Families Living in Peace Prayer

Loving God, thank you for our families.
Thank you for the people who light up our lives,
whose tender presence is dear beyond all words,
people who have enriched our lives beyond all measure.
Give us love for our families,
accepting them as they are,
encouraging them to be all they can be,
appreciating them as we want to be appreciated.
You know our relationships inside out,
you know that we have people in our family we love,
but there are also people in our family we only tolerate,
and people in our family we can hardly stand.
Give us patience with our families this week.

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A Prayer for Family Holiday Gatherings

esus, you grew up in a family
that did not always understand,
who questioned you and no doubt squabbled;
hear our prayer for family gatherings this year.
Thank you for families that get along,
showing unconditional love and support:
families that are flexible and adaptive,
that can stand any storm.
Bless all who are travelling to gatherings
that they can’t wait to get to.
And then there are other families,
where tension, suspicion and judgement
vie for power with love and acceptance.
Sentences begin with “You always…”

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A Confessional Prayer

Gracious God,
we confess before you our complicity in the sins of this world,
sins which Jesus felt in his own body and soul.
Our hands are not clean.
We confess that we have desired power and status,
and have neglected our duty as your servants.
We have allowed ourselves to become preoccupied
with things we own or want to own,
freely putting on the chains of consumerism.
Open our eyes to the way our lifestyles
affect and shape the suffering of those here and far away.

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Knit Together or Frayed: A Poem about Relatives

Close can be comfortable
and close can be uncomfortable.
Knit together in our mother’s wombs,
we emerge and…
the fabric of the family holds us tight.
Loved and cherished from a young age,
we feel close-knit and strongly supported.
Or the opposite.
Abused, neglected or abandoned in childhood,
we can feel frayed at the edges,
unravelled at key points,
at loose ends in the world. 

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Faithful and True: A Mother’s Day Prayer

God of grace, thank you for the gift of motherhood:
for the joy of giving birth, for the delight of loving a child,
for the unfolding of a relationship over time.
From mothers cradling babies, to adults caregiving for aging parents,
the relationship of mother and child is a gift from you!
Thank you for all who mother us,
biological or adoptive mothers, caregivers, relatives and friends;
women who have been there for us, who have made us who we are.
Thank you, God, that even though mothers may fail us, you never fail us
and that you mother us through your love….

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The Fights of our Lives

God, we invite you into the fights of our lives;               
fights with the ones we love the most,
our brothers and sisters, our partners and parents, our children.
Despite all our promises and hopes to honour and cherish,
we drop the ball and all hell breaks loose.
Words explode like grenades on the home front.
“You never,” “You should,” “You always.”
“I’m sick and tired of,” “Not this again,” “That’s it.”
Anger spews out of us,
fear and rage rumble inside.
We know how this plays out,

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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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Prickly Prayer

God, I have entered the irritation zone.

In the irritation zone,

conversations always rub me the wrong way,

nothing is where I left it,

everyone is being inconsiderate to me

and it is all taking too much time.


In the irritation zone,

my skin feels like its crawling,

my stomach is a tight ball,…

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From the Brokenhearted

Such a good idea, the family.

Generations supporting each other,

the network of love binding us together,

stronger than any genetic tie.

How can such a good idea fall so flat?

Here’s the damage:

broken trust

broken vows

broken feelings

broken futures.

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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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