No Taking Sides Prayer

God of our side, and God of our enemies’ side,
hear our prayer:
we need your help here on planet earth.
With heavy hearts we confess
the brokenness on our beautiful blue planet.
Hear the sound of gunfire,
see the bomb craters,
taste the bitterness of people hating people,
smell the fear that permeates our lives,
touch the hearts of the wounded.

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Sermon: The Constant Gardener–Confronting our own Sin – Hosea 10:12-13, Galatians 6:7-10, Matthew 7:15-20

This is where the image of God as a Constant Gardener comes in. God knows every stupid thing we’ve planted. God knows what kind of fruit we are eating, and the effect it is having on us. Unfortunately there is no such thing as spiritual Roundup, that blasts everything evil out of our lives, that withers the sin in us instantly. No magic answers. Jesus is a Saviour with his hands in the dirt, our dirt. God is willing to be a Constant Gardener, helping us with the digging, the rooting around, the ripping out, the discarding.

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Confession: Terrains of Sinfulness

God our Hope, be our guide in all the terrains of sinfulness.
When sin is glittering, and we have eyes for nothing else
and are oblivious to consequences;
be with us then.
When sin is disguised, and we do wrong things thinking they are right
because we are entirely misguided;
be with us then.
When sin is justified, and we know something is wrong
but we find a million reasons why we can do it;
be with us then.
When sin is a category we reject, and we follow our own way

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A Prayer for Muddlers

Hear our prayer for muddlers everywhere.
People with good intentions doing the wrong thing, diligently.
Seekers heading in the wrong direction, energetically.
Helpers choosing the wrong methods, heartily.
Do-gooders rushing in to make a difference,
not realizing that the difference they are making
is not in a positive direction.
It’s so easy to see this in others;
give us insight into our own missteps,
our own misguided blunderings.
We aren’t setting out to do harm,
and we truly want to help,
help our unhelpfulness.
Give us ears to hear the voices of victims,

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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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Good Friday Darkness Call to Worship

God of grace,
we have dragged ourselves to church with heavy hearts.
We are reluctant to hear this story of Jesus’ suffering,
and his death on the cross.
We would rather skip this somber day and go straight to Easter.
We long for happy hymns that speak of your victory over death.
But that is not for today.
Help us, today, to stay with Jesus,
to watch as he is handed over and condemned,
to not turn away as he is tortured and killed.
He will love us to the end.
On this day where the sins of the world are gathered,
and the sorrow of a Saviour breaks our hearts,

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Social Fabric Prayer

The transgender man beaten,
and the woman harassed on the bus.
The disabled student not accommodated,
and the bomb threat at the Jewish child-care centre.
Racial profiling at the border
and another refugee told to go home.
A million tiny teeth ripping at the webs that connect us,
fissures fracturing the social fabric.
Reading the news my heart feels tattered,
and all that’s good seems lost
and left behind.

Can we defend, say, “Not here!” to hatred,
hold firm to every last strand of civility?

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A Prayer for Times like These

or a world where lies are accepted at face value;
hear our prayer, God of truth.
For a world where racism in high places is tolerated;
hear our prayer, God of the oppressed.
For a world where people with disabilities are mocked;
hear our prayer, God of the disadvantaged.
For a world where the rich hold the reins of power;
hear our prayer, God of the poor.
For a world where men violate women with impunity;
hear our prayer, God of the downtrodden.
For a world where the earth is ignored and neglected;
hear our prayer, God of the voiceless.
For a world where nations interfere in enemies’ elections;
hear our prayer, God of the disenfranchised….

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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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