Liturgy for Prayer for Christian U

[Adapted from materials provided by the World Council of Churches ]

Introductory Words

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this year many Christians and churches will be commemorating the anniversary of the Reformation. St. Paul reminds us that God has reconciled us through Jesus Christ and that the love of Christ compels us to be ministers of reconciliation. Let us worship and praise God together in the unity of the Holy Spirit!

Invitation to confession

In the course of history there have been many renewal movements in the Church, which is always in need of deeper conversion to her head, Jesus Christ. Sometimes these movements have led to unintended divisions. This fact contradicts what Jesus asks the Father in John 17:23: “That they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” Let us confess our sins and pray for forgiveness and healing for the wounds which have resulted from our divisions. As we name these sins we will see how they become a wall which divides us.

Prayer

Let us pray: God and Father in heaven, we come to you in Jesus’ name. We experience renewal through your Holy Spirit, and yet we still construct walls that divide us, walls which hinder community and unity. We bring before you now the stones with which we erect our walls and pray for your forgiveness and healing.

All: Amen.

(As each sin is named the corresponding stone is brought forward to build the wall. Following a moment of silence, the stone bearer makes the plea for forgiveness ans the congregation responds “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”) 

L One stone in our wall is “lack of love.”

(The stone with the key term “lack of love” is placed.)

R1 Gracious God, the love of Christ compels us to ask forgiveness for whenever we have failed to love. We humbly pray:

All Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

L One stone in our wall is “hate and contempt.”

(The stone with the key term “hate and contempt” is placed.)

R2 Gracious God, the love of Christ compels us to ask forgiveness for our hate and contempt for one another. We humbly pray:

All Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

L One stone in our wall is “false accusation.”

(The stone with the key term “false accusation” is placed.)

R3 Gracious God, the love of Christ compels us to ask forgiveness for denouncing and falsely accusing one another. We humbly pray:

All Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

L One stone in our wall is “discrimination.”

(The stone with the key term “discrimination” is placed.)

R4 Gracious God, the love of Christ compels us to ask forgiveness for all forms of prejudice and discrimination against one another. We humbly pray:

All Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

Sung response: “Lord, Have Mercy Upon Us,” #750 The New Century Hymnal

L One stone in our wall is “persecution.”

(The stone with the key term “persecution” is placed.)

R5 Gracious God, the love of Christ compels us to ask forgiveness for persecuting and torturing one another. We humbly pray:

All Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

L One stone in our wall is “broken communion.”

(The stone with the key term “broken communion is placed.)

R6 Gracious God, the love of Christ compels us to ask forgiveness for perpetuating broken communion among our churches. We humbly pray:

All Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

L One stone in our wall is “intolerance.”

(The stone with the key term “intolerance” is placed.)

R7 Gracious God, the love of Christ compels us to ask forgiveness for banishing our brothers and sisters from our common homeland in the past and for acts of religious intolerance today . We humbly pray:

All Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

L One stone in our wall is “religious wars .”

(The stone with the key term “ religious wars” is placed.)

R8 Gracious God, the love of Christ compels us to ask forgiveness for all wars that we have waged against one another in your name. We humbly pray:

All Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

Sung response: “Lord, have mercy upon us” #750 

L One stone in our wall is “division.”

(The stone with the key term “ division” is placed.)

R9 Gracious God, the love of Christ compels us to ask forgiveness for living our Christian lives divided from one another and astray from our common calling for the healing of all creation. We humbly pray:

All Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

L One stone in our wall is “abuse of power.”

(The stone with the key term “ abuse of power” is placed.)

R10 Gracious God, the love of Christ compels us to ask forgiveness for our abuse of power. We humbly pray:

All Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

L One stone in our wall is “isolation .”

(The stone with the key term “ isolation” is placed.)

R11 Gracious God, the love of Christ compels us to ask forgiveness for the times when we have isolated ourselves from our Christian sisters and brothers and from the communities in which we live. We humbly pray:

All Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

L One stone in our wall is “pride .”

(The stone with the key term “ pride” is placed.)

R12 Gracious God, the love of Christ compels us to ask forgiveness for our pride. We humbly pray:

All Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

Sung response: “Lord, have mercy upon us” #750

L1:Let us pray: Lord, our God, look upon this wall that we have built, which separates us from you and from one another. Forgive us our sins. Heal us. Help us to overcome all walls of division and make us one in you.  All: Amen.

Prayers of Intercession

L2:  Let us pray for intercession and reconciliation. Almighty God, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to reconcile the world to yourself. We praise you for those whom you sent in the power of the Spirit to preach the Gospel to all nations. We thank you that in all parts of the earth a community of love has been gathered together by their prayers and labours, and that in every place your servants call upon your name. May your Spirit awaken in every community a hunger and thirst for unity in you. Let us pray to the Lord.

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

L1: Gracious God, we pray for our churches. Fill them with all truth and peace. Where faith is corrupted, purify it; where people go astray, redirect them; where they fail to proclaim your Gospel, reform them; where they witness to what is right, strengthen them; where they are in need, provide for them; and where they are divided, reunite them. Let us pray to the Lord.

All: Lord, hear our prayer. 

L2: Creator God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus Christ, your Son. Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred that infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love. And even in our weaknesses, work to accomplish your purposes on earth, so that every people and nation may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne. Let us pray to the Lord.

All: Lord, hear our prayer. 

L1: Holy Spirit, Giver of Life, we are created to become whole in you and to share this life on earth with our brothers and sisters. Awaken in each of us your compassion and love. Give us strength and courage to work for justice in our neighborhoods, to create peace within our families, to comfort the sick and the dying, and to share all we have with those who are in need. For the transformation of every human heart, Let us pray to the Lord.

All: Lord, hear our prayer. 

Amen.

Declaration of Reconciliation

L1: We have confessed our sins and prayed for reconciliation. I declare in the name of Jesus that this wall be torn down and that we work to remove divisions and seek reconciliation in whatever we do.

Volunteers will take the stones from the communion table and lay on the floor in the shape of a cross while we sing Hymn # 575 “O For a World”

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One response to “Liturgy for Prayer for Christian U

  1. Pingback: Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us | Micah6

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