Advent Peace Prayer for Marriages

Mary and Joseph were making an uneasy journey in advent.
Hugely pregnant, and with bills to pay,
they were barely through a conflict that nearly divided them.
God of grace, hear our advent prayer
for people whose marriages are in trouble.
Thank you for romantic love, and the rush of desire:
help couples who feel empty when that fades or disappears,
show them that love is deeper than romance.
Thank you for harmony and partnership:
help couples that have lost their way,
who wallow in conflict rather than pulling through to the other side.
Thank you for lovers who honour and delight:

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Watching Divorce Happen

What God has joined together now lies in pieces.
What began with delight and tenderness,
reeks now with bitterness and festering pain.
What began with soft words of love,
grates now with harsh words of blaming.
Jesus, we look for you
as we stand near this relationship’s slow crucifixion.
Each says to the other, “Why have you forsaken me?”
As we stand on this barren Golgotha
we are desperate to repair this relationship,
which is not in our power to fix.
We urgently want to end this bleeding,

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Leaving Marriage: A Survivor’s Prayer

For richer, for poorer, for better, for worse.
I made these vows, God, before you and witnesses.
You know I meant them.
But how worse is worse?
What does faithfulness mean when he hurls his dinner at the wall?
What does honour mean when he throws me to the ground by my hair?
What does love mean when sex is always about what he wants?
You know I’m not perfect.
My words, my thoughts, my actions have been far from loving.
But this situation is impossible.
I lie down in fear, and I wake in fear….

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Golden: An Anniversary Poem

The gold band stays the same,
a bit warped maybe,
the edges worn down,
some scratches.
Still hugging my ring finger
since the day
you put it there
round about an age ago.
Like your love,
still surrounding me
these many years,
still holding me
still cherishing me
still honouring me.

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Crossroads Congregational Prayer

We come to prayer this morning
at the crossroads of summer and winter.
Summer still shines, asters blooming with yellow and orange vividness,
warm days calling us to walk outside and enjoy the sun,
fresh fruit and vegetables still fill our tables and delight our tastebuds.
And yet, the nights grow cold, we see our breath in the morning,
yellow and red creep into the leaves of the trees,
the days get shorter, the earth tilts
and there’s no stopping the coming of winter….

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Anniversary Prayer

God of love, thank you for marriage

and the way love’s face

changes with time.

Thank you for love’s beginning;

the tidal pull that draws together

as sure as sea and shore,

the beauty of that meeting,

its strength and intense fragility,

sweet as an apple blossom

pale in the moonlight….


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Wedding Blessing

So much in love

this happy couple can’t stop smiling,

their eyes drawn into each other’s joy.

The pictures will capture this moment

but only you can capture this spirit

embedding it in the long-term memory

hardwiring it as the default setting

making it a part of their life’s blood.

Grant them love that is long in forgiveness

and wide in laughter.

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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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