights and shadows.
The God who ate and starved,
who had a home and suffered loneliness,
who was praised and condemned, kissed and spat on, loved and hated.
The God who went to parties and funerals,
the God who laughed and cried.
I believe in the God who is attentive today, who looks at the world
and sees the hatred that segregates, divides,
sets people aside, hurts and kills,
who sees the bullets piercing the flesh,
and the blood of innocent people flowing on the earth,
who sees the hand that dips into another's pocket,
stealing what somebody needs to eat,
who sees the judge that favours the highest bidder,
the truth and justice of hypocrites,
who sees the dirty rivers and the dead fish,
the toxic substances destroying the earth
and piercing the sky
who sees the future mortgaged and
man's debt growing.
I believe in God who sees all this …
and keeps on crying.

But I also believe in God
who sees a mother giving birth - a life born from pain,
who sees two children playing - a seed growing,
who sees a flower blooming out of the debris - a new beginning,
who sees three crazy women claimouring for justice - an illusion that doesn't die
who sees the sun rising every morning - a time of opportunities.
I believe in God who sees all this …
and laughs,
because,
in spite of it all,
there is hope.

© Gerardo Oberman, Argentina
At noon on every Friday, visitors will gather around the altar in the roofless nave of Coventry Cathedral for a short service that begins with the Coventry Litany of Reconciliation
.

Coventry litany of reconciliation

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Rom 3,23)

The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
Father forgive.

The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,
Father forgive.

The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,
Father forgive.

Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
Father forgive.

Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,
Father forgive.

The lust which dishonours the bodies of men, women and children,
Father forgive.

The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,
Father forgive.

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

© Coventry Cathedral; reproduced by kind permission of the Coventry Cathedral Chapter

 

The following 3 prayers were created during a seminar on Liturgy and Music organized by the WCC in October 2002 in Faverges/France:

I

God,
The image of your son is not visible
- in the pages of our newspapers
- in the faces of our leaders
- in the deployment of our weapons
- in the violence of our actions.

Christ,
Take our words,
Our world
Our weapons
Our work
And transform them in your image.

So we may see your face
In truth where news is reported
In justice where power is abused
In peace where war is threatened
In reconciliation where deeds foster hatred.

Open our eyes Lord !

 

II

God,
The image of your son is deformed by our sin,
Because we sin against you and our neighbours.

Forgive us when we ignore the suffering of your people
And violence and injustice near and far.

Give us the courage to confront our fears and
Help us to act as agents of peace.

Restore to us the vision of one church.

Open our eyes!

III

God,
We are created in your image.

The only way to show your peace and justice
Is through us.

We are responsible for your world and
For each other.

Transform us through your Holy Spirit.

Open our eyes!

2002 © World Council of Churches, route de Ferney 150, P.O. Box 2100, CH-1211 Geneva 2


Blessing

May the blessing of the God of peace and justice be with us;
May the blessing of the Son who weeps the tears of the world's suffering be with us;
And may the blessing of the Spirit who inspires us to reconciliation and hope be with us;
from now into eternity.
Amen.

2003 © Clare McBeath


We wish to thank all those who have granted permission for the publication of the above prayers on the WCC web site. We have made every effort to trace and identify them correctly and to secure all the necessary permissions for publication. If we have erred in any way in the acknowledgements, or have unwittingly infringed any copyright, we apologize sincerely.