Responsive prayers by Christine Hemp, appropriate for use on any Sunday near the end of the Green Season.
Good morning, dear Creator. It’s November. Night comes upon us quickly now, and the Southerlies swirl the leaves of last summer around the corners of our houses. Your Word today, however, is ripe with new creation hidden in the midst of chaos. Yet again, paradox lies at the heart of our relationship with you. May we hold it close.
Blow us toward you, O Creator, for our only true safety is in your hands, in the folds of your skirts.
Today we offer thanks for all those prayers you have answered. So often we forget that when good stuff happens — healing, unexpected cash flow, the return of a lost friend or animal, the birthing of a new creation of our own — we rush on to the next supplication, ignoring your bounty. We now offer our silent or spoken gratitude for all the blessed things which have come to pass for us and for the world.
Together we acknowledge that our prayers never fall upon closed ears.
Urge us, Lord, to live not in wanting, but in gratitude — no matter what.
Let us pray for all who preside over every holy house on earth. Help them to remember that you are the true Leader, and that the work of our hands is not labor in vain. As the sound of weeping can be heard and the cries of distress echo in our ears, let us be utterly aware that all suffering is our suffering and, by praying to you, we can play a part in easing what ails your world.
Cheer us on, Father. Unclench our hands to carry the suffering of others.
May the leaders of all nations feel the same. Imbue them with an understanding that power is easily corrupted, and help them to see that we all tremble from fears, we all hope to make it safely home, and we all ache for the peace that comes from making home wherever we are, just as Jesus did.
Startle us, Mother of All, into knowing we are part of a larger family, holding hands, our hearts beating in time.
Since our family stretches wide, let us remember silently or aloud, all those who are in acute pain, emotional distress, or spiritual crisis.
May we take to heart Jesus’s admonition: “Do not be terrified…I will give you words and a wisdom…” Instead of instilling fear in us, let the Gospel’s predictions remind us that your urgent message exists in any time, any place, in all of our lives.
Hush our worries, Lord. Bring us calm.
We also pray both silently and aloud for all who have died and join you now in endless Presence.
We remember those who have left us, knowing we will see their shining faces again.
Smile upon us and those we have waved goodbye to, for Time is but an apparition.
We pray for all the creatures and marvelous things you have made. The whales in the ocean, the fuzzy winter coats of horses, the ecstatic greetings of our dogs, the mountains laden with early snow, and the beauty of the crow’s wing against the sky. With trumpets and the sound of the horn, let the sea make its noise and the rivers clap their hands, for all your creation is rife with pulsing life.
Cajole us into seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, and feeling more deeply. You gave us bodies for a reason: Let us praise them!
On a more practical level, Lord, help us to look into the mirror. Help us notice if we are behaving like busybodies, poking our noses where we are not needed and ignoring the tasks that will deepen our love for you. Let us ponder what it means to give — on all levels —emotionally, financially, and spiritually. Let us know where we are needed and get us there to do it.
Guide us toward a clean reflection, gritty truth, and unbridled joy.
Finally, Oh Creator, we thank you for the words of wisdom you have given us, the confidence that not a hair of our head will perish, that our endurance will accompany us to the grocery store, to the dry cleaners, to the bed of a sick friend, to the food bank, and the dump. Wherever we are, you are, too.
Be with us, O Creator and let our supplications also be our faith.
In your Name which embodies all we need, all we love, and all we could ever ask for,
These responsive prayers by Christine Hemp were first used on November 17, 2013 (Proper 28, Year C) at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Port Townsend, Washington. You can see the readings for the day on The Lectionary Page.