Simple living

All I Want for Christmas: A Prayer List as I Go to the Mall

his Christmas I would like…
the clear conviction
that beauty is for beholding
and that I don’t have to own
everything that gives me pleasure.
I want to have joy in gift-giving,
seeking to delight those I love.
I would like protection from over purchasing:
and reminders that more gifts
don’t always bring more delight.
I would like contentment this year,
and freedom from envy as I look at things
that I cannot afford to buy.
I would like mindfulness for Christmas,

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Design Conscious: A Prayer about our Clothes

Consider the clothes of our congregation,
how they glow!
Clothes of every color, light and dark, bright and muted,
a rainbow of raiment as varied as the lilies of the field.
Thank you, Lord, for clothing us;
we all have something to wear.
This despite the fact
that some of us have stood at our closets
lamenting, “I have nothing to wear.”

We come to worship with expensive Italian shoes
and twenty-year-old Birkenstocks

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Climbing the More with Less Ladder

The effort to achieve goodness
stretches the most ambitious soul.
Faced with global warming,
the oil crisis and rampant materialism,
we can and do rise to the occasion.
We track our miles and kilometers
for every carbon footprint,
we pinch pennies,
we recycle and re-use,
we evaluate and re-evaluate
our time-saving, time-treasuring,
simple-life strategies….

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Spring Cleaning Prayer of Confession

Here’s a prayer for the corners of our lives
messy with yesterday’s business.
There’s the guilt about what was thrown in the garbage,
the regret about spending too much on extra things,
the time that was frittered away agonizing about details,
the energy wasted on trying to meet someone else’s standards.
Our memories are cobwebbed over with regret
of how it could have been different:
it could have been more responsible, more selfless,
more organized, more healthy, more something.
Even now, looking forward, there’s the sinking feeling

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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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