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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Teach Us to Pray

We are told we are not alone,
that you are with us.
You are as close as a prayer,
close as our heart.
Yet why do you feel so far away, God?
Teach us to pray! 

For those among us
who didn’t take time to pray this week–
forgive us for not turning to you.
We prioritized many things, 
but missed what was essential.
We failed to call home,
even though you are waiting for our call.

For those among us who wanted to pray,
but didn’t know how to pray this week–
show us that we can long for you,
even when there are no words. 
We can turn our gaze upon you,

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Snowy Call to Worship

Our call to worship this morning is from Job 37:6,7,10.
For to the snow God says, “Fall on the earth”;
   and to the rain shower, “Turn into a heavy downpour.”
All human activity comes to a standstill
so that everyone may acknowledge God’s power.
By the breath of God ice is given,
   and the broad waters are frozen fast.   [NCB & NRSV]

God of this snowy season
your power is evident in all the world.
We come together in person and virtually;
with thankfulness, we sing praises,
with thoughtfulness, we listen to scripture,
with trust, we put ourselves in your hands.
In this service draw us close to one another
and form us as your people,
faithful in every season. Amen.

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Confession: Our Imaginations Fail

We come to you
when our imaginations fail.
We cannot imagine
a way for conflict to end.
The bombs or actions set,
the bullets or words fired,
the bodies or relationships
dead on the ground.
Can these bones live?
Is peace even possible?
We don’t think so.
But you are
an impossibility specialist.
A resurrectionist of all
that’s lost and left behind.
We go in the morning
to the tombs to mourn
and we find them empty.
That moment, where we stand
in stunned disbelief,
and see a different future rising
hope bright on the horizon’s edge.
Thanks be to you, God our creator,
our redeemer, and sustainer,
our faithful friend forever.

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Psalm to the God of the Universe

The heavens are telling the stories of God.
God casting constellations and comets,
dreaming galaxies beyond measure,
detailing stars and supernovas.
From our tiny terrestrial home
our naked eyes take in the Milky Way,
our telescopes perch in space
expanding our deep field vision.
We are so small, God,
why do you notice us?
Your ways are higher than our ways:
our solar system is your molecule,

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Confession about Church Divisions

Forgive the division and animosity
we have fostered
between churches of different kinds.
We’re so sure our little branch is superior:
we look down our noses at a whole tree
teeming with varying practices and beliefs.
We are so convinced of our special place
close to your heart.        
Cast out all casting out,
expel all expellings.
Open channels within us
for your love to flow
in life-giving ways.
Give us dreams of new flowerings
which we do not control:
hosts of vibrant, diverse congregations
multiplying in uncountable ways,
each one a witness to your power,
and not our own.

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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 www.leadinginworship.com” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at carol@leadinginworship.com

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