Litany for Opening Up to God

This prayer is taken from this week's Lectionary selections (Proper 24, Year A): Exodus 33, Isaiah 45 and Matthew 22.


God, your goodness is always parading past us.
We have only to look out for it. (1)
You are always being gracious to us.
We have only to realize it.
You are always being merciful to us.
We have only to internalize it.

You cover us with your hands and show us your glory - as much as we can handle,
If we only attune ourselves to you.

We don’t direct the flow of your grace and mercy.
You do.
We don’t decide who gets what.
You do.
You show no deference to anyone
You do not regard people with partiality.  (2)

Though we don’t know you,
You call us by name. (3)
Though we don’t know you,
There’s no one else but you. (4)

We set our minds toward knowing you.
We open the spaces of our hearts to you.
We set our bodies in stillness, that we might hear from you.
We open our spirits to meeting with you.

You are always gracious to appear,
Surprising us with your beauty.

Amen

1) Exodus 33:19
2) Matthew 22:16
3) Isaiah 45:4
4) Isaiah 45:5

 

Litany for Las Vegas

I was awake at 4 am, reading the grim news from Las Vegas. Grabbed my phone to check the time, and there was the headline. Why did I wake up? Did some part of me know that the worst mass shooting in US History had just occurred? I don't know, but I know we're all connected and when one part hurts the other parts feel it. If you want to keep praying, you can pray Litany for a Terrorized CityLitany for Gun Violence , and Litany for Grief also.


God, we are at a loss.
The violence that has happened
And continues to happen
Does not compute.

How many of our citizens must die
Before things change?
How many of our children must we lose
Before justice is done?
How many lives and bodies must be broken
Before we are saved from ourselves?

We know that sometimes your justice
Looks like letting us reap what we sow.
We know that sometimes your love
Looks like allowing us to make choices.
We know that sometimes your wisdom,
Looks like giving us dominion.

We made a mess
With weapons and war
With grudges and judgment
With violence and bad choices

We give dominion back to you
Asking for your mercy.
We give our hearts and souls back to you
Asking for your help.
We give our mess back to you,
Asking you to save us.

Forgive us, Oh God,
And care for those we've lost.

Amen


 

Prayers for Puerto Rico, The Virgin Islands, Mexico and India

Here are some prayers to pray in your groups or congregations for the people in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Mexico whose lives have been dramatically affected by hurricanes and earthquakes, and those in India where 1200 people have died from major flooding. Please pray aloud together in your congregations. I believe the act of praying aloud together breeds compassion and action in our communities.
 

LITANY FOR NATURAL DISASTER 2 (originally published as Litany for Haiti)
*substitute location name as needed

God, author of Creation
Giver of Life:
We call upon your mercy and compassion now.
We pray for the people of *Puerto Rico*.

We pray for the hearts of the world
To be moved with compassion
We pray for the feet and hands of the world, ourselves included,
To be moved to help.

Where there has been devastation,
Bring renewal.
Where there is suffering,
Bring comfort
Where there is need
Bring provision.

The world has great need of the mercy of God
As demonstrated by Christ,
As demonstrated by the global Church
As demonstrated by individuals.
May your spirit alight on that place as never before,
Bringing life where death has reigned.

We pray for *Puerto Rico*
For your kingdom come
Your will be done,
In *Puerto Rico* as it is in heaven.

Amen

 

MORE RESOURCES

Litany for Natural Disaster

Litany for Post-Disaster Trauma

FOLLOWING A NATURAL DISASTER (an Anglican prayer via)
God of Creation,
you set our lives on a planet
where both beauty and danger are found.
Hear our prayers for those who have been overcome
by disastrous [famine/flood/earthquake/fire] in [place].
Help heal the pain of those who are injured.
Strengthen with your presence
all who are numb with fear and distress.
Guide those who anxiously search or wait. Amen.

from Service Book for the Use of Ministers by the United Church of Canada,
United Church Publishing House, 1969.

LITANY IN RESPONSE TO A NATURAL DISASTER (this one is longer and more formal, but nice and thorough) by William (Chip) Stokes

 

 

Litany for Kneeling

God, here we are:
Skin-cloaked souls
Fragile and vulnerable
Wrapped up in our humanity.

We see from a human perspective,
We judge by limited input.
But you’ve always seen from Love’s vantage point,
High above our vision.

Somewhere along the way
We forgot our true home
Our citizenship in your kingdom (1)
Our first love (2)
Our debt of belonging
Our deepest allegiance...

To Christ
Who knelt to pray
Who emptied himself
Who endured torture
Who lay down in a grave
At the hands of Injustice.

Let those who kneel
Kneel reverently.
Let those who kneel
Kneel passionately.
Let those who kneel
Know to whom they bend.

Help us to see more and better.
Help us to respond to all with Love that listens.

Nations may boast of their tanks, flags, and bombs
But we boast in the name of the Lord and the Christ (3):
The Lord who opposes the proud (4),
The Lord who works justice for the oppressed (5).
We pledge allegiance to Christ and his Kingdom.
We kneel before Christ and his mercy.

Amen

1) Philippians 3:20
2) Revelations 2:4
3) Psalm 20:7, Galatians 6:14
4) 1 Peter 5:5, Proverbs 3:34
5) Psalm 103:6

Litany for Post-Disaster Trauma

In the wake of Irma, Harvey, and the devastating wildfires in the west; and in commemoration of the disaster of 9/11/01, I offer this litany.

God, we are thankful
For those who have survived,
For those who have helped and responded,
For what spaces are left to rebuild in,
For the people who embody love,
For experiences that teach us what matters.

We acknowledge that those beset by disaster have endured great trauma:
The losses and mess,
The danger and fright,
The distress to body and soul.
These are deep wounds, real wounds
That take time to recover from.

You weep, oh God, with those who weep.
You mourn with those who mourn.

Heal your people, oh God.
Rescue them from their distress,
Enfold them in your kindness,
And surround them in your care.

Make of us a strong and resilient people:
A people prone to compassion,
A people prone to good works,
A people prone to patience,
A people prone to listening,
A people healed and whole.

Let the work of rebuilding --
Lives, homes, livelihoods, communities --
Be the work of new life and imagination;
The work of Heaven-on-Earth

Amen

 

Litany for Unity

This week's Lectionary litany draws on the passages from Genesis 45, as well as Psalm 133 and Isaiah 56.

 

God, sometimes your commands are baffling! You seem to expect absurd things from us,
Things which go against our grain:
To love our enemies,
To forgive our betrayers,
To provide for our oppressors,
To eat at a table with sinners,
To support sick and poor people,
To renounce violence,
To welcome foreigners
To embrace outcasts (1).

Your paradigm is so different from ours --
Your sacrificial love. Our self-absorbed defense --
We can hardly wrap our minds around it,
And yet it is the most compelling thing we’ve ever heard.

When Joseph saw his brothers after so many years
Who had sold him into slavery and ruined his life,
He wept
And welcomed them.

How very good and pleasant it is
For kindred to live together in unity! (2)

Help us to remember in the midst of conflict and dispute:
We are one.
We are the betrayer,
And we are the betrayed.
We are the poor,
And we are the oppressor.
We are the sinner,
And we are the sinned against.
We are the weepers,
And we are the wept upon. (3)

You, God, have welcomed all to your table; every human being, your own child.
Let us dwell together in unity.

Amen

(1) Isaiah 56:8
(2) Psalm 133:1
(3) Gen 45:14, 15
 

Litany for Charlottesville, VA

So sad and burdened to hear the news coming from Charlottesville, Virginia this morning.
This litany was also published on the CBF blog.


God, we are sad to see the stark truth of demons that remain among us:
Hatred, bigotry, racism, and white supremacy.
We are sad to see flagrant parades of violence in our streets,
Flaunting prejudice and intolerance.
We mourn with our sisters and brothers who are harmed in body and soul
By these exhibitions.
Indeed, we are all harmed:
They are us and we are them.

We say No:
This can go no further.
We reproach these misguided souls
Resolutely and lovingly.

Help us not to bury our heads
Or resist the lesson before us:
Of the truth of the darkness that exists in our midst
Growing like weeds among wheat.

Help us to stamp out hate
By love and love alone.
Help us to preach peace on loudspeakers and pedestals,
But also in quiet relationships;
In art and poetry,
In song and dance,
In bread and wine,
In words written and spoken,
In pulpits and in alleys,
In boardrooms and porches.

Sneaky peace.
Overt peace.
Backroads peace.
Front door peace.

The way of Christ is peace.
The method of Christ is love.
The means of Christ is invitation.
The ends of Christ are unity.
The way of Christ
Is the way we follow.

Amen

Litany for Solitude

As I read this week's Lectionary passages, a couple of moments jumped out into my awareness:

This:

He said, "Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. (1 Kings 19:11-12)

and this:

And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. (Matthew 14:23-25)
 

God was in the "sheer silence." And Jesus was alone before he walked on water. Take those for what you will, but I think they are pretty deep.

 

Beloved,
Oneness of All Things.
We know we must withdraw
Into silence
Into solitude
And yet we resist…

Because if no one is around then there is no one to validate us;
No one to reassure us that we are acceptable.
No one to reflect our fears back to us.
No one to ask for an opinion.
No one to distract us from our shadows.
No one but you and sheer silence (1).

It is only in solitude, which is to say, oneness with you
That we learn that we can walk on water (2).
Or heal sick people.
Or feed multitudes.
Or be raised from death.
Or bring heaven to earth.
In solitude we learn who we are.
In oneness with you we learn to be with others.

Help us to resist the pull of other things:
Responsibilities and possessions,
Noise and distractions,
Achievements and reputations,
Entertainments and addictions -
Things that lie to us, telling us they are more important.

Help us to draw ever deeper
Into the Center of All Things,
Into the Peace that Passes Understanding,(3)
Into the Love That Knows No Bounds.

Amen

 

(1) 1 Kings 19:12
(2) Matthew 14:23-25
(3) Philippians 4:7
 

Litany for Wrestling


This week's Lectionary selection includes the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel of God, and coming out with a limp.


To the Spirit of YHWH (God) we pray *
We speak from our deepest selves:

There is much to wrestle with in this life on earth:
Vocations
Human Relationships
Money
Reputations
Losses
Discernments
Not to mention, evil.

Most of us come out battered at worst, bruised at best. Certainly bearing scars.
None of us are exempt from trouble.
But there is a holiness to wrestling:
The worst is when we choose to not to engage.
From that we emerge unharmed,
But unchanged and unnamed (1).

So whatever you’ve given us to wrestle,
We will wrestle.
Help us to learn every lesson the first time, thoroughly.
Help us to go deep, without fear.
We will not let you go,
Until you’ve given us your blessing (2).

And whatever ways we must limp along after
We will know: we are better off than before.
For we have seen God face to face
And yet our lives are preserved (3).

Amen

 

1) Gen 32:28
2) Gen 32:26
3) Gen 32:30
*substitute the term of address for God that suits your community best. I like Yahweh, or YHWH. I also like Creator. But if God is most comfortable for you, use that.