3 Prayers for discernment

Rotterdam at dusk  (Photo: Irene Bom)

To quote Paul:

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.”



Here are 3 prayers for discernment – to better hear God’s gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12) and weigh up what is good and right and worthy of the gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27).



Teach me, dear Lord,
the value and importance of all things,
so that I may discern and follow Your will.
Protect me from those who would harm me
and give me wisdom in dealing with them.
Keep me steadfast in my desire to worship You
      and learn from You;
to the praise of Your name.

from northumbriacommunity.org,
inspired by the life of Benedict of Nursia



Loving God,
We pray for the wisdom to discern your call in our lives.
Hear our prayer, O God.

We pray for the wisdom to make healthy choices
in the face of endless and confusing options.
Hear our prayer, O God.

We pray for the grace to redefine our relationships
with our parents and our friends as our lives change.
Hear our prayer, O God.

We pray for the grace to form new relationships
with new friends as we move forward from this place.
Hear our prayer, O God.

We pray for the courage to swim against the current of society
as we seek to follow where you lead us.
Hear our prayer, O God.

We pray for the courage to take a stand with you
for justice and peace in this world in this time.
Hear our prayer, O God. Amen.

written by Katherine Hawker, posted on the Liturgy Outside website.



O Creator past all telling,
you have so beautifully set out all parts of the universe;
you are the true fount of wisdom
and the noble origin of all things.
Be pleased to shed on the darkness of my mind
the beam and warmth of your light
to dispel my ignorance and sin.
Instruct my speech and touch my lips with graciousness;
make me keen to understand, quick to learn,
and able to remember;
and keep me finely tuned
to interpret your word,
for you are God for ever and ever.

written by St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274),
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #150


Listen, speak

(Photo: Irene Bom)

Prayer of Petition

(1 Kings, 2 Kings)

Beckoning God,
as you moved in the lives of Elijah and Elisha,
move in our lives,
inviting us to journey to unknown territory,
to listen for your voice,
and to speak your prophetic word
in a world that does not want to hear.

Empowered by your Spirit,
grant us the courage we need
to journey, trust, listen, speak,
and accept your commission
to be your faithful servant people.
~ from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers, Vanderbilt Divinity Library

Hear and answer

(Photo: Irene Bom)

Appealing to God to hear and answer is a recurring theme in the Scriptures. Here are a few examples from the Psalms:

Psalm 27:7
Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me.

Psalm 55:2
hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught

Psalm 86:1
Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.


This Prayer of Intercession draws heavily on this tradition, most noteably in the repetition of the words, “Gracious God, hear our prayer, and in Your love, answer.


Prayer of Intercession

based on Exodus 3:1-15, Romans 12:19-21, Matthew 16:21-28

Gracious God,
In love You created us,
and in love You sustain us, day after day.
So it is with confidence that we bring our prayers to You,
knowing that You hear us, and will respond.

We pray for the world around us,
for the many who continue to suffer and call out for help:
      for those without enough to eat;
      for those caught up in violence and political uprisings;
      for those picking up the pieces after a natural disaster;
      for those desperate to find work to support their families.

Gracious God, hear our prayer,
and in Your love, answer.

We also pray for family and friends who are suffering:
      those struggling physically or emotionally,
      those working to overcome mental illness;
      those facing challenges at home or at work;
      those grieving the death of a loved one.

Gracious God, hear our prayer,
and in Your love, answer.

God, You have called us to pray for our enemies;
to bless, rather than curse, those who deliberately seek to harm us.
We bring their names before You now—
      those who have hurt us, physically or emotionally;
      those who have stolen from us,
            or cheated us of what was rightfully ours;
      those who have spread rumours about us,
            or turned our friends against us.
We ask You to bless them.
Open our hearts so that we may see them as You see them,
and be able to respond to them with Your love.

Gracious God, hear our prayer,
and in Your love, answer.

We pray for Your church around the world,
that it would be a living demonstration of Your coming kingdom:
      offering hospitality to all,
      ready to help in times of need,
      showing love to friends and enemies alike,
      seeking to live in peace with all.

Gracious God, hear our prayer,
and in Your love, answer.

God, we praise You for Your faithful love,
and for the mercy You have shown toward us.
Open our eyes to recognize Your presence in our lives.
Give us grace to hear Your call,
and courage to follow without hesitation,
knowing that Your way is the only way that leads to life.

In the name of Jesus, our Saviour and Lord,

source: re:worship

More posts featuring Prayers of Intercession


Hard of hearing

(Photo: Irene Bom)

Prayer of Confession

(inspired by 1 Samuel 3, John 1: 43-51)

God of grace, in the days when your word was rarely heard and when visions were scarce, you broke into Samuel’s life and called his name … and he said “Here I am, speak, for your servant is listening.”

We confess that often so many voices clamour for our attention that your word is again hard to hear. Forgive us if you have called us to be prophetic witnesses or to use our gifts to serve you, and we have not heard, or have been unwilling to respond.

Lord Jesus Christ, you met Philip and Nathanael on the road and said “Follow me” – and they did … We confess that we do not expect to meet you on the familiar roads we travel and so we fail to discern your presence or your call on our lives.

Holy Spirit, you empower us to recognise and to respond to the invitation of Jesus to follow him, even when that means travelling on unknown and unfamiliar paths …

Merciful God, take from us all that hinders our hearing your voice and fill us anew with the Holy Spirit that we may joyfully respond to Jesus’ call on our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Assurance of Forgiveness

(based on 1 Corinthians 6: 20)

The good news is that even if we at first do not hear the divine word addressed to us, God calls again and again. When our words and actions separate us from God, the Apostle Paul assures us that Jesus was prepared to pay the price to restore us to God. Paul writes: “You were bought with a price; therefore glorify God …” (1 Corinthians 6:20)
~ written by Moira Laidlaw, posted on re:worship

From the blog
Prayer poem: Not forsaken
God loves stories
Word study: Shema

I hear you

(Photo: Irene Bom)

I’m subscribed to the GOODNEWSLETTER – a weekly dose of five good news stories to counter cynicism and despair, to awaken hope.

This week’s GOODNEWSLETTER opens with a wonderful story from Zimbabwe about the Friendship Bench, a groundbreaking mental health programme based on evidence-based talk therapy, offered for free by trained grandmothers in more than 70 communities around the country.

Here’s an excerpt about one of the grandmothers serving her community as part of this programme:

Chinhoyi, who is 72, has lost count of the number of people she has treated on an almost daily basis over the past 10-plus years. She regularly meets with HIV-positive individuals, drug addicts, people suffering from poverty and hunger, unhappy married couples, lonely older people and pregnant, unmarried young women. Regardless of their background or circumstances, she begins her sessions the same way: “I introduce myself and I say, ‘What is your problem? Tell me everything, and let me help you with my words.’”

After hearing the individual’s story, Chinhoyi guides her patient until he or she arrives at a solution on their own. Then, until their issue is completely resolved, she follows up with the person every few days to make sure they are sticking to the plan.

On the BBC Future website you can read more about the Friendship Bench and how the programme is spreading to other countries.


I Do Believe

I believe in God whose light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never smother it.

I believe in the Word who has become incarnate,
our very flesh and blood,
yet full of grace and truth.

I believe in the blessed appearing of the salvation of our God,
that is for the happiness of all people.

I believe in his name as Wonderful Counsellor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace;
of the increase of his rule and of his unique peace
there will be no end.
The zeal of the God of hosts will do this.

This I surely believe!

~ written by Bruce Prewer, posted on Bruce Prewer’s Homepage. (adapted)

From the blog
Turn to the light
Theme: Good news  [prayer sheet]
Show me the way