Breaking down the Pretty/Ugly Altars – Psalm 139:13-16; I Samuel 16:7; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Today I want us to think about our bodies. Every body has brought their bodies to worship this morning. We are embodied; God made us this way. But our bodies are not something we talk about very often in church, except in “Prayers of the People” when we ask God to heal our sick bodies. We use our bodies all the time but they tend to be the medium not the message of our lives. I think there is a good news message in our bodies, in our embodied bodies, if only we have ears to hear. What is that good news?

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Miraculous Bodies Congregational Prayer

Thank you for the miracle of our bodies;
for breath that fills us,
blood that circulates,
synapses that spark,
microscopic particles exchanging in good order,
everything working together in harmony.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
 As creatures, we are vulnerable,
we have weaknesses and sicknesses.
Creator God, we need your healing presence:
when we have symptoms that are unexplained
and we wonder, “What does this mean?”:

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Call to Worship for Every Body

Creator God,
thank you for our bodies:
for new baby bodies,
for young bodies,
for middle-aged bodies,
for old bodies.
Thank you that we are somebody in your sight.
Thank you for our church body gathered here today
and the body of Jesus,
broken for us, raised for your glory.
Thank you for your Spirit,
embodied in each of us here today.
Bless our worship, and every body here. Amen.

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Abusing a Precious Gift

When all is not what it seems,

when evil masquerades as good,

when it seems the wrong path is calling us,

Jesus, we need your help.


When sexually explicit images appear before us,

when curiosity and desire urge us to linger,

when it seems innocent just to look,

Jesus, we need your help.

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Prayer about Sexual Attraction

Thank you God for sexual attraction,

for the pull of thoughts and emotions and bodies.

Thank you that we are creatures

who feel for each other and with each other.

Give us wisdom in this give and take,

    to give our best with kindness,

    to take what’s given graciously.

Preserve us from dangers of intimacy,

    from giving ourselves too hastily,

    from taking without reverence.

In the flesh and blood of our relationships

    may integrity and fidelity kiss.

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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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