3 Prayers of lament


(Photo: Irene Bom)
 

To complement the many psalms of lament and your own ‘wordless sighs’ and ‘aching groans’ (Romans 8:26, MSG), here are three short prayers of lament to try on for size … to pray for yourself, or on behalf of someone else.

 


#1

Heart of my shattered heart,
who will soothe the buried lament?
Who will pour oil on the biting pang
that never dies
Christ, do you hear the words held back?
You are there, a love most healing.
 
~ written by Brother Roger of Taize,
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #223
 


#2

Lord Jesus,
many of us are waiting for you:
the war-torn are waiting for peace,
the hungry are waiting for bread.
the refugees are waiting for a homeland,
the sick are waiting for healers.
Have you forgotten us?
O Lord, come quickly, we pray.
Amen.
 
~ written by Bruce Prewer, posted on bruceprewer.com
 


#3

Lord of my darkest place:
Let in your light.

Lord of my greatest fear:
Let in your peace.

Lord of my most bitter shame:
Let in your word of grace.

Lord of my oldest grudge:
Let in your forgiveness.

Lord of my deepest anger:
Let it out.

Lord of my loneliest moment:
Let in your presence.

Lord of my truest self – my all:
Let in your wholeness.
 
~ written by Alison Pepper,
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #283
 


 
Prayer poem for Lent 4B : Talk about it
 
This prayer poem is inspired by Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22, in particular verse 2a: “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story …
 


From the blog
3 Prayers for Lent
3 Prayers while waiting
3 Prayers for refugees
 

3 Prayers for courage


Space separates our bodies, but not our minds | Rotterdam Centraal  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Another post in the 3 Prayer series, to introduce our theme for September: THRESHOLD.

 


#1

O God, you know we are often filled with fear and foreboding.
Give us courage and deepen our trust.
You are a rock which nothing can shatter.
On you we can place the whole weight of our lives.

~ written by Richard Harries,
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #279
 


#2

O Lord, everything fills me with fear and apprehension. Even the smallest commitment has become a huge ordeal in my eyes. I cannot see any hope or purpose in my life. Teach me to go on praying, though my faith seems lost and there is no apparent response. Give me the strength to face one day at a time, and to know that, somehow, you will carry me through. Do not let me become so obsessed with myself that I fail to respond to the needs of others. As I echo the words of Jesus, ‘Let this cup pass from me,’ let me, like him, accept your will – and give me a little of his courage.

~ written by Mary Rose de Lisle,
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #289
 


#3

When I feel threatened
or believe myself to be a failure,
give me courage to enter my still centre,
the place of buried treasure
and sunshine
and solitude
where you are, Lord,
and where it no longer matters
who approves of me
or how successful I am
because you are there,
and, in your presence,
I rediscover the confidence
to be me.

~ written by Angela Ashwin,
from A Little Book of Healing Prayer by Angela Ashwin, #50
 


From the blog
Theme: Do not lose heart   [prayer sheet]
Not deserted
Leaving the desert behind
 

3 Prayers while waiting


 
 
In Psalm 27:13-14 the psalmist says:
 

I remain confident of this:
      I will see the goodness of the Lord
      in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
      be strong and take heart
      and wait for the Lord.

 

Here are three prayers to keep your heart centred on God while waiting – whether in joyful anticipation, frustration or dread.

 


#1

Now is the time, let us pause.
As we wait, may we hear the voice of God.

Now is the time, let us watch.
In our homes, at our work, even while waiting in line —
may we see the face of Christ.

Now is the moment, let us prepare our hearts.
In our words, in our hearts, in all we say and do —
may God’s extravagant love shine through.

 
~ written by Rev. Nancy J, posted on re:worship
 


#2

In the depths of my being
      I become quiet and still;
I wait for you, my God,
      source of my salvation

~ written by Jim Cotter,
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #604
 


#3

When nothing is right,
when we are weary and lost,
when clouds dull the sky,
help us to be still.

When our cries are unheeded,
when no effort bears fruit,
when the sun sets,
help us to be still.

When love is over,
when hope is gone,
when darkness covers the land,
help us to be still.

For in being still,
in refusing to panic or despair,
we shall come to know that God is there,
suffering alongside and with us,
waiting to show us stepping-stones through the swirling waters,
and to help us sing a new song.

 
~ written by Kate Compston, posted on re:worship
 


 
From the blog
Check the index for more prayers in the “3 Prayers” series, and much more besides.
 

3 Ancient Prayers


Rome  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

3 prayers from ancients living in the 4th and 5th century to help us keep the faith in 2020.


Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Almighty God,
in whom we live and move and have our being,
you have made us for yourself,
so that our hearts are restless till they rest in you;
grant us purity of heart and strength of purpose,
that no passion may hinder us from knowing your will,
no weakness from doing it;
but in your light may we see light clearly,
and in your service find perfect freedom,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

from 2000 Years of Prayer compiled by Michael Counsell, p. 30
 


John Cassian (360-435)

O God,
be all my love,
all my hope,
all my striving;
let my thoughts and words flow from you,
my daily life be in you,
and every breath I take be for you.
Amen.

from 2000 Years of Prayer compiled by Michael Counsell, p. 34
 


Gregory of Nazianzus (329-89)

Lord, as I read the psalms let me hear you singing.
As I read your words, let me hear you speaking.
As I reflect on each page, let me see your image.
And as I seek to put your precepts into practice,
let my heart be filled with joy.

from 2000 Years of Prayer compiled by Michael Counsell, p. 42
 


 
From the blog
Check out the Index for more posts in the 3 Prayers series
 

3 Prayers for my soul


Bumble bee feasting on catnip, Wydale Hall, Yorkshire  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 

Addressing “my soul” is common practice in the psalms. Here are some examples:

Psalm 42:5
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
      Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
      for I will yet praise him,
      my Saviour and my God.

Psalm 57:8
Awake, my soul!
      Awake, harp and lyre!
      I will awaken the dawn.

Psalm 103:1
Praise the Lord, my soul;
      all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Psalm 116:7
Return to your rest, my soul,
      for the Lord has been good to you.
 


To supplement your soul-speak, here are three prayers to engage and nourish your soul.


Pierce My Soul with Your Love

 
Lord Jesus Christ,
pierce my soul with your love
so that I may always long for you alone,
who are the bread of angels
and the fulfillment of the soul’s deepest desires.

May my heart always hunger and feed on you,
so that my soul may be filled with sweetness in your presence.

May my soul thirst for you,
who are the source of life, wisdom, knowledge, light
and all the riches of God our Father.

May I always seek and find you,
think about you, speak to you
and do everything for the honour and glory of your name.

Be always my hope, my peace, my refuge and help
in whom my heart is rooted
so that I may never separate from you.

 
written by Bonaventure, 13th century, posted on re:worship
 


Expecting Miracles

 
Dear Lord,
Help me to expect miracles.
Help me to get past the borders of my eyes,
the roadblocks of my mind,
the narrow door of my heart.
May my soul embrace
the mystery of Your magnificent love!
May my heart rejoice
over the unexpected and undefined!
May my mind and body sigh
with the sheer awe of it all. Amen.

 
by Leonard Sweet, posted on Preach the Story.
 


Devoted to You

“Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.”  (Psalm 86:2)

 
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul:
Guard my life, O Lord, for I am devoted to you;
Guard my heart, O Father, for I love you with all my choices;
Guard my mind, O Jesus, for I fix my thoughts on following you;
Guard my body, O Spirit, for I give it to be your temple;
Guard my relationships, O Trinity,
      for I centre my conversations on you.
Hear my prayer, O Lord.

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul:
I offer my eyes to you, O Lord, to behold your beauty;
I offer my lips to you, O Father, to speak your praises;
I offer my ears to you, O Jesus, to listen to your words;
I offer my steps to you, O Spirit, to follow your movements;
I offer my life to you, O Trinity, to honour you alone.
Hear my prayer, O Lord.

 
by Bill & Kristi Gaultiere, posted on Soul Shepherding
 


 
From the blog
Check the index for more prayers in the “3 Prayers” series, and much more besides.
 

3 Prayers for Lent


 

Lent is a time to get real and take stock. Here are 3 prayers that you might find helpful in your Lenten journey this year.

 


#1

God of the desert,
as we follow Jesus into the unknown,
may we recognize the tempter when he comes;
let it be your bread we eat,
your world we serve
and you alone we worship.
 

A New Zealand Prayer Book, from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #770
 


#2

when the world is no longer a paradise
and creation shows its full power over us still
and we are brought down to size on this small planet of ours

we worship

when the memories linger of the past
and war shapes us beyond our knowing
and conflict becomes a story of life

we worship

when the way is more barren than beautiful
when the path is more a climb than a stroll
when the desert expands and the horizon stretches

we worship

we worship
because we can

we worship
because we hope

we worship
because we know our vulnerability

when things shift
and we need to hold on

we worship

it is the only strength we have for the journey

welcome to Lent

 
by Roddy Hamilton, and posted on the Church of Scotland’s Starters for Sunday website, available on re:worship.
 


#3

“Lord, hear my prayer; do not hide your face from me in the day of my trouble; my heart is scorched and withered like grass; I have become like an owl in the wilderness; I have eaten ashes for bread, and mingled my drink with my tears.” (Psalm 102:1, 2, 4, 6)

Lord,
take my small offering of self-denial this Lent,
as a sign of my great longing for you.
I hunger for your presence in my life,
and I thirst for your love.
I hunger for justice for those who are wronged and oppressed,
and I thirst for your peace.
I hunger for a glimpse of your glory,
and I thirst for your stillness in my heart.
God of giving, God of longing, God of pain,
I hunger for you.

 
by Angela Ashwin, from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #774
 

3 Prayers for Advent


 

To kick off this month’s theme, Prepare, here are 3 short prayers to ready our hearts for Christmas and for Jesus’ Kingdom to come, now and in the future.

 
(Links to additional resources for Advent included below.)
 


Prayer of Invocation

(inspired by Matthew 11:3-5)

O God,
we come today
echoing John the Baptist’s question to your Beloved Child:
“Are you the one who is to come?”
Give us eyes to see and ears to hear the answer for ourselves:
In the work of justice: Christ!
In the practice of mercy: Christ!
In good news for the poor: Christ!
In the vision of peace: Christ!
Make us ready, with open hearts and joyful spirits,
to follow in Christ’s Way.
Amen.

by The Rev. Susan A. Blain, and posted on the United Church of Christ’s Worship Ways website.
 


Prayer of Confession

It is never easy for us to confess our sins, Waiting God.
There are the hurts we have caused to our families and friends,
     which we would like to forget.
There are those we believe are impossible to love,
     and so we don’t try.
There are people who live on the edge of our society,
     and we ignore their cries for help.

Forgive us, God who comes near to us.
When we have lost our way, show us yours.
Lead us in humility down the streets of your kingdom.
Teach us your truth,
     so we might be able to keep your Word,
     revealed to us in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

by Thom Shuman. Source: re-worship.blogspot.com
 


Prayers of the People for All Ages

We have listened to God’s Word.
Now let us come to God full of hope for all our needs:

For a real sense of excited anticipation of the coming of Jesus
let us pray to the Lord:
Lord hear our prayer

For peace in our homes, our schools and our communities
as we approach the Christmas season
let us pray to the Lord:
Lord hear our prayer

For peace and harmony in countries torn apart by war around the world, that weapons be remade into garden tools
let us pray to the Lord:
Lord hear our prayer

That we always learn to be alert and aware of God’s presence in our daily lives
let us pray to the Lord:
Lord hear our prayer

God of light,
we bring these prayers to you through Jesus Christ our Lord
Amen.

~ from Children’s Liturgy of the Word, First Sunday of Advent Year A. Posted on re:worship.blogspot.com


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

These days there is so much material available online to accompany us on our journey through the season of Advent.

Here are a few examples:
Church of Scotland Advent Calendar
Pray as you go Advent retreat
Abbey of the Arts online Advent retreat

I also commend our 2017 Advent series on Faith, Hope and Joy, featuring meditations by three ministers in our Presbytery.

 

3 Prayers for summer


A hot summer evening, Manchester inner city  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Another post in the “3 Prayers” series.

May these prayers prompt you to pray and help you remain vitally connected to God and his purposes for you this summer. And if 3 prayers are not enough, I’ve included links to more prayers on a summer theme below.

Note
I’m using the prayer, “Simple Gifts”, in the service this Sunday, with projected images to further enhance the impact of Bruce Prewer’s visual language.


Prayer for a summer day

Long warm days…
The pace of life slows…
A time for picnics and rest in the shade…

Lord,
help me to rest a while
in the cooling shade of your presence.

Slow down my restless heart
and fill me with gentle compassion
for all your people.

Amen.

From www.beliefnet.com – author unknown


Summer Heat

God, as the heat of summer intensifies, we pray for those without air conditioning or electricity, clean water, and health care.

For all of our neighbours in “survival mode”, give them the communities and resources to not only survive, but to thrive this summer.

And Lord, remind us to give you a drink when we see you thirsty.

Amen

from Sojourners website


Simple Gifts

The smell of the bush after some rain,
the desert in flower on a red plain,
the coming of sleep after much pain;
For gifts simple and profound,
we thank you, loving Friend.

The sound of waves along the shore,
the children’s laugher as they explore,
the promise of love for evermore:
For gifts simple and profound,
we thank you, loving Friend.

The sight of black swans on a calm lake,
the taste of summer in a fruit cake,
travelling by faith after a mistake:
For gifts simple and profound,
we thank you, loving Friend.

The scent of green grass from the cut lawn,
the pure-white blossom on a rough thorn,
the return of hope with a new dawn:
For gifts simple and profound,
we thank you, loving Friend.

The fragrance of bread just freshly made,
the brimming cup sipped in the shade,
the pardon of debts never repaid:
For gifts simple and profound,
we thank you, loving Friend.

written by Bruce Prewer, in More Australian Psalms.
Copyright ©B.D. Prewer & Open Book Publishers.
Posted on Bruce Prewer’s website


 
XTRA XTRA XTRA

 

3 Prayers for endings and beginnings

Where do you go from here?
Where do you go from here? (photo: Irene Bom)
 

Here are 3 prayers for happier endings and good beginnings as we approach the end of one year and the start of another.

Go with God.

And if you’re looking for guidance on what to focus on in your walk with God in the coming year, here’s Paul’s advice, from his first letter to the Thessalonians:

16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this. 19 Don’t put out the Spirit’s fire. 20 Don’t despise what God has revealed. 21 Instead, test everything. Hold on to what is good.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-21 (God’s Word translation)


A new story

Author of Salvation, write in us a new story.
Erase the sins of the past and create a new narrative,
one in which we seek Your love and justice in this world.
Write a new direction for our lives,
away from the busy-ness
    and cares of the world for success and stability,
and instead plot us towards ways of living Your compassion,
care and grace in the world.

Create new opportunities for us, O God,
to explore and live this adventure of life in bold and daring ways,
in which new insights may unfold for us.
Grant us the fullness of life by living for others,
as You taught us to love our neighbour as ourselves,
but most of all, may our story be about You,
about Your love for us,
and what Your love for us calls us to do.
In the name of Christ,
who writes the new ending and beginning, we pray.
Amen.

by Rev. Mindi, and posted on her Rev-o-lution blog.


God’s timing

O God of all seasons and senses,
grant us the sense of your timing
to submit gracefully and rejoice quietly
in the turn of the seasons.

In this season of short days and long nights,
of grey and white and cold,
teach us the lessons of endings;
children growing, friends leaving, loved ones dying,
grieving over,
grudges over,
blaming over,
excuses over.

O God, grant us a sense of your timing.

In this season of short days and long nights,
of grey and white and cold,
teach us the lessons of beginnings;
that such waitings and endings may be the starting place,
a planting of seeds which bring to birth
    what is ready to be born –
something right and just and different,
a new song, a deeper relationship, a fuller love –
in the fullness of your time.

O God, grant us the sense of your timing.

by Ted Loder, in Guerrillas of Grace.


Prayer at the threshold

And so we take the ragged fragments,

the patches of darkness
that give shape to the light;
the scraps of desires
unslaked or realized;
the memories of spaces
of blessing, of pain.

And so we gather the scattered pieces

the hopes we carry
fractured or whole;
the struggles of birthing
exhausted, elated;
the places of welcome
that bring healing and life.

And so we lay them at the threshold, God;

bid you hold them, bless them, use them;
ask you tend them, mend them,
transform them
to keep us warm,
make us whole, and send us forth.

by Jan L. Richardson in Through the Advent Door: Entering a Contemplative Christmas, Posted on Prayers and Creeds.


Tip: World in prayer
Their final post for 2017 invites us to pray for everyone and includes a list of every nation, so we can pray for them by name.

 
Other posts in the “3 Prayers” series
3 Prayers to the Sacred Trinity
3 Prayers for Wayfarers
3 Prayers for Refugees

3 Prayers to the Sacred Trinity


Outside St Andrews Scots Kirk, Lausanne (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Here are 3 short prayers affirming our communion with the holy and glorious Trinity and seeking to deepen that relationship of love and trust.

Loved

To God the Father, who first loved us,
and made us accepted in the Beloved;
To God the Son, who loved us,
and washed us from our sins in his own blood;
To God the Holy Ghost, who sheds the love of God
abroad in our hearts,
Be all love and all glory
For time and for eternity.

Thomas Ken (1637-1711)

from The Open Gate: Celtic Prayers for Growing Spiritually
by David Adam, p. 114


Near

God, we praise you,
Father all-powerful, Christ, Lord and Saviour, Spirit of Love,
drawing us to share in your life and your love.
One God, three Persons,
be near to the people formed in your image,
close to the world your love brings to life.
We ask you this, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God, true and living, for ever and ever.

The Liturgy of the Hours

from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #869


With us

Father, go with us on the journey of life,
and may the peace of Christ
and the power of his Spirit go with us.
Amen

from 500 Prayers for all Occasions by David Clowes, #498

 
For more posts on the theme of “on a journey”, click here.