Prayer and articles will be shared here from time to time.
Please click on the link below if you wish to download the opening prayer on Good Friday by Dr Gilbert Lawrence.
Can we wait and watch with Jesus?
Lord we praise the beauty of your creation. The fish in the seas, the birds in the sky celebrate your majesty. We praise you for creating all creatures, and us in your likeness. Thank you, God, for each new day, each dawn, that greets us with a hallelujah. Everyone breathes your life-giving breath, graciously given.
Lord, you came to the garden to prayer, breathing in the smell of olive trees mixed with a whiff of anxiousness and weariness. Your disciples were sleepy.
Forgive us lord when we too are tired and not in the moment. We are all so busy, even when we are not.
We spontaneously avert, sleep, work, eat or just do something. We avoid the possibility of deep, Christ imbued human engagement with our hearts and souls. Fear, nervousness, callousness, even panic, subtly, through learned responses, energise us negatively … into being, not present.
O Lord, time and again, opportunities to give hope and life, slip from our fingers; fall by the wayside.
How foolish we are. Forgive our carelessness each day. We sleep on when around us many souls are in agony of spirit, in need of care, hurting, helpless, lost, abused, belittled, ignored, labelled, betrayed, othered.
When we are awakened, literally or figuratively, we are contrite, we may even weep. But the time has passed, the moment dissolved in the mists. Imparting of love, hope, justice, grace, was not to be.
We did not watch; we did not wait. We were not present. We were not engaging with life. We were not bringing life.
Lord may we learn to journey in the presence of your presence. Unclog our hearts to be love and hope where we are and in in the world. Unblock our minds and free us from prejudice and hate, from ignoble rituals and practices. Untether our tongues to speak loudly in love and truth to the powerful and the poor. Clear our ears to hear the cries for help, unceasingly. Open our eyes to see the pain and suffering in vivid colour. Let us experience the true feeling of flesh on flesh in wiping the brow of the ill and dying.
Help us lord to be thankful for our moments and days; many, or not; so that we may share your living and loving presence, even to a cross. But, O great joy, even beyond!
Our hope Lord is in watching and waiting for your hope in us and for us, and yes lord, through us.
With the psalmist we pray
I wait for the lord.
My soul, waits, and in his word, I hope.
My soul waits for the lord, more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
Please click on the link below if you wish to download the Candle for Peace, Hope and Justice by Dr Gilbert Lawrence.
We light our Peace, Hope and Justice Candle today with a focus on poverty.
MOTHER THERESA: “When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her, it is because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed”
That “you” can be the individual or a “collective you”.
This past week the Government, a “collective you”, presented the Budget speech.
One of the elements of the national budget is the budget for Social Grants.
Just over 18 million South Africans; vulnerable to poverty, or in need of state support, receive social grants, relief assistance, or social relief paid by the government. That’s 1 in 3 of us South Africans.
For the first time since 1994, the total social grants budget has been cut, by 2%. So, the actual increase is less than inflation.
Old age, Disability and Care dependency grants have increased by 1.6% or R10,00 to R1 890.
Child support grants have increased by 3,4% or R10,00 to R460.
Poverty as defined by Statistics South Africa:
A person or community lacking financial resources and essentials for a minimum standard of living. Essentials include housing, food, water, sanitation, work.
The South African Poverty line is R1 227 per person, per month.
Poverty and need have been compounded by the covid 19 pandemic restrictions, morbidity and mortality; economic reversals; job losses and right now; school leavers of 2020, seeking work.
People in need, continue to knock on doors, stop you in the street, forage refuse bins, stand at roadsides offering their services, beg at traffic lights, occupy unimaginable spaces to sleep, to live.
It is predicted that the no. of qualifying beneficiaries will increase by 300 000 persons this year.
Not all in need qualify; many homeless don’t, foreign nationals don’t.
There are over 3 000 verses in the Bible that talk to poverty and justice. Let us heed; the word, the prompting of the spirit, and our eyes and ears.
Let us pray:
Lord at this Lenten season, we thank you for your creation. We are so wonderfully made, in your image O God. You have created us as stewards of all creation and all the beauty and abundance of your presence is all around.
We have ability to love, care and be Christ in the world to all and all of creation.
Forgive us lord when we don’t share or care enough when we see injustice, hopelessness and despair around us, when we are not living in ways that others may discover more about you. We cry injustice more in protest than of conviction and we often continue our own incomplete lives, avoiding the pain that persistence and passion brings.
We pray Lord, for the poor in our land, made in your image.
We pray that the officials in state institution who administer the provision of grants and relief will find ways to obliterate the horrific indignities their compatriots experience in the process of receiving their grants each month.
We pray for innovation, boldness and definitive action in comprehensive policy making by Government, in addressing systemic inequity in our land.
We pray O God that the isolation regulations of Covid-19 have not further entrenched the relational divisions and physical segregation in our land, especially in our living areas, churches, and schools because of race, economics and fear.
We give thanks o God for Activists and organisations who see what we see, yet do more than we care to, to bring real help and hope. We salute the campaigns seeking sustainable systemic justice for the poor … the oppressed, for all.
Lord we pray for a deeper analysis of our conditioned understanding of wealth, poverty and inequality.
Finally. Lord, we pray for, and give thanks for, the hosts of mini Mother Theresa’s in communities who serve and feed and bring comfort, sharing from their little that others may live. Seeking to answer the pray of the poor, said and wished for, from Luke11:3.
Lord give us this day the food we need.
We say the prayer for Africa.
God bless Africa and the world
Guard our children
Guide our leaders
And give us peace
Please click on the link below if you wish to download the Opening Prayer on Transfiguration Sunday by Rev. Dr. Peter Storey.
Feast Of The Transfiguration
Infinitely loving and patient God, we gather on this Transfiguration Sunday as always, grateful to meet with you and each other, hungry for the nourishment that comes only when hearts are lifted in worship and souls are opened to your Word of life.
We come seeking to be made different.
Today you remind us again who you are and who you want us to be, by drawing lines and connections we could not imagine without you …
You marry mountain-top visions to crowds jostling and sweating in valleys far below;
You reveal the lines between your beloved son, transfigured by your presence and among the great ones of old – and a lost and tortured soul, tossed about by seizures and convulsions;
You link our glimpses of glory in times of intense worship, with those other moments when we fail to cast out the destructive, demonic spirits that strike us dumb when we should speak, and scream within us when we should be still;
Between your Son’s promise that we will see the kin-dom come in power, and his frustrated cry that we are ‘an unbelieving and perverse generation;’
Between his frightening question, ‘how long shall I be with you?’ and his promise to be with us always.
It is because you continue to draw these lines across the chasms of contrast between you and us, Lord, that we have hope – not in ourselves, but because in the Christ you have come among us, you are among us and in spite of – or maybe because of – our frailties and failures, you have chosen to dwell, not in the rarified air of some mountain fastness, but with us … here in this valley we call the world.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for being ‘God with us’ – for marrying yourself to us for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health …
In this time of deep vulnerability, when all our vaunted skills, our best laid plans, our sometimes cocky autonomy, our most precious relationships, our ambitions, our hopes – when all these things are laid low by an invisible intruder that we can neither touch nor see – humble us we pray, so we may revisit other invisible things that are much stronger, the things that matter most:
Caring and compassion, truthfulness and love, faithfulness and kindness, and yes, the shocking discovery that life is a much more fragile, delicate and fleeting thing than we thought, therefore to be lived with infinite care each day we are given.
That is why we are here today, why we come to you.
Lord, we believe. Please, please, help our unbelief.
Lord we have faith. Please, please help us where our faith falls short.
In your strong name we pray.
Please click on the link below if you wish to download the Candle Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice by Levi Daniels.
Thank you for infusing your Self into all you’ve created. Thank you for putting on flesh to come and live among your Creation. Being G-d, you could have arrived any way you wanted to: in thunderclouds, on a meteorite, or even cruising down from heaven in a Lamborghini spacecraft.
But you didn’t. You chose to go through the dangerous, bloody process of birth, and to be born to so-called nobodies, amongst animals, in a stable!
Lord, were you born today, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, your mother may have lived in a crowded household where social distancing is impossible. If your grandmother were to get critically ill with COVID-19, she may have been one of those able to recover with the help of a ventilator, but whom instead passed away, because hospitals were at capacity and she wasn’t on medical aid.
May this possibility stir in us the deep desire to broaden our perspective of who is family and who is our neighbour.
Mother G-d, please remind us, daily, that we are all made of the same dust and breathe. Remind us that we are connected to all Creation.
Mother G-d, please strengthen our frontline workers. Be with those performing medical duties and those sanitising surfaces. Divine Breath, would you breathe new life into the battle-weary, especially now as more contagious strains of COVID-19 are spreading in the UK and here in South Africa.
Father G-d, we are facing powerlessness more often now than ever. Please help us to settle into your Flow instead of fighting it.
We confess that at times we’ve grown weary of wearing masks and social distancing. We’ve left room for the transmission of this virus.
Mother G-d, help us to do what we know must be done to stay safe from COVID-19 this Christmas.
Gracious G-d, have mercy on us. Strengthen us whom are battling to stay afloat. Comfort us who mourn.
Divine All, thank you for being Incarnate as Life in all its forms.
Thank you for showing up in the breath of wind which move the seas, the same breath that fills our lungs.
On this day Lord, we remember your human incarnation and the full life you lived as an example to us. Help us to stay tethered to your ways of humility, peace and justice, especially when we feel unworthy or weary.
And now Divine Breath, as we celebrate your human incarnation, would you help us to lean into joy with an ease which surpasses understanding? Help us unwind so we can celebrate today with gusto. Open us up to delight and allow us to invite light into our homes. Amen.
Please click on the link below if you wish to download the Opening Prayer by Sophie Joans.
Almighty God, Heavenly Power of Love,
Thank you for today. For carrying us through one helluva year in which we’ve seen the best and worst of humanity that comes out when we face crises, and in which the best and worst has been brought out in ourselves.
In times of pain and fear, we thank you for your human angels, people just like us, who know that their cups shall overflow, and so let their love flow and bring light where they go.
Forgive us, and let us forgive ourselves, for all the times we felt that our rivers of love had run dry, for all the times fear has made us close the door, for all the times pain has made us harden our hearts, for all the times we’ve felt too over-stretched and stressed that we’ve curtly said: There’s no room in my Inn.
And in those times, let the water start to trickle. Show us that our cup is full and running over.
Remind us of the human angels we’ve encountered in our lives – the ones on Earth still, and ones who live in our hearts and in Heaven, people who we had the privilege of knowing and loving, or strangers who were generous in a fleeting moment, who we may never meet again.
Remind us that we are so much stronger than we think we are. And, God, please send strength to all those who are currently battling COVID-19 and help them get through it.
Remind us that choosing love doesn’t cost anything. That, most of the time, no one is trying to hurt us, but that humans just make a lot of mistakes.
Remind us that we too can be human angels. And that even human angels can have bad days and forget you, that’s what makes us human.
Just keep shepherding us back to your redemptive love. Amen.
Please click on the link below if you wish to download the Candle Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice by Carolin Gomulia.
The Covid-19 virus has been top of mind for most of us in the past few days. So let’s pray together about it.
The world finds itself facing a pandemic. It is a virus that was most likely caused by us humans not respecting your creation. Let us learn from this pandemic and acknowledge the interdependence of all living beings and nature. Let it be a lesson for the future how we live, work and interact.
Lord give us hope to not despair in this time of uncertainty. Every morning when we wake up, it seems as if the world is a different place. Help us to remember that times of uncertainty are also times when opportunity and wonder emerges. Systems that we thought are static and unchangeable have crumbled or shifted within a few days.
God we acknowledge that this virus has evoked waves of fear and panic in us. Fear is the opposite of love. Fear makes us act, think and behave in unloving and harmful ways. We become xenophobic, exclusionary, ignorant and self-centred. Help us to fight the disease of fear within us and ensure that love remains our main purpose in the world. This virus can only be overcome through solidarity and love, not war and hate.
We need your guidance and support to remain level-headed in the next months. Lord help us to listen to reason and wisdom. Help us to do what is right, to follow instructions from health authorities without trying to be cleverer or opinionated. Let us participate in safety and security measures, let us lead by example in practising what we have been asked to. Yet, let us not forget to show mercy to the sick and affected.
We pray for the people who have lost loved ones to this virus. At this point their dead family members are often only statistics accompanied by explanations that this virus is not as deadly as others before. Families who have lost loved ones still need our compassion in their time of grief.
Lord have mercy on us. Let our trust in you not be broken. Protect us and guide us to do the right thing and most importantly to continue living our lives in love, by love and for love.
Let’s now pray the prayer for Africa.
Please click on the link below if you wish to download the Candle Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice by Rose-Anne Reynolds.
It has only been three weeks since the school year started in South Africa. But it has been 3 long painful weeks since Enock Mpianzi, a South African child born of Congolese parents died, drowned at his Grade 8 orientation camp. His body was only recovered the day after he drowned, because the children who watched him get swept away were by the ignored by the adults they told.
Today we light the candle of Peace, Justice and Hope for Enock.
Enock Mpianzi, you will be remembered. When we hear your name, we will listen. It will not be like when your name Enock, was said over and over again at that camp and ignored. Now that it is too late we will listen.
Now we have to pay our respects, when we should have paid attention, and cared and shown love.
Let us pray:
Dear God, help our government leaders to focus on the real socio-political problems in our country and not only on identifying a perfect scapegoat for the public and media, so that we may not go to sleep again while the children of our country continue to get into difficulty, to struggle and eventually drown in the depths of neglect, abuse, poverty, violence, marginalisation and fear!
Lord help us to choose to respect children when they are alive and not to only pay our respects to them when they are dead. Lord, the respect being afforded to Enock in death would and could have been assurance that he could still be alive. He died in a brutal way and we should not let words like negligence, culpability, indemnity be associated with his death.
Loving God, let us examine our choices and how we as adults contribute to creating a situation where it is possible for a child (in 2020) to tell an adult that a child they met, greeted, spoke to, is now missing and for them to be ignored. When will we realise that it is race… poverty… a culture of exclusion and then assimilation that can allow a child, a child, to simply disappear under the water.
Lord, give us the courage to question why only adults will be deemed suitable to investigate Enock’s death, to serve on commissions of inquiry and to draw up the new guidelines and hopefully legislation to prevent this from happening to another child. Children will be excluded from these meetings, from these decisions and from these enquiries.
Dear God let us take inspiration from the children who tried to save Enock’s life in the first place, who by speaking up now will be saving him in death. But the way we choose to live is not to honour or acknowledge that children could most easily tell us how his death could have been prevented…we just have to ask them, we should ask them, they will know, they can tell us… if we listen when they tell us.
Lord help us to see that we don’t have to wait until children grow up and leave school to know what is wrong, deadly or damaging in a school and its culture and historical biases, in order to change it. We can ask children now and listen and hear what they have to say and work to change what actually causes death and support and encourage what brings and sustains life and love!
I end with a quote from Henri Nouwen who says: “It belongs to the centre of the Christian message that children are not properties to own and rule over but gifts to cherish and care for. Our children are our most important guests, who enter into our home, ask for careful attention, stay for a while and then leave to follow their own way. Children are strangers whom we have to get to know.”
Enock Mpianzi, you will be remembered. When we hear your name, we will remember to listen.
Let us pray the prayer for Africa:
God Bless Africa and all the world
Guard her children
Guide her leaders and
Give us peace
Please click on the link below if you wish to download the Candle Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice by Joan Proudfoot.
At this time of year we stop to consider the meaning of covenant. I looked up possible synonyms for the word and nothing seemed adequate or equal in matching its deep truth. The word stands alone and as such requires us to pay heed to it. We do so now in the context of the peace and justice candle…
Let us pray…
Jesus, we come to you with a deep gratitude in our hearts this morning for your covenant, not only to us as individuals, but to the imagining, to the on-going creating, to the ever grace-filled invitation to join you in bringing about a world where peace and justice characterize its existence. In covenanting, we recognise that, from your side, you have made a promise that you have locked deep inside you and then thrown away the key. It declares loudly the nature of your being – a being that is committed to ensuring that every person, every part of creation, holds equal value. We acknowledge that, until we align ourselves to this deep truth, we have not fully understood you.
We confess that we are scared of the word “covenant”. It seems to demand too much from us and, as a result, on our side, we hold back from entering into covenant with you, holding onto the key in our wavering commitment to working towards justice and peace in this world. We are often scared to even begin because we fear we may fail. But we get it wrong when we think that success is about achieving it. We know only too well from the recent happenings in our sanctuary that we are not capable of making it happen in the way we would like. So what does it mean? Covenant seems to demand something deeper, something that is equal to tectonic plates deep in the earth’s core, shifting and clicking into new places. Covenant is like that. It puts us in a new place whereby we come to believe, so deeply, that our very breath depends on it, that justice and peace are essential to our very existence, to the existence of our children and their children and we dare not let go of that truth. We owe it, in the very least, to the children we send to school for an education that claims to equip them for life but seems to produce a people that perpetuate injustice and violence.
So we ask you to forgive our unbelief, our not daring to imagine, our not believing enough to hope that there is another way of being. Please will you envision us to live creatively, always to be looking for ways to live out the truth that your ways are indeed higher than ours. Forgive our arrogance in thinking we know better. Please give us an understanding of covenanting that causes us to work together, for we