Carol Penner

Waiting for Medical Test Results

On the day fear parks itself in my throat;

when the mountain to be climbed

is the next twenty-four hours

and my ears already echo

with the news I do not want to hear;

as my stomach plummets

and fear pick-axes my heart;

while my mind careens

from possibility to possibility;

as the edges of my known world crumble,

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Prayer for Secret Sins

God, this is about the secret sins

which we have managed, we think,

to conceal from others

but which are an open book to you.

You see the sly dishonesty, the creeping pride,

the selfish preoccupation,

the lustful thoughts, the abusive actions,

the crooked business dealings, the tight-fisted stinginess

and the fear of facing consequences we deserve.

We have prepared a bitter table and sit alone.

The unseen guest at every table surprises us

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True Currency Offering Prayer

We are in touch with our money.

We know the cool weight of loonies and toonies

and the crisp lightness of dollar bills.

Our smooth bank cards tell us what we have or owe.

We are in touch with our money!

Today we let go of this money,

we place it in the offering plate,

freeing it to do the work of the church in your name.

We remember that you put money into our hands.

You are the Great Provider,

the Giver of all Gifts,

your love the only true currency.

Accept these gifts in the name of Jesus, Amen.

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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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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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