Open Arms Congregational Prayer

Thank you God for the slanting rays of the sun in the morning,
making everything golden and new.
For the blessing of snow, falling on everything,
covering everything like a benediction.
Thank you for the shock of cardinals against bare branches,
and the liveliness of squirrels running through trees.
Thank you for the smell of coffee and tea in the morning,
for warm houses and comfortable clothes,
for days off and time to relax.
Thank you for this day, which we have been given as a gift!
We long to know you, and your will for our lives.
We confess there are places in our lives where we are confused and puzzled.
In complicated family relationships, we don’t know where to turn.
In heavy financial difficulties, we feel stuck.
In scary health problems, we feel overwhelmed.
In complex political dilemmas, we long for answers.
Give us insight into your Word,
so that we can understand your will for our world, and for our lives.
Helps us to be a community for each other,
and for those on the margins,
extending the peace of Christ in practical, everyday ways.
Today especially we pray for the children in our church.
Thank you for the promise of hope for the future that children bring.
Thank you for our babies, our toddlers, our school age children;
thank you for our high schoolers.
We pray for health and strength for these precious ones in our midst,
keep them safe from harm and accident.
Thank you for the way children are a gift in our church,
their unbounded enthusiasm and excitement is like yeast and salt for us.
Help them in their schooling, to learn well,
and give them insight as they reach out in friendship
and are themselves befriended by others.
Give parents and caregivers patience,
help them to find creative solutions in stressful circumstances.
Give them soft hearts and open arms
as they model how to say “I’m sorry”, and how to say, “I love you”
with more than words.
Today we also pray for children in our community who are frightened,
and alone, who face abuse, and hunger and uncertainty.
Help the teachers and social workers and medical staff who meet these children
to recognize their pain and do as much as they can
to bring peace into their fractured lives.
Help our political leaders to have a heart and a will to help children in trouble.
Our communities are far from perfect, far from peaceful,
we have a long way to go to find your kingdom,
and yet you are here even now.
Open our eyes to see your presence.
And now we pray together, as you taught us to pray [Lord’s Prayer]

New Book Coming Soon!

Carol Penner has written a devotional book for Lent that explores the challenges of repentance and forgiveness. Forty reflections and prayers to deepen your walk with God as you prepare for Easter.  

You can order it here!

About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

Recent Posts

Posts By Month
  • Popular Tags

    Your browser doesn't support the HTML5 CANVAS tag.

  • Worship resources in a Mennonite voice for ears of all kinds

    Are you looking for resources for a Christian service? Feel free to use or adapt my prayers, poems and litanies. They are written in a Mennonite voice, for ears of all kinds. 

    Feel free to use these orally in a worship service (in-person or broadcasted)  , but if they are printed in a bulletin please use the following credit

    “Copyright Carol Penner”

    Contact me for use in newsletters or printed resources, I am happy to grant permission but I would like to know how my writing is being used.  You can reach me at