Prayer for Social Graces

God of social graces

be with me in this gathering today.

In every interaction, stand by my side.

When words are needed, help me find them.

In the give and take of conversation,

help me to give carefully

and take freely.

When others choose to put me down,

be with me in humiliation’s slow burn.

Keep me from returning evil for evil

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First Love Prayer

In the sweet light blossom of first love,

God of new beginnings, be near us.

Let us discover wonder and beauty

    in the smile of another.

Let us feel ourselves embraced

    in arms and open minds.

Let us be giddy with happiness

    at the world’s freshness.

In the wide swoop of love’s new dance

    you are the ground beneath our feet,

    the air we breathe together 

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Pastor’s Prayer: What I Need from You

To do my job as pastor here, here is what I need from You:

              wisdom to interpret scripture,

courage to speak the truth,

eloquence to touch frozen hearts,

patience when people won’t listen,

kindness for those who irk me,

strength to shoulder hard stories,

discretion to know when to speak,

self-control to remain silent,

hope in the face of hopelessness.

Above all these give me love for all your people

and a passionate longing for your presence.

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Journey with Jesus

Thank you God for your good and faithful servants

    our forefathers and foremothers in faith

    who nurtured us and encouraged us

    to journey in Jesus’ footsteps.

We follow their examples and find

    that your steadfast love sustains us

    in dark valleys of disbelief

    on mountains of joyful clarity

    along each daily dusty road we walk.

You listen patiently to our complaints:

    “Our feet hurt!”

    “We’re tired!”

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All We Desire Call to Worship

This is what we desire:

Your love breaking down barricades of hatred.

Your peace melting permafrosted hearts.

Your joy cascading over bleak resignation.

Your patience bending the world slowly.

Your gentleness permeating even the most impermeable.

Your goodness towering above all evils.

Your kindness embracing our fear.

Your faith moving mountains.

Your spirit, God, is all we desire. 

Be with us in this hour of worship. Amen.

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Divine Default Settings

In our remote control world

advertisements compete to control

body, mind, thoughts.

Pop-ups telling us how

to look, walk, eat, buy.

Telling us who to be, what to see

who to fear, what to wear

how to think, where to shop.

Stop. Why?

Your spirit, a divine virus checker

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The Innkeeper: An Epiphany Poem

They were grateful lodgers,

considering the humble accommodations.

We did the best we could,

the place full up,

our stable the last corner we had.

Mary, who had a baby coming,

wanting only peace and privacy,

was happy with anything.

It was a birth like any other,

the mother spent, the baby crying,

the father bewildered.

I gave her swaddling clothes,

the ones my Daniel used.

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A Prayer of Blessing for Labour Day

Bless the work of our hands, O God.
Bless the hands that work the land;
hands that move earth, plant seeds and harvest,
hands with callouses and dirty fingernails, strong hands. 

Bless the hands that use machines;

hands that drive cars, trucks and forklifts,

hands on computer keyboards, capable hands.

Bless the hands that make things;

hands that manufacture and create,

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Waiting for God

We are waiting for your presence, God–

patient, like a lover sitting by the telephone

waiting for the voice of their beloved;

attentive as a farmer watching clouds for rain

waiting for the parched soil’s relief;

intent as a child standing by the road

waiting for the parade to appear;

empty as a satellite dish scanning the heavens

waiting for a message from the stars;

poised as the still arms of a windmill

waiting for the wind’s inspiration;

open as the wide sand beach

waiting for the tide’s embrace.

Come, Lord Jesus.

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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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