Grace and ministry
God, full of grace and truth and love, more than enough for all:
your Spirit is at work in your world long before any ministry is offered
and in Jesus you offer reconciliation, life and hope.
Ministry is the gift of seeing you at work in many ways,
discovering that the margins are where you are most likely to be found,
realising that you are the Source of all vitality.
And it is the privilege of being involved, somehow,
in your purposes for people you love with a commitment that cannot be contained.
In those times when ministry feels
as though it sits right at the edge of relevance,
or is shot through with the anxious feeling that it is never quite enough;
or appears so ordinary and obvious in a world of expertise and technical skill that it seems, to others and to us, to offer little of real worth:
tell us again of the value of listening attentively,
the gift of being consciously present,
the power of love,
the comfort of your promises,
and the challenge of your call.
Mould those who minister in the name of Christ:
enlarge our awareness of your activity in your world,
draw from us more of what you would have us be,
and tell us of our place in your purposes.
Open our eyes to all that is life-filled and true and, by your grace,
renew each day our ability, in ministering to others, to serve
the Christ whose grace runs deep, and wide, and flows to all people.
Contributed for the Ministries Council Ascend publication, 2017.
Prayer and science
Great God of glory, power and love: you are our shield and our defender. The heavens cannot contain your glory and, with all your people of all places and times, we gather to worship you. Creator-God, you have brought us to life in a universe of complexity and beauty that leaves us breathless, the God who created space and gravitational field as one, who watches universes explode, space collapse into bottomless holes, time sag and slow as it nears planets, and the unbounded extensions of interstellar space ripple and sway like the surface of the sea.
Into this universe you have let yourself be found by us as one of us. You, the immortal, glorious and all-powerful One have become clothed in our human-ness, limited to our frailty of action and expression but not bounded by our ability to love and obey. It is as Jesus that you meet us in the fullness of your greatness and we see in him futility and apparent failure as he hangs condemned. Yet faith invites us to meet him three days later, risen from death and offering life, purpose and hope to any who trust him, discover your life in him and accompany him through time and space.
We thank you that in love you have called us to you, and to one another. We thank you for all that you have done for us in Christ, reconciling us to you through him. Clothe us in our rightful mind and let us find the centre of our life in the life of God found in the midst of our daily living as we meet Jesus who goes before us and walks beside us, through whom we pray.
In the beginning, God, there was nothing but you, and out of nothing you fashioned a universe so big that we can only sigh with amazement when we stare upwards on a star-lit night. And you placed our earth within this universe and populated it, provided for it, and designed that it should be a place of beauty. Creator God: Thank you!
In the beginning there was only potential; the seed within the packet, soil’s nutrients, sunshine’s warmth, rain clouds gathering. And within the tiny seed all that is our daily bread encoded, primed and ready should it be planted and allowed to grow. Creator God: Thank you.
In the beginning there was humankind, placed within your garden, made steward, gardener and caretaker of this place of beauty, given responsibilities and the capacity to enjoy. And yet among the seeds we have sown have been weeds and crops of our own choosing, which have not shown fruit or have spread and choked the earth. Creator God: Forgive us.
In our time the world produces enough food for all to share yet many starve while others have too much. Help us to nurture the potential of all people made in your image, that from the earth all people may grow enough, and share enough, that all may be fed. Enable fruit of love, joy and peace grow in our lives and in our life together even from what seem like small seeds. Creator God: make us new and continually renew us in the image of your Son, Jesus Christ through whom we pray.
Inspired by Rovelli’s little book Seven Brief Lessons on Physics.
A Prayer of Approach
Almighty God, your glory is shouted by the heavens; the earth speaks of your power and the sea your might. All your creatures sense something of your greatness. As those made in your image, we come before you recognising that you are our God, and you alone have made us. As we worship we rejoice that, in Christ Jesus your Son, you have redeemed us. We celebrate that all things are brought together in him, who fills everything in every way. Bless us that we may know ourselves to belong to you through Jesus our Saviour; and to live in him in the days which follow as your people, united in praise and loving service.
We confess to you that our hearts are not worthy of you. Enjoying your gifts each day we have forgotten who gave them. Knowing your ways we have chosen to walk in paths we have determined for ourselves. Hearing your living Word, we have closed our minds and hearts and listened to the voices inviting us to look out for ourselves first. As those who have received blessing upon blessing, we have been miserly with our love, slow to share, concerned to consume and not to love freely as you have commanded.
Yet even now we hear your word of pardon for us, for you did not come to call those who were right with God but sinners to repent. Knowing your forgiveness, make the fire of love for you grow stronger in our hearts so that we may walk in your ways and be instruments of mercy and blessing. Give us joy in serving you, and in doing so together, united in Christ through whom we pray.
A Prayer of Intercession
Faithful God, Lord of saints and pilgrims of old whose commitment to live reflecting Christ’s light has blessed many: inspire us by their example that we may prepare ourselves to serve you, working not simply for the convenience of our times but to build an endless witness to your love in Christ; to look back with gratitude and forward with faith, giving ourselves fully to Christ’s service.
Ubi Caritas et Amor…
We pray that the churches across our land may pray and work even more closely together, demonstrating the love of Christ through strong, caring friendships. Bless your servant, Elizabeth our Queen. Govern the hearts and minds of the Queen’s ministers and counsellors, that they may fulfil their service for the welfare of the people building up a society to which everyone can feel glad to belong, and the glory of your name.
Ubi Caritas et Amor…
We pray for our communities and particularly for those most in need: those who are sick, who need work, the young and those of senior years. We pray for those who today travel seeking safety, security and the possibility of a better future than their past: God who travels among and beside, protect, bless and encourage people in all places.
Ubi Caritas et Amor…
We bring ourselves to you, our thoughts and hopes, fears, dreams and faith. Gracious Lord who walks with us everywhere and promises never to forsake us: take us by the hand to lead us in paths of peace and service today, tomorrow, and in the days that lie before us, to the glory of your name through Christ our Lord.
A Prayer of Thanksgiving and Intercession
We give you thanks, our Father, for all that we receive which is for our good and our growth: for shops always well-stocked; for heat in our homes, light in the evenings and fuel for transport. We have been given much and we thank you for these gifts from you which are the result of the hard work of many people.
Create in our lives harvests of patience, compassion and gentleness: life freely shared with people who are presently struggling, in whatever ways, to produce fruit of their own. We pray for those who struggle with poor harvests, or whose water is tainted, or whose children starve. Bring the harvests of aid and innovation and education to those who need relief. Give us a greater generosity which flows from recognising what we have received, and may use and share, that all might be blessed from your garden and all might sing your praise.
Give us wisdom, too, in the careful use of scarce and precious resources; that our comfort may not come at the cost of homelessness and failed crops in other areas of the world as the earth warms and sea levels rise.
We pray for our country: for our Queen and her family; for those who frame our laws and shape our common life; for those who keep the peace and administer justice; for those who teach, those who heal, all who serve the community.
We pray against seeds easily sown in hearts and societies which grow into envy, suspicion and hate; against ignorance which may ferment into prejudice; against self-centredness which seeks to grasp and hold tight rather than share generously and freely.
Instead, may grace grow abundantly within us and among us; and may we see you generosity at work throughout your world and give you praise; through Christ who is with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, worshipped world without end.
A Prayer of Intercession for Easter
Generous God, we thank you for all that you have given us in life; for the world in which you have set us and for all that you provide. Most of all, though, we thank you for your gift of Christ your Son, who walked this earth, embodied your grace in his action and spoke your truth in his words, endured darkness of loss and through death triumphed over everything that threatens to keep us from you.
Thuma mina (verse 1)
We pray that your life-giving presence will be known in places and among people where there seem only to be endings; where life has ceased, where relationships have withered, where employment has been terminated, where close ties have been severed. Be with those who offer practical help to the many facing war, starvation or disease; those who are companions to parents; those who have lost a child; those who help the binding of hearts which are bruised, tender and sore.
Thuma mina (verse 2)
We thank you for new possibilities and openings: for the birth of children, the blossoming of love, for the success of plans which prosper many. God who speaks words of life, let your voice be heard.
Thuma mina (verse 3)
This day, may we live in a strong awareness of your life-giving presence and give ourselves fully to your service and praise, through Christ who died and is now alive for ever.