Street Psalms Prayer of Vocation

 

The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. (Is. 50:4)

Centering Prayer

Gracious God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of Life, have mercy on us. Reveal yourself in all things, to all things, and through all things. Grant us the gift of becoming a community of the Incarnation – mystery of Word made flesh, filled with Christ-like desire, that we might see and celebrate you at work in the world, especially in hard places. Give us the tongue of a teacher to sustain the weary with a word, and mobilize leaders from all walks of life to love their city and seek its peace with the Gospel of Jesus.

Prophetic Vision

Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The crooked shall be made straight and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

Invocation of the Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit. Show us the way of the Lord that we might see your salvation. Quiet our troubled souls and teach us how to pray. Be our guide, our counselor, our advocate, and our defender.

Renewal of Baptism

Lord of Life, baptize us again in the sea of your love where we release our useless fears and relax into your mercy. Inside this new love we die to all that is false. By your power made perfect in weakness, awaken us to the mystery of life. Speak to us again the truth of our deepest identity hidden in you: “You are my child whom I love, with you I am well pleased.”

Call to Creation

YHWH, in the beginning you formed us from the dust of the ground and breathed into us the breath of life. Breathe on us, in us and through us now that we might embody our most sacred vocation – to become fully human, and be one with you and all creation.

Breathe God’s Name – YHWH.

Call to Peacemaking

Lord Jesus, make us instruments of your peace and a sign of your unity in the world that we might act, reflect and discern like you. May our wounds and the wounds of this world become wombs of new creation, bearing seeds of new life. Free us O Lord, to be midwives to the holy in all things.

Where there is blindness call forth the gift of sight.
Where there is voicelessness call forth the gift of voice.
Where there is despair call forth the gift of joy.
Where there is isolation call forth the gift of community.
Where there is fear and violence of any kind, call forth the gift of peace born of your love, and make us a community of the Incarnation who sees and celebrates you in all things, even here, even now.

Our Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who is in heaven, holy is your name. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Benediction

The Spirit of the Lord is upon us because She has anointed us to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

We pray all of this in the name of the Father who is for us, the Son who is with us, and the Spirit who unites us all in the never-ending dance of Love. Amen.

Street Psalms Prayer of Discernment

 

“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matt. 6:21)

 

Greeting

Peace be with you.

 

Centering Prayer

Gracious God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of Life, have mercy on us. Reveal yourself in all things, to all things, and through all things. Grant us the gift of becoming a community of Christ-like desire who sees and celebrates good news in hard places.

 

Invocation of the Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit. Quiet our souls. Teach us how to pray. Be our guide, our counselor, our advocate, and our defender. Speak to us again the truth of our deepest identity hidden in you: “You are my sons and daughters whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

 

Breathe God’s Name – YHWH

 

Presence

You are Immanuel—the God who is with us. There is nowhere we can flee from your presence, and nothing can separate us from your love. We accept your invitation to relax into this miracle—to notice and to welcome your presence in all things. We name your presence in places where it is particularly needed and hard to see, as well as where your presence is clearly visible…

 

Gratitude

The deepest form of gratitude we can offer is our own joy. We recognize that your presence is the substance of all that we hope for. Our deepest desire is your delight and your Yes. As we learn to trust our deepest desires, we give thanks…

 

Gift of the Spirit

We welcome you Holy Spirit, who gives us courage and compassion to see ourselves, our relationships, our world, and even our enemies as we really are. Ease the fear that blinds us, binds us to our false selves, and keeps us from the Truth that sets us free. Spirit, we receive your light in the movements of our emotions, naming these today…

 

Reflection

As those who are being renewed by your love, we freely confess to you our wounds—the deep wounds of blindness, voicelessness, despair, and isolation. We confess our misplaced desires that bind us to our wounds in deceptive and destructive ways. We recognize in experience fear or freedom, trust or fixation, false or true selves, anxious attachments or release into you as the Ground of Being. Re-create us in your desire that we might discover ourselves again in you. Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy. For ourselves and our communities we confess and acknowledge…

 

Resolve

As your beloved ones who are forgiven and free, we freely forgive those who have done harm. We eagerly loose the chains of injustice that hold your children captive. May we be midwives to the holy and seek the peace of the cities in which we serve. We gladly participate in the ongoing act of creation, expressing your lavish beauty in our daily work and play. Gracious God, we ask for one more grace: to do and to will your good pleasure. Lord have mercy. As your Spirit leads, we resolve to…

 

Our Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who is in heaven, holy is your name. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

 

Benediction

The Spirit of the Lord is upon us because She* has anointed us to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

We pray all of this in the name of the Father who is for us, the Son who is with us, and the Spirit who unites us all in the never-ending dance of Love. Amen.

Go in peace.

 

*The Benediction scripture has been paraphrased from several translations. In particular, we enjoy the freedom to imagine the Holy Spirit in feminine gender—inspired by the numerous feminine as well as masculine images of God in Scripture. In doing so, our paraphrase reflects what many English translations do not, that is, that the pronoun used for the Spirit in the early Greek texts was not masculine but neuter.

Note: This prayer has been adapted by the Street Psalms Community from the Prayer of Examen in the tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola. It may be used for individual or group prayer.

Behind the Prayer of Discernment: The Examen

 

For a number of years the Street Psalms Community has developed and shared a Prayer of Discernment as a way of shared spiritual formation that listens to the movement of the Spirit in our inner experience and our public life. This prayer is based on the Examen, which is a guide for prayer that helps us review the events of our day (or other period of time) with gratitude, reflection, and intention.

The Examen was developed by Ignatius of Loyola as part of his “Spiritual Exercises” more than 400 years ago, and has proven across many eras and cultures to be a reliable guide for the life of the soul. Ignatius was a brilliant, ambitious man of action who was forced into a time solitude and introspection as a result of a war wound. During his recovery he underwent a spiritual conversion and devoted himself to guiding others into a vibrant life with God.

The form of the Examen is highly adaptable, but typically includes five movements such as these:

  1. Presence – awareness of God in this moment
  2. Gratitude – for the events of the day
  3. Gift of the Spirit – who uses our desires and emotions to illuminate paths to freedom
  4. Reflection – on our choices, actions, and thoughts in this day
  5. Resolve – how will we act on the Spirit’s invitation and leading?

Ignatius paid keen attention to the function of desire in our hearts. He expressed fundamental trust that we were created to desire God, and can trust our deepest desires to lead us into God’s delight for our lives. While aware that our desires are often terribly misplaced and disordered on a surface level, he urged us toward awareness of the more deeply implanted desires for God stirring within. The Examen is a prayerful way of listening to these stirrings so that we may respond to the Spirit’s prompting.

The Examen invites honesty. For this reason, some portions can be uncomfortable and even painful. We can risk this level of honesty in the awareness that we are protected by God’s Spirit and held in love. In the mystery of Christ, we are invited to die to what is false and be born into what is true.

The Examen is particularly suited for reflective activists engaged in transformation in vulnerable communities, because of its congruence with asset-based approaches (e.g. asset-based community development and empowerment). This way of prayer cultivates an awareness of God’s abundance that is present in any context. For a number of years the Street Psalms Community has practiced a form of the Examen in our individual prayer times and corporate worship gatherings.

 

Lectio Divina – Personal Reading

 

Seek in READING
and you will find in MEDITATION
knock in PRAYER
and it will be opened to you in CONTEMPLATION
– St. John of the Cross, paraphrasing Luke 11:9

Lectio Divina, or “sacred reading,” is an ancient way of prayerfully receiving the Word of God. There are typically four movements:
• Lectio – reading a selected text
• Meditatio – meditating on a specific word or phrase that stands out
• Oratio – speaking to God in prayer, journaling, or sharing with others in a group
• Contemplatio – contemplation… simply “being” with God, resting in God’s embrace without words, awake to the movement of the Spirit.

These guidelines are for individual Lectio. Lectio is a way of prayerful listening, so leave space for silence throughout your time.

To begin, choose the Scripture passage you wish to pray. A few verses are better than a whole chapter. You might start with a short story from the Gospels or a portion of the Psalms. Get in a comfortable position and allow yourself to become attentive. Some people focus for a few moments on their breathing; others have a “prayer word” or “phrase” they slowly recite to become centered. When you are ready, move through the following four phases of interaction with your chosen Scripture:

Phase One – Lectio (reading)
What does the text say?
Turn to the text and read it slowly, gently, out loud. Savor the reading, feel the sensation of words in your mouth. Pay attention to gut-level responses. Does a particular word or phrase stand out? Listen for the “still, small voice” of a portion of the reading that says, “I am for you today.”

Phase Two – Meditatio (meditation)
What does the text say specifically to me at this point in my life?
Take the word or phrase into yourself. Slowly repeat it, allowing it to interact with your inner world of concerns, joys, hopes, memories, and ideas. Let your imagination engage the text. Is there an invitation here from God?

Phase Three – Oratio (prayer)
What do I say to God through the text?
Speak to God in response. Be honest with emotions and thoughts – even perhaps, any resistance you might be experiencing. Interact with God as you would with one who you know loves and accepts you. Wrestle honestly if you need to. Finally, give to God what you have encountered in your heart today.

Phase Four – Contemplatio (contemplation)
Be still, resting in God’s embrace, letting God work in your spirit.

Blessings and Benedictions

Street Psalms Benediction

The Spirit of the Lord is upon us because She has anointed us to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.*

We pray all of this in the name of the Father who is for us, the Son who is with us, and the Spirit who unites us all in the never-ending dance of Love. Amen.

Go in peace.

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

Christ be with you. Christ within you.
Christ behind you. Christ before you.
Christ beside you. Christ to win you.
Christ to comfort and restore you.
Christ beneath you. Christ above you.
Christ in quiet and in danger.
Christ in hearts of those who love you.
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
– St. Patrick

Four-Fold Benedictine Blessing

May God bless you with a restless discomfort
about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,
so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger
at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears
to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish,
so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness
to believe that you really can make a difference in this world,
so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

by Sister Ruth Marlene Fox, OSB (1985)

May You Know Yourself

May you know yourself
Beloved and blessed by the God who seeks you,
Desires you, and calls you by name.

Between the words,
Beneath the words,
Beyond the words,
May God meet you
In the places where words cannot go.

May our loving God send you forth…
In the name of the Father, in the name of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

– Jan L. Richardson, In the Sanctuary of Women (Upper Room, 2010)

Beatitudes for Friends and Family

Blessed are you who take time to listen to difficult speech, for you help us persevere until we are understood.

Blessed are you who walk with us in public places, and ignore the stares of strangers,
for we find havens of relaxation in your companionship.

Blessed are you who never bid us to “hurry up,” and more blessed are you who do not snatch our tasks from our hands to do them for us, for often we need time — rather than help.

Blessed are you who stand beside us, as we enter new and untried ventures, for the delight we feel when we surprise you
outweighs all the frustrating failures.

Blessed are you who ask for our help,
for our greatest need is to be needed.
– author unknown

Aaron’s Blessing
Numbers 6: 24- 26

The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

The Peace of the Lord Christ

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever he may send you.
May he bring you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm.
May he bring you home rejoicing at the wonders he has shown you.
May he bring you home rejoicing, once again into our doors.

Lectio Divina – Group Reading

Seek in READING
and you will find in MEDITATION
knock in PRAYER
and it will be opened to you in CONTEMPLATION
– St. John of the Cross, paraphrasing Luke 11:9

Lectio Divina, or “sacred reading,” is an ancient way of prayerfully receiving the Word of God. It may be practiced individually or in a group. There are typically four movements:

Lectio – reading a selected text
Meditatio – meditating on a specific word or phrase that stands out
Oratio – speaking to God in prayer, journaling, or sharing with others in a group
Contemplatio – contemplation… simply “being” with God, resting in God’s embrace without words, awake to the movement of the Spirit.

A Group Lectio Practice

Preparation
• Choose scripture passage (up to 10 verses or so). Print copies for each participant (optional).
• Choose 3 readers—a mix of genders if available. Let them know you will prompt them when to read aloud. Encourage them to read slowly, deliberately.
• Groups of 4-8 work best; larger groups may take longer or can be broken into smaller groups.
• Note that during any time of sharing, participants may “pass” if they do not wish to speak.

Opening
• Participants are invited to sit comfortably, back straight and limbs relaxed, settling into quiet breathing. Eyes may be closed.
• Allow 2-3 minutes of silence.

First Reading (Lectio)
• Invitation for participants: During the first reading, simply listen for an overall sense of the passage. Get in touch with the ideas; if it is a story, use your imagination to place yourself in the scene. Pay attention not only to thoughts, but also to emotions and physical sensations.
• First reader reads aloud, followed by a short period of silence.

Second Reading (Meditatio)`
• Invitation for participants: in the next reading, listen for any particular word or phrase that stands out. It may be for some particular reason or just a gut response, positive or negative. This is the Word you will taste and “chew on” for today.
• Second reader reads aloud.
• Invitation for participants: Go around the circle and say aloud your word or phrase, without comment.

Third Reading (Oratio)
• Invitation for participants: after the next reading spend several minutes quietly meditating on how your word or phrase might connect with your life today, or the life of our community. What feelings or response does it stir? Are you prompted to any change or action? Is your posture one of acceptance or resistance? Be as honest as possible with God about anything you are thinking and feeling.
• Third reader reads aloud.
• After a few minutes of silence, invite each participant to share a sentence or two, in the form of “I see, I hear, or I sense”…whatever he or she has received and responded to.

Fourth Reading (Contemplatio)
• Invitation for participants: this is a time of simply sitting in the presence of God, awake to his work and Word (Christ among us).
• Fourth reader reads aloud. (This reading is optional; may be only silence during this time.)
• Several minutes of silence.

Closing Prayer
• Each person prays for the person to the right. (optional)
• Leader closes time in prayer.

Manners of Mission

Street Psalms seeks to imitate the manners of Jesus. “The Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does in like manner” (John 5:19). These manners are our version of “please and thank you.” They might be considered virtues that when practiced over time, produce the kind of humility that is the hallmark of Gospel peacemakers. True to form, we are learning our manners most powerfully from the vulnerable themselves – they who are the face and grace of Jesus, returning us to ourselves, clothed and in our right mind (Mark 5:15).

Generosity: “Enough for all!”

A largeness of vision derived from God’s abundance – a willingness to risk big, fail often, forgive much, share much, and act freely in ways that transform our lives and the city.

Hospitality: “Room for all.”

A largeness of heart that sets welcoming and open tables for all and gives preferred seating to those at the margins – a willingness to welcome, invite, gather, network and serve others in ways that nurture ever-widening community.

Simplicity: “Limits for all.”

A largeness of soul that trusts, honors and discerns the limits and healthy boundaries of our gifts, call, roles, and responsibilities. We are free to say yes AND no to opportunities. This discipline is born out of deep trust in the boundless love of God and the Spirit’s unwavering commitment to bring all things to completion.

Vulnerability: “Risk in all”

A largeness of strength and courage that risks on the power of vulnerability. Martin Buber said, “All real life is meeting.” Such “meeting” is born of vulnerability that feels a lot like weakness. And yet vulnerability calls forth life, or as Brené Brown said, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”

Prayers for Community

Our Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who is in heaven, holy is your name. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Communion Prayer (Street Psalms)

Jesus, like the disciples who were blind to your presence until they dined with you in the Resurrection, we too are blind to your presence until you dine with us. You are the stranger among us, revealed as the loving Host of the meal of our salvation. Open our eyes, Lord, to the stranger among us. We want to see and celebrate you at work in the world—creating, sustaining, and uniting all of creation in the meal of our salvation. Amen.

A Prayer of Adoration

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father,
We worship you, we give you thanks,
We praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
You take away the sin of the world.
Have mercy on us;
You are seated at the right hand of the Father;
Receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
You alone are the Lord,
You alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,
With the Holy Spirit,
In the glory of God the Father.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
We your unworthy servants
Give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness,
To us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for creation, preservation,
And all the blessings of this life;
But above all for your immeasurable love
In the redemption of the world
By our Lord Jesus Christ;
For the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
That with a truly thankful heart we may show forth your praise,
Not only with our lips, but in our lives
By giving up ourselves to your service,
And by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
To whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
Be honor and glory throughout all ages.

A Prayer of Confession

Most merciful God,
We confess that we have sinned against you
In thought, word, and deed,
By what we have done,
And by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole hearts;
We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
Have mercy on us and forgive us,
That we may delight in your will,
And walk in your ways,
To the glory of your name.

A Prayer of Intercession

With all our hearts and with all our minds, we pray to you, O Lord:
For the peace from above,
For the loving-kindness of God,
And for the salvation of our souls.
(Add your own intercessions…)

For the peace of the world,
For the welfare of the holy Church of God,
And for the unity of all peoples.
(Add your own intercessions…)

For our nation’s leaders,
For the leaders of other nations,
And for all in authority throughout the world.
(Add your own intercessions…)

For this place, for every city and community,
and for those who live in them.
(Add your own intercessions…)

For seasonable weather,
And for an abundance of the fruits of the earth.
(Add your own intercessions…)

For the good earth which God has given
And for the wisdom and will to conserve it.
(Add your own intercessions…)

For the aged and infirm,
For the widowed and orphans,
And for the sick and the suffering.
(Add your own intercessions…)

For the poor and the oppressed,
For the unemployed and the destitute,
For prisoners and captives,
And for all who remember and care for them.
(Add your own intercessions…)

For deliverance from all danger, violence,
Oppression, and degradation.
(Add your own intercessions…)

That we may end our lives in faith and hope,
Without suffering and without reproach.
Defend us, deliver us, and in your compassion protect us,
O Lord, by your grace.

Love Ever Burning

O love ever burning and never extinguished charity
My God set me on fire.

– Saint Augustine of Hippo, North Africa

Christ Be with Me

I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me.
Christ be with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every one who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

– attributed to St. Patrick

A Morning Prayer

I bless the night that nourished my heart
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harvest from the dark
Bread for the hunger no one sees.

All that is eternal within me
Welcomes the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness that it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Waves of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.

May I have the courage today
To live the life I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

– Scott Jenkins

You Stretched out Your Arms

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you, for the honor of your name. Amen.

Ready Me

As I prepare to face this new day, I ask you Jesus to…
Ready my senses.
that I may delight in the wonder of your creation,
Ready my heart.
that I would recognize the burdens around me and offer myself, selflessly, as an agent of your compassion.
Ready my mind,
that I may fathom the wisdom that has confounded the ages, and that my imagination would be captivated by incarnation.
Ready my resolve,
that I would serve with dedication, integrity, and faithfulness.
Bless me as I take time to work today,
that I would find hidden wonder in the ordinary.
Bless me as I make time to play today,
that I would find joy in a break from the ordinary.
Make me a blessing to those I encounter,
that your people would be encouraged,
and that your enemies might be inspired to seek peace with their merciful creator. Amen

– adapted from Denver Book of Common Prayer (Urban Skye)

Magnificat

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
For he has regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from this day all generations will call me blessed;
For the mighty one has done great things to me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts; He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has exalted the holy;
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.

– From Luke 1:46-55

Evening Psalm

“On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.” (Psalm 63:6)

Evening Confession

Almighty and merciful Father, we have erred and strayed from Thy ways like lost sheep, we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts, we have offended against thy holy laws, we have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to have done. But thou, O Lord, have mercy on us, spare thou those who confess their faults, restore thou those who are penitent, according to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord; and grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake, that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, to the glory of thy holy name. Amen.

Prayer for Rest

Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers, creator of the changes of day and night, giving rest to the weary, renewing the strength of those who are spent, bestowing upon us occasions of song in the evening. As you have protected us in the day that is past, so be with us in the coming night; keep us from every sin, every evil, and every fear; for you are our light and salvation, and the strength of our life. To you be glory for endless ages.

Almighty, everlasting God, let our prayers in your sight be as incense, the lifting up of our hands as the evening sacrifice. Give us grace to behold you, present in your Word and Sacraments, and to recognize you in the lives of those around us. Stir up in us the flame of that love which burned in the heart of your Son as he bore his passion, and let it burn in us to eternal life and to the end of the ages. Amen.

Prayer for Anointing

A reading from the Letter of James (5:14-15) may be read:

“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call for the elders in the church, and let the elders pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise them up. And if they have committed sins, they will be forgiven.”

Oil is placed on the forehead with the right thumb, tracing the sign of the cross. A moment of silence is observed.

“May the anointing of God… Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bring you healing and wholeness of life, now and forever. Amen.

The Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

For the Unseen Road

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

– Thomas Merton

O Wind

I Want to Love (A Prayer from 1 Corinthians 13:1-8)

Oh God, Christ my Brother,
Help us love the people around us more than the sound of our own voice.
Help me feel the love more than trying to be entertaining.
Oh God, so much of me gets caught up in trying to know everything, especially the really powerful stuff. I confess that so much of the time I’d rather move mountains then simply loving those around me.
Oh God, Christ my Brother,
I get so caught up in wanting people to see my great sacrifices that I forget to care for whoever they really are.
Oh God, help me to be patient as you are.
Help me to be genuinely kind.
Help me to bag this envious, possessive part of me.
Help me to quit looking for feedback that would justify my own feelings of grandiosity.
Oh God, I often enjoy being rude to others; help me quit that. And what’s with this “one-up-manship” that tickles me so much?
My temper gets out of hand so quickly Lord; convict me of the grudges I hold: Help me let them go.
Why do I take such pleasure in rehearsing other’s shortcomings? I really want to feel your joy when others have cool breakthroughs.
Oh God, Christ my Brother,
I want to grow into a love that is massively enduring.
I want to find those roots that will inspire fresh trust.
I want the perspective that is filled with unfading hope.
I want confidence in your love that will surely outlast anything.
I want to love without failing.
– John Hicks, Network Ministries
An African Canticle
All you big things, bless the Lord.
Mount Kilimanjaro and Lake Victoria,
The Rift Valley and the Serengeti Plain,
Fat baobabs and shady mango trees,
All eucalyptus and tamarind trees,
Bless the Lord.
Praise and extol Him for ever and ever.

All you tiny things, bless the Lord.
Busy black ants and hopping fleas,
Wriggling tadpoles and mosquito larvae,
Flying locusts and water drops,
Pollen dust and tsetse flies,
Millet seeds and dried dagaa,
Bless the Lord.
Praise and extol Him for ever and ever.

– Traditional African

Today Is God

In the beginning was God,
Today is God,
Tomorrow will be God.
Who can make an image of God?
He has no body.
He is the word which comes out of your mouth.
That word! It is no more,
It is past, and still it lives!
So is God.

– Pygmy

A Latin American Prayer of Confession and Repentance

Loving, Creator God, so many of your children, all created in your image, have been beaten down by poverty, living at the margins of an egotistic, individualistic, and insensitive society that cannot hear their cries. As we suffer before each gesture of indifference and hatred that affects our brothers and sisters, we confess that we have not done much to change their situation, despite the hands extended before us, asking for help. Our feet have run away from those who are in pain. Our mouths are shut in silence before those who perpetrate death. Our minds and hearts are closed down, turning us into co-participants in the oppression of your children. Lord, forgive us if we have lived merely for the satisfaction of our own desires and the fulfillment of our consumerist dreams.

God of peace and justice, use our hands, feet, voices and minds to help transform this painful reality and bring your Kingdom closer to each person victimized by the greed for profit which dominates the hearts of those who have let themselves be imprisoned by the appeal of this world. We want to be messengers of the liberation that your son, Jesus of Nazareth, came to bring to all oppressed peoples. With put our bodies at your service to proclaim your grace, which reveals love, justice, and peace as the concretization of your dreams, made viable through each one of us.

Jesus, help us to understand your compassion and give us the capacity “to suffer with” those who suffer. May your grace enable us to see you in those who are poor and oppressed. May our encounters with them transform both our attitude toward life and the conditions in which they live. Through the power of your Spirit, may we have the courage to stand always on the side of your peace and your justice.

– By Raimundo C. Barreto Jr, BWA, and Waldir Martins Barbosa, pastor at Igreja Batista Esperança, in Salvador-BA, Brazil.