God Our Shepherd Prayer for the Dying

God our Shepherd,
you know the valleys we walk through,
the twisted roads of pain and suffering.
We want to fear no evil, we know that you are with us.
Today there are people in our congregations wrestling
with Medical Assistance in Dying;
considering it from every conceivable angle.
We need your assistance.
Assist us in important and sometimes difficult conversations
with dying people and those who love them,
and all of their many professional caregivers.

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Land of Broken Dreams Prayer

our mercies are new every day, God.
When I could hardly catch my breath,
fear clenching my stomach,
and every horizon dark,
you were there for me.
Whether I stood on the precipice
of grief and pain, or loneliness and despair:
you heard me calling.
My prayers not echoing in empty chambers,
not ricocheting into nothingness;

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Final Goodbyes (for Mimi)

thank you that you are God with us
even in our final good-byes.
Thank you for the ebbing of life,
which is as holy as its birth,
even with all the indignities
that infirmities bring.
Thank you for loved ones gathered,
for memories shared and savoured,
and for quiet vigils,
sweeter than all words,
where all we do is breathe.

And at the stillest moment of all,

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A Prayer for Those Contemplating Suicide

For each of your beloved children
who this night are poised to take their own life,
we pray this prayer.
For those plagued by despair,
for those haunted by hopelessness,
for those immersed in mind-numbing pain,
for those confused by bewildering delusions,
for those mired in violent memories,
for those pushed to the edge by grief,
for those bullied because of their sexuality,

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The Wrong Good-bye

This is the wrong good-bye.

At thirty, death stands on the threshold

ghoulish as an x-ray

staring straight through all our hopes and plans.

We will not welcome this grim usher

who comes before the play’s half-done.

 Against the injustice,

against the desperation,

against the running out of time,

against the fear of my body’s demise,

against all these,

Love stands.

We crave your presence, Lord,

even in the wrong good-bye.

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The Sweet Good-bye

At the last, let it be a sweet good-bye.

All business finished.

All affairs tidied.

All loose ends attended.

All regrets squared away.

All loved ones gathered.

All words of love spoken.

All life lived fully.

One last look,

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Waiting in the Waiting Room

A loved one’s heart attack is like a closed door;

he is on that side and we are on this side.

The door opens with the sudden collapse.

Ambulance attendants act as ushers.

Now we are in the waiting room waiting

and he is on the other side of the door

in ICU having a heart attack.

The waiting room is suspended in time….

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Prayer for the End of my Life

O God of ages,
be with me in my old age.
When death stares me in the face,
back me up.
When sickness diminishes my powers
and I become someone I don’t recognize,
know me through and through.
When my fears consume me,
be a steady centre.
Eternal God, lover of us all,
stay close to my side.
As you knit me together in my mother’s womb,
watch tenderly over this unravelling.
My self, loosed from independent living,
loosed from mobility,

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The Final Hour

The family sits on either side of the bed.

The reedy rhythm raises her chest

slightly up, slightly down.

The quiet breathing slows, pauses,

resumes again, shallower now.

Life seeps away as night deepens.

Death dawns, gentle as silence.

This was the final hour….

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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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