Prayers and Reflections will be shared here from time to time.
Please click here to download the Christmas Day Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice by Peter Storey.
if we see beyond the sentimental
and try to engage the heart of it all,
we must wrestle with the contradictions and paradox
of a fallen and redeemed world:
A faraway colonial ruler forcing vast numbers of people to
trek into the freezing winter just so that he can know
how many bow the knee to him.
A poor couple desperate to find a safe place for giving birth to one
who they have been promised will bring down rulers like that.
Angels chanting peace-songs over an oppressed and occupied land
that is still oppressed and occupied today.
A ruthless tyrant jealous for his crown and willing to murder children to hold on to it,
and a vulnerable, freshly-born baby – the focus of his fear
and the hope of the world.
Such are the contradictions, the paradox.
And the heart of our faith is about the invitation to choose where we place ourselves within them.
in this sacred space we come to this dead wax candle
imprisoned in cruel barbed coils,
reminding us of our world still held in ransom to poverty, injustice, suffering and war.
Then we light the dead wick and bring it to life,
its flickering flame a thing of fragile beauty,
yet strangely empowering, expelling some of that darkness
before our eyes.
And in the warmth and light of that flame we quietly declare
peace and hope and justice to be alive
always struggling in every generation to be set free in the world.
And the heart of our faith is about choosing where we place ourselves:
Deciding between the cruel barbs and the healing light,
between scarring our world with wire barricades
or building brick by brick the peace of the angel-songs.
Between the thunder of marching feet and the cry of a child.
God bless Africa and all the world
Guard our children
Guide our leaders
And give us peace. AMEN.
Please click here to download the Fourth Sunday – 2021 12 19 – in Advent’s Opening Prayer
by Alan Storey.
Merciful God – we pause to praise you.
To state for the record that your goodness and mercy is without end and your justice and gentleness is without comparison.
Merciful God – we pause to confess.
To state for the record that our goodness and mercy is life-threateningly scarce and our justice and gentleness barely tips the scale.
Merciful God, the words of scripture declare that we are born in your image but our own words and deeds make it difficult to prove this is so. Our ways are not your ways although with great confidence, we are in the habit of attaching your name to the things we do and say.
You speak and there is light, but our speech hugs the shadows.
You trust that freedom flowers from the truth while we think it is a product of ever increasing power.
You hammer swords into ploughshares knowing that permanent security is achieved when everyone has a full stomach but we convert ploughshares and into weapons to be able to keep the hungry in their place.
You rejoice at seeing how many different nationalities can fit around a table together while we seek out places to live and work and socialise and worship with people who look and speak just like us.
You come to serve and we do all we can to be served.
You approach us with basin and towel and we come to you with wood and nails.
Your daily practice is forgiveness, ours is vengeance.
You walk in love, we tread in fear.
Our ways are not your ways. We are not you, though we like to think we have long replaced you. There is a world of difference between us. And yet you have carved us on your hand with a love that will not let us go. An unmeasurable distance separates us. And yet at this time we are reminded again that your name is Emanuel – God with us – and that nothing can separate us from your love which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As we confess who we are may you never forget who you are Merciful God. For our difference from you threatens to drown us in despair, yet your difference from us restores our life with hope.
Merciful God, in the midst of our pause to praise and confess, we pray with the psalmist (1) of old that you restore us. Let your face to shine on us that we may be healed and released. Give us life as we call on your name. Give us life as we call on your name. Amen.
(1) Psalm 80
Please click here to download the Fourth Sunday – 2021 12 19 – in Advent’s
Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice by Siphiwe Ndlovu.
Lord Jesus we wait for you this Advent season. We wait for you to come and show us a new way. We wait, and in our waiting, we are hurried by the frenetic pace of this season. Help us to be still, so we can hear. Slow us down so we can see.
Lord we bring to you this morning those who wait by the side of the street for a job, perhaps just for the day so they can feed their families. Lord, they wait in hope, and for the most part they just wait. We pray for a world in which people will have the means to do life. We pray for a world in which students who have finished their studies will not have to wait in vain for jobs that set them up for life.
Lord we pray for those who have come from other countries to eke out a living in our country. Lord Jesus you know how it is to be a foreign national for you were born in a foreign country. We pray for those who have come from neighbouring countries as they wait in long queues to apply for permits and papers. We pray for a country and officials that treat them with kindness.
Lord we pray for many who hear the music that pronounces joy to the world as a discordant and jarring tune. Some of them hear this from their rooms in isolation as they wait for the virus to clear from their bodies before they can experience the joy of interaction with others. Some are unable to hear the songs as they are in hospital, waiting for news of when their situation will change for the better.
Lord Jesus you know the pain of loss personally and you know how it is to shed tears of grief. So we pray for those who mourn their loved ones. For some the pain is fresh and it all feels like a dream. As some of us stock up on food and clothes and drinks, they have to make difficult decisions about coffins and how long it will take for the post mortem results. They wait not so much for life, but to perform burial ceremonies. They are unable to hear songs of joy.
For some the ceremonies have been performed, and now they have an emptiness and a numbness. The season that is supposed to be joyous is too painful for words. They are unable to imagine gatherings without the one who has left them – in some families death has visited a couple of times and snatched more than one person! These days that would be filled with laughter and joy are saturated with pain and tears. They too wait Lord Jesus, for a day of relief from the heaviness of their grief.
In a world where many are struggling, Lord we think of ourselves, gripped tightly in the clasp of consumerism, fuelled especially in your name at this time. The extravagance of this season is an insult to those who are decidedly poor. The over-consumption by many of us spits in the face of those who are underfed. Lord send the power of your spirit among us and heal us of our sickness. Silence in us the voices of greed and competition and enhance the voice that speaks of generosity and cooperation.
Lord, even though some of us struggle to hear the good news of your coming, we know that you do come. Help us to quiet down and wait. In a world where instant gratification is the goal help us to learn to wait for what is really meaningful and life-giving. In a world where our eyes are fixed on phone screens and our ears plugged by earphones, help us to hear the good news of your coming, and help us to be the good news of food to those who hunger, companionship to those who are lonely and comfort to those who weep.
Please help us to be still – so we do not miss your invitation to us to birth a world that is kinder, gentler, compassionate – a world where the power of love triumphs over the love for power.
Please click here to download the First Sunday in Advent’s Opening Prayer
(2021 11 28) by Peter Storey.
God of tender care and unfailing love, on this New Year’s Day in the story of Jesus,
we come to you in great need:
In a world held ransom to contending and malignant forces,
riven by countless divisions and defiled in so many places by the clash of war,
or disgraced by the cries of the hungry,
where kindness and decency are too often trampled by shamelessness and greed,
where truth drowns in torrents of manufactured lies,
where not even a death-dealing plague that takes five million of our fellow human beings,
nor the threat of the death of our planet itself,
seem enough to remind us that we are one family in all the earth …
in such a world we grasp desperately for hope,
and like the Psalmist of old we wait all day long for the coming of your goodness,
pleading to be reminded of who you are,
so that we can remember who we are
and whose world this is.
And today, you answer our pleading strangely and wondrously by giving us Advent,
Reminding us of the calendar we really live by
and whose timetable it is that really governs our lives.
You remind us how it all began:
When your angel spoke into the lives of ordinary people like us,
That is what you said,
and that is what your angels – your messengers – still tell us to do
at this time.
WE pray now that you will quieten the noises in our heads and the storms in our hearts so that,
in a world that claims to have elbowed you out,
we may be given that spirit of true attentiveness, of anticipation, of expectation,
that opens us to the coming of Emmanuel – God-with-us.
And as we wait, your story will begin again inside us:
It will enter us as quietly as you entered this rebel world,
As God-bearer, love bearer, truth bearer, bearer of meaning, and of surprise, and of life itself,
And we will know it as ‘good news of great joy.’
Come, Lord Jesus, Come!
Please click here to download the First Sunday – 28 November 2021 – in Advent’s
Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice by Joan Proudfoot.
Jesus, on this first Sunday of Advent we take time to reflect on Your coming…a coming of God to earth to rid the world of false representations of the One who has loved from the beginning of time. We heard last week that what you came to do, Jesus, was to bear witness to the truth…to state in so many different ways that God’s love for each one was the truth upon which this world was built and that that love translates into justice, peace and hope. In Your coming, Jesus, you showed us time and time again that Your world was in contrast to the dominant culture in which we find ourselves. We light this Candle of Peace and Justice every Sunday to remind ourselves that Your coming always brings hope in the midst of cruel systemic injustice, violence and despair. Sunday after Sunday, in this church, we have been invited to think deeply about how You lived in Your time on earth…to consider our posture towards those who are marginalised, to think carefully about socio-economic justice and to consider all as our family. And so we approach this time of Advent with wonder and joy at Your coming, Your “justice, peace and hope” coming.
But something is seriously wrong, Jesus, something jars. How is it that we have ended up celebrating Your coming in ways that can only be abhorrent to You? The celebration has become about eating vast amounts of food, ploughing lots of money into shops that profit the rich, teaching children that Your coming is about them stocking up on their toys. We find ourselves describing this season as the “silly season” where everything is frantic and filled with the stress of going into debt to fulfil expectations that seem to grow more demanding each year. How is any of this about You?
As we ask these questions, we realise how easily we have become complicit in the ways of this world…ways that You never aligned Yourself to, that You exposed as being in opposition to God’s world. We look at our behaviour, our values, our choices and we realise that following you requires us to turn around and swim upstream in the opposite direction, a direction that makes us confront our people-pleasing, our fear of rocking the family traditions and expectations and our fear of missing out.
Will You forgive us, Jesus? Will You forgive us our betrayal of You, our undermining of the justice, peace and hope You brought? May we re-imagine Christmas and how we celebrate Your coming. May we truly follow You when everything is urging us to conform. May we choose, because we can, to live out Your advent with a deep, residing joy.
Please click here to download the Opening Prayer of The Reign of Christ Sunday
21 November 2021 by Rose-Anne Reynolds.
Dear God, thank you for the world. For the air we breathe, the sun which provides heat, solar energy and light, and for the water to drink and sustain our current destructive way of living. Thank you for the plants that grow in ways we cannot explain. For the wonder of tomatoes that grow when we have not planted them for gooseberries which seed themselves, grow wildly and then provide juicy, nourishing fruits. Thank you for air plants of which there are more than 550 varieties, which are so complex that we can’t possibly understand them. For how they use their roots to attach themselves to tree branches and how some produce the most exquisite flowers. These are miracles provided for us every single day. Thank you.
As humans, we seem incapable of caring for the earth, forgive us for this violence we partake in daily. We are all engaged in and participate in polluting the earth. It is not always someone else or even someone else’s problem. But we live like it is and with the pandemic we are even more reluctant to pick up – what is other people’s waste. We have to be more careful with the world and yet we are not despite so many warning signs – like the warning signs in a car, that it needs more oil, or water or air in the tyres – we respond to these warning signs but soon there will literally not be any more oil, any more water or any more air not just for cars, but for everything and everyone else too.
Lord remind us there is no world out there, we are not inside this church building as if the world only begins to exist once we step outside. The wooden pews we sit on and pray with were shaped from trees. The stained glass windows which are impossible to ignore, are made of sand and the colours dance with the light provided by the sun. The words we sing or speak here can only form through breathing air. These words can pollute or protect the world for there is no there and then here. We are always already of the world.
Thank you, Lord for love and care, for forgiveness and grace, for beauty and wonder and for the ways they can sustain us. Help us to recognise that every shade of green on even the tiniest leaf is for all of us, to share and rejoice with and be comforted by. Help us to think about how to include, how to love others more deeply, show care in real ways and be in touch with the earth in ways that demand a different way of living from us. The world is made for love, we need to see that love, recognise that love and love it deeply in return.
Please click here to download the Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice of
The Reign of Christ Sunday 21 November 2021 by Alan Storey.
Over the past few weeks we have noted that Jesus – life giver and anti-death-activist laid bare the systems of death in the world.
By the time Home Affairs reopens its Cape Town refugee office it will have taken ten years…
Let us pray,
Just and merciful God – who does not discriminate, have mercy on us who do.
Just and merciful God – who has no favourites, have mercy on us who do.
Just and merciful God – who keeps not record of our nationality, have mercy on us who do.
Just and merciful God – who claim all human beings as beloved children, as family, have mercy on us who do not.
Just and merciful God – who appreciates the priceless wonder of every person, have mercy on us who do not.
Just and merciful God – who knows that we are more alike than different, have mercy on us who do not.
Just and merciful God have mercy on us, for not only do we not believe we are more alike than different, we obsess over the tiniest, and most insignificant and random differences – like the colour of a person’s skin or place of birth. And not only do we obsess, we develop entire systems based on these tiny, insignificant and random differences. And these systems are anything but tiny, insignificant and random. They are all pervasive in size – filling every space like air – air that we breathe in without being fully conscious that we are doing so, and making us dependent on the very system that is dividing and diminishing us.
Just and merciful God – when these systems are threatened we develop other systems to defend these systems. Now explicit systems of death are set up to defend these systems of implicit death. To help us swallow the horror of this we make it holy, by falsely believing that these systems of discrimination and favouritism were designed by you and not us and therefore our faith demands we defend them.
Just and merciful God have mercy on us. We have mentioned one such system today, around refugee policy and administrative xenophobia but you know there are countless others. Conscientise us about these. Convict us of where we are complicit. Give us courage to act for change. Amen.
Please click here to download the Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice of
All Saints’ Sunday 7 November 2021 by Siphiwe Ndlovu.
Gracious and loving God, you are our Comforter. You comfort us because you know what it is like to feel the pain of loss. You infuse our days, lived under the spectre of mortality, and the inescapable struggles, loneliness and pain with your ever abiding presence.
So today we bring before you those who grapple with the agonising throes of grief – and that means all of us. Grief has become a universal experience and none of us have been spared from it. Hear now our anguished cries, oh Lord.
Lord so many of us have lost our loved ones to the Covid19 pandemic. This scourge has added to the many causes of death for so many of us. Some have died from diseases and many more have had violence inflicted on them and died.
We bring to you the children who have lost their parents, and now have who to forego the simple innocence of childhood and fend for themselves in this harsh and mean world.
We pray for spouses and partners who now suffer from debilitating loneliness because a trusted partner has been snatched by death. Be close to them during those moments of unbearable aloneness.
We pray for everyone who is left holding on to memories of their loved one who has died. Compassionate God visit them, and tenderly speak your peace to them. Come to each of us as we are, where we are seating, next to our pool of tears. For some of us the wound is still fresh and bleeding and throbs with painful emotions. For some of us the pain has become somewhat bearable – but more often than not we are overwhelmed by waves of tears that come as we listen to a sermon, a prayer, attend a funeral and every time we hear of, or see death. Come close to us when an event touches the lingering pain and causes us to relive our moment of anguish.
Death steals so much from us dear Lord. But the pandemic has caused more than the loss of life – so we pray for those whose means of doing life has been decimated. We pray for owners and investors of businesses and industries that have had to shut down – those who have suffered devastating losses. And Lord we commit to you those who’ve lost their jobs and means to support their families – those whose predictable rhythm of every day has been replaced by the uncertainty of tomorrow.
And Lord we pray for those who have suffered the loss of freedom – the children and parents of Afghanistan and other oppressive regimes and homes around the world.
On this, All Saints Day, Lord, even as we remember those who are no longer with us, we pray for all lives. Give us the grace while to treasure the gift of life and to truly appreciate all living beings. Help us, Living God, to not waste our lives on frivolities and transient things. In the face of our fragility, gift is with a boldness that dares to live fully. Give us courage to be agents of LIFE in all places and spaces we have the privilege to live in. Remind us dear Lord, that in you we live, and move and have our being – that in life and in death, nothing can ever separate us from you love. Amen.
Please click here to download the Opening Prayer of Sunday 31 October 2021 by Sophie Joans.
I don’t know where to start. As summer keeps rolling in the days get sunnier and yet I find myself searching for your light. Your light which is love. Which is compassion. Which is patience.
How many times do we have to forget and be reminded of what your grace truly is before it sinks in?
How many times must our shells harden, before we are softened again with your love?
How many times does the tide of capitalist hyper productive culture sweep us out, so we battle and swim against the tide, feeling like we’re drowning, so that any of the other billions of swimmers who dare cloth onto our foot, or ask if they can hang onto our body or climb onto our life raft, make us feel threatened?
Forgive us for the times we feel so overwhelmed and rushed that we trick ourselves into believing that to empathise will cost us something.
When we are frustrated, dismiss the beggar with a curt “No, sorry.”
When we snap – at our colleagues, at strangers, at the people we love.
Remind us that we have nothing to fear. That if we let the tide take us you will carry us to another to the shore. That the journey is so much more enjoyable if we just lie back and float.
Sharing First Lesson, a poem by Philip Booth:
Lie back daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man’s float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.
Please click here to download the Opening Prayer of Sunday 24 October 2021 by Alan Storey.
A Prayer for Mercy…
Merciful God – we gather with praise and thanksgiving on our lips.
Praise and thanksgiving for your mercy.
For your mercy known to us through…
your forgiving love and your deep acceptance
your attentive care and your tireless commitment to justice
your inspiring teaching and your generous provision
your patient listening and your truthful speaking.
We gather with praise and thanksgiving on our lips for your mercy.
Your mercy that gives us life when meaninglessness threatens to suffocate us and your mercy that nourishes us when emptiness leaves us hungry and hollow.
Your mercy that resurrects us from the tombs of our despair.
Your mercy that untangles us from our life-robbing addictions.
Your mercy that humbles us when we are dangerously overweight with arrogance.
Your mercy that makes us gratefully dependent on those we once despised and rejected.
Your mercy that calls us your children when we do not believe that we are even worthy to be called your servants.
Your mercy that invites us to start over again when we cannot imagine that anyone would give us another chance.
Your mercy that heals our wounds that are beyond the reach of our understanding.
Your mercy that opens our eyes to the true identity of our beauty and belovedness.
Your mercy that calls us into partnership with you, believing that even we can make a healing difference in this world – such is your merciful faith in us.
Merciful God, even as your mercy moves our lips to praise, we need you to know that we gather today with a longing within our hearts. Our hearts throb. Our hearts ache for an experience of your mercy – a lived experience of your mercy – a heart-warming experience of your mercy – an experience of your unextinguishable love for us. This alone will set us ablaze with a love for you and our neighbour…for ourselves and our enemies.
We confess that instead of being joyful conduits of your mercy in the world, we can be grumpy gatekeepers instead. We do the same as some did to Bartimaeus of old. We silence, rather than encourage the cries of those in need. We do this…
Each time we refuse to incarnate your gift of forgiveness by withholding our own.
Each time we lock people up in the fiery pit of our own resentment, the hell of our own bitterness, while you long for them to walk free in the fields of your forgiveness.
Each time we refuse to speak to them when you long for our words to re-affirm your words of absolution: “Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace.” We do so proudly yet mistakenly, in the name of moral purity.
Forgive us for how we undermine your grace when we think it must be earned – when we think that your mercy is measured by merit – when we think that good behaviour secures your goodness. We do this in ignorance and through weakness, but we also confess that we do this through our own deliberate fault … each time we support systems that squeeze the life out of the vulnerable or when we fail to resist legislation that prevents those on the margins from accessing the means of life. We often do this in the name of safety and security…that is nothing more than the idolatrous worship of our fear.
Lord have mercy on us for failing to be a merciful people. A merciful church. A merciful nation.
So, with Bartimaeus of old – we ourselves cry out – Lord have mercy on us. Please hear our cry over the noise of our own self-critical spirits that would silence us and tell us to know our place. By your spirit embolden us to trust that our place – our true place – is resting in your goodness and mercy all the days of our life. Give us a taste today of your goodness that we may take up refuge in your mercy.
Please click here to download the Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice of
Sunday 24 October 2021 by Terence Parker.
We are 1 week away from municipal elections in SA and given our history of shattered dreams and failures to deliver the promises of liberation, we are tempted to approach elections with cynicism based on disillusionment.
But we are painfully aware that many people, some in this community or very near and dear to us, made many sacrifices so that some of us can vote.
In the midst of the noise from political parties, candidates and social media, may we discern God’s whisper as we prepare to cast our vote.
LET US PRAY
O Lord, we know that you weep when you see:
- Unemployed men sitting on the roadside hoping that someone requiring cheap, dirty, dangerous labour will offer them a job, even if only for 1 day
- Women standing on the roadside offering their bodies to feed their families
- Sewage running down the streets, poisoning everyone it contacts because water treatment plants aren’t working
- Pedestrians killed by a vehicle avoiding potholes
- Piles of solid waste in communities because waste collection services have broken down
- Households without water and electricity because pumps are broken, cables stolen and maintenance services are too afraid to enter the area.
O Lord, you have given us the privilege to make decisions about the present and the future.
You have guided us through struggles against oppression, and we know that you are with us in our struggle against corruption and abuse of power.
Lord, forgive us in our complicity in systems that oppress others, especially the most vulnerable.
Inspire us, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to make a difference wherever we are.
Help us to look beyond the disappointments of past elections that have failed to deliver the promises of a better life for all.
May we be inspired to become ACTIVE CITIZENS through this election, to partner with those making a real difference in peoples’ lives.
Guide us in the huge responsibility of using our vote to elect councillors committed to serving selflessly.
Like Mary, we pray that You will bring down the mighty from their thrones as you have done before, in our land and across the world.
In honour of all who have made sacrifices, even with their lives, so that we may vote, we pray that You will indeed lift up the lowly through this election.
That those without a voice may find a voice through those elected to office.
So that the most vulnerable and powerless may share in the rich resources of this beautiful land.
We pray for leaders who embrace SERVANT LEADERSHIP, who
- Listen with empathy
- Govern with honesty and integrity
- Steward resources responsibly, and
- Prioritise the poor and not themselves.
May Your Kingdom Come On Earth As In Heaven.
GOD BLESS AFRICA & ALL THE WORLD
GUARD OUR CHILDREN
GUIDE OUR LEADERS
AND GIVE US PEACE
Please click here to download the Opening Prayer of Sunday 17 October 2021
by Dr Gilbert Lawrence.
Bless the Lord o my soul
We praise you this day, dear God, as we should, each moment of each day.
How wonderfully you clothe your created earth. How amazing it is to experience your creation upon creation? The wind and rain the sun and moon the mountains and valleys and oceans. And all of nature in radiant beauty.
How wonderfully you have clothed us, O God?
Your Godliness covers our nakedness. We are adorned with your love and fitted out with your justice. We wear your compassion on our breasts, your grace and purpose drape our shoulders. Our shoes fit to the shape of your mercy.
Yet, O God we fail to see. We dress for fashion, for convenience. To show, to hide, and we don’t present you to the world, but our dislocated selves.
Forgive us God
You created all that is, and all that will be. Solid foundations provide a bedrock for our faith and spiritual journeying. The order of the seasons provides certainty and opportunity to plant and harvest and feed and love and procreate and be.
Yet o God we falter at every storm or crisis often questioning our foundations.
We prefer war and threats for our security. We challenge nature itself. We disturb the climate in our pursuit of control. We lust for power, dominion, and glory.
We practice love selfishly, we share goodness grudgingly, we donate miserly, yet ostentatiously from our overflowing barns.
Forgive us Lord
You sent the Christ child to be creation, with us. To be in harmony with us. Your sharing of yourself was revelation and joy.
But we still shout crucify him preferring our own revelation and joy.
O creator God the earth is full of your risen glory. You continue to send your Spirit. You continue to send your Spirit.
We gather today differently from the past yet the same as last week. That sameness is contrived by a pandemic, and we adapt out of need. The heavy toll of death and pain lingers heavily in the air. Loved ones, friends, colleagues, neighbours and family, gone too soon, too sudden, too un-memorialized, too young. Lord heal our hearts.
Lord of hosts we worship you today in your and our created universes.
We meet in grace and peace and love. We praise, we share silence. We reflect, we give thanks, we mourn, we confess, we remember. We experience your spirit.
Lord may your glory endure forever. Amen.
Please click here to download the Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice of
Sunday 17 October 2021 by Carolin Gomulia.
Today I want to pray about privilege. I recently hosted a seminar and one of the speakers, who herself has experienced severe discrimination due to her appearance said “But I do also feel privileged to be able to take up the fight against unfair practises at work as a single, childless person – a fight that many of her colleagues are scared to enter into being afraid of loosing their jobs and income for their whole family.”She said further “even when we feel discriminated against we might still hold privileges that others don’t have.”
I believe if we all become aware of our privileges we will be able to live lives that tune into the challenges, disadvantages and discriminations that others experience and by doing so create a more peaceful world.
Today we want to pray for awareness about our privileges. How much time do we spent complaining about things yet forgetting how many people are suffering? How often do we live out our privileges without acknowledging that many don’t have what we have. Lord help us to be conscious that privilege comes in many forms and shapes linked to gender, skin colour, how our bodies look and function, our income, where we live and which language we speak. The work we do, to have a job, the transport we take to work – all of these can bear a privilege.
We ask you for forgiveness God where we discriminate consciously and unconsciously, when we hurt others, when we use language that causes pain – when we dehumanise by not accepting others as fellow human beings. Let is be aware that also in this time of Covid, there is a lot of open and hidden privilege in how we live, work and able to access resources.
Dear Lord it is at times painful to acknowledge our privileges some of which just come to us when we are born in a particular place or with a certain gender or skin colour. Help us to act in humble ways, compassionate and not defensive or guilt-ridden when we understand our privileges.
I want to close with a prayer I found of someone praying about privilege:
Holy God, Lord of heaven and earth, just as Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, so too, we rejoice that you have revealed yourself to us through your gracious will.
Blessed are the eyes that see what God has revealed. But sometimes what we see with our eyes, we do not perceive with our hearts.
Jesus, we desire to not just see, but understand; to not just to hear, but listen.
Lord, you hear the cry of the oppressed and the needy. We are thankful when these cries are our own. But though our own sufferings are real – and we need your help – the truth is that we are a privileged people. We confess that we often choose not see what is before us and our role in it.
In our own life, we have probably not done anything to oppress others. In fact, we have given to the needy and fed the hungry. And it is true that we have worked hard for what we have and where we are.
But it is also true that we have received benefits from our privilege that are not merited. And that others bear the cost of our privilege, too often with their own lives. And for this, we confess.
Blessed are the eyes that see what God has revealed.
Reveal to us that which we do not want to see. Reveal to us the systems of oppression. Reveal to us how we unwittingly perpetuate them.
We come before you with these heavy and difficult things because we know that they are the things that break your heart. As we pray together using the words we learned from Jesus, let us also learn the mercy, justice, and humility that Jesus taught us.
Prayer for Africa and all the world
Guard our children
Guide our leaders
And give us peace. Amen.
Please click here to download the Opening Prayer of Sunday 10 October 2021
by Joan Proudfoot.
We take a moment to gaze at You, at this aspect of You, and to become aware of what response this description raises in us. Wonder? Delight? Scepticism? Despair? We don’t try to fix ourselves but merely allow the truth of where we find ourselves to be present, as we contemplate You.
Breather of life, it is You who first breathed life into us, making it possible for us to enter into the fullness of being. You have demonstrated to us that You not only start life in us but You continue to offer and give Your life-giving breath. It was not a once-off, task-done event but rather an ongoing, never-ending, freely-given gift.
When Your life-giving is fully received it begets life-giving. We see it in Jesus and we see it in true Jesus followers like Arch Desmond Tutu…this receiving and giving, receiving and giving, receiving and giving. And when we stop to listen very carefully, we can hear the whole of creation breathing in this way. Our own breath picks up this rhythm of filling, giving, filling, giving, filling, giving…
Your giving of life holds much depth and needs time to unearth its vitality. Often we withdraw too early, gathering what life we can without waiting for it to deepen and mature. We miss the invitation to learn to breathe in a different way…to practise a way that sustains and fills. We are easily tempted to turn away impatiently looking elsewhere for more immediate satisfaction. In that turning we do You a huge injustice as we conclude that Your breath alone cannot fill us, cannot satisfy us. We keep looking…never finding…never filling…never giving.
So we ask You to forgive us our hurry, our addiction to quick fixes, our not giving time to sync our breathing to Yours, of thinking we know better.
Please will You meet us, O Giver of Life, where we are at in our wonder, delight, scepticism and despair. Breathe in us Your life so that we may bow to Your ways, to trust that they do indeed bring life, leading us to become people, who in turn, bring life in our shallow-breathing, suffocating world.
Please click here to download the Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice of
Sunday 10 October 2021 by Rev. Pof. Peter Storey.
2021 10 10 Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice
This week we have joined with thousands all over the world in celebrating Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s 90th Birthday. Wherever the Arch appears, the word ‘Ubuntu’ is not far behind – this beautiful word, we are told, is a gift from Africa to the world – reminding us that ‘we are persons only through other persons,’ – that when we live for ourselves only, our humanity dies within us.
Anyone who followed the months and months of revelations at the Zondo Commission on State Capture will wonder what has become of this Ubuntu – watching those hearings has been like wading through a cesspool of greed and grabbing and barefaced lying and obscene self-enrichment. The liars and thieves who appeared before Judge Zondo, want us to believe that Ubuntu and all it stands for is dead …
That thinking of others is dead;
That it is every person for himself or herself;
That, instead of being stewards of the commonwealth, public office, corporate leadership and government jobs are simply an invitation to eat and grow fat;
That if as a result, common people go hungry or without houses or medical services or clean water, and children starve and die … it’s too bad. It’s my time to eat and grow fat.
We watched the Judge wait in vain for one word – just one word – of shame, or contrition, or even just a little embarrassment. There was none. The most troubling thing about the killers of Ubuntu is that they have no shame.
So, let us be ashamed for them, and not only them, for ourselves:
Let us pray …
Let us confess that our land has become infected with corruption, which is another word for the smell of death. From a corrupt ex-president all the way down to the clerk expecting a banknote in our licence application …
Let us confess also that there could be no corruption without those willing to corrupt, to go along, to pay the bribe, to get home quicker.
Let us pray for a rising tide of revulsion at what we South Africans have become, for a rediscovery of shame, a renewal of conscience and a resurrected spirit of Ubuntu, so that we may all once more become truly human, and our beautiful land may be cleansed.
God bless Africa and all the world, Guard her children,
Guide her leaders and give her peace. AMEN.
Please click here to download the Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice of
Sunday 3 October 2021 by Alan Storey.
A prayer for the … Burnt out … Tired and weary … Depleted … Drowning … Sinking … Exhausted – mentally and physically … Stressed out … Pressured … Clouded over … Living in a fog … Sucked dry.
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Isaiah 40:28-29
We hear the words of Isaiah. We do know that you do not grow tired or weary and we have heard that you give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak Lord – for this reason we turn to you now in prayer. But today we pray for those who do not have the strength even to pray. They are too tired or simply weary of words. Experiencing their emptiness outweighs their meaning. Make yourself known in their silence, a silence forced rather than freely chosen. A silence from shutting down that can feel coldly isolating. Sit with them in their stillness, a stillness forced rather than freely chosen – forced by having no energy to move … forced by exhaustion.
Again with Isaiah we have read that strength and movement, flying, running and walking flows out of hoping in you Lord: “…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31. Today we pray for those who do not hope in you Lord – not because they don’t believe, but because it’s beyond what their effort allows. May we know that your hope in us is not dependent on our hope or lack thereof in you. At least give us this hope, or this knowing, we pray.
We read from the pen of Paul: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. But anxiety is seldom something we can switch off Lord – it defies our command and this in itself deepens our anxiety. Our anxiety is more like an untamed beast pacing up and down in a cage – its endless energy to pace up and down adds to our exhaustion, making us want to sleep all the time – or reversely keeping us awake eternally to spare us of the beastly dreams we fear will visit us. How are we to guard our hearts from that which seems to reside within them? By your spirit gift us with calm…a calm that trusts that you are not afraid of the wild beast within us. You are in the cage whispering to the pacing beast … may we discover you to be the Anxiety Whisperer soon.
May we hear your whispering: ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’. We know Paul went on to say: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.” Many of us are not there Lord. We are not in the place to boast of our weaknesses – bring us quickly to that day we pray…yet until then may our weakness be our teacher. May our suffering heal us. May our clouded, distracted and fog like mind slow us down. May all our inadequacies humble us. May our difficulties to relate to others deepen our compassion for others who suffer the same. May our inability to do and to accomplish and to achieve, draw us into a place of accepting our being is worthy without doing, trusting that our being lives and moves in your grace – your sufficient grace.
Jesus you said: “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Gift us with rest today Jesus so that with the psalmist may we come to declare…
“In the day that I called, you answered me. You encouraged me with strength in my soul.” Psalm 138:3
Until then be our strength.
Please click here to download the Opening Prayer of Sunday 19 September 2021
by Nicole Terblanche.
Gracious, loving God
God who breathes on us at night as we sleep to remind us that you are there. God who brings the changing of the seasons both in nature and in our lives to teach us how to adapt and grow.
God who consistently reminds us of your eternal presence… we are so deeply grateful for the love you lavish upon us daily, hourly, minute by minute as we need it.
And yet, When we feel your love we feel ashamed because we are tired, Lord. Our tiredness has caused us to be cynical and ungrateful. We cease to see the blessings in our lives because everything feels so heavy.
We are weary.
Weary beyond thinking about it.
Weary, over praying through it.
So weary: worn of words,
no glimpse of glory,
so weary, we have had enough.
We’ve no idea the road ahead,
we’ve not been this route before.
No way is coming clear,
enough to lose ourselves.
And the only path we easily find,
is the one of least resistance.
Yet there’s energy to run, and keep running, to avoid and evade,
to distract, and deny,
to turn and to tilt… away.
Can we be found, even so?
And yet, you assure us even in this. That your love is deeper than the deepest of holes we could put ourselves in.
That no matter where we go, you are there, whether we acknowledge you or not. Your faithfulness endures through our denial. You are enough.
We are so sorry, beautiful God. Sorry seems such a pathetic word. We are beyond that. Forgive us. Wash us, renew us. Remind us.
Create in us a pure heart as we come to sanctuary this morning. For better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere. We come to drink from your fountain. As we humbly pray together the prayer that you taught us to pray: [The Lord’s Prayer]
Please click here to download the Opening Prayer of Sunday 12 September 2021
by Terence Parker.
Gracious and Merciful God, we thank you for your assurance of unconditional love, because,
- No matter where we have been or failed to be,
- No matter what we have said or failed to say,
- No matter what we have done or failed to do,
- No matter whom we have loved or whom we have failed to love,
You welcome and embrace us with open arms, calling us by name,
You celebrate our homecoming with the finest meal and finest clothing
We thank you for reminding us that everything that we have comes from and belongs to you
That you hold all of creation in your loving arms, even when we damage it through our lifestyles
We thank you for gifts of creativity,
For speaking to us through drawings of children,
Paintings and works of art by everyone who has the courage to express themselves on a canvass, paper, neighbourhood wall
The sculptor who can see something beautiful in a block of stone
The potter who fashions something beautiful from a ball of clay
The poet who uses words to express their deepest fears, hopes, emotions
The musician who uses notes, words and rhythm to speak to and through people
The scientist who uses knowledge to produce vaccines that protect us
The cartoonist and stand-up comedian who creatively confronts us with the truth that we would rather conceal
Oh Lord, we gather as a privileged and incomplete community,
Aware that many people cannot participate in our gathering today because they don’t have access to technology
Help us to share the richness of this experience with those who cannot join us today
And commit to
- Doing all the good we can,
- By all the means we can,
- In all the ways we can,
- In all the places we can,
- At all the times we can,
- To all the people we can,
- As long as ever we can.
Please click here to download the Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice of
Sunday 12 September 2021 by Rose-Anne Reynolds.
It is 9:00 o’clock on September 11th, 2001. I leave my classroom in my downtown Atlanta inner city school because the Spanish teacher has arrived for my third graders Spanish lesson. As I walk past the secretary’s office she calls out to me and says it looks like a Cessna has just crashed into the World Trade Center she’s listening to a little portable radio that she keeps on her desk. We are both surprised and listen to the news reports. I leave her and walk to the Science Teachers classroom a couple of steps away as I know she has a television in her classroom. When I get there I join her watching the live footage on the news. Shocked,
I make my way back to my third grade class as their Spanish lesson finishes at 9.25am. I am still their teacher.
The next day when all the children know about what has happened and we are having a debriefing in class one of the children says, I saw some people jumping out of the buildings yesterday – I hope they are okay? When I chatted to my third grade colleague the first thing she said to me was, now my brother has to go to war. These are just two of the comments that have stayed with me over these 20 years.
Let us pray.
The barbed wire represents so much loss and pain about an incident that happened on 9/11/2001 which changed so much of what and how we live in the world. The wire represents hatred and war – a war which has taken more than 20 years of fighting in Afghanistan. We pray for so many lives lost in the USA on 9/11 and the thousands of family and friends affected. But we also pray for the thousands in Afghanistan and the surrounding region who have endured war, pain, anguish for more than 20years. Soldiers not only from the USA but the UK, Germany and other countries arrive in planes and leave as cargo. Flying over the many graves of those who lost their lives in Afghanistan, many of the graves containing the bodies of children killed in this senseless war.
The barbed wire is a reminder of the children, the many children who were directly affected by the events of 9/11. What it meant for children to grow up in a country like the USA knowing that by the time they turned 18 they could be heading off to carry on fighting a war. We pray for the erroneous decisions about who was to blame for the 9/11 attacks and how that has affected who we continue to treat as those who we think are different. How we define who a terrorist is based on the colour of their skin, the religion they practice, their beliefs, their passport or visa or simply because of the land of their birth. We pray for the way flags and borders, the words patriot and citizen applied to some and not others can draw blood and enact the pain represented by the barbed wire.
But… the light of the candle shines through this darkness, this darkness of destruction and exclusion that has raged for 20 years and many, many before that. The light of the flame is about the love of Christ which helps us not judge people based on the colour of their skin and perpetuate the stereotypes and conventions which permeate every aspect of our lives. Christ’s love is an example that justice can overcome, prevail and that there are many more who always choose peace over war, who work every day in small and big ways with compassion and kindness and use these ways to love and live together. We thank you Lord for giving us the tools to relight the flame through our actions by choosing justice, seeking truth, choosing to listen, doing the work of inclusion and transformation and contesting the binary that there can only be war or peace. It is time to start thinking and working towards all that exists in the liminal space(s) between war and peace. Amen.
Please click here to download the Opening Prayer of Sunday 22 August 2021 by
Never-changing, ever-loving God.
In this ever-changing world we find we seek out Your consistency. We seek the rich and solid truth that who You are has always been and will be forever. You provide us with a place to go out from and a place to return to while never having to leave. Not only does Your consistency offer a strong foundation but it holds us steady to the truth of who You are. It holds us steady to the Nature of Love.
We fear, even as we search for words to describe such Love, that we will minimise it in some way. Such are our limitations in describing it. Your statements of love go way beyond anything we have ever known in that Your declaration is never followed by the word “because.” You do not love because something or someone is good, or beautiful, or loveable, or has done something to please You. Neither do You not love because someone is full of all manner of evil. You never explain or justify your Love. You Love…full-stop. You…just… Love. You cannot…not…Love.
And in contrast we realise how very conditional our loving is. Our statements of love or not loving are peppered with the word “because” in our search to give reason for loving someone or not. We love because someone gives us pleasure. We love because someone thinks like us. We love because someone or something is pleasing to us, revealing that in so many ways our loving is self-serving. It is about our own pleasure. It is about our loving being a reflection of us.
We find ourselves wondering what we would have to relinquish if we removed the “because” that follows our declarations of love. It seems we would have to let go all judgement where no one is more worthy of our loving than someone else. We would have to remove the blinkers that cause us to see some and not others. We would have to drop all justifications for choosing some over others. We would have to acknowledge that our loving is no reflection of You…or Your ways. We would have to start all over and be “born” again…
And so we come to sit at Your feet…asking You to help us to become believers…not so much to believe in the details we can rattle off in our creed – but to be believers in Love, in Your way of Love. To believe in it in the same way we believe in our need to breathe. To believe in it to the extent that the world around us begins to be transformed into the Kin-dom, Your Kin-dom of Love here on earth…where kindness and mercy, too, have no “because”…
Please click here to download the Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice of
Sunday 22 August 2021 by Rev. Dr. Peter Storey.
At the lighting of the Candle of Peace, Hope, and Justice
A PRAYER FOR AFGHANISTAN
God, we wonder sometimes how the flame of this candle burns at all, and why the cruel barbed wire so often seems victorious. In the midst of a land dealing with dreadful loss and as part of a church family with so many touched by bereavement, we need your mercy.
But even as our own need cries out, you invite us to bear on our hearts also the needs of others…
So, we pray this day for the people of Afghanistan, treated for centuries as pawns in the chess-games of powerful nations, and held ransom to the cruel ebb and flow of endless war.
We pray for all of them: those locked into a harsh and patriarchal culture, and others – a whole generation – who for a brief two decades have breathed the different air of liberty and are now being abandoned to their fate.
In this time of betrayal and loss, as those who claimed to be the guardians of their freedom abandon them behind barriers of barbed wire, we pray for all who made choices for which they may now pay with their lives, and we lay before your compassion especially those Afghan women and children now in terror of having all their gains ripped from them and their humanity once more trampled by primitive forms of subjugation in the name of religion and patriarchy.
Have mercy on them O God; protect them we pray, answer the cries of your Afghan children.
And even as we pray for that place of seeming hopelessness today, forgive us that the ugly oppression we ask you to deliver them from – especially the domination of women and children by cruel men – lives amongst us here in our own cultures of domination and the cruelties practiced by many of our own religion. Open those primitive places in our faith also to transformation.
In Jesus’ name we pray,
The prayer for Africa …
God bless Africa and all the world
Guard our children
Guide our Leaders
And give us peace. Amen
Please click here to download the Opening Prayer of Sunday 15 August 2021 by Rose-Anne Reynolds.
Dear God, thank you for our beautiful earth, for the mountains which are alive, and for the earth, which when we step on it we are reminded is millions of years old. Thank you for the sun which warms, heals, grows, nurtures and restores to wholeness. We thank you for the plants like succulents and their symmetry, which inspire mathematical equations and quantum physics. Thank you for water which sustains all life and for your patience in the ways you remind us again and again that water is sacred.
Let us now confess our sins and transgressions. We confess our inability to see and understand beyond our conceptions of the universe – and for only measuring what matters here on earth according to a limiting human scale. We miss the macro (infinitely big) and macro (infinitesimally small) while we only care about what may matter to some humans. We confess our inability to be kind to each other, forgetting that there are no ‘others’ as we are all family and kin. We choose not to live in peace as if we do not have a role to play in ‘their’ war.
But we thank you God for your endless gifts…that what was once blossom, can become fruit, that what is fruit can sustain and bring life, that what brings life can bring comfort and that what brings comfort brings renewed energy.
Dear God, we are tired, anxious, worried and depressed. The relentless levels of pain and sadness we are continuing to experience in the third wave of the global 19 pandemic are overwhelming. We ask you to help us not be numb to the pain, suffering, grief and loss all around us. May we through your strength continue to be supportive and kind to families experiencing grief and loss at this time. We ask that through your spirit of radical love and kindness we can show love to the many children who have lost one or both of their parents, grandparents, primary caregivers or other family members to Covid. We ask for the compassion and necessary action required for the 3.5million South Africans who have applied for the Covid Relief Grant since the 1st August 2021. Let us not turn away from this pain.
Dear God, help us to be generous, gentle and curious about how we can live differently in and through your grace, so that we can ask questions that could show us what is really possible when love is a radical action and justice is Christ-like not just “to come” but rather justice that is unfolding in its becoming.
Finally, Lord, please help us to remember that we are made for joy and laughter, that our smiles can hold the warmth of the sun and that our tears are sacred too.
Rose-Anne Reynolds | CMM 2021 08 15
Please click here to download the Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice on Sunday 15 August 2021 by Carolin Gomulia.
Today I want to pray for the access to quality information and Independent Media. Failing business models accelerated by COVID have led to something labelled the media extinction event.
Let us pray
Today we want to thank you for the many journalists around the globe who risk their lives every day to ensure that we have access to accurate news. We are deeply grateful for the investigative journalists who bring stories to light that we would otherwise not know about and that result in more justice. We thank you for the independent media outlets that provide alternative and truthful news .
Dear God we are thankful but also fearful as many independent media outlets are under threat globally. We pray today that we find a way to counter the destruction and depletion. Oh Lord what will it mean for us if we have even less reporting by independent media outlets?
Lord we know how fast fake news are spreading and how misinformation is used to advance political and destructive agendas, to instigate violence, spread hatred and stop people from getting vaccinated. It often feels like an invisible spiderweb that we can’t escape from.
Even for trained eyes it is often not easy to distinguish the truth from lies.
Help us oh Lord, we need discernment to know what is right or wrong. We need your guidance and your wisdom. We need to stand up against a system that is silently and slowly eroding our access to information and news. Give us strength and the foolishness to believe that by living in love, by love and through love we can make a difference in this world. Amen.
Please click here to download the Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice from Sunday 8 August 2021 by Dr Gilbert Lawrence.
Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice
The symbols we use are the barbed wire reminding us of pain despair, fear and injustice and the light of the candle insistently proclaiming the presence of Christ.
Today our Peace Hope and Justice prayer will be a reflection on Phoenix Kwazulu- Natal.
A number of persons were killed in KZN during the violence around the 12th July 2021. Shockingly the true number and causes are yet to be confirmed.
In the Phoenix area some persons were killed by vigilante actions. They were mostly people designated as African.
I wish to share a disturbing a quote about those horrifying deaths.
“We are very far off from recognizing the
inalienable right of a black body to
exist as autonomous and sacred,
and not to be reduced to a racial
demographic that is considered
dangerous and killable in a time of threat”
I am sure this comment triggers a response in each of us. Differently for each perhaps, but consistent with how we respond daily to the triggering stimuli in our lives. It is how we are. How we learned to respond.
Our own accumulated information from hearsay, social media, friends and what we see. We instantly blend it all into our armory of history, experience, prejudice, fairness, hope, fear, mercy and much more.
Initially we may respond with a reflex action, a gesture, an utterance or even emojis. Depending on the trigger our response may even be a total response of mind, body and emotion.
Perhaps, our triggered response to the quote may change when we add more information. The quote is from an article in the Mail and Guardian by professor Sarojini Nadar, based in Cape Town. She grew up in Phoenix and has family there.
The quote talks of freedom, othering because of race, poverty, perceptions of threat, denial of living life to the full, labelling, power to end a life summarily and violently.
It presents us clearly with the question: How do we live each day, with paradox, uncertainty and complexity?
Let us pray.
Lord we pray for the greater Phoenix area, her people, her pain, her women, and her future.
And we prayer too, today parent God for all women who continue to suffer because of their gender.
O compassionate God, your love addresses all our fears as we realize again and again that we need to believe in saying yes to all your creation, as family.
O merciful God, when we feel threatened, our anxiety, our negative thoughts, our history, our gossip, our prejudice, our hate, our resentment, our disdain, our discomfort, our lack of faith and our inadequate reserves of grace, spur us on to mount the horse of fear and go off in an apocalyptic gallop.
We pray, our all-embracing Lord, for a quickening of our hearts and minds to avoid our reflexed right or wrong responses, but rather, a wrestling with the right and wrong in all we do, and are, and have in our being.
Forgive us loving God. O how adept we are to use our body language, our gestures, facial expressions our tone of voice, our sense of righteousness to convince and persuade and even con others. Forgive us Lord when we are reluctant to confront in truth.
O God, can we recognize the complexity of human encounters. The foolishness of trying to be certain, all the time. Of asserting our right to always know what is right and what is wrong in any situation.
O patient teacher, teach us to understand what is required of us. Can we reflect on Jesus as the way, and our way?
Lord, let us allow ourselves to love you, with all our heart and mind and spirit. Yes, O God with all our being. And to love all, not paternalistically, as “other,” but as we love ourselves.
Teach us lord, to love ourselves not just with intellect but deeply with heart and spirit too.
So, to love all with not just a triggered response but with a Christ mind, Godly spirit and an unconditionally loving heart.
Ever present Lord, we prayer for a quietening of our constant analyses. Let us rather rest prayerfully in your presence to be empowered as activist disciples of peace, hope and justice.
O parent God, strengthen us to do justice, no matter the cost, to love mercy, that it oozes from our beings, and journey humbly with you.
Please click here to download the Opening Prayer from Sunday 25 July 2021 by
God of Justice, saviour to all.
Like bread that feeds us, wine that quenches our thirst, like fire that warms us, a blanket that wraps around us, your voice, your whispers are nourishment to our souls. And it doesn’t matter what place we are in, God – you always show up. Whether it’s on the mountain when we stop to look long enough and watch a bird snapping up a spider, or in nature’s beautiful circle of life at any time, we thank you. You’re always there.
Our hearts are heavy, God. We don’t really know how to respond appropriately to what is going on in the world. We scoff at those who abuse power and yet we do the very same. We don’t do this intentionally, but our pride and selfishness gets in the way and we point fingers and we judge, but in our own anger we forget to look in the mirror. YET, so generously, you shine the warm winter sun on us when we complain that it’s cold. How hard we make things, oh God, how heavy the yoke we place on ourselves through our insecurity and pride, through our fear and unbelief, through our denial. The world becomes so threatening when we base our joy on our own ability to create it.
Without you we would be lost in a cold and dark world without joy and without life. Without hope.
We give you our deepest gratitude for being the one consistent presence in our lives. Without you we are nothing. Apart from you we can do nothing.
At times like this, when the triumph of death seems inevitable, and the suffering around us makes us want to turn away, we commit to resurrection. We commit to compassionate giving. We commit to becoming agents of your resurrected power wherever we find ourselves.
We Echo those words of the modern prophets who said:
How long will we sing? / How long will we pray?
How long will we write and send?
How long will we bring? / How long will we stay?
How long will we make amends?
How long will we talk / How long will we prod?
How long must we fret and hoard?
How long will we walk to tear down this facade?
How long? How long, O Lord?!
How can we stand by / And fail to be aghast?
How long ’til we do what’s right?
How could we stand by / And choose a lesser fast?
How long ’til we see the light?
On the green, green grass they gathered long ago.
To hear what the Master said.
What they had they shared – some fishes and some loaves.
And they served until all were fed.
Please click here to download the Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice from
Sunday 25 July 2021 by Ian Proudfoot.
A few days ago the South African police revised the total number of deaths related to the unrest in Gauteng and KZN to 337 and in the Western Cape taxi violence, 82 murders have been reported. On the ground the reality can be seen in the story of a factory worker, who, unable to get to work because of the violence, is bracing herself for a drop in salary this month from R5,300 to about R3,800, on which she has to support two children, two siblings and her mother. A construction worker, unable to get to work since Saturday last week put it in the simple raw reality of these words, “I normally use a taxi to travel to work, but … I don’t want to die.”
South African playwright and academic, Nadia Davids, lamented the recent surge of violence, saying, “Violence is South Africa’s twelfth national language. A language built up carefully, systematically, over hundreds of years in every possible space – personal, political, public, individual and collective. It’s a language we need to stop being so fluent in.”
Heather Robertson, the editor of Daily Maverick’s weekly newspaper, wrote recently, “No political party, no economist, no billionaire, no clever member of the commentariat has come up with any plan that has narrowed the gap that lies at the heart of everything that is wrong about us.”
Can we, as the church, do anything to make even the smallest of dents in this massive multidimensional challenge? The start is, as always, to come to the rock of habitation to which I can continually come” as the psalmist said, the one who walked this same road as we did, yet in total love and connectedness with his and our God.
Please pray with me, and I would encourage you to really join me; if anything of what I pray resonates with you, please join yourself to it in a collective cry to God.
Jesus, as we turn to you, we recognise that you too grew up in a society with similar, perhaps even worse cycles of violence, economically, socially, spiritually and physically by the sheer brutality of the Roman empire in its methods of maintaining its so-called pax Romana, Roman peace. Please guide us with your lived and learnt wisdom as we pray.
You challenged the social order, teaching us to love each other, including our enemies; you challenged the religious order, naming it for what is was, a system placing impossible burdens on people’s backs. You challenged the economic order, showing us how to provide for the poor, leaving behind a portion of what we owned.
You told us that we are family and to love our enemies but we confess that we so easily turn our family members into the other, and in so doing sow the first seeds of violence. You warned us to keep our hearts clean so that what emerges in our behaviour is rich and nurturing yet we harbour, and even nurture at times, thoughts of othering, of condemnation, revenge and even violence. You told us to not even call someone a fool because of the violent power of our words, yet all too often we fail to reign in our tongues.
You said blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God, the children resembling their parent, the God of peace. We are reminded of the role of the peacemakers in the build-up to the transition to democracy in the early 90s, the many people who put up their hands to broker non-violence. They too were the miracle-makers and we ask you God, please raise them up again. Raise up each of us too, in however small a role it may be.
Loving God, we have much to call out to you about at this time in our land. Please hear our prayers and supplications, summed up in the all-encompassing lines of the prayer for Africa
God bless Africa and all the world,
Guard our children,
Guide our leaders,
And give us peace. Amen
Please click here to download the Opening Prayer from Sunday 18 July 2021 by Sophie Joans.
It has been a very long week in our country. A week of chaos that saw destruction and tragic, unnecessary loss of life. It has shown us two things, that we have known for a long time, but are now been undeniably brought to light.
Firstly, that there are millions of South Africans who are completely desperate. We know COVID-19 has exacerbated this problem, with people losing their jobs or families losing their breadwinners. While there are many memes going around of looters trying to fit flat screen TVs into their cars, we also know a lot of essentials were looted: mielie meal, nappies, clothes.
Secondly, we are all in desperate need for leadership. This week has seen political parties and factions use this as an opportunity to try gain control, or point fingers. The blame game continues – and not without reason. All the parties are guilty. Then there is horrific violence and racial profiling unfolding in Phoenix. Social media is on fire with accusations and algorithms separate us even more and drive the wedge between an ‘us’ and a ‘them’ ever deeper.
It has been a week of chaos.
“All the most powerful emotions come from chaos – fear, anger, love – especially love. Love is chaos itself.” – Kirsten Miller.
The community clean-up initiatives have shown that there is a Godly and innate human instinct to choose love. Upon seeing the aftermath of destruction, something can stir in any one of us a desire to rebuild. I’ve seen pictures of wealthy people and poor people side-by-side, brooms in hand, making their way down looted streets. For many, this may have been the first in a long to meet someone from a different economic class on equal fields.
O God, awaken in us the desire to choose love. Every sect of our society is desperate for someone to blame. We are so fragile right now. We don’t know where to turn. We want someone to echo our feelings loud enough above the rest, so we can follow them. And as we have seen in history, tyrants can emerge from such chaos.
May your love be our leader in these times. May we feel so inspired by it, that we let in touch the people who can reach. The family members on Facebook who fuel and us/them mentality. The people we encounter who ask for support.
May your love lead us, and guide our leaders.
Please click here to download the Prayer for Peace, Hope & Justice from Sunday 18 July 2021 by Athol McLaggan.
Loving God, we gather humbly together this morning in prayer.
We ask to be reminded of the most important commandment given to us – to love God with all your heart.
We ask to be reminded that the second most important commandment is to love and treat your neighbour as you would want to be loved and treated yourself.
More than ever on this Sunday morning, may we love our neighbours and remember that there is no ‘them’, but only us.
We pray together this morning as an us and as South Africans.
We acknowledge the violence and destruction that has erupted this last week and that it includes and affects each one of us.
We pray for the wisdom to accept that truth and accept that we need help and to face the truth of what our country is actually all about.
We acknowledge our collective trauma.
We pray that in order to be helped, we need to look within.
We need to look to our past and accept that our actions are a result of a collective history. A history that each one of us has participated in, directly or indirectly and have been and are a part of.
We accept that no matter how long that journey has been and how destructive its actions and consequences are, that the chance to change and heal is always given to us.
We thank you loving God for that chance.
I am reminded of the lesson that fynbos gives me.
That new life always does emerge from the fires.
We ask to be reminded that the journey of healing and rebuilding is never easy and is the most difficult job of all.
May our journey of healing be guided by love, our love of God and our love of each other.
May we remember the power that listening and forgiveness represent.
May we remember the importance of justice.
We know that during the journey of rebuilding and healing it will be the poor who suffer the most and that it is the women, the children, the elderly and the vulnerable who need our protection the most.
May we dare to give love a chance, to be guided by love and to keep our hearts open, our minds broad and our feet on the ground during these difficult times.
We give thanks for the ground on which stand. We give thanks for the beautiful country in we live and for all that binds us together as a nation. Amen.
Please join me as we say together
The Prayer for Africa:
God bless Africa.
Guard her children.
Guide her leaders.
Give her peace.
Please click here to download the Opening Prayer from Sunday 11 July 2021 by Alan Storey.
We gather to sing of your steadfast love O Lord.
And to proclaim the good news of your faithfulness to all generations.
Your love and faithfulness do not weather through the seasons. And throughout the ages, they show no trace of erosion.
Miraculously, your love and faithfulness do not fluctuate, regardless of whether they are received or rejected.
Your love just is, and your faithfulness simply stands.
Stands like a rock marking all of history and every moment of our life.
A rock to shelter us when we feel vulnerable and fragile.
A rock to lean on when unsteadied by failing health, emotional turmoil, or social upheaval.
A rock to cling to when the mirky waters of guilt and shame threaten to drown us
A rock from which to regain our bearings when we are lost in anxiety and grief.
So, with the psalmists of old we declare: You are the rock of our salvation.
We know that when we build our house on your steadfast love and faithfulness – we are gifted with a blessed assurance. A blessed assurance that our lives matter. That we are enough. That life is a gift to be fully lived in love and truth, and in justice and mercy. And when we live this way, we get to witness in each other a small yet beautiful sign of your life-giving presence in the world. Of divine incarnation dressed in flesh. Even our flesh.
We confess that even though we know the way of love and truth, and justice and mercy bless us and world with abundant life we are nevertheless drawn to other ways. Other ways that are promised to be quicker and easier. But in hindsight we come to see that these are foolish ways that don’t deliver, and which ultimately turn out to be slower and harder ways, on ourselves and all of creation.
In our forgetfulness that there are no short cuts to love and justice, we confess that even this week we have foolishly built our living on sand:
On the shifting sands of what others think of us
On the fearful sands of greed
On the dehumanising sands of prejudice
On the thoughtless sands of indifference
On the bitter sands of jealousy
On the manipulating sands of self-interest
On the dead sands of revenge
In your steadfast love and with your faithfulness pull us onto solid ground we pray. Fix our feet in your mercy that we may be set free to step into your forgiveness. Forgiveness of ourselves and each other.
By your Spirit give us the strength to surrender to your steadfast love. To being loved by you the Source of love. Give us the strength to surrender to your Love.
Please click here to download the Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice from Sunday 11 July 2021 by Jacqui Couper.
Prayers Psalm 24
The earth is yours, Giver of Life, in all its fullness and glory
- You have set its foundations on the seas and rivers.
- You have built the mountains and land,
- The fields filled with chickens, cows, and sheep, fruits from the soil
- The people who dwell within it
And you smiled and said it was good, actually very good.
The earth and everything in it, in all its fullness and glory, is yours, belongs to you, Giver of Life
Your Earth sighs quietly and waits, Giver of Life
You give before we have even asked and in this pause we ask for your forgiveness as
- We have forgotten that this earth is yours
- We have closed our ears to the cries of your hungry children whose bodies are stunted
- We have looked away from your daughters undermined and separated
- We have turned our backs on your sons carrying cardboard signs asking for help
- We have taken for granted your mothers who tirelessly care for the young
- We have misused the strength of your fathers
- We have blocked our eyes to your forests that are losing their breath and gasping
- We have taken so much for granted, forgive us
We struggle to partake in your abundant blessings, feeling unworthy
We find it hard to receive so many resources, shared with us through love, generosity, and grace
We thank you for sharing your earth with us for each new day that is gifted to us
We thank for you for trusting us with your earth
We ask for your grace to see that our living is so dependent on You,
your earth, and all who live within it.
We ask for grace to show our gratitude for our time on your earth.
We ask for grace to see each and all belonging to you and this earth.
And by grace, shared with all our people, our earth, ours.
We ask for grace to receive Your Compassion, heart of our Heart, life of our Life, Giver of Life.
Please click here to download the Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice from Sunday 4 July 2021 by Siphiwe Ndlovu.
Lord Jesus we come to you this morning, bearing our heavy loads of cares, because we know that you care. You care about each of us, you care about the least of us.
These past few days it has felt like the world, our country have been thrust into a whirlwind. The storms have buffeted against our lives and have left us gasping for air, afraid that we might drown. We have looked around in debilitating anxiety, some of us have even sniffed the palpable possibility of death. Sadly, some have died. The world is enveloped in an avalanche of storms that swirl and threaten to swallow us. Some of us have echoed the cry of your disciples caught in a storm “Teacher, don’t you care that we are perishing”.
Calm-storming Jesus, awake and bid the waves of the Covid19 pandemic be still. The numbers of the infected rise frighteningly every hour, with them the ever looming spectre of death. So many continue to lose their jobs as the measures to mitigate the risk of infection and death exact a slow death on the already stuttering economy.
Breath-giving Lord look upon those who struggle to breathe in their homes and those who line up for an oxygen cylinder or a bed in our overcrowded hospitals.
Comforting Lord visit those who are gripped in the agonising throes of grief as the body count increases every hour. This made all the more difficult by the feeling of being alone as the wider family and community cannot come closer to share the heavy burden of grief. In their loneliness and their pain may they feel your tangible, storm calming presence Lord, God.
We bring to you the poor whose houses have been blown away in storms in Cape Town and other parts of the country. Images of waterlogged and submerged shacks have been truly traumatising. Oh Lord, to have that as the reality of any person’s life must be truly dehumanising. How are we comfortable in the face of such discomfort Lord?
Lord God we have watched as the winds of change have blown in eSwatini this past week. The choked voice of the voiceless continues to find expression in the streets. The violence exerted through many years of oppression manifest in the violence that sweeps through the streets like a whirlwind, leaving in its wake a trail of destruction. Calm-restoring Lord we pray for calm and peace in that land.
Lord we have watched with bated breath the gathering storms in Nkandla, coalescing around the person of the former president Zuma. Thank you for the easing of tensions today as the ConCourt agrees to hear the appeal. We pray Lord God that the fallout from the problems around Mr. Zuma shall not plunge our country into a storm of violence especially in KwaZulu-Natal.
Oh Love that will never let us go; oh Love that casts out our fears – come into us. Come into us and help us to remain hopefully loving in the face of debilitating fears.
Finally we pray breath-giving Lord to breathe your spirit into us. Let your Holy Spirit awaken us back to life so that we will be a life giving force in the face of death, let your Holy Spirit inspire us to love even the least of these. Breathe on us and embolden us to confront the death-dealing forces with your truth, and to work for that day when everyone shall have adequate shelter against the vagaries of the weather, nourishing food to eat and adequate medical care.
So breath into us Lord Jesus so we shall we the bulwark against the storms of life especially for the poor and the marginalised.
Please click here to download the Opening Prayer from Sunday 27 June 2021 as shared by Dr Gilbert Lawrence.
Dear Lord and parent of all.
We greet this new day, differently- gathered, in worship.
We celebrate the mysteries of life in all its forms shapes and sizes. We give thanks for the beauty of life and joy.
We are grateful for the rains that fill our dams. We celebrate the new vegetation on the slopes of our fire ravaged city mountains.
We praise and give thanks, God.
Dear Lord, the changing weather reminds us of the seasons of creation, of life cycles. This is so often denied by our modern 24/7 lifestyles.
Our rest is not, our calmness is not, our reflection is not. Not what you want for and of us. Forgive us, O God.
O Lord in the fear and uncertainty of the Covid -19 pandemic, we desire stronger faith in you, greater hope of a safer tomorrow, and a promise of a deeper spirit-accompanied living.
We struggle with existing in separation, with the fear of illness in isolation and maybe a lonely death. We fear for our loved ones as we mourn loved ones. We struggle with our helplessness. We are frustrated that the inequality in our country exacerbates those fears in the most vulnerable.
Yet, life in all its fulness, foolishness and falseness, abides with, and within the pandemic. We have no moratorium on wars, displacements, abuse, corrupt acts, institutional and interpersonal violence and murder, silly gossip, wild rumours and even family feuds. All continue.
Lord, forgive our selfish thoughts, actions, and neglect. Help us to see beyond our fear and pain.
Help everyone to believe that the literal call, worldwide, for all to “bare” arms for vaccination is an amazing opportunity for everyone to protect life.
We seek, O God, to find your life-giving presence, to spend time and energy on the things that really matter for all. We give thanks for your all-encompassing spirit, always alongside us, present, alert, … always.
O Lord we know that as we seek your ear, touch your garment, offer our prayers, rest in your love, cherish your promises, and embrace all of nature, we can find a peace and a love that, through grace, makes apparent your footsteps in the sand, for us to follow. To re-faith us to generous action. Today, tomorrow, and beyond.
All forgiving gracious God, hear our prayer.
Please click here to download the Candle Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice by Joan Proudfoot shared on 27 June 2021.
2021 06 27: Prayer for Peace, Hope & Justice
- Doctors and nurses overwhelmed as third wave hits Gauteng.
- Children’s lives threatened by unsafe pit toilets.
- Truth tellers suspended.
- 78 year old women raped and robbed in their homes.
- People starve and die.
- Rife unemployment.
- Corruption clogging every pore.
- The planet’s pleading for care.
Jesus the barbed wire of pain, violence and suffering is becoming tighter and tighter. We are aware of a growing fear rising within us. Yes, a fear of being overwhelmed, but a greater fear of what happens when we become overwhelmed. That we will develop a numbness to the pain, the violence and the suffering and will listen less carefully, look more vaguely and stop questioning as much…and slowly, but very surely, we will become indifferent to it all as we sink even deeper into the systemic pit latrine around us…where we shall surely die.
And so, Jesus, we turn to learn from you realising that when you lived in the flesh things were very similar. We are curious about what you did with the realities that sought to overwhelm you to a place of indifference. We watch as you took time to withdraw and pray and we follow you there, curious, hopeful. We wonder, as we gaze upon you praying, what could be happening that seemed to bring you back into the fray resolute, compassionate, energised and peaceful? Was it comfort you received? Or reassurance? Or did you touch something that was even more real than what you were experiencing in the world? Did you touch God’s will that spoke of a way of being in those experiences and realities that convinced you over and over that these ways of being would win, would triumph over evil, would overcome all that overwhelms? Were you touched by a way of loving, of sharing, of grace that reminded you of all it was meant to be? Did you become more convinced that this was the only path that would bring healing to a very broken world?…. We watch as you return from your prayer, your face reflecting the joy of your certainty that touching this greater truth did, indeed, make all the difference…that this deeper-than-happiness joy and heart-wrenching pain can exist together in Your heart… diminishing neither.
We withdraw, sobered but enthralled by what we have witnessed, knowing that in order to survive we must pick up the responsibility of keeping ourselves in touch with the truth of your will, of seeking to pray in such a way that reminds us of its great truth, its great joy, “that soothes and transforms” and for which we can “dare to give our lives” … so that all may live.
Please click here to download the Candle Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice by Rose-Anne Reynolds shared on 6 June 2021.
Only 11 days had passed
From 10 May until 21 May 2021, of the 241 people killed who were mainly Palestinian, 69 children were killed in Gaza and 2 in Southern Israel. They were all under the age of 18. Their names and ages are known.
While we were sleeping, while we were watching news reports that are increasingly more difficult to get out of Gaza, with increasing violent intimidation of journalists, while some were protesting, children made more and more vulnerable by adults who are engaged in deadly acts of warfare are killed.
Every child’s life matters but the billion dollars from the USA, that was just approved this week, for the sole purpose of reinforcing the iron dome that protects Israel from the rockets from Hamas mean the children of Gaza are made a billion dollars more vulnerable. The children of Gaza are already growing up in an area with deep insecurity around their safety and well-being. Under a constant threat of war. An average 15 year old living in Gaza would have lived and or died through 4 Israeli offences already.
So – the children die, and we watch the news. The children die and we read newspaper reports. The children die and we update our social media statuses to reflect our awareness…and only 11 days have passed.
Let us pray:
Just 2 weeks ago 69 children in Gaza and 2 in Israel have died. It is too soon to move on. Today we light the candle of peace, hope and justice for these 71 precious children. We pray for the 71 empty desks at their schools or places of learning – desks that will never be filled by these children again, a constant reminder to their classmates, so schools become the holders of memories instead. There will be 71 fewer exams to mark, 71 projects fewer to complete, 71 fewer birthday parties to plan for, fewer drawings to finish, soccer matches to play in. 71 fewer opportunities for a lifetime of laughter or even joy. We pray for the 500 schools in Gaza that are damaged and the 3 schools in Israel. We pray for the countless numbers of children who are having their education (and lives) disrupted so adults can go to war. Wars that are idolised, sentimentalised and memorialised. I pray for comfort for the families who have lost children, grandchildren, cousins and siblings.
I pray that it will be possible for the children of Gaza and Israel to know peace in this lifetime.
That the cruelty they live with will stop.
That war will be given another name for these three letters are not enough.
That one child’s death could cause a ceasefire.
That saving one child’s life would be enough.
Please click here to download the Candle Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice by Lee Anne de la Hunt shared on 23 May 2021.
Prayer for peace, justice and hope
For many years I had a job that made me face on almost a daily basis, the realities of life for poor people in Cape Town. If I was not supervising law clinics on the Cape Flats or in the townships, I was in the magistrates’ court. Now, for the most part, I live and work in a protected bubble. It is very safe for me to drive or Uber from our quiet flat in Vredehoek to my secure parking in a secure building in Keerom Street with 24-hour security. Even were I to walk to work, I can safely do so with my laptop bag over my shoulder and the worst that happens to me is a homeless person with mental health problems wanting to engage in conversation.
Now, like many middle class Capetonians, I rely on the media and the woman who cleans my home each week to give me just an idea of the challenges of living in a township in my own City. Earlier this year she was telling me that she was looking for an old television, so that “people” would not steal it. She described how strangers would walk into your home and take something valuable, like a flat screen TV. There is no point in reporting the crime, and it is likely that the person in your community who spotted the new TV would tip-off the people who brazenly walked into your home.
That was shocking in itself. Then, two months ago Nomandile’s younger brother was shot and killed after work one day as he went to buy food for his family. Today, two weeks ago her twenty-two year old daughter was raped by men with balaclavas when she walked home from visiting a friend. Distraught, she asked me why God was punishing her.
Alan asked me to mention the killings in Khayelitsha in our prayers for peace and justice today. My understanding from the media is that last weekend’s killings related to revenge killings between protection gangs.
What came of the Commission of Inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha? Protection, or extortion rackets develop when the state – at any level of government – does not protect its citizens. In Khayelitsha (and other townships) it is not just a question of being killed in the cross-fire of a revenge killing spree. What was extortion from small businesses, such as Somali spaza shops, developed into protection money being demanded from residents – poor people living in fear.
Protection racketeering as a means of extracting money, whether in the townships or in Long Street, feeds on fear which the protection gangs must themselves feed in order to close and perpetuate the vicious cycle.
We pray for all people in this city who live in a permanent state of fear and anxiety.
Comfort those who mourn the loss of a loved one who was the victim of violent crime.
Comfort those who mourn the loss of freedom and innocence, and the loss of what little security they had.
Comfort those whose faith is a loving God has been tested and even destroyed through their suffering.
Strengthen the powerless and convict the powerful.
Bless us with extreme discomfort so that we may do the things which we thought cannot be done, to work towards a just society where police are deployed fairly across the city, and where no one is forced to seek protection.
Please click here to download the Opening Prayer (2021 05 16) by Rev. Dr. Peter Storey.
Jesu, lover of our souls – and our minds and our bodies,
We fly to you today.
both gathered and widespread,
together and dispersed,
some of us ‘socially distanced’ in this sanctuary,
some with loved ones in our homes,
and others of us perhaps sitting without anyone beside us,
and yet others tuned in from distant places.
Wherever we are, Jesu, lover of us all,
we find ourselves bound together
in an act as old as two thousand years
and as fresh as this morning’s dew.
This thing called ‘worship’ is a beautiful mystery, Lord,
wherein, by our words and actions,
by the posture of our hearts,
the opening of our minds
and the words on our lips,
we declare the ‘worthship’ of our God.
Jesu, lover of us all,
in the mystery called grace
we find that in this act you meet us
and your good Spirit speaks deep within ourselves
telling us again that we are your beloved,
held in an embrace that will never let us go.
the warmth of that embrace is such
that broken places inside us begin to heal,
wholeness begins to happen,
peace comes to the heart of who we are.
And more than that …
wondrously, your Spirit lifts us out of ourselves,
and we can change to be more like you,
lifted out of our self-obsession into seeing others with new eyes – your eyes,
out of our ego-love into love of others,
love of stranger
and even love of enemy.
And then, Jesu lover of us all…
When that happens,
We have worshipped,
We have begun to love the Lord our God
with all our hearts,
and all our minds,
and all our souls
and all our strength.
Let that happen for us this morning Lord,
whoever we are and wherever we are,
Help us to worship.
In your name we pray.
Now, as one family we pray …
Our Father/Mother in heaven
Hallowed be your name.
Your Kin-dom come, your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts
As we forgive those who are in our debt.
Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil,
For yours in the kin-dom,
The power and the glory,
For ever and ever.
Prayers on 2021 05 09
Please click here to download Sunday’s prayer by Alan Storey.
Holy One, with the psalmist of old we gather to sing you a new song …
With all of creation we gather to make a joyful noise.
With the clouds that pattern the sky:
- that provide a playground for the birds
- that provide sporadic-shady-relief for labourers
- that join the heavens and earth with life-giving rain…we praise you.
With the trees that pattern the land:
- that provide a playground for the millions of insects and trillions of microscopic life forms that our lives unknowingly depend on
- that provide shade to sit for a morning cup of tea
- that draws water from the life-giving soil, overcoming gravity, into leaf and light of day … we praise you.
With the people that pattern our lives:
- that provide homes not only for our bodies, but for our hearts
- that provide shade from burning judgement and rejection
- that draw our love out of our depths by their loving – keeping our hearts from turning to stone … we praise you.
We sing your praises for as the psalmist says, you have done marvellous things Oh Lord. You, secure victory after victory. And the victory you secure is the constant memory of your steadfast love and faithfulness. This really is your greatest victory as it was for Jesus – remaining true in steadfast love and faithfulness no matter the circumstances … including crucifying circumstances. We confess that we forget this. We forget your steadfast love and faithfulness, and your call to only concern ourselves with the victory of love and justice.
We confess that we are often obsessed about other victories that are no victory at all. The childish type of victory that depend on the defeat of some – the exclusion of some – the impoverishment of some – the estrangement of some – the belittlement of some… and even the death of some. The victories that alienate and hurt, that over time fester into fresh conflict … demanding another battle and probably another victory that is no victory at all because it too excludes, impoverishes, estranges, etc. etc. and so on and so on.
Forgive us for wasting your time with our prayers that seek to enlist you on to our side … as if you took sides in our childish ways. Forgive us for failing to remember that you do not have favourites. Forgive our logic that says for there to be a winner there must be a loser. Forgive our culture that prizes competition over co-operation. That says first place is the only place and that no one ever remembers who comes second. Remind us that in the end the last will be first and the first will be last. Remind us that you favour justice, mercy and humility … and care little for our categories of nationality, religion and culture, around which we have shed so much blood.
You rejoice when we find common ground with our neighbours and celebrate when we humbly discover that we are no different from our enemy. By your Spirit open us to the wonder of all people. By your Spirit free us from all our beliefs that keep us separate from others. By your Spirit prod us past our prejudice to discover and rejoice in the full diversity of our human family. Help us to climb over the hurdles of our own arrogance to engage with others on the level ground of dignity and respect. By your Spirit enlist us in your ever-expanding embrace of the world. That we may put flesh on your love for all – all meaning all. Amen.
Please click here to download the 2021 05 09 Mother’s Day Prayer by Yvette Andrews.
Please click on this link to download the 2021 05 02 Candle Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice by Carolin Gomulia.
In the last 10 days we saw how India with its more than 1.3 billion people is completely overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic and it might soon be another country. It is yet another sign that we have learned little and that the ‘new normal’ could better be described as an old normal with even more depth and horror’ – the old normal of inequality, greed and power.
Let us pray.
Lord we pray for India for the 1000s of people suffering of COVID, the many grieving families and the health care workers who are completely overwhelmed. We pray Lord that there will soon be relief and dropping numbers. We pray for all countries and people who are not on our radar suffering the effects of this pandemic. Please help the people affected by COVID-19 all across the globe to not lose hope.
Oh Lord, when will we learn that we are all dependent on one another? When will we understand that only when we all look out for each other across borders and continents that we can fully live in love, by love and for love. You have enabled the genius in us to develop vaccines – even more than one, yet we are not willing to share and distribute those – as it is the case with so many other things.
Dear Lord please help us to understand that COVID-19 did not cause a new normal but yet another event that shows the deeply divided, unjust and unequal world we live in. It is a wake-up call that our established systems are not sustainable and that it is on all of us to not accept but act.
Lord give us hope, give us wisdom and a clear mind – not to despair in this overwhelmingly challenging times but to continue believing that we can make a difference. Amen
Prayers on 18 April 2021 by Alan Storey
Please click on this link to download the Opening Prayers.
Prayer of Praise, Confession and Thanksgiving
Gracious Deliverer receive our gratitude and praise today.
You gift us with freedom
And you encourage us to use it to choose life, from the life and death choices, ever before us,
Too often we choose death
Making you sad more than angry
You wait for us with a forgiving heart, longing for us to return to knowing that we are loved by you and therefore loveable.
You hear us when we call out to you from the place where death has led us – caught in our own nets
You see us while we are still far off
You run to us with welcoming embrace
You clothe us with love that covers the full multitude of our sin
You claim us family – as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever – calling us beloved
You prepare a room for us filled with your generous mercy where we can rest and recover from our failures, betrayals and denial of your love.
Refusing to be determined by our past, you call us again – trusting that this time we can be faithful
You remind us that you need us – that our lives matter – that how our little lives count – count even in the large scheme of things
You gift us with responsibility – and with it you affirm our dignity and worth
And you do all this over and over again – more than 70×7, you repeatedly deliver us from evil – from our evil
For this we sing your praises. For this our hearts overflow with great gratitude…in the knowledge that when our own hearts condemn us – you are greater than our heart.
And for this reason, we return today, confident to be met by your mercy…to be met by your forgiving love – your forgiving love that sets us free – your forgiving love that resurrects us to new life and changed living in thought, word and deed.
May your mercy touch and release our patterns of thinking that keep us captive to a diminished sense of self and of others. When we are tempted to think of ourselves and others as less than beautifully beloved, as less than wondrously made and of priceless worth. Touch our eyes with your mercy again and again until we see ourselves and others clearly. Touch and heal the thought within us that makes us believe we are less than or more than everyone else. That we are worse than or better than. Go deeper and remove our compulsion to compare and compete with others rather than encourage and celebrate.
May your mercy touch our vocabulary – that our words may be true. Neither censored by fear, nor embellished by exaggeration. Words that are spoken in such a way that allow room for the words of others. Welcoming words. Affirming words. Words that create a spaciousness. Words that decentre us and centre others. Words that invite participation. Words that build and bridge rather than words that silence, divide and exclude, leaving others on the periphery. Words that bring light to the darkness and resurrection where death is entrenched.
May your mercy saturate our deeds – that we will act gently and justly in all things. Release our deeds from thoughtless hurry – where we are in such a rush that we miss all possibility of honoured connection with those around us. May our deeds be of service to your dream of justice and shalom in the world. May they favour those that society is bias against. May our deeds turn up-side-down the unjust hierarchies that determine a person’s life by their place of birth, colour of skin….
By your mercy, resurrect us today we pray. Open us by your spirit to be receptive to your inner workings where we can’t reach but so desperately need healing. Give us the assurance through your Spirit that in you we are a new creation. That from now on our lives can begin over. That even though we are old, we can be born again. That our lives and relationships and society and world can be resurrected to new life. Give us this assurance we pray. And more than this assurance – free us from fear to give our lives as a living sacrifice in your service – of life and love. Amen.
Candle Prayers on 18 April 2021 by Alan Storey
Please click on this link to download the Candle Prayers.
Let us pray…
Every present God we pray today for those who are in hospital – separated from their families and friends as a result of covid. Separated from the people who know them and love them dearly. The separation is for everyone’s health and safety – yet it brings with it, its own set of suffering side effects … of aloneness that exacerbates the sense of vulnerability and anxiety that then deepens the trauma they are already experiencing.
When they need it most – they find themselves separated from those closest to them – from family and friends who would otherwise journey with them offering comforting words or a silent presence that is beyond all words. And more than that – they would communicate their love with touch. Hugging and holding. Caressing and clasping. The healing that comes through touch. Touch that reminds us we are not alone. Touch that affirms our humanity.
We know you know how important touch is. Surely this was one of the reasons you came to us in the flesh. To touch not only our spirit but our body. In the gospels we read so often about Jesus touching people – and the healing that flowed from his touch. Today we give you thanks for those on the frontlines of this pandemic. Those who work tirelessly in the health system, not just in SA but around the world. Who try to fulfil the role of family and friends over and above their role of medical practitioner. For the imaginative ways they offer comfort – we give you thanks. And for the myriads of ways people everywhere make your hand felt and your touch known – through creative and compassionate acts of caring.
May the truth that we cannot be separated from you and your love be known to all at this time, especially those who are experiencing the trauma of isolation. May the truth that you have the whole world in your hands be their comfort…and not only for those in hospital but may the truth of your un-separating presence and loving hold be known to all who are struggling, suffering, grieving in and from isolation today.
For the teenager being bullied at school … For Lufuno Mavhunga of Limpopo – 15 years old driven to take her own life because hope and love had been teased and assaulted out of her, leaving her in a “pond of pain”.
For the continued killing of unarmed black men by the police – this time a South African in Hawaii: Lindani Myeni.
Lufuno and Lindani – are individuals yet their lives and deaths point to something broad and deep within our society and world. They reveal the profound brokenness we carry within us – that we may relate to other is such brutal ways. How we have internalised this brutality even as it is perpetuated through the systems of designed discrimination in the world. Lord have mercy. We are in need of your healing and merciful hand to touch us all. Amen.
Please click on the link below if you wish to download the Candle Prayer by Dr Ian Proudfoot.
2021 04 11 Dr Ian Proudfoot: Candle Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice.
Candle Prayer For Peace And Justice
There are a few wonderful lines in Psalm 101 where the psalmist speaks out profound words expressing the way Jesus love us to live;
“May I walk with integrity wherever I go
May I see you in all creation,
May I be a mirror of your love to all that I meet
May I reflect the freedom of your truth
and live as a beneficial presence in the world”
All over South Africa there are many, many good people, the vast majority of whom are seen by only the few that are the recipients of their goodness. Very occasionally something that starts small, inspired by these simple desires expressed by the psalmist, grows into something that makes really big waves and hits the international headlines. One such example is the fruits of something started back in 2005 by Sbu Zikondo of the shack-dweller’s movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, that now boasts a membership of over 80 000 members. It has just been awarded a prestigious prize by the Swedish government for its doggedly determined work in the face of ongoing persecution from many angles and at times even the murder of some of its members.
And then there are the hundreds of thousands of other people who just get on with it, mirroring God’s love to all they meet, walking with integrity wherever they go. They reflect the freedom of God’s truth and act as a doing-good presence in the world. Someone or maybe a few started the community action networks at the start of the COVID pandemic, the vast majority of them getting no recognition. People provide shelter for the homeless, individuals in companies, big and small, start initiatives to address structural racism, sexism, unfair labour practices. People start food gardens just to provide free food to anyone who wants it, people take in lodgers, others start initiatives to address the needs of early childhood development … and it goes on and on throughout the country. Every now and again a little story is highlighted on social media or in the press but the vast majority just carries on unnoticed, reflecting God’s love to the world.
Please join me today to pray for everyone, including each other here, involved in small beginnings, whether it continues small and ends small, grows or even becomes another ahahlali baseMjondo.
All-loving God, when you created us you declared that what you had done was good. And every time your children do good, you rejoice and again and again you say to yourself, this is good. You are the God of permanent encouragement and we ask you today to cause all those living out this goodness to hear your pleasure and to be given more courage to continue what they are doing.
In this current climate in this country of so much negativity, cause us to stop for a moment and reflect, not on our failings, but on what we are doing that mirrors your love, that lights a candle of hope and light in a country that so needs it right now. Prayer is a conversation with God, so let’s take a moment to reflect on this and allow ourselves to see it for ourselves and to know God’s pleasure.
Deeply loving God, we open ourselves to you to allow ourselves to be encouraged, to allow ourselves to know your parenting love and pleasure.
In this time in this country most of what we hear about in the media is profound deficiencies in integrity, lies bringing bondage instead of your truth setting people free and so often all we know is the loads of ‘doing bad’ that is happening. Let us instead come to God with gratitude for the many, many people who are continuing to walk in a different spirit. Let’s pause again for a moment to allow to come to mind the people we know who are just doing the stuff, reflecting God’s care and love to the world around them.
Loving God, we ask for your encouragement to find its way to all these wonderful people in a way that they would truly know it and feel it. Inspire us too, to make the effort to reach out, to say thank you, to encourage, whether it be in words, gifts, an email or a WhatsApp. Help us to incarnate the encouragement that you would love to extend to them.
And finally, whilst we in no way diminish everything we have reflected on so far, we also bring to mind and to you the big movers and shakers, those who have become big enough to challenge the principalities and powers. We ask that you would keep them strong, keep their light shining, hold their integrity steady and keep them in your truth.
And through all of us, we pray that the prayer for Africa would find expression:
God bless Africa and all the world,
Guard our children, Guide our leaders,
And give us peace. Amen
Please click on the link below if you wish to download Easter Sunday’s Opening Prayer by Rev. Dr. Peter Storey.
2021 04 04 Easter Sunday: Opening Prayer: Rev. Dr. Peter Storey
Dear God, as we greet you joyously on this great day,
Thank you for not allowing us to come to it without pain.
This has not been an easy Lent. You have taken us on a journey of uncovering.
We have read of the Passion of your Beloved, only to find that we in turn have been read by you.
Confronted by his emancipating truth, we have felt the clinging bonds of our self-deceptions.
Exploring the layers of anguish endured by your Beloved has exposed the layers of our complacency and complicity in the causes of that pain.
We have been overwhelmed by the sheer magnanimity of your liberating, compassionate, suffering love, only to become more sharply reminded of how we collude every day with the powers that fear it and crucify it.
It has been a hard Lent.
But today is the First Day of the Week!
Today we know!
We know that because of Friday, your pain-filled love for your world has nailed you to us forever.
We know that because of Jesus and because of Friday you drain the strength of deadly violence by suffering its anguish, enduring its agony, taking it into you breaking heart – and still loving, still forgiving, still holding us to yourself.
And we know that because of Jesus and because of Friday and because of today, evil is only the second-strongest force in the universe. We know that you can breathe life into that which has been dead. You can roll away the stones that hold us prisoner to the ways of death. You can make Resurrection happen.
Do it among us and for us and in us we pray.
May the life of Jesus be let loose in us today.
In the name of the crucified and risen Christ
Our Father/Mother in heaven
Hallowed be your name
Your kin-dom come, your will be done,
On earth as in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive those who are in our debt.
Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kin-dom,
The power and the glory,
Forever and ever, Amen
Please click on the link below if you wish to download Easter Sunday’s Candle Prayer by Mr Siphiwe Ndlovu.
2021 04 04 Easter Sunday: Candle Prayer for Peace, Hope and Justice: Mr Siphiwe Ndlovu
Candle Prayers on Resurrection Day
Loving God, we gather this morning, different faces in different places, united by our desire to know you, to follow you faithfully and love you completely. We awake to the news of your resurrection, a clear pronouncement to the powers of evil and darkness that death shall not have the last word, that light shall triumph over dark, that love shall eclipse fear and that good shall overcome evil.
Yet sometimes it is hard to believe oh God. Sometimes we struggle to fathom how good will overcome evil. Sometimes the powers of death go beyond what our minds can grasp – so this morning we pray for this world. We pray for the violence to cease. We pray for justice to roll down like a river that never runs dry – in this world – there will be enough for all to eat, women can walk freely and be safe in their homes and no violence will be visited on any of your people. We pray for the sickness to be healed and the grief to end.
But Lord God, we also struggle with our own participation in the evil in this world, our complicity with the powers of evil, our direct and inadvertent collaboration with the powers of death. Some of us hold on to and protect our privilege gifted to us by how systems of this world work. We are content to let the systems do the sinning for us, while we reap the benefits. We kill, no we crucify, no we execute our fellow human beings. We are content, or don’t rage against systems that take necessities from the poor to give luxuries to the rich. We benefit from systems that inflict violence upon the vulnerable – and oh Lord, sometimes we ourselves inflict violence by our silence – silence in the world where kids go to bed hungry and their parents watch helplessly, silence in the face of naked greed – our carelessness and our callousness leaves many trapped in tombs of poverty and ultimate death.
So this morning we pray that the new dawn of your resurrection shall extend across our dark world. We pray that love, light and life shall be the way of the world.
And then we pray for everyone who believes – help our unbelief! While we were yet sinners, trapped in death-dealing ways you died for us. May your resurrection mean something to us and for us today. Resurrect us from the death of feeling, our numbness, let your resurrecting love touch us in our places of failure, open our eyes to your creation, open our eyes to the beauty, yes, even the beauty of our enemies, let your death and resurrection be a moment that gives us reason to pause, to reflect and to remember, remember that – we are created in love by love for love. Roll the stone away from the tombs of our fear and fill our hearts with love – love that dares to confront and contradict the powers of violence and death and injustice.
Oh Lord Jesus, we pray that your death and resurrection will change this world – but please Lord, begin with US. Amen.
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