Sunday, 8 December 2013

Christmas Talks for children

Talking to children about Christmas is high on every minister/priest/church leader's agenda at this time of year and it is hard to find something fresh to say. Try the following link (click here) for some ideas.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

For your own devotions

The following book looks a good resource to help 'pep up' your daily prayers and give you something to think and pray about. The book is available from the Church of England website (here).

Reflections for Daily Prayer 2013/2014

Each day, Monday to Saturday, features a thoughtful reflection on one of the set Lectionary readings for morning prayer.

This year's writers include Ian Adams, Stephen Cottrell, Sue Pickering and others.Price £16.99

Prayers at the lighting of the Advent Wreath

Advent 1
Almighty God,
you made each of us in your image;
amidst the chaos of life
and the sadness of the world,
may we open ourselves to your Spirit
and find your peace in our hearts.
(The candle is lit)
God our creator,
be our stillness and our light.

Advent 2
Loving God,
by your grace
you give us hope in our darkness;
guide us
as we grow into the likeness of your Son
and empower us
to live and work in his name.
(The candle is lit)
God our hope,
be our guardian and our light.

Advent 3
Renewing God,
you restore light and life to all creation;
open our eyes to signs of your presence
in our daily lives
and lead us by your spirit
to make disciples of others.
(The candle is lit)
God our healer,
be our vision and our light.

Advent 4
Ever present God
You were with Mary and Joseph
on the road to Bethlehem;
may Jesus our Emmanuel journey with us
as our way, our truth and our life
(The candle is lit)
God with us,
be our companion and our light.

Christmas Day
Generous God,
your Son, Jesus, was born on earth
that we might enter your kingdom.
As heaven and earth rejoice in his birth
may we, with shepherds and angels,
welcome him into our hearts.
(The candle is lit)
God our beginning and our end,
be our joy and our light.
Courtesy of the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon and the Church in Wales

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Advent Calendar

He will come like last leaf’s fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to the bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud’s folding.

He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens to mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.

He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.

He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like a child.
Rowan Williams

Advent and Christmas ideas for crafts etc

Finding crafts and new ways of teaching the Christmas - and Advent - message is a yearly challenge to any church. Here are a few good links that may be useful to you:

Crafts and various cards and calendars to make:

Reflections, poems, readings, cartoons and crafts here:

Here is an example of one of the cartoons:

Why people visit, join and leave a church

Every now and again you come across a blog that catches your attention and gives you food for thought. Such a  a blog is the following by a Presbyterian minister who has some really useful things to say about people who visit, join or leave a church and why. Check it out at this link:

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Prayer of Bishop Thomas Ken

O God,
make the doors of this house
wide enough to receive all
who need human love and fellowship,
narrow enough to shut out
all envy, pride and strife.
Make its threshold smooth enough
to be no stumbling block to children,
not to straying feet,
but rugged rugged and strong enough
to turn back the tempter’s power.

O God,
make the doors of this house
the gateway to your eternal kingdom. Amen.
Bishop Thomas Ken

Sunday, 3 November 2013

What is orthodoxy?

What is orthodox - sound - theology in doctrine? Lancelot Andrewes, a sixteenth-century Anglican divine, stated the answer as memorably as anyone, with a five-finger exercise: "One canon, two Testaments, three creeds [the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian], four [ecumenical] councils, and five centuries along with the Fathers of that period," by which he meant the great doctors of the first five centuries: Athanasius, Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, and John Chrysostom in the East; and Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, and Gregory the Great in the West.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Preparing a time of prayer

The following is an article from the Taize website on preparing a time for prayer. Other useful articles can be found on their website here.

How can we keep on praying together? People often ask this question after a stay in Taizé, or else after taking part in one of the meetings outside of Taizé.

Here, then, are some of the more important elements that go to preparing a prayer that is meditative in character and “that has neither beginning nor end”.

To begin the prayer, choose one or two songs of praise.

Jesus prayed these age-old prayers of his people. Christians have always found a wellspring of life in them. The psalms place us in the great communion of all believers. Our joys and sorrows, our trust in God, our thirst and even our anguish find expression in the psalms.

One or two persons can alternate in reading or singing the verses of a psalm. After each verse, all respond with an Alleluia or another sung acclamation. If the verses are sung they should be short, usually two lines. In some cases, the congregation can hum the final chord of the acclamation while the solo verses are being sung. If the verses are read and not sung, they can be longer. It is not necessary to read the entire psalm. Do not hesitate to choose just a few verses, and always the most accessible ones

Reading Scripture is a way of going to “the inexhaustible wellspring by which God gives himself to thirsting human beings” (Origen, 3rd century). The Bible is a “letter from God to creatures” that enables them “to discover God’s heart in God’s words” (Gregory the Great, 6th century).

Communities who pray regularly customarily read the books of the Bible in systematic fashion. But for a weekly or monthly prayer, more accessible readings should be chosen, as well as ones that fit the theme of the prayer or the season. Each reading can be begun by saying “A reading from...” or “The Gospel according to Saint....” If there are two readings, the first can be chosen from the Old Testament, the Epistles, the Acts of the Apostles or the Book of Revelation; the second should always be from one of the Gospels. In that case, a meditative song can be sung between the readings.

Before or after the reading, it is a good idea to choose a song celebrating the light of Christ. While this is being sung, children or young people can come forward with candles to light an oil lamp set on a lampstand. This symbol reminds us that even when the night is very dark, whether in our own life or in the life of humanity, Christ’s love is a fire that never goes out.

When we try to express communion with God in words, our minds quickly come up short. But, in the depths of our being, through the Holy Spirit, Christ is praying far more than we imagine.

Although God never stops trying to communicate with us, this is never in order to impose. The voice of God is often heard only in a whisper, in a breath of silence. Remaining in silence in God’s presence, open to the Holy Spirit, is already prayer.

The road to contemplation is not one of achieving inner silence at all costs by following some technique that creates a kind of emptiness within. If, instead, with a childlike trust we let Christ pray silently within us, then one day we shall discover that the depths of our being are inhabited by a Presence.

During a time of prayer with others, it is best to have just one fairly long period of silence (5-10 minutes) rather than several shorter ones. If those taking part in the prayer are not used to silence, it can help to explain it briefly beforehand. Or, after the song immediately preceding the silence, someone can say, “The prayer will now continue with a few moments of silence.”

Intercessions or Litany of Praise
A prayer composed of short petitions or acclamations, sustained by humming, with each petition followed by a response sung by all, can form a kind of “pillar of fire” at the heart of the prayer. Praying for others widens our prayer to the dimensions of the entire human family; we entrust to God the joys and the hopes, the sorrows and the sufferings of all people, particularly those who are forgotten. A prayer of praise enables us to celebrate all that God is for us.

One or two persons can take turns expressing the petitions or the acclamations of praise, which are introduced and followed by a response such as Kyrie eleison, Gospodi pomiluj (“Lord, have mercy”), or Praise to you, Lord. After the written petitions or acclamations are finished, time may be left for people to pray spontaneously in their own words, expressing prayers that rise up from their hearts. These spontaneous prayers should be brief and be addressed to God; they should not become an excuse for communicating one’s own ideas and opinions to other people by formulating them as a prayer. Each of these spontaneous prayers should be followed by the same response sung by all.

Our Father
Concluding prayer
At the end, the singing can go on for some time. A small group can remain to sustain the singing of those who wish to keep on praying.

Other people can be invited for a time of small group sharing nearby, for example by reflecting together on a Bible text, perhaps using the “Johannine hours.” Each month in the Letter from Taizé “Johannine hours” are proposed, a time of silence and sharing around a text from Scripture.

New Pilgrim Ccourse

The Church of England has produced a new course called Pilgrim to help those either seeking faith or seeking to grow in faith. The following is a video from the course.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Taize anyone?

I am sure most of us have gone through a 'Taize Phase' in our lives when it was the 'in' thing. Those days may have come and gone but Taize is still here and eminently do-able in our churches. Here is one of my favourites, rather unpromisingly entitled "Kyrie 19"!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

More Intercessions

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ,
let us pray to the Father, saying ‘Lord, have mercy.’
Lord, have mercy. 

For the peace of the whole world,
for the welfare of the Holy Church of God,
and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy. 

For N our bishop, for the leaders of our sister Churches,
and for all the clergy and people, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy. 

For Elizabeth our Queen, for the leaders of the nations
and for all in authority, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy. 

For this community, or every city, town and village,
and for the people who live within them, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy. 

For good weather, and for abundant harvest for all to share,
let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy. 

For those who travel by land, air or water,
for the sick and the suffering [for ….]
for prisoners and captives, and for their safety, health and salvation,
let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy. 

For our deliverance from all affliction, strife and need,
and for the absolution of our sins and offences, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy. 

Remembering […and] all who have gone before us in faith,
and in communion with [….and] all the saints,
we commit ourselves, one another, and our whole life to Christ our God;
to you, O Lord.

Free prayer may be offered and silence is kept. 

Let us commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray,
to the mercy and protection of God.

The Collect for the Day is said, or the following Collect may be used. 

Gladden our hearts, O God,
with the remembrance of the glorious resurrection
of your Son Jesus Christ;
give us this day such blessing
through our worship of you,
that the week to come
may be spent in awareness of your grave;
through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen. 


In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ,
let us pray to the Father.
O God, the creator and preserver of all,
we pray for people in every kind of need;
make your ways known on earth,
your saving health among all nations …
We pray for the good estate of the catholic Church;
guide and govern us by your good Spirit,
that all who profess and call themselves Christians
may be led into the way of truth,
and hold the faith in unity of spirit,
in the bond of peace and in righteousness of life …
We commend to your fatherly goodness
all those who are any ways afflicted or distressed,
in mind, body or estate;
comfort and relieve them in their need,
give them patience in their sufferings,
and bring good out of all their afflictions …
We remember those who have gone before us
in the peace of Christ,
and we give you praise for all your faithful ones,
with whom we rejoice in the communion of saints …
All this we ask for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.


In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ,
let us pray to the Father.
Hear our prayers, O Lord our God.
Hear us, good Lord.
Govern and direct your holy Church; fill it with love and truth;
and grant it that unity which is your will.
Hear us, good Lord.
Give us boldness to preach the gospel in all the world,
and to make disciples of all the nations.
Hear us, good Lord.
Enlighten N our bishop and all your ministers with knowledge
and understanding, that by their teaching and their lives
they may proclaim your word.
Hear us, good Lord.
Give your people grace to hear and receive your word,
and to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit.
Hear us, good Lord.
Bring into the way of truth all who have erred and are deceived.
Hear us, good Lord.
Strengthen those who stand, comfort and help the faint-hearted;
raise up the fallen; and finally beat down Satan under our feet.
Hear us, good Lord.
Guide the leaders of the nations into the ways of peace and justice.
Hear us, good Lord.
Guard and strengthen your servant Elizabeth our Queen,
that she may put her trust in you, and seek your honour and glory.
Hear us, good Lord.
Endue the High Court of Parliament and all the ministers of
the Crown with wisdom and understanding.
Hear us, good Lord.
Bless those who administer the law, that they may uphold
justice, honesty and truth.
Hear us, good Lord.
Give us the will to use the fruits of the earth to your glory,
and for the good of all creation.
Hear us, good Lord.
Bless and keep all your people.
Hear us, good Lord.
Help and comfort the lonely, the bereaved and the oppressed.
Lord, have mercy.
Keep in safety those who travel, and all who are in danger.
Lord, have mercy.
Heal the sick in body and mind, and provide for the homeless,
the hungry, and the destitute.
Lord, have mercy.
Show your pity on prisoners and refugees, and all who are in trouble.
Lord, have mercy.
Forgive our enemies, persecutors and slanderers, and turn
their hearts.
Lord, have mercy.
Hear us as we remember those who have died in the peace
of Christ, both those who have confessed the faith and those
whose faith is known to you alone, and grant us with them
a share in your eternal kingdom.
Lord, have mercy.
Silence may be kept and a Collect or other ending may be said.

Ready for the Journey (Rabindranath Tagore)

I have got my leave. Bid me farewell, my friends.
I bow to you all and take my departure.
Here I give back the keys of the door.
And I give up all claim to my clothes and books.
I only ask for the last kind words from you.
We were family and friends for long.
And I have received more than I could give.
Now that day has dawned,
and the lamp that lit my dark corner has gone out.
A summons has come, and I am ready for the journey.
Farewell to you, until we meet again.

Litany of Remembrance

Let us remember those who have lived and loved, those who have left us a blessed heritage.
Let us remember the light filled ones who enkindled our spirits with their influence and the spark of their beliefs. We remember them.
Let us remember the risk takers, who faced their fears and took action, who sought justice even though they had to pay a price for it.  We remember them.
Let us remember the vulnerable ones who allowed us to care for them, allowed us to be with them in their time of need. We remember them.
Let us remember the faith-filled ones who led us by word and example into a deeper relationship with God. We remember them.
Let us remember the brave ones, who walked through their struggles with hope, who taught us how to trust. We remember them.
Let us remember the great lovers of life, whose humour and enthusiasm lifted our spirits and brought us joy. We remember them.
Let us remember the nurturers, who gave us birth physically or spiritually, who gave us support by their caring presence.

The Tree of Life and Death

Slowly she celebrated the sacrament of Letting Go.
First she surrendered her Green, then the Orange, Yellow and Red.
Finally she let go of her Brown shedding her last leaf she stood empty and silent, stripped bare. Leaning against the winter sky she began her vigil of trust.

And Jesus said:
And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they neither have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these.
Shedding her last leaf she watched its journey to the ground. She stood in silence wearing the colour of emptiness, her branches wondering: How do you give shade with so much gone?And Jesus said: Do not be anxious or overly concerned.

And then, the sacrament of waiting began.

The sunrise and sunset watched with tenderness, clothing her with silhouettes they kept her hope alive.
They helped her understand that her vulnerability, her dependence and need, her emptiness, her readiness to receive were giving her a new kind of beauty.

Every morning and every evening they stood in silence and celebrated together the sacrament of waiting.


I was very struck by the following short piece from the blog

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.

Grief is part of the human experience. We avoid it, we dread it, but we will all experience it. Grief, when it happens, changes us and our lives and our future. There is no retreat from the loss that caused our grief. We grieve because our lives have been changed forever….in a way we never imagined, never wanted.

Grief is our response to a terrible loss. It’s the right response to loss. How could we not cry when we lose someone we love? How could we not grieve when we are shocked by something that should never have happened? Grief is a right response to the loss. Tears are part of the grieving process.

Grief is also social. We grieve best in community. We need each other more when a loss happens and we gather together to grieve, to cry, to sorrow. Somehow community helps us deal with grief. We have an opportunity to talk about our loss, our pain, our hurt. We have a chance to cry with someone who listens and cares about us.

Grief, believe it or not, is a gift from God. He helps us through our grief to give us peace and comfort. What grief tells us all is that this is not the way it is supposed to be. What has happened to us that has caused our grief is not right, not the way we should live. And our response, as we grieve, tells us this is not the way we were designed.

Soon grief will be done away with. Tears will be dried. Reasons for grief will be permanently dealt with. Soon God will put death to death and grief will no longer be part of our lives. Until then he gives us hope, peace, a promise of eternal life ahead. Until then he gives us each other to hug, to cry, to grieve together. Until the day grief is put to death he gives us the promise of peace and life ahead. This is not the end…..grief will one day be swallowed up in joy.

Funeral prayer and poem


God of love and mercy,
By the mystery of the cross, you have made us strong;
By the sacrament of the resurrection
you have sealed us as your own.
Look kindly on all those we remember today
And count them among your saints in heaven.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Blessings – John O’Donohue

When you lose someone you love,
Your life becomes strange,
The ground beneath you becomes fragile,
Your thoughts make your eyes unsure;
And some dead echo drags your voice down
Where words have no confidence
Your heart has grown heavy with loss;
And though this loss has wounded others too,
No one knows what has been taken from you
When the silence of absence deepens.

Flickers of guilt kindle regret
For all that was left unsaid or undone.

There are days when you wake up happy;
Again inside the fullness of life,
Until the moment breaks
And you are thrown back
Onto the black tide of loss.
Days when you have your heart back,
You are able to function well
Until in the middle of work or encounter,
Suddenly with no warning,
You are ambushed by grief.

It becomes hard to trust yourself.
All you can depend on now is that
Sorrow will remain faithful to itself.
More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.

Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned
To wean your eyes
From that gap in the air
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return

All the time.

Two prayers/poems for a funeral service

When I am dead, cry for me a little.
Think of me sometimes, but not too much.
It is not good to allow your thoughts
to dwell too long on the dead.
Think of me now and again as I was in life
at some time pleasant to recall, but not for long.
Leave me in peace and I shall leave you in peace.
While you live let your thoughts be with the living.  
An Indian Prayer

May we forgive the failings of those we love
May we show compassion to those who are hurting
May we know peace,
May our sorrow turn to joy
May we be filled with hope for tomorrow. Amen.

Mystery Worshipper Guidelines

The Church of England has produced some simple guidelines for mystery worshipper audits:

1. Setting up visits.
It can be good to twin with another church or work with a group of churches to
provide mystery worshippers for each other.

2. Before the visit:
a. Check that you are going to a ‘normal’ service. It can give a false impression if you
go to a ‘special’.
b. Make sure you know where the church is so you can arrive in plenty of time.
c. Look at the web site to see what you can find out in advance of the visit.

3. Guidelines for the visitor:
a. Look through the questions first to make sure you know what you are looking for.
b. Arrive a bit before the service starts but not too early (5-10 minutes is about right).
c. Try to remain unknown. If people ask, say you are just visiting the area. If they
persist, say that you know the Vicar – that normally shuts them up!
d. Don’t have the form and a clipboard out marking it off or people will know you are
not ‘normal’.
e. Try to make sure you look at things like toilets.
f. Loiter at the back (notice boards or bookstall) as these are good places to find out if
people will come to you.
g. Stick around at the end to give people a chance to make your acquaintance.
h. Fill in the form as soon as you get to the car unless you have a brilliant memory.
i. Aim to be honest but not destructive.
j. If a question was impossible to answer, please put N/A (not applicable) in the
comment column with a comment if appropriate and leave the rest blank.
k. It can be helpful to have an affirming comment in the summary paragraph as we are
seeking to encourage the churches.

4. Alternative sources of Mystery Worshippers.
a. Ship of Fools ( ) but you cannot
book them in – they just turn up!
b. Christian Research ( ).

Think you are a welcoming church?

All of us like to think that our church is open and welcoming to visitors and the occasional passer by, but are we? The Diocese of Derby has made available a questionnaire plus guidelines for a mystery worshipper to visit your church and put that to the test. Handle with care. You don't want to use its findings to put down your congregation or undermine what is already good and working in the parish. But, used sensitively, it can help 'fill in the gaps' of what is missing in welcome, whether it is the friendly visit at the door, the building, or the publicity.

The questionnaire can be accessed here.

Baptism in the Anglican Church

The following can be downloaded as a pdf file from the website i-care parenting. Click here to take you there. Bear in mind it is from New Zealand and their liturgy is probably different to yours.

Baptism in the Anglican Church
One of the first decisions you will make regarding the faith of your child is whether or not to have them baptised (some people call this a Christening). This is a decision only you as parents can make. Some people like to have their child baptised within weeks of the birth, others like to wait and allow their child to make the decision for themselves later in life. Before you can make that decision you need some basic knowledge about what baptism is and why it is important to the Christian faith.

Baptism in the Church: What does it mean?
Baptism is the sacrament through which Christians become one with Christ and the Church. For Anglicans, baptism has always been an integral part of the faith journey. Historically, an infant would be baptised as soon as it was born. This was especially true through the 5th and 6th centuries when the infant mortality rate was high.

Baptism is very important in the New Testament. John – the cousin of Jesus and the man appointed by God to ‘prepare the way of the Lord’ – is known as John the Baptist because his ministry was to preach God’s word and baptise those who believed. His most important act was to baptise Jesus.

Baptism can occur at any stage in life. Infant baptism is a wonderful symbol of your commitment to bringing your child up to know and love God in the church. It formally welcomes your child as a member into the family of the church and is the first step towards receiving communion in the Anglican Church.
Luke 3:21-22

21When all the people were being baptised, Jesus was baptised too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

What do you need to do to get your child baptised?
The first step is to talk to a priest in your local church. They will guide you through the baptismal process and explain fully what it all means.

Some basic information

During the baptism you will have to answer three questions about your faith.

How do you respond to God’s promise of forgiveness?
Do you renounce all evil influences and powers that rebel against God?
Do you trust in Christ’s victory which brings forgiveness, freedom and life?
Your priest will help you to fully understand these questions and allow you to answer in confidence and knowledge.

When a child is baptised it is customary for the parents to ask close family or friends to serve as Godparents. The role of a Godmother or Godfather is to pray for their Godchild and support the parents as they raise their child in faith.

The Symbols of Baptism
The baptism service is full of beautiful symbols – each drawing on parts of the Christian faith your child is being welcomed in to.

The placement of the font in a church is important because of the symbolism it embodies. As baptism is the first stage in a person’s faith journey, it is often placed at the main entrance or even in a separate room – a baptistery. Historically, churches had a baptistery separate from the main body of the church. This made the point that baptism is the beginning of life in Church and God – and after the baptism service the newly baptised would be formally welcomed in to the main body of the church as a member of the family of Christ. Not all churches adhere to this historic placement of the font any more. Find out where the font is in your church, and you may like to ask why it is in that particular spot.

Luke 3:16

John the Baptist said
16“I baptise you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

In the Anglican Church the candidate for baptism is anointed three times with water. The priest uses water for baptism to link with the above bible passage. In doing so, Christians believe they are being anointed by the Holy Spirit as well as with water. The thrice anointing is also important – once for each of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
Your child will also have the sign of the cross bestowed upon them. This is a symbolic marking that they are now a child of God and member of Christ’s Church.

Finally, a candle will be given by a member of the congregation. Jesus is described as being the light of the world, and the candle is a symbol of this light.

“Walk in the faith of Christ
crucified and risen.
Shine with the light of Christ.”

These beautiful words - or words like them - go with the presentation of the candle.

The baptism concludes with a promise by parents and Godparents to raise the child in faith. Then the community of faith formally welcomes the newly baptised into the family of the Church.

Baptism is one of the first steps in the Christian faith journey and a beautiful commitment to life as a member of God’s Church. It is a wonderful gift to give your children, but a decision that only you can make at this early stage in their lives.

A video about Baptism

The following is a video about baptism produced by the Anglican Church in Canada and which is used as a short baptism preparation for seekers. May be of use to some?

Monday, 28 October 2013

Lectionary Reflections

Looking at resources to help with preaching from the three-year Lectionary you could do no better than Jane Williams' three books "Lectionary Reflections" Year A, B and C. For complete sermons or outlines of every reading in the Lectionary you will need to look elsewhere, but for sermon seeds, little thoughts on the readings each these are ideal. If like me you can't always get started with your Sunday sermon I recommend Jane Williams' books which are life-savers. They are pithy, insightful and full of little stories and illustrations like the following for Advent Sunday:

"A monk come to his abbot, seeking enlightenment. he questions the abbot eagerly and impatiently, firing questions at him. But the abbot says, 'Just look.' The monk is very disappointed, 'I'm always looking,' he says sulkily. 'No, you're not,' says the abbot. 'In order to look at what is here, you have to be here, and you are mostly somewhere else.'

So add Jane's books to your library and even if you don't need them to kick start your sermons maybe they will be a good source for your own personal devotions, a Christmas present for a friend, or a recommendation for your congregation as they prepare for Sunday worship.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

More prayers for various services

Consider these words from Psalm 145
‘I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever’

(A moment of silence )

Creator God, we glimpse your beauty
in setting sun, mountain top, eagle’s wing.
We sense your power in thunder crash,
lightning flash and ocean’s roar.
Creator God we praise you

Precious Jesus, we see your love
stretched out upon a cruel cross.
We stand in awe at your sacrifice,
pure love poured out for humankind.
Precious Jesus we praise you

Holy Spirit, we see your power
in lives transformed, hearts on fire.
We listen for your still, small voice,
comforting, guiding, calling.
Holy Spirit we praise you

To my words ‘Every day I will praise you’ would you respond ‘And extol your name for ever’

From the moment we awake
to face the day ahead,
you are with us,
through good times and bad,
Your presence enough for our needs.
Every day I will praise you
And extol your name for ever

Through the hours of the day,
in our travels and work,
you are with us;
in decisions we must make,
Your wisdom enough for our needs.
Every day I will praise you
And extol your name for ever

As we lay down to rest
at the end of the day,
you are with us,
as we lay our fears at your feet,
Your peace enough for our needs.
Every day I will praise you
And extol your name for ever

A prayer of confession

Lord God, your love for humankind
present in the beginning of all things,
extends throughout history
and touches even my life.
Your love sees failings
and forgives.
Your love feels pain
and wipes away our tears.
Your love knows grief
and comforts the sorrowful.
Your love sees sin
and still loves the sinner.
Forgive us when we fail to live
lives that reflect your love.
Forgive us the many times
when we take for granted
all that you have done for us.
Transform us, through your Spirit,
and empower us to serve you,
this day and all days

Let us join together in the words that Jesus taught his disciples..

Our Father………..

Opening Prayers 2 – Theme 'God of all ages'

Listen to these words from Psalm 40
“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry... He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”

To my words ‘God of all ages’ would you respond ‘Accept our sacrifice of praise.’

Eternal God,
it was your Spirit,
hovering over the waters
at the dawning of that first day.
It was your voice
echoing through the darkness,
that brought forth light.
God of all ages
Accept our sacrifice of praise 

Eternal God,
it was your love
that birthed humankind,
and placed them in a garden.
It was your hand
that helped them to their feet,
each time they fell.
God of all ages
Accept our sacrifice of praise

Eternal God,
it was your prophets
who spoke forth your word,
to a rebellious generation.
It was your Son
who showed the depth of love
that will not let us go.
God of all ages
Accept our sacrifice of praise

God of life,
whose love enfolds us,
and spirit fills us,
we praise your holy name.
God of joy,
whose sunrise wakes us,
and sunset amazes us,
we praise your holy name.
God of hope,
whose promise sustains us,
and power upholds us,
we praise your holy name.
God of love,
whose patience humbles us,
and touch can heal us,
we praise your holy name.
God of peace,
who breaks down barriers,
and walls that divide us,
we praise your holy name.
God of eternity,
who has always loved us,
and by grace has saved us,
we praise your holy name.

Spend a moment thinking about all that God is and has done for us, and consider your individual response to his grace.

God of all ages,
who from generation to generation
has heard the cries of your children
humbly seeking forgiveness,
and has welcomed sinners
back into your embrace,
hear the thoughts of our hearts,
examine our motives,
forgive us our faults,
of word and action.
We ask this through your Son,
who died that we might know
the true cost of forgiveness.
Let us join together in the words that Jesus taught his disciples..

Our Father………..

Opening Prayers 3 – A Celtic Theme

Listen to the words of the Psalmist

“The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic.”
Psalm 29:3-4

To my words ‘The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad ‘would you respond ‘And the distant shores rejoice’

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad
And distant shores rejoice

You who spoke this world in motion,
breathed life into each creature,
painted landscapes
in colourful hues,
you are our God.
The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad
And distant shores rejoice

You who bring to us each season
light and warmth, rain and sunshine,
and within the seed
a spark of life,
you are our God.
The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad
And distant shores rejoice

You whose love is beyond measure
and stretches throughout time,
from a garden in Eden,
to Gethsemene and beyond,
you are our God
The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad
And distant shores rejoice. 

By the word of our Lord the heavens were made
By the spirit of our Lord was life begun
By the wisdom of our Lord his laws were laid
By the love of our Lord was born his Son
By the grace of our Lord mankind was saved
By the power of our Lord the victory was won

A prayer of confession

Creator God,
forgive our moments of ingratitude,
the spiritual blindness that prevents us
from appreciating the wonder that is this world,
the endless cycle of nature,
of life and death and rebirth.
Forgive us for taking without giving,
reaping without sowing.
Open our eyes to see,
our lips to praise,
our hands to share.
May our feet tread lightly on the path we tread,
and our footsteps be worthy of following,
for they lead to you.

Let us join together in the words of the Lord’s Prayer

Our Father……….

Opening and closing prayers

O God, our resurrection and life, the promise of your new life in Christ is like a breath of fresh air in a dry and thirsty land. We have gathered as believers, and as those who are honestly seeking the truth. Guide our worship this hour.

O God who makes all things new, speak to us as whole people today. May your truth touch not just our intellects, but also our deeper yearnings of heart and soul. We bring with us our daily concerns, as well as our more eternal questions. May your new creation in us shed light upon our everyday walk.

O God who fed the multitudes with but a few loaves and some fish, feed us now with the abundance of what you freely offer, that we might overflow with your goodness right where we live. All this we pray in the name of, and because of, Jesus our Christ. Amen.

O God who is greater than the most powerful forces in this world,
enable us to be still and know that you are God.
O Lord who answers out of the whirlwind of everyday life, breathe in us your Holy Spirit to strengthen, comfort, and  guide us in the midst of the storm.
O still, small voice, speak to us this hour, that we might become makers of your peace in our homes,
in our communities, in our world.
We pray all this in the name of the One who calmed the raging sea. Amen.

O God, we trust in your power to create, to sustain, to enable. But we could not trust if we did not know that you are always near. Be with us, Lord, as we are gathered here to worship you. Help us not to check our minds or our hearts at the door, but enable us to bring all that we are to you, so that we might experience your touch upon all aspects of our life. We pray this because of, and in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

O God, we trust in your power, even as it is often found in weakness; in your wisdom, even as it is expressed in seeming foolishness; in your wholeness, even as it comes to us amid brokenness. We do not ask this day for dazzling displays of strength, electric exercises of intellectual prowess, or marvelous manifestations of miracles. We come simply to worship you. Touch us this day, O Lord, sinners that we are, that we might become your saints, your body, your children, your church. For this Temple of your Spirit is built not upon our own abilities, knowledge, or restorative skill, but upon you, in Jesus Christ. Amen.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May He look upon you with favor and give you peace.

Go in peace, serve the Lord.

May the love of God be above you to overshadow you, beneath you to uphold you, before you to guide you, behind you to protect you, close beside you and within you to make you able for all things, and to reward your faithfulness with the joy and peace which the world cannot give neither can it take away. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, to whom be glory now and evermore.

Go in peace, serve the Lord.

Various opening prayers for worship

Gracious Lord,
We come with joy to worship you.
Forgive our sins
that this joy may be pure.
Receive our praise and adoration
that you may be blessed by our worship.
Speak to us through your Word,
that we may hear your guidance for our lives.
In the name of Christ we pray, Amen.

Almighty God,
who pours out on all who desire it
the spirit of grace and supplication;
deliver us, when we draw near to thee,
from coldness of heart
and wanderings of mind,
that with steadfast thoughts
and kindled affections,
we may worship thee in spirit and in truth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray, Amen.

For Advent
O Lord:
Keep us awake and alert, watching for your kingdom.
Make us strong in our faith
so we may greet your Son when he comes,
and joyfully give him praise.

Christmas Eve
Give us, O God,
such love and wonder,
that with shepherds and wise men and pilgrims unknown,
we may come to adore the holy child, the promised King;
and with our gifts worship him,
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Christmas Eve
As you come into the stillness of night, great God,
enter our lives this night.
Overcome darkness with the light of Christ’s presence,
so that we may clearly see the way to walk,
the truth to speak,
and the life to live for him,

Epiphany (January 6th)
God our Father,
who by a star led people from far away to see the child Jesus:
draw us and all people to Christ,
so that praising you now,
we may in life come to meet you face to face.
Through Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Almighty God: you know that in this world we are under great pressure.
At times, we cannot stand.
We yield to temptation and fall into sin.
Stiffen our resolve and make faith strong,
so we may dig in against temptation and, by your power, overcome;
through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Almighty God,
your Son fasted forty days in the wilderness,
and was tempted as we are but did not sin.
Give us grace to direct our lives
in obedience to your Spirit,
that as you know our weakness,
so we may know your power to save;
through Jesus Christ our Redeemer,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.

Almighty and most merciful God,
kindle within us the fire of love,
that by its cleansing flame we may be purged of all our sins
and made worthy to worship you in spirit and in truth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Lord God,
you led your people through the wilderness
and brought them to the promised land.
So guide us.
Enable us to follow our Savior,
so that we may walk through the wilderness of this world
toward the glory of the world to come;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.

Almighty God, we pray for your blessing
on the church in this place.
Here may the faithful find salvation,
and the careless be awakened.
Here may the doubting find faith,
and the anxious be encouraged.
Here may the tempted find help,
and the sorrowful find comfort.
Here may the weary find rest,
and the strong be renewed.
Here may the aged find consolation
and the young be inspired;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

O God, you pour out the Spirit of grace and love.
Deliver us from cold hearts and wandering thoughts,
that with steady minds and burning zeal
we may worship you in spirit and truth, Amen.

More intercessions

For our archbishop, bishops, and all priests:
May they be steadfast as prophets of peace
    and apostles of justice.
We pray to the Lord.

For our Anglican Church:
May our mission to help the poor and lowly
    be viewed as an important aspect of church life.
We pray to the Lord.

For all people:
May each of us encourage the spirit of mercy and understanding
    within our families and with those we meet each day.
We pray to the Lord.

For peace:
May the world lay down its weapons,
    pick up the cross of Christ,
    and put on his mind and his heart.
We pray to the Lord.

For our parish:
May this Advent season draw us into prayer and reflection
    and bring us growth in our relationship with Christ.
We pray to the Lord.

For all who struggle with fear or doubt:
May we not forget that we belong to Christ
    and that he is near to us at all times and through all things.
We pray to the Lord.

For those who are sick, including N.—:
May God grant them health in body, mind, and spirit.
We pray to the Lord.

For those who have died, especially N.—:
May they receive the crown of life.
We pray to the Lord.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Various Prayers

We thank you God
for the mystery of your presence here with us.
We thank you for the mystery of ourselves.
We thank you for your sense of compassion.
We thank you for the things of this world.
We thank you for being you,
and for making us - us,
unique as you are unique,
mysterious as you are mysterious,
loving and caring as you are loving and caring.

Teach us Lord to use the gifts you have given us.
Teach us to share them with one another.
Give us grace to use our gifts
to bring healing to the world.
The Iona Community

If you are feeling troubled….

Be present, Spirit of God, within us,
your dwelling place our home;
may your light dispel our darkness,
our troubles calmed by your peace,
all evil redeemed by your love,
all pain transformed in the suffering of Christ,
and all dying glorified in his risen life. Amen
Jim Cotter

God to enfold you,
Christ to uphold you,
Spirit to keep you in heaven’s sight:
So may God grace you,
heal and embrace you,
lead you through darkness into the light.
John L. Bell

A Prayer for Guidance

O Jesus,
Be the canoe
that holds us in the sea of life:
Be the rudder
that keeps us in the straight way;
Be the outrigger
that supports us in times
of great temptation;
Let your Spirit be our sail
that carries us through each day.
Keep our bodies and spirits strong,
so we can paddle steadfastly on
in the voyage of life.
In your name we pray.  Amen
A prayer from Melanesia - adapted.

Funeral Prayers

If someone has died….

God our Father,
thank you that you have made
each of us in your own image,
and given us gifts and talents
with which to serve you.
Thank you for N,
the years I shared with him/her,
the good I saw in him/her,
the love I received from him/her.
Now give me strength and courage
to leave him/her in your care,
confident in the promise of eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Funeral Service

If you are grieving...

O God,
who brought us to birth
and in whose arms we die,
in our grief and shock
contain and comfort us;
embrace us with your love,
give us hope in our confusion
and grace to let go into new life;
through Jesus Christ.  Amen.
The Funeral Service

Prayer of Augustine

Breathe into me, Holy Spirit,
that my thoughts may all be holy.

Move in me, Holy Spirit,
that my work, too, may be holy.

Attract my heart, Holy Spirit,
that I may love only what is holy.

Strengthen me, Holy Spirit,
that I may defend all that is holy.

Protect me, Holy Spirit,
that I may always be holy.
Prayer of St. Augustine 

Other prayers

The following prayers are also from the same source as the two other blogs (from Better Gatherings)

God of everlasting love,
you generously provide all things for us.
We pray for people everywhere:
make your way known to them,
your saving power among all nations
(especially we pray for...).

We pray for the welfare of your church here on earth:
guide and govern it by your good Spirit,
so that all who call themselves Christians
may be led in the way of truth,
and hold the faith in unity of spirit,
in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life
(especially we pray for...).

We commend to your fatherly goodness
all who are afflicted or distressed
in body, mind or circumstances
(especially we pray for...).

Relieve them according to their needs,
give them patience in their sufferings,
and deliver them from all their afflictions.
All this we ask for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.


Almighty God,
we praise you for your creation,
and all you richly provide.
Enable us to live in such a way
that your majesty and mercy
are seen by all.
Father hear our prayer,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All governments rule under your authority.
May they work for the good of those they rule,
seeking your justice and peace in every law and action.
Father hear our prayer,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Enable those who are engaged in industry and commerce,
the media and education, sport and the arts,
to fulfil their responsibilities with integrity and an attitude of service.
Father hear our prayer,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Comfort and strengthen those who are gripped by poverty,
weakened by illness, or oppressed by cruelty.
May they know your love and experience your care.
Father hear our prayer,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Inspire your church here on earth to proclaim the gospel of your love
in the death and resurrection of your Son.
May all people hear the call to trust you.
Father hear our prayer,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Help your people to display your compassion to all those in need.
May the poor and the lost of this world find in you
their true wealth and sure destiny.
Refresh and equip us, O God,
to be your faithful and obedient people,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

General Intercessions 2

Gracious Father,
your Son Jesus Christ has promised that you will hear us when we ask in faith:
receive the prayers we offer.

We give thanks for... We pray for... the nations:
Guide with your wisdom and power the leaders of the nations, so that everyone may live in peace and mutual trust, sharing with justice the resources of the earth. Give the people of this land a spirit of unselfishness, compassion, and fairness in public and private life.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

We give thanks for... We pray for...the Church:
Send out the light and truth of your gospel and bring people everywhere to know and love you. Enable those who minister among us to commend your truth by their example and teaching. May we gladly receive and obey your word.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

We give thanks for... We pray for...those in need:
We commend to your fatherly care, merciful God, all who are in sorrow, sickness, discouragement or any other trouble. Give them patience and a firm trust in your goodness. Help those who care for them, and bring us all into the joy of your salvation.
Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

We give thanks for the life and work of...
We praise you for all your servants whose lives have honoured Christ. Encourage us by their example, so that we may run with perseverance the race that lies before us, and share with them the fullness of joy in your kingdom.

Hear us, Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.

General Intercessions 1

Although there are lots of books of intercessions, I must admit that i sometimes find the language too flowery or too clunky and unpoetic. So whenever I find good intercessions I make a special note of them for future use. Here are some good ones I recently found on the web:

Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ has promised that you will hear us when we ask in faith: receive the prayers we offer.

We give thanks for... We pray for...
Christians in other countries, especially where there is suffering, danger and persecution; those sent out as missionaries (especially...); Christians in our country; the Anglican Church of (Australia); this diocese; N our archbishop and N our regional bishop; this parish; N our minister(s)...

Strengthen your people for their witness and work in the world. Fill your ministers with your Spirit, that they may faithfully preach the gospel and administer your holy sacraments. Unite in the truth all who confess your name, that we may live together in love and proclaim your glory in all the world.
Father, hear our prayer,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We give thanks for... We pray for...
the peoples of the world and their leaders; countries in crisis; the Queen (of Australia), leaders of (Federal, State) and local government; the police and those who administer our laws; all who have responsibility; all men and women in their daily work.

Give wisdom to those in authority in every land, and give to all peoples a desire for righteousness and peace, with the will to work together in trust, to seek the common good and to share with justice the resources of the earth,.
Father, hear our prayer,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We give thanks for... We pray for...our community:
one another; our local community; those caring for people in need; those who teach Scripture in our schools; people known to us (especially...)...

We commend to your keeping, Father, ourselves and each other, our families, our neighbours, and our friends. Enable us by your Spirit to live in love for you and for one another.
Father, hear our prayer,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We give thanks for... We pray for... those in need:
those who suffer; the sick; the poor; the distressed; the lonely; the unloved; the persecuted; the unemployed; those who grieve; and those who care for them...

Comfort and heal, merciful Lord, all who are in sorrow, need, sickness, or any other trouble. Give them a firm trust in your goodness; help those who minister to them; and bring us all into the joy of your salvation.
Father, hear our prayer,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We give thanks for the life and witness of...
We praise you, Lord God, for your faithful servants in every age, and ask that we may share with them Christ's resurrection glory, through his death and rising again for our salvation.

Hear us, Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.


Accept our prayers through Jesus Christ our Lord, who taught us to pray
Our Father...


Bible Sunday Prayers and intercessions

The following prayers are from a Roman Catholic website:

For our wider society on Bible Sunday,
That the Scriptures would inform and inspire those who have political responsibility, those who educate our young, those who
work in the media, and all who contribute to public life.
Lord, hear us
Lord, graciously hear us.

For our own parish community this Bible Sunday,
That we would be renewed in our love of the Scriptures. That we would truly encounter Christ in them and allow ourselves to be transformed into his likeness.
Lord, hear us
Lord, graciously hear us.

The following look forward to Advent:

For the Church and all Christians,
That as we prepare for the coming of our Lord Jesus,
we would ready our hearts both to receive the Word
and to reflect him to the world around us.
Lord, hear us
Lord, graciously hear us.

For all migrants and refugees around the world,
That they would be able to unite themselves to the
Holy Family who shared in their plight. That they
would meet kindness and generosity in their search for a home.
Lord, hear us
Lord, graciously hear us.

For all expectant mothers at this time,
That in their time of waiting they would know the
Lord’s companionship and that the Holy Spirit would
grant them the graces they will need for the role ahead of them.
Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.

For the sick, the lonely and the hurting in our
community and those who care for them,
That they would draw strength from the love of our
Lord Jesus shown through the word.
Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Memorial Service Liturgy

The following is a useful resource for a memorial service.It's an outline "In Memory of one who has passed away."

1   A hymn may be sung.

2   The minister says these words, or other words of welcome and comfort:

We are here to remember our brother N.
God is with us;
God the Father who created us;
God the Son who redeemed us;
God the Spirit who sanctifies us.
The love of God is greater than any love on earth.
May the Lord our God be praised!
May he be praised indeed!
Let us pray.
God of mercy,
we come before you to remember N.
and we ask you to help us bear our sorrow.
We bring our thanks,
for his life was a gift from you;
and we ask for your peace in our hearts,
knowing your love and your mercy,
in our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

A psalm may be read, or these words from Psalm 42.

As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so longs my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for the living God.
When shall I behold his face?
Put your hope in God:
I will come and praise him,
my helper and my God.

My tears have been my food, day and night,
while they say to me:
Where is your God?
These things I remember,
how I used to go with the others to the house of God,
with shouts of joy and praise.
Put your hope in God:
I will come and praise him,
my helper and my God.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why are you distressed within me?
Put your hope in God:
I will come and praise him,
my helper and my God.

I will say to God my rock:
Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go with sorrow and troubles?
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Put your hope in God:
I will come and praise him,
my helper and my God.

Glory to the Father and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now,
and shall be for ever.  Amen.

4.  A hymn may be sung.

5.  One person who knew the deceased may tell briefly about the work that God did in their life. The congregation may keep a minute’s silence.  The minister or another person may thank God for the life of the deceased.

6. One or more passages from Holy Scripture may be read.

7. Hymn.

8. Sermon.

9. Hymn.

10 The prayers.  The minister may use suitable prayers from pages 131-132, or other prayers.  All may join in the Lord’s Prayer. The prayers are concluded with one of these two prayers:

10a Father, we are here before you in sorrow, but trusting in your love for N and for us.  We know that death can not separate us from your care for us through Christ Jesus.
This is our faith.
Lord, increase our faith.

Father, your Son Jesus shed tears beside the grave of Lazarus.  We believe that you share in our grief, even as you give us strength to stand firm at this time.
This is our faith.
Lord, increase our faith.

Father, your Son died that we might be forgiven.  We trust in your forgiveness for N and for ourselves.
This is our faith.
Lord, increase our faith.
Minister  Father, we read that you offered your only Son, so that anyone who believes in him should not be lost, but have eternal life.
This is our faith.
Lord, increase our faith.

This indeed is the faith of the Church, on earth and in heaven.  The name of the Lord be praised: Alleluia!

10b Almighty God, who raised Jesus Christ from the dead for our sake, we your children put ourselves in your hands, for we have none to turn to apart from you.

We thank you for the life of our brother N, and for your love which we saw in him.  Purify our thoughts, and wipe away any bitterness or regrets.   Give us your grace, that we may follow his good example, and show your love to others.
Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Be close to those who mourn; comfort them, and lead them by your Spirit, that they may continue to serve you, with new hope and joy, according to your perfect will.
Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

We thank you for those who tend the sick and those who are close to death....  Help them to witness to your gentleness and watchfulness, in their work day by day.
Lord, in your mercy.
Hear our prayer.

We thank you for our unity in Christ, which death cannot destroy; increase, we pray, our faith in the communion of saints; and grant us in heaven the joy of seeing all the faithful whom we loved on earth.  All glory be to you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and evermore.

11 Offertory hymn.

12 Notices.

13 Blessing or grace.

14 Concluding hymn. 

Liturgy round the world - Part 2

Some Eucharistic Prayers:

The Lord be with you
And with your spirit.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is good and right so to do.

Indeed, it is our joy to thank you,
O heavenly Father, for you created all things:
the stars, sun, moon, and this world;
hill and valley, forest and field, river and lake,
and all that dwell in them.
You created human beings,
making them more intelligent and powerful than all the animals;
and you chose one nation to know more of you.

We give you thanks,
because when your people rejected your will,
you called them to return to your ways,
by filling the prophets with your Holy Spirit,
to be witnesses to your righteousness and power.

With the words that the prophet Isaiah heard in the temple,
we join with the angels and archangels,
and all the host of heaven,
praising you forever, and saying,

Holy, Holy, Holy,
Lord God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory,
Glory be to you, O Lord most high.
Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

We give you thanks, O loving Father,
for you sent your Son,
to be born as man,
to show us your likeness,
and to save people of all nations,
by dying for our sake on the cross.
On the same night that he was betrayed he took bread(a)
and, after giving you thanks, he broke it(b)
and gave it to his disciples saying,
“Take, eat,(c) this is my Body
which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way, when they had eaten,(d)
he took the cup; and after giving you thanks,
he gave it to them, saying,
“Drink this all of you,
for this is my blood(e) of the new Covenant,
which is shed for you and for many,
for the forgiveness of sins;
do this, as often as you drink it,
in remembrance of me.”

Christ has died;
Christ is risen;
Christ will come again.

We give you thanks, because you fulfilled his promise,
by sending us the Helper, the Holy Spirit,
so that the Good News of your love
might be known throughout the world.
And now, as we do this in remembrance of Jesus,
grant, by the power of your Spirit,
that we may be partakers of his Body and his Blood.
Renew us through your Spirit,
that together with your worldwide church,
we may serve our neighbours in your love,
draw all people to you,
and reveal your glory,
Father Almighty, now and forever:
Blessing and honour,
And glory and power,
Be yours for ever and ever.  Amen.


Almighty Father,
you are with us at all times and in all places;
we lift our hearts and voices to glorify your name:
We praise your holy name!

Holy and perfect God,
source of righteousness and truth:
you are light, there is no darkness in you,
and you hate all sin.
We praise your holy name!

Loving God, friend of sinners:
you seek to gather your lost children
beneath your wings;
time and again you call us back to you.
We praise your holy name!

You sent your Son,
to be born of the Virgin Mary,
to be human like us, but without sin,
and you filled him with your Holy Spirit.
Thanks be to Jesus Christ, he came to save us!

He humbled himself to be the servant of all:
he healed, he taught, he drew near to those whom others rejected.
For the sake of our salvation, he died on the cross,
rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven.
Thanks be to Jesus Christ, he came to save us!

Before his death, at table with his disciples:
he took bread, gave you thanks, broke it,
and gave it to them, saying:
“Take eat,  this is my Body
which is given for you.»
Afterwards he took the cup, gave you thanks,
and gave it to them, saying:
“This is my blood of the new Covenant,
which is shed for you and for many,
for the forgiveness of sins;
do this, as often as you drink it,
in remembrance of me.”
Thanks be to Jesus Christ, he came to save us!

He did not leave his friends like orphans,
for your Holy Spirit came to comfort them, to sanctify them, and to empower them.
Father, we praise your name forever,
because your Spirit gives us life, unity and strength.
May your Holy Spirit be with us every day!

Today as we do this in remembrance of Christ,
through the power of your Spirit
may this bread be to us his body,
and this wine be to us his blood,
so that our hearts be made clean,
and we may be ready to obey your will.
May your Holy Spirit be with us every day!

Revive your church,
that it might be salt, yeast and light in the world,
bearing witness to your holiness and love,
while we wait for Christ’s return in glory.
May your Holy Spirit be with us every day!

We worship you, Holy God,
without ceasing, on earth and in heaven,
forever and ever.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!  Amen.

Liturgy around the world - Part 1

It's fascinating to see how others worship, especially those from your own denomination. Here are some excerpts from the Holy Communion service of the Anglican Church in DR Congo:

Here is the opening collect or prayer near the start:

Almighty God,
you bring to light things hidden in darkness,
and know the shadows of our hearts:
by your Spirit,
cleanse us, revive us and renew us,
that we may walk in the light,
and glorify your name,
through Jesus Christ, the light of the world.  Amen.

Next is the confession and absolution:

Let us confess our sins , in penitence and faith, firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments and to live in love and peace with all people.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you, and against our neighbours,
in our thoughts, in our words, and in our deeds,
in the evil that we have done, and in the good that we have not done,
through our own deliberate fault.
We truly repent of our sins.
For the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ,
forgive us all that is past;
enable us to serve you from now on in newness of life,
to the glory of your name.  Amen.

Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent; have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and keep you in eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The prayers offer something different too, ending here with the Lord's Prayer, which I have always thought was the best place for it

Let us pray for the Church and for the world, and let us thank God for his goodness.
We remember all bishops, especially our Archbishop N, and the Bishop of our Diocese N, and the               leaders of all the churches: may they be blessed with wisdom and unity.
Good Lord, hear us.
May the leaders of our country rule with justice.
Good Lord, hear us.
May righteousness be our shield and our protector.
Good Lord, hear us.
May the country be at peace; and the people be blessed.
Good Lord, hear us.
May the herds increase; and the fish in the lakes be many.
Good Lord, hear us.
May the fields yield abundantly; may the harvests be great.
Good Lord, hear us.
May all artisans and traders see the benefit of their labours.
Good Lord, hear us.
May we and our enemies turn from strife and seek peace.
Good Lord, hear us.
May the strength of the Lord support all who are sick.
Good Lord, hear us.
May the Lord’s love comfort the bereaved, the oppressed, widows, orphans, and the lonely.
Good Lord, hear us.
May the paths and roads of the world be swept clean of all dangers.
Alleluia. The Lord of mercy is with us.  Amen.

The minister may invite others to pray, using these words:
Let us continue to pray for ourselves
and for our brothers and sisters...

In a time of quiet, some may pray out loud, one at a time, and others may pray in secret.  After a few minutes, the minister may say:
Our trust is in you, merciful Lord.
We rely on you alone, O God of love.  Amen.

The minister says:
As our Saviour commanded and taught us, we are bold to say:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, 
and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen. 

The General Thanksgiving

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer has many great treasures, some of which seem to be lost to the present day Church. So here is a more modern version of one of its classic prayers, the General Thanksgiving. It manages to say so much and with such profundity, that it is a wonderful addition not only to any liturgy, but to your daily prayer. We can never say thank you enough to God, and this says it so well.

Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants do give you most humble and hearty thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all people;

We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ,
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.

And we beseech you, give us that due sense of all your mercies,
that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful,
and that we show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives;
by giving up ourselves to your service,
and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit,
be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Orthodox Morning Prayer

The following is a form of Morning Prayer based on the Orthodox Prayer Book I bought while in college 25 years ago. I still use it every now and again - although I like to ring the changes - and said slowly and from the heart it has always been a great blessing to me. + indicates the sign of the cross. Here it is:

Orthodox Morning Prayer

+ In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

God, be merciful to me, a sinner. (several times)

O Lord, cleanse me a sinner, and have mercy upon me.
O Lord, who hast created me, have mercy upon me.
I have sinned without measure, have mercy upon me.
God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
O Lord, pardon my sins and transgressions.
We bow before thy Cross, O Master,
and we glorify thy Holy Resurrection.
O Lord, if I have sinned all my days in word or deed,
have mercy upon me, a sinner, for thy mercy’s sake.
Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

O Heavenly King, O Comforter,
the Spirit of truth, Who art everywhere and fillest all things,
the Treasure of blessings and Giver of Life,
come and abide in us.
Cleanse us from all impurity,
and of thy goodness, save our souls.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.
+ Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen

Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us,
O Lord, cleanse us from our sins.
O Master, pardon our iniquities.
O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities
for Thy Name's sake.
Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy
Lord, have mercy.
+Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen

Our Father,
who art in Heaven,
hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the Kingdom,
the power and the glory
+ of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
both now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Arising from sleep, I thank You, O Most Holy Trinity,
that, for the sake of Your great kindness and longsuffering,
You have not had indignation against me, for I am slothful and sinful.
Neither have You destroyed me in my transgressions.
But You have shown Your customary love toward mankind,
and have raised me up as I lay in heedlessness,
that I might sing my morning hymn and glorify Your sovereignty.
Do now enlighten the eyes of my understanding,
open my ears to receive Your words,
and teach me Your commandments.
Help me to do Your will, to sing to You,
to confess You from my heart,
and to praise Your All-Holy Name:
+of the Father, and of the Son, ad of the Holy Spirit,
now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Next follows the Nicene Creed, readings, intercessions, ending with the following:

O Lord, grant me to greet the coming of the day in peace,
help me in all things to rely upon Your holy will.
In every hour of the day reveal Your will to me.
Bless my dealings with all who surround me.
Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day
with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all.
In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings.
In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by You.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely,
without embittering and embarrassing others.
Give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day
with all that it shall bring.
Direct my will, teach me to pray.
And, Yourself, pray in me. Amen.
(By Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow)

It is truly right to bless you, O Theotokos,
ever blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God.
More honourable than the cherubim
and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim,
without corruption you gave birth to God the Word.
True Theotokos, we magnify You.
+Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.

Note: The Jesus Prayer may follow.