Monday, October 1, 2012

Prayers of the People for Social Justice

I put these prayers together for an Integrity Eucharist in Maine several years ago. They are not specific to the LGBTQ community and its needs but speak to social justice and community division as a whole.

Prayers of the People and the Confession of Sin

Bidder            Creator God, you made each of us in love and for love. In baptism we were anointed as prophets and you call us to live holy lives and to participate in the mission of justice.

People            Grant us the grace, O loving God, to be attentive to your call, to be sensitive to injustice whenever we encounter it, and in all things to act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with you, our God.

Bidder            We are weak, limited, fallen, O God. We fail to acknowledge the inherent worth of each person as a child of God. We focus on what divides us and makes us different rather than on the great truth that unites us – that we are one body in Christ.

People            We come before you, O God, parent of us all, asking your grace to appreciate the beauty of our diversity and to celebrate the gift of God incarnate in every one we meet.

Bidder            God of peace, you made us to live in harmony and community, not in chaos and violence. So much of our world is torn by strife, there are so many divisions among us that result in a lack of freedom.

People            We ask the grace and strength to be instruments of peace in our hearts, our homes, communities, nations, and the world.

Bidder            O God, the cross we bear precedes the crown we wear. To follow you we must take up our cross, with all of its difficulties and agonizing and tension packed content and carry it until that very cross leaves its marks upon us and redeems us to that more excellent way which comes only through suffering.[i]

People            God of the oppressed and suffering, we pray for all those who suffer in any way. Grant us the strength to bear whatever crosses are in our lives and the grace to know our losses, grief, and pain as part of the mystery of your love for us.

Bidder            The lives of your saints stand as a reminder of what it means to belong to God, to be persecuted for justice’s sake, to live and to die for God and for God’s people.

People            We give thanks, O compassionate God, for the lives of the holy and prophetic leaders of our time and ask you that we can become in our various ministries of serving others the living presence of your son and our brother Jesus. We bring these and all our own needs and the needs of our families and communities to your loving care.[ii]

Bidder            We acknowledge that it is your mercy that lifts us up beyond ourselves.

People            God of all mercy, we confess that we have sinned against you, opposing your will in our lives. We have denied your goodness in each other, in ourselves, and in the world you have created. We repent of the evil that enslaves us, the evil we have done, and the evil done on our behalf. Forgive, restore, and strengthen us through our Savior Jesus Christ, that we may abide in your love and serve only your will. Amen[iii]

Presider            God forgives you, restores you, and strengthens you. Abide in the love of Jesus Christ and serve the will of the Holy Spirit.

[i] This section of the prayer is adapted from the words of Martin Luther King Jr.
[ii] Adapted from a Movement Toward Reconciliation a liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church (Evans, Abigail. Healing Liturgies for the Seasons of Life. WJK Press. London, 2004. page 398)
[iii] From Enriching our Worship 1 (Webber 480)

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