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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“Enough of that” Confession Prayer

Forgive us, Creator,
for ignoring all the other days of creation,
zeroing in only on the day
you made us.
We disregard the sacred waters,
hang our heads
and miss the stars in heaven,
and think nothing of the wonders
of night and day.
We miss the botanical masterpieces
in boulevard and hedgerow.
We reduce the creatures of the earth
to those we eat,
and those that bother or entertain us.
Enough of that!
We want to live each day, fully alive,
tuned to the amazing frequencies
of creation around us.
To say, along with you,
“It is good.”

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Forgive My Distractibility

My devotion to prayer
is minute
and measured
in seconds
not hours.
I turn, turn, always turn
to the bright and shiny,
the animated and new
to avoid the hard work
of being me
in your presence.
Forgive my distractibility.
I want to give you
my attention,
and learn what’s needful.

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Lent Confession Prayer

God of grace,
in this season of Lent,
we ask for four gifts.

Courage to admit the harm 
we know we’ve done.

Insight to grasp the harm
we didn’t know we did.

Wisdom to apologize if we can,
and try to make things right.

And, finally, humility.
It is through your love
we are saved.    

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Prayer for a Congregational Meeting

Thank you, God, for this congregation.
You have been with us since day one.
Your presence guiding us,
your light leading us even in difficult times
when the path was hard to find.
Bless our annual general meeting this year.
We want to give thanks to those who served,
and empower those who take on new positions….

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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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