Joyful Pentecost Prayer

n this season of spring, God,
we see your Spirit pouring through our world;
leaves unfurling with delicate beauty,
birds waking us up with their spring songs,
the good soil filled with worms and potential,
lilacs pouring forth their fragrance,
green as far as the eye can see!
The earth in all its glory—it fills us with joy!
Thank you for your Spirit
moving through us in other ways;
for the way love bubbles up,
finding a way even in hard times.
Thank you for the strength you give us

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Hope: An Advent Prayer from the Northern Hemisphere

God, you see us here in the northern hemisphere.
The days get shorter and the arc of the sun
creeps towards the horizon.
Winter has come
with its great swaths of darkness.
Hope hunkers down with us 
as the cold north winds make us shiver.
The last geese fly across the sky heading south,
and the trees are suddenly bare.
In this emptiness you give us advent.
We reach into dark corners and pull out dusty boxes.
Hope glimmers as we string up colourful lights,
and set up nativity scenes that bring to mind
the gift of a baby in Bethlehem.
Hope is hard to find in that war torn place of your birth,
and in so many places this year.
Bombs and bullets crater communities,

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Thanksgiving Prayer in Times Like These

God, being thankful for peace and plenty
is complicated, especially this Thanksgiving.
Whose peace and whose plenty?
So many people here and around the world
face violence every day.
And while some tables are full,
others have empty cupboards
or no cupboards at all.
In some countries homes are torn to smithereens
and grieving families are scattered to the four winds.
So teach us, Jesus, to be thankful in times like these.
Thankful for the good earth, the sun and the rain.
Thankful for farmers who labour to feed us….

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Peace Prayer for Times Like These

Hear our cries, God!
Invasion, occupation, and terror,
bombs, bullets and missiles.
Dead bodies, wounded bodies, orphans,
bombs, bullets and missiles.
Prisoners, hostages, refugees,
bombs, bullets and missiles.
Anguish, hopelessness, rage,
bombs, bullets and missiles.
Destruction on the grandest scale,
the earth cratered with hatred.
Jesus, make it stop.

Every war ends.
Help us…

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We Are People Confession

We are people here like Peter sinking.

We step out in faith because we want to follow you,

but we fall short in so many ways.

We are afraid of what other people think of us.

We are not sure we have the ability to do what you ask us.

We think the job is too big for us.


We are people here like Thomas doubting.

We are not sure what it means to be a Christian.

We are not sure what good it does to come to church.

We are not sure what you can do in this world that is so wounded.

We won’t take one step until we see the whole way ahead.

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Prayer for a Dying Teenager

Will there be cars in heaven?
Will there be motors to tinker with and fix,
mechanical problems to figure out?
Will there be siblings to tease?
Will there be dogs to run with?
Will there be a familiar landscape
that feels like home, like this home?
Will there be parents who love me?
Will there be a body that works 
and doesn’t hurt?
Is dying like a great leap
from the diving board of life,
or a quiet settling 

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Confessions about our Holy Book

You gave us a holy book,
but we confess that sometimes
we use it in unholy ways. 

Sometimes it sits on our shelf, gathering dust.
We fail to wonder at it,
the miracle of stories about you,
preserved and collected.
We forget the sacrifice that was made
to write it, copy it, translate it, protect it.
We feel guilt about not reading,
but miss the invitation to communion
it offers every day.

Sometimes the opposite happens.
We become devoted to the book itself,
knowing it backwards and forwards,
able to quote chapter and verse.
The book holds a place in our heart,
where only God should be. 
We can wield it like a weapon,
wounding and pushing people away,
instead of seeing how it is a bridge
which can help us reach our neighbour.

Open us to the Spirit’s movement
in the words of this book.
Help us to hear your call to repentance,
and your eternal hope for renewal.
Fill us with longing to explore scripture.
Grant us delight in our encounters
and patience with what puzzles us.

We read this book as people together,
and as per usual, we won’t agree.
In the midst of conflict,
bless our bible-reading community.
Help us listen to the diversity of your people,
and not privilege the interpretations
of the loudest voices, or the most powerful.
Your Spirit gives insight
to even the lowest and the least.

Finally, may the words of our mouths
and the meditations of our hearts
and the actions of our lives
reflect the wisdom of this holy book,
which you have gifted to us all.

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Hearts of Stone Confession Prayer

Today we confess that we fall short
in our most intimate relationships.
Forgive us for sour faces and cold shoulders,
for clenched fists and icy stares. 
Forgive us for hurtful words
and for silences that wound.
Forgive us for the way we remember
every hurt done to us,
while the hurts we do to others
are quickly minimized,
explained away or forgotten.
You call us to carry a cross,

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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

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