Sermon: Prosper the Work of our Hands–Dealing with Doubt – Mark 9:14-29, Psalm 90

Right after this high point, both literally and figuratively in Jesus’ life, he comes down the mountain straight into this unholy mess that we read about in today’s gospel story. He descends into an argument. The scribes are arguing with the disciples; there is a man whose son has a demon, and the disciples have not been able to heal him. Jesus descends into the reality that his disciples are stumped, they seem to be ignoring the hurting person and instead are involved in arguing with the scribes. What was it like for Jesus to come straight off the mountain and into this messy scene?

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Labour of Love Congregational Prayer

Labouring God, the sea and sky are your work,
every hill and plain, every valley and cliff
fashioned by your hands.
Towering trees and creeping plants,
blossoms, sweet and rare or common as dandelions,
all created by you.
The creatures are your opus,
every fin, paw, wing and hand,
all that runs, swims, soars and wriggles,…

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Prayer for Those Who Labour

God bless the bent over people,
the ones who are stooping.
God bless the arms stretched out people,
the ones who are reaching.
God bless the heavily laden people,
the ones who are carrying.
God bless the on-the-move people,
the ones who are walking.

Around the world, people of every
size and shape and age, labour for a living….

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Labour Day Congregational Prayer

On this Sabbath day of rest, dear God, we turn to you,
with thanks for the work that you give us to do.
We work by night, by day,
inside and in the great outdoors,
we work in coveralls or suits or casual clothes,
we work sitting, standing, travelling by car,
we work with tools or books or instruments in our hands,
we work silently, with words, or with technology.
Whatever our work, it’s shape or size,  we do it for you.
Thank you for employment, for salaries and paycheques,
for the chance to labour and do our best.
Thank you for the chance to retire from paid work….

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Fruit of our Labour Offering Prayer

We work for you, God, in whatever we do.
Paid labour, volunteer work, our home life–
all our time we spend for you.
Thank you for jobs which provide us with an income
or pensions that support us.
We share the fruit of our labour with you,
knowing that you are the Great Provider.
Use these offerings in your kingdom work,
as you provide good news, healing and hope to all people.  Amen.

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Labour Day Call to Worship

Psalm 90.17:  Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us,
   and prosper for us the work of our hands– O prosper the work of our hands!

Our God, in the glory of late summer
we come to worship
revelling in the beauty of your handiwork.
Give us insight this morning
into how the work of our hands
is part of the work of your hands.
We join with you in lifting the heavyhearted,
comforting the sorrowful,
and calming the anxious.
Fill us with the joy of service this morning.
We pray all these things in the name of Jesus Amen.

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A Working Prayer

God our Creator, thank you for giving us life and breath and work.

You expect us to do what we can with what we have,

to work with peace and patience,

to balance busyness with rest, work with Sabbath.

Give us healthy bodies, and the nourishment we need.

Help us to do our jobs without complaint,

with all our strength and might.

You see what we do, even when no one else is watching.

Every day, in every task, give us wisdom to remember who we are,

your children, your workers.

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A Prayer of Blessing for Labour Day

Bless the work of our hands, O God.
Bless the hands that work the land;
hands that move earth, plant seeds and harvest,
hands with callouses and dirty fingernails, strong hands. 

Bless the hands that use machines;

hands that drive cars, trucks and forklifts,

hands on computer keyboards, capable hands.

Bless the hands that make things;

hands that manufacture and create,

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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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