Most gracious comforter,
We pray to you this day to remind us that you have called us individually and as a people as your children. That collectively we make up the body of the living church and no one is above the other, but we are equal.
Open our hearts, our minds, and our spirits to all you would have us do and remind us that when Jesus said, “do this in remembrance of me,” it was an invitation to live all ways like Him. That we should love all, as Jesus did. Remind us, that with every chance meeting, we have the opportunity to leave an impression that could be life-changing.
In these troubled times, guide us to be the agents of change you wish us to be, to lift each other up. May we open our ears to hear each other, open our eyes that we may see the beauty of each of our sibling’s souls and may our tongues only tell truth – Your truth.
In your many holy names,
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
Bob has recently been approved for ordination.
His home church is aChruch4me MCC in Rogers Park, IL, USA
“Let us pray for all the people of the world, especially those that allow love to occupy their entire heart despite the adversity they continue to face. Give omnipresent courage to the ones who work daily to restore hope and light.
God, allow your radical acceptance for all people to echo through every country. Grant each and every person the ability to feel compassion and love with the magnitude that you feel compassion and love for each of us.
Help us seek moments and positions to promote positive influence. Grant us the power to pull marginalized individuals from the margins and onto the stages and pulpits so that we may learn from their experiences. Encourage us to build communities of action-oriented love.
We ask this in all your holy names. Amen.”
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
King Of Peace MCC
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
God of Diversity, Universal One,
All our cultures and nations are created in Your image
We cry out to you in languages spoken, signed, and written,
We cry out to you in the painted image and the sound of music,
And you receive it all in love.
Grant that we may see You in everyone around us
In the languages and cultures we inhabit, and in the ones we don’t understand,
In the people we agree with, and those we disagree with or fear,
In the heart of every spirit on our glorious world.
Grant that we may learn to share You with one another
In word and deed, thought and action,
So that together we can bring about the New Realm you promised,
Where the lion lies down with the lamb
The stranger is welcomed with open arms
And the children live without fear.
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
REV. KATE HARFORD
University Chaplain and Pastoral Care Lead
Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK.
Sweet Divinity, always present in history, we come into your Presence praying for your assistance.
Breath… breath as in the beginning of times among us, Holy Ruah, bringing new vitality, renewing the joy to serve, please cheer up the leadership and communities to continue ahead.
We have a lot to thank but there is still a lot to do.
Times of definitions and new horizons are yet to come.
Give us a vision enlightened by You, so we can find paths to reach our brothers and sisters where they are, even though changes may be scary and our world struggles through thousands of conflicts —financial, warfare, racism, segregation and more…
So that fear will not defeat us, and we shall not shut down our lives to others, and we may see in our neighbor a richness and a joy that contributes to me, not that subtracts.
So that in this new encounter may we say with a wholesome faith, “Holy Spirit and us!” (Acts 15:28) and not with the arrogance of those trusting more in their lobbies than in divine action.
May the Holy Ruah grant us the gift of meeting our neighbor as he, she is, with her, his own language, culture, pains, joys, flavors, music…
Holy Divinity, we believe in you, we hope in you, and most of all, we love you… this is the only acknowledgment possible for today, amidst a divided, troubled world… we love you, we love… that is enough, when said and sustained coherently within our lives.
Until that wonderful moment of a final meeting, Dear Divinity, we shall be loving.
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
REV. GREGORIO TOBAR GUZMAN
Clergy at MCC Buenos Aires – C.A.B.A.
Philosophy and Theology Teacher, trained in Human Rights.
Isaiah 55:8-9 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
God, we live at a time where so much is happening. There are so many opinions about where politics should go, and where our hearts and minds should be focused. And we can see that so many good things have happened that have set people free in recent history, yet so much has happened where the momentum seems to be in warp speed reverse. It can be so hard to see beyond our own lenses. It is easy to get stuck in our own way. Creator God, help us see the big picture more clearly. It is not so easy for us to see all that You see, and to think in Your ways, and understand all the things that happen around us. Give us Your vision and Your ways of peace and justice, so that we can move forward with a better way of being. Help us to mend the broken fences. Help us to love the way You love. Help us to show the compassion that You have for all of us. Help us to be a bridge so that all people can see You through us.
Jesus, You tell us that what we do to the least of these we do to You. Sometimes we think the least are only the poor and overlooked. But who is poor and overlooked can differ in each of our minds. Help each one of us to look inside ourselves and consider whom we are most tempted to devalue. Who is it that we overlook or despise? Help us to pray for them and to want Your best for them.
For MCC, we want these same things. Help us to have Your thoughts, Your vision, and Your compassion. As we move forward, help us to see the future in ways that will help each one of us to see each other, and move forward with momentum together. Help us heal, as we look to bring Your healing presence to the world. Help us be Your community, as we seek to bring Your community into being in the world. Help us to be our best, so that we are closer to being Your best. We want to be a prophetic voice. Give us what we need to be that voice. Help us to love more like You so our caring and sharing with each other and the world exudes You. In Jesus name, and all Your other holy names we pray, Amen.
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
REV. DAVID ZIER
Indianpolis, Indiana, USA
Central US Eastern Network (CUSEN) Network Leader since 2013
PRAYER FOLLOWING GENERAL CONFERENCE
Today we pray for all the pastors and leaders of Metropolitan Community Churches, especially those newly elected at General Conference.
May they follow Jesus’ example of humble service. Help them to work together to see clearly the mission to which you have called MCC. Let them be examples of love in action as they maintain the life and harmony of our movement. Grant them a Spirit of bold trust, wisdom, patience, and insight.
Help us all to be thankful recipients of your many blessings, responding generously in all we do.
And, finally, remind us that we are accountable to you in all things great and small.
In all your names that we know, and all those we are yet to learn. Amen.
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
REV. RUTH JENSEN-FORBELL
MCC Emerging Ministry Team
God of many names, we awaken Wednesday to newly elected leadership in MCC. We ask for your anointing on them and on us as we move together to follow your leading to transform the world as we transform ourselves.
We pray for healing in our movement. Grant us the wisdom to understand the ways we participate in systems and structures that oppress. Give us the willingness to repent from those ways and the vulnerability to ask for forgiveness from those we have harmed.
Give us the courage to speak our truth when we have been wronged. Soften our hearts so that we may grant forgiveness to those who have harmed us. Transform our anger into passion for the work of justice.
Help us to acknowledge the good we see in others and to claim who we know in our hearts others to be.
We ask these things believing that you have called us into being and knowing there is still more work for MCC to do in the world. Amen
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
REV. ELDER MONA WEST, Ph.D.
Council of Elders
Metropolitan Community Churches
Gracious and loving God, we seek the guidance of your Holy Spirit each and every day, but especially we ask for your wisdom during the week of our General Conference. We give thanks for all of those who have worked so hard to make our General Conference a reality. We give thanks for all of those who will lead us in worship and in business. We give thanks for our hosts and the staff of the hotel where we will meet. We give thanks for our guests who will inspire us by their wisdom.
As we come from around the world to gather in Orlando FL USA we ask for travel mercies for safety. As we join with sisters and brothers face-to-face and virtually, may we learn more about your love and grace.
We especially lift our prayers for those who have stepped forward to lead us as Moderator of MCC or as a member of MCC’s Governing Board. May we attend to your Spirit as we discern the direction you would have us go. May we find ourselves at the conclusion of our conference more united in our common love for you, for one another and for those yet to find MCC. And may we return to our home churches encouraged to move into our next half-century with enthusiasm for who you are calling us to become.
In the name of Jesus and in your many holy names, we pray. Amen.
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
REV. ELDER DR. CANDACE R. SHULTIS
Council of Elders
Metropolitan Community Churches
The joy of God is your strength ~ Nehemiah 8:10
Joy comes in the morning ~ Psalm 30
As we enter this 27th General Conference of Metropolitan Community Churches, we have many things to be grateful for and celebrate.
- We give thanks for and celebrate the life and witness of The Rev. Elder Troy Perry. His founding vision continues to change our world, save and restore lives, and keep hope alive.
- We give thanks for and celebrate the courage and conviction of MCC leaders and congregants in places as far separated as Missouri and Melbourne, yet united in their service to a love that knows no bounds.
Though we continue to face many challenges in our individual contexts and as a movement of faith, help us also to continue to hold to this truth: You are with us even until the end of the world, and in all things you work for good.
Be with us and work for good as we gather in Orlando. Help us to be mindful of the voices and contexts that will be crying out from afar to those with the privilege of coming together in one place.
Joy comes in the morning, says the Psalmist ~ after the night’s work, after the willingness to engage the issues and challenges that have been our burden to carry. — May every decision rendered be born of your will for truth prevailing, for just and right relationship, for courage in working through and casting out all forms of prejudice and supremacy.
You made us, O God, we belong to you. Guide our every thought, word and deed to reflect that truth. May we find our strength and promise in celebrating your power to restore and renew.
We make this prayer, trusting in the name and the example of Jesus the Christ. +Amen
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
REV. ELDER PAT BUMGARDNER
Council of Elders
Metropolitan Community Churches
We lift up our eyes to You, God of many names,
So You can send the Holy Spirit to us, and inspire us for a new Pentecost
For the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches;
May it infuse the gifts of dedication, commitment, loyalty and sustained love,
Through the call to continue expanding the Radically Inclusive Message from the Gospel.
May we acknowledge that diversity and difference will always be enriching,
Even with our varied views and understandings we can reach unity;
And what is truly important is to continue responding,
After these first 50 years, to the vision and mission You have set for us all.
May General Conference be a time for prayer–in many languages, uniting and strengthening our faith.
In Your many names, and from different spots on Earth, we pray,
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
REV. ELDER HECTOR GUTIERREZ
Council of Elders
Metropolitan Community Churches
Prayer for General Conference
God, Creator, Origin, Adonai, Provider, Healer, Shepherd,
Jesus Christ, Yeshua, Messiah, Immanuel, Prophet, Bread of Life, Cornerstone,
Holy Spirit, Ruah, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Spirit of Wisdom, Spirit of Counsel, Spirit of Grace,
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
REV. ELDER INES-PAUL BAUMANN
Council of Elders
Metropolitan Community Churches
A Prayer for MCC
With our hands lifted up before you Eternal Creator and our spirits in celebration for the 50 years of faithfulness that you have demonstrated towards your Queer Tribe, we pray for the Universal Fellowship of the Metropolitan Community Churches.
Let the Islands sing praises to you as Puerto Rico gives thanks to the God who is greater than the storm. May La Republica Dominicana and Haiti join hands and dance to you as Cuba bella opens her doors to welcome your love and grace. From the majestic mountains of Monterey, to the musical praises of Guadalajara, through the indigenous blood of Puebla, may Lindo Mexico sing Dios es fiel. São Paulo cries glory and Rio de Janeiro dances before you! Let Brazil rise to declare seu amor é eterno. Let Argentina and Chile join in lifting your name to the nations. Latin America declares that you have been good!
We pray for our mother Africa and for our sisters and brothers in the churches of Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Renew in them strength oh God that they may sustain the hardship of persecution. Olodumare descend upon them. Ori be with them. Bring the ancestors to them, so that they may find the strength in themselves to enter the Cosmo and bring forth an African spirituality that will give liberation to your Queer People. We pray for them oh Lord.
Lift high the Philippines as they exalt your name on their lips and flow in your love. May their churches to continue to grow. We pray for Australia and New Zealand, bring life to their ministries and bless them with the love of your Son Jesus. We pray that your work will grow in South Korea. That all of Europe will join in the movement of God’s Queer tribe and that the United States and Canada continue to join with the other queer saints to declare that you have been faithful these 50 years. We pray for our founder, the Rev. Troy Perry, that you bless him with health and allow him to continue to see the fruit of his labor. We pray for the Elders of our Church, that you give them wisdom in their guidance. Bless the Metropolitan Community Churches around the world and empower us to bring the message of inclusion, liberation, and love to the entire earth. Alleluia.
In your name we pray. Amen.
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
Joy Metropolitan Community Church
Orlando, Florida, USA
Serves on the faculty of the University Of Central Florida School Of Social Work.
God of all mercy and kindness,
I call for your help amidst my struggles…
Many things can hurt, make me faint and make me will not to go on,
—I can see my brothers and sisters suffer from a loss or an illness…
—I can see many couples with difficulties in their relationships…
—I can see governments closing their eyes before the rights for everyone…
—I can see how insecurity and climate issues are the everyday bread in the news…
—I can see people losing their faith because they can’t find a reason for all this…
I acknowledge I do not have all the answers, but I want to cuddle in your arms, listen to your heartbeat and be calm.
Help me trust and be patient, in spite of my reasons not to be.
I want to listen. Help me hope in you.
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México. Has been a member of Casa de Luz MCC since 2010, where he has served as the leader of the worship ministry, Christian education, Lay Delegate and currently as the Interim Lay Pastoral Leader of this congregation.
God of life and renewal,
The rich symbolism of Resurrection isn’t just for Easter Sunday; it inspires us and gives up hope every day.
We have experienced new life, new hope, new beginnings, new joy, new determination time and again.
We have fallen but we have also gotten back up.
We have felt trapped but also have known the joy of release.
We have watched dawn break to put the night behind us.
We have seen winter give way to spring.
During this ongoing Season of Eastertide, and in every Season of life, may we know that you are lifting us up and guiding us toward the blessings we need most.
May our hearts be filled with Alleluias!
May our lives touch other lives with Resurrection Power.
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
REV. DR. DURRELL WATKINS
Senior Minister, Sunshine Cathedral
Fort Lauderdale, FL USA
May is Eastertide and the season of Resurrection continues. Therefore, I offer this prayer:
Resurrected One, celebrate with us in this season of Easter as we bear witness to the empty tomb that could not contain the resurrection power of Christ. Help us to know that, even today that same Spirit of Resurrection has the power to raise us from the places and circumstances that would try to contain us and box us in. Give us a vision that offers new life, new hope and new possibilities. Grant us a deep sense of peace as we face each day, fresh and new, knowing that in You all things are made new, even ourselves.
Living One who lives within us, bless us with the courage to claim Your passion for life, even when times are difficult. Lead us to proclaim a Risen Christ that quietens our doubt and causes us to rise again and again to say, with conviction, Christ is Risen, Christ is Risen, Indeed. Hallelujah.
And, at the end of this day, every day, let us return to the reality of our Eastertide faith. Let us live into your love that is promised through an empty tomb, leaving behind and letting go of the fears, hurts and pains that reside in the darkness, that we might step into the light of the new dawn before us.
God of Resurrection restore us again and again, that we might dream dreams, and affirm our faith in a Christ who is embodied in us, claiming us as Your very own, made in Divine likeness and with a power within to transform our world; that heaven might come on earth.
This we make real, not in the AMEN of a prayer, but in the conviction of our Easter faith.
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
REV. DR. NEIL CAZARES-THOMAS Senior Pastor Cathedral of Hope, United Church of Christ
Essence of all forms of life,
Never-ending Source of Peace,
Matrix of Love:
Your eyes saw our unformed bodies;
We are Your almond tree in bloom.
How can we not believe that You sent Christ to us?
Just as You are in the Christ and the Christ in You,
we are also in both.
What You have joined together, Divine Wonderful Uniqueness
no human decree can separate.
We ask You only to remind us
that our separation is only a dream.
We ask You to be able
to take Your hand as we return home
because we go together;
because You love us so much
that You only remind us
that we walk together,
and You expect us to bring Your light
to this world that fear has stripped
off love, life and hope.
We long to wake up from the dream
and recall that separation
never existed; nor between You and us
neither between us and ourselves
though we insist so much on crucifying ourselves.
Thank you for your redemption gifts
And for the strength you give us
to not fall
to forget, to ignore
the legions of marginalized
the condemned of the earth:
the family stigmatized and wounded by its diversity;
the swarm of migrants and refugees
demanding a piece of dignified life;
the illegitimate, the illegal ones, those imprisoned for the opprobrium;
the anonymous murdered women who do have a name that burns us;
the children of the streets, little apostles of forgiveness;
the political prisoners of unbridled power, martyrs of the crazed world;
teachers and students, peasants and workers enslaved and missing;
miners trapped in the guts of insane greed;
youths exploited and objectified without modesty;
elderly people turned invisible, unquantifiable pain.
Long and parcial list of brothers and sisters so close
Do not let us
deny them a place
on Your table
where everyone can fit
where there is also bread crumb
and sweet wines
Do not let us
feel any bit superior than all of them,
better and worthy
more educated and deserving
if we were not actually One
we should not be able
to take a place at Your table
so many are still missing
with whom to share
with whom to smile together
We might have forgotten
that we are Your offspring
that we are brothers, family, one.
But You do not neglect us
As there is no amnesia that You do not understand
neither sadness that You do not know, nor love that You may ignore
no tears that You do not value
or pain that You do not mourn.
Beyond all dreams
There You Are
Your Holiness is ours.
Son, Daughter, Spirit
All in One
Your Voice calls us to go home
joy, holiness, healing
are our humble gifts
—lilies of forgiveness.
to forget it all
You are here.
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
ENRIQUE ZENTENO LÓPEZ: Lay Pastoral Leader for the ICM Libres por Amor (Free by Love MCC –www.icmlibresporamor.com) at Puebla, México. He leads the LibreSoy (www.libresoy.mx) Community Broadcast Project, associated with Beacon of Hope Ministries from Clearwater, Florida, now also joined by the Virtual American MCC for Mexico and Latin America; he is launching the Hermanitos (hermanitos.org, lilbrothers.org) fund to support breakfast and meals for poor children living in the streets of Puebla. He serves as a volunteer translator and interpreter for MCC, and has been a member since 1982. He is a and a freelance graphic artist and communication consultant since 1974.
We give You thanks and praise, Holy Living God, for this day. We rejoice in the good news of the resurrection, and all it means for us. We are glad, for You are with us, even when we hide in fear behind closed doors. When it all seems so amazingly too-good-to-be-true, fill us with the courage we need to touch Your wounds, to put our hands in Your side, and to look into Your eyes in the faces of those who are hopeless and despairing because they do not yet know that You live in us and among us. Give us the healing, transformative words that honor and extol You. Equip, and empower us to live faithfully—going, speaking, doing according to Your guidance and Your will to heal, and redeem, and bless. Breathe on us, and fill us with Your Holy Spirit, and with the joy and power of Your resurrection. Amen.
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY REV. JANICE LEVERING, M.DIV. Retired Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker (LSCSW), certified substance abuse counselor and hospital chaplain. Currently volunteer clergy chair of Congregational Care Ministry at MCC of Topeka, Kansas, USA. Practitioner of Centering Prayer and member of “Pause for Peace” Ecumenical Centering Prayer Group in Topeka, Kansas, USA.
Thank you, Tenderness, for your laughter, those one that you make me feel inside when at times my eyes are open before the absolute wonder of life. Here the song of a bird, there the laughter of children in front two kissing passionately, in the air the rich smell of homemade food and my skin bristling with the kisses of the breeze. For a few moments I feel the divine joy, a generous and contagious joy and You are the one who calls me.
PRAYER SUBMITTED BY Rev. Elder Margarita Sánchez De León
“Now remain in my love…” John 15:9 Friend, thank you for the way you do with me, thank you because you have never really judged me. … most of the time I thought there was a lot that you were expecting from me and I tried to be perfect without time to enjoy who I really am. Today I ask you to show me the way of love, of love for myself, of unconditional love for my family, of selfless love for those I do not know well, and I ask you Friend, show me the way of love. You, who are one with our Mother, you who are who you are without more or less, help me to be, help me to love. PRAYER SUBMITTED BY Rev. Elder Margarita Sánchez De León
Today I walk through the city, oh Spirit of love. Give me the courage to feel in my skin, in my emotions those who I find on my way. Give me a compassionate look to receive the vulnerability of others, May that glance be a bridge that allows us to communicate not with words but in your silence that is the space of all possibility. I’m walking through the streets of this complex city, I’m open-hearted to listen to you in the others. PRAYER SUBMITTED BY Rev. Elder Margarita Sánchez De León
Save me O God of my insecurities, my fears, my anxieties… particularly when they become into suspiciousness, bitterness or apathy toward others. When I feel betrayed, attacked or despised; help me to embrace the abyss of vulnerability in such a way that I can better understand your desires and be truly merciful with myself and with others. PRAYER SUBMITTED BY Rev. Elder Margarita Sánchez De León Since 1998 she is an ordained minister of MCC. Margarita, has served in the denomination in different roles, currently she serves as an Elder and as Dean of the Darlene Garner Institute for Iberoamerica Leadership Formation. She lives in Mexico with her wife Frida, their children Oshadi and Siboney and their three pets.
O Creator, you bring us peace that passes understanding in the midst of chaos. You bring us strength in the midst of chaos. We ask you to shower us with double portions of peace and strength. Let us not forget that those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will rise up on eagle’s wings. And, when we are feeling low, remind us the Lord’s eye is on the sparrow—and that eye watches over us. When dangers, toils and snares come, we know you’ll make a way. As turmoil swirls in our governments around the globe, in our streets and, maybe even in our homes, we know you’ll make a way. And, we know you’ll give us joy—joy that makes us dance and sing. Sing hosanna in the highest. Shower us with joy in the midst of pain and turmoil. Shower us with joy in the midst of the mundane. Make your presence known always. We lift thanks and praise to you, O Lord, for your faithfulness. PRAYER SUBMITTED BY REV. JASON CARSON WILSON is Minister of Liberation Formation at the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, DC and also is collaborating with the Global Justice Institute. He is ordained in the United Church of Christ and working towards dual-credentialing with MCC. Justice is his passion.
Holy One, Author of Life, Creator of Shalom, yearning for connection with us even when we turn away, Messenger of Peace Harbinger of Hope Witness for Joy Pure Love. We come to you again, knowing yet often forgetting You never leave us, not so much needing to ask You for what we need but to accept the extravagance You never stop bestowing, continuously calling to us calling on us to be all You have created, are creating. Your forgiveness for our failures knows no bounds, overcoming our sometimes stingy view of human shortcomings— we pray to be more merciful to others and ourselves, to be healers more than success seekers on worldly terms, to be caring in a world desperate for tenderness, to listen more than adding to the cacophony surrounding permeating deafening us. May we know that Your Body the whole of Creation is blessed: every molecule, cell, stone, mountain creature human and not, tree and bush, river and sea wind and sun and rain lightning thunder season tide— each breath we say we take— is Your gift freely bestowed. We thank You for diversity knowing that we and each face foot hand head muscle genital leg tooth tongue corpuscle root limb leaf twig pollen petal granite pebble drop and cascading falls Jew Muslim Christian Hindu Sikh Buddhist pagan atheist agnostic is not only blessed but more bearing Your love life beauty to all for all, whom You endlessly seek to unite in living tapestry without end. Amen. Ashe. So may it be. PRAYER SUBMITTED BY REV. DR. ROBIN HAWLEY GORSLINE, 72. is a Queer theologian and poet. He serves as Writer-Theologian in Residence at MCCDC. Some of his writing can be found at, The Naked Theologian (www.TheNakedTheologian.blog), and some of his poetry at Faithful Poetics (www.FaithfulPoetics.net). He lives in Greenbelt MD with his husband of 21 years and their beloved standard poodle, Cocoa.
Way making God, miracle working Spirit, thank you for your presence when we need you most. Creative giver of life and light, steady us in times of uncertainty. Calm us in times of turbulent unrest. Be for each of us all that we need in those moments when all is stripped away and only your truth remains. Loving Companion, our hearts are, at times, hurting and broken. Remind us that our spirits can rise courageously in you. Help us to pay attention to your call to justice, compassion and love. Embolden each of us to answer with integrity, grace and wholeheartedness. Enlarge our capacity to love. Let us use each day as an opportunity to make a positive difference in each of our spheres of influence. Amen, Ashe, and so it is. PRAYER SUBMITTED BY REV. CATHY ALEXANDER is the Associate Pastor of MCC of Washington, DC. She is co-lead for the Eastern Network, serves as REVM faculty, and on the General Conference Planning Team. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, USA and enjoys talking to people and singing.
PANALANGIN PARA SA ISANG PANIBAGONG SIMULA
Mahal kong Panginoon, Ikaw ay puspos ng biyaya at habag. Salamat sa palaging pagbibigay sa akin ng panibagong-buhay bawat umaga, ng bagong pag-asa sa bagong taon na ito at isang magandang simula para sa hinaharap. Mangyaring patuloy na samahan mo ako sa bawat bagong hakbang sa aking buhay, gabayan mo ako, O Panginoon. Sa pagbukas mo ng bawat pahina sa aklat kong ito, tulungan mo ako na matuto mula sa mga nakaraang pagkakamali ko, hugasan mo ang aking mga kasalanan, O Panginoon. At habang isinusulat ko ang isang bagong kuwento sa susunod na pahina, isinusuko ko ang lahat para sa iyo, hawakan mo ang aking kamay upag makapagsimula muli sa isang malinis na talaan, O Panginoon. Salamat sa sukdulang sakripisyo na ginawa mo para sa akin, para lagi akong may isang pagkakataong magsimulang muli sa inyo. Maaari nawa na lagi akong maglingkod sa iyo sa mga bagong paglalayag na naghihintay sa akin. May ibayong pananalig at tiwala, tulungan mo akong pumailanglang na may pakpak tulad ng agila, hindi mapagod at magpanibago ng lakas ko sa tuwing ako ay lumipad patungo sa liblib na mga teritoryo ng buhay. Mahal ko kayo at nagtitiwala sa iyo Panginoon. Sa mahahalagang pangalan ni Hesus, Amen.
Prayer for a Fresh Beginning
Dear Lord, You are full of grace and compassion. Thank you for always giving me a fresh start every morning, a new hope for this New Year, and a bright start for the future. Please continue to be with me as I take each new step of my life, guide me O Lord. As you turn each page of my book, help me to learn from my past mistakes, wash my sins O Lord. And as I write a new story on a new page, I surrender all to you, hold my hand and start afresh with me with a clean slate O Lord. Thank you for the ultimate sacrifice you made for me that I always have a chance to begin again with you. May I always serve you in the new voyages that await me. With my renewed faith and confidence, help me soar with wings like eagles, not grow weary and renew my strength every time I fly towards unchartered territories of life. I love you and trust you, Lord. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen. PRAYER SUBMITTED BY ANDRE CASTILLO is a paralegal in Washington D.C. and is a graduate of the University of the Philippines with a major in Broadcast Communications. Andre’s passions include family, travel, music, and floral arts.
God of Peace, You who yearn for justice, You who became known to us through the Prince of Peace, You who work in us and others to become peace-makers. We pray to you, O God, that together we might co-create peace, deep peace, in our world, in our relationships, and in ourselves. Where there is war and conflict, bring armistice, where there is violence and interpersonal conflict, bring reconciliation, where there is self-doubt, a lack of self love, and self-confidence, bring the assurance that we are perfectly and wonderfully made in your image, in all our diversity. We seek forgiveness for the times and ways we’ve sowed seeds of conflict and exclusion; for the times we’ve seen ourselves as better than others because of our nation, our culture, our religion, race, creed, or colour. Lead us to live in respect for the diversity in which you have created us. Guide us, O God, to see our differences not as a source of conflict, but as an opportunity to celebrate the full cornucopia that is creation. Lead us into interfaith harmony that respects each other’s traditions, into becoming an inter-cultural and inter-generational church and lead us and our congregations into the work of peace, justice, and human rights. In Your many names we pray. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. JEFF ROCK was installed as the new Senior Pastor at MCC Toronto in January 2018.
Holy God, you are the creator who breathes all life into being. Even as we thank you for our lives, so we pray that you give us the eyes to see your creation as you do. As greed and the desire for power overwhelm and control many in the world, so nations and peoples are displaced, and uncountable numbers of your people, each with a name, each with a face, each with loved ones, are thrown into confusion and despair. Holy God, give us hearts to feel their pain and respond with your love. Brother Jesus, you walked the earth touching those in pain, healing those with dis-ease. We want to lift to you particularly all who are living with HIV. Today this is becoming for so many in power, and even in our churches the forgotten and hidden infection. Shine your light anew on the loneliness and isolation which HIV cause. Let your church be your hands, your heart, your feet in the world, going where others fear to go, bringing your healing touch of inclusivity. Holy Spirit, your pass through and between your people. Fill us again with your wisdom that in the infinity of time from one second to another you guide us, your people into knowing your will for those we encounter. Amen prayer submitted by REV. PAUL MOKGETHI-HEATH lives and works in Sweden. His continued ministry to migrants and people living with HIV inform his daily prayer.
God of many names, you called MCC into being. You whispered in that “still, small voice in the mind’s ear” to Reverend Troy Perry, calling forth an audacious, outrageous vision of what your will looks like, when it is done on earth. A new faith movement was born and thousands of us have been transformed because of it. Now we, your faithful people, stand in a liminal space. We cannot go back to how things were and we do not yet know what you are calling us on to be. In our Easter Saturday waiting and uncertainty, we trust in the power and hope of Jesus’s resurrection story. We pray particularly at this time for the Moderator Nominating Committee as they guide us all through the process to find our next Moderator, and for all those who will participate in it. May the Holy Spirit bless them with wisdom and grace. Amen prayer submitted by REV. ELDER CECILIA EGGLESTON Radstock, England European REVM Faculty Supporter Relationship Manager, Send a Cow – International Development Charity
Gracious God, as our father and mother, today we call upon you to guide us through the hurt so pervasive in this world. We ask this especially for our denomination, our church leaders and our local church congregations. As we discern the changes we need to make to transform ourselves and our world, we ask for your guidance and patience. Each of us must listen carefully to know the direction which you already know is right. We are your people, oh, God. Be with us and guide us to a better knowledge and understanding of your word. We may question what direction we are heading. You have given us free will and intelligence which can be used to question. But you have also given us the perseverance to accept the events that come our way, and the faith to work through them to better our lives and the lives of those around us. Who can know all the mysteries of life? Only you, God. Our reliance on you and your guidance is our commitment to you. Our faith in you is demonstrated by listening for your guidance and using your direction to the best of the abilities you have given us. Our faith in you will allow our world to fall into place as you have set for us. We thank you for all you have done for us and we praise your name out loud. Amen. prayer submitted by MICHAEL CRUZ Lay Delegate, Spirit of Hope MCC, Kansas City, Missouri Mountain and Plains Network Facilitating Team Member
Testimony and Prayer: First and foremost, l give the glory and honour back unto the most high God for God’s love for us. God has blessed us, the emerging church in (Removed for Security), Uganda, to be part of our MCC Family. My humble prayer is we continue our relationships even more years to come as we continue to preach the Gospel of Christ (Love), because so far God has put us at a level where there has been awareness to the community around us-that LGBTIQ persons are like any other human being-knowledgeable, developmental, useful and helpful. This is a credit, if not a distinction, we are carrying on our faces, all in the name of Christ Jesus. We are new creatures, with the different activities we are having each time we meet. We bless God for the partnership with MCC and ask God to strengthen the top leaders and Elders in MCC to stand strong, remembering that meeting challenges is good for one reason-it prepares us for great, great testimonies. Also remember that always the best is far in a distance; the future is very bright for us all. God has always promised us better destinies but has never told us how to reach there nor what we are to go through to reach the destiny. Let us continue standing together. Our future is brighter than we can even imagine. In Christ Jesus I pray, and we all shall say, “Amen.”
prayer submitted by
(Removed for Security)
Creator God, We know, even now, that whatever we ask of You, oh God, You will give to us. We pray that a mighty flood of prayer ascends to the heavenly realms and we, Your children, receive the bounce back of Your Glory. So we, the ministers of MCC, may continue to pray, stand up, speak up, for those who have no hope; those who have no voice, those who feel unloved, those who have fallen away from You; and especially, for all the separated, lost, abandoned, or forgotten children. God we seek Your mighty power of prayer, as we seek not only for personal transformation but the transformation of the world as well. Help us to be active participants in YOUR magnificent plan to raise humanity to a higher standard of care and loving-kindness. Thank You today and always for the gift of life, just as we are gifts from You, our Creator; may the actions of our lives be a gift back to You and Your people and not remain as unopened presents! In all that is holy we pray, and have confidence that our prayers are already answered, may it be so, Ashé, Ahó, and Amen! prayer submitted by VELMA GARCIA Deacon, shaman, worship leader, long-time member of MCC Austin, Austin, TX. Member of the UFMCC Moderator’s Nominating Committee. Graduate of the MCC L.E.A.D. program (US L.E.A.D. 2) in Chicago, in 2013, in her second year as a North American L.E.A.D. faculty member and recently appointed a North American L.E.A.D. Core Team Member.
Zechariah 8:16-17 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another, render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace, do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath; for all these are things that I hate, says the Lord. Loving God, in these days of turmoil, unrest, uncertainty, violence and hatred against the most vulnerable amongst us, help us to have the courage to follow these words. Give us the strength of character, the openness of heart and the willingness to speak out, in truth, faith and love against those who spread falsehoods, who have created hostile environments for the less fortunate amongst us and those who stir up hatred, mistrust and anger towards others. Help us find the courage to stand up and speak truth in the face of lies, to shout love in the face of hate, to show peace in the face of anger and to reach out to those others do not see, the invisible in our communities. Fill us anew with your holy spirit that we might walk in Faith, Truth and Light the path you have laid before us. Let no injustice go unchallenged by the loving voices you have bought together within this holy fellowship. May we embody the grace and love you have shown us and take it into the shadowy places of this world. Empower us to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with you. Amen prayer submitted by ANDREW RAMAGE Pastor MCC Brighton, UK
Hear our cry, Lord we pray. Our faces down, our hands are raised. You called us out, we turned away, we’ve turned away. With ship-wrecked faith, idols rise. We do what is right, in our eyes. Our children now, will pay the price. We need Your light, Lord, shine Your light. All our hearts, all our strength, with all our minds, we’re at Your fate. May Your Kin-dom come, in our hearts and lives. Let Your Church arise, let Your Church arise! If we ever needed You, Lord, it’s now. Lord it’s now. We are desperate for Your hand. We’re reachin’ out, we’re reachin’ out. We need You now . . . Revive us now . . . We need You now. – “If We Ever Needed You” by Casting Crowns Gracious God, One Who is known to us by many names, we come together as a global community of faith in prayer, seeking Your presence, Your direction and a new outpouring of Your Spirit upon all of us. As a people struggling with the day to day realities in which we live, in the church and in the world . . . we need You; As the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches . . . we need You; As Your Universal church, comprised of diverse faith expressions and spiritual communities . . . we need You. As a people of faith who still dare to believe You are still the God of hope, healing, mercy and grace . . . we need You . . . now. We need You, God, to reveal Yourself to us as Jehovah Rapha, our Healer. We hear over and over again, “hurting people, hurt people; healed people, heal people.” We’ve learned “a disease hidden cannot be healed and a dis-ease hidden cannot be healed.” Help us, Divine Healer, to be aware of the ongoing work we must do, individually and collectively, to become “wounded healers.” We need to be the church the world desperately needs today. Jehovah Rapha, be the Healer we need for such a time as this. We need You, God, to reveal Yourself to us as Jehovah Jireh, our Provider. Even with our greatest desires to trust You with all our heart and mind; the truth is, in our humanness, we default to that which we think will pave the way to greater experiences of life and living . . . many times at the expense and to the exclusion of others. As our Divine Provider, remind us God, we are here today as Metropolitan Community Churches because of one who had faith in You, trusted You, believed You, earnestly sought Your face and direction in birthing and leading this, Your church . . . and You provided. Renew and reignite in us a greater depth of faith, prayer and steadfastness, keeping our sights on You, Jehovah Jireh, our Provider. We need You, God, to reveal Yourself to us as Jehovah Shamma, our Divine Presence. We acknowledge change and transition, regardless of what we want others to believe, is difficult for all of us; although we often want to say it is someone else who “doesn’t do change well.” By Your Presence God, help us to be honest with ourselves first, before we attempt to name a “truth” for someone else. By Your Presence God, help us to discover the power and freedom that comes from living honestly, authentically and transparently. By Your Presence God, help us to always keep in mind that the work and witness we do and create today is really not for us; it is providing an example and paving the way for those who will follow after us. By Your Presence God, remind us this spiritual quest You have invited us to be a part of with You, is not about us and is not about others . . . it is all about the Divine purposes and plans You’ve created for us all. Jehovah Shamma, if we ever needed You to be our Divine Presence . . . we need You now. YHWH, Who is known to us by many names and revealed to us in many diverse ways, in these difficult and challenging times in which we find ourselves, as a people of faith . . . regardless of our faith stream, theological understanding(s) or spiritual path(s) . . . remind us again we are all created in Your Divine Image, crafted for Your perfect plan for all of Your people . . . a perfect Divine plan rooted in unconditional love, unity, harmony, respect, inclusion, care, compassion, forgiveness and reconciliation. As we press on in faith . . . Comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable . . . for we need You now; Bend, mold, reshape and remake us . . . for we need You now; Reveal Yourself to us in new and newer ways . . . for we need You now; Renew us in deeper and more deliberate ways a keen sense of Your Presence . . . revive us now, and; Speak to us in bold, clear and clarifying ways as we listen for You . . . for if we ever needed You, we need You now. From our hearts to Your ears, hear our collective prayers, Jehovah Shalom, God of Peace. For it is in Your many Divine names and in the name of Jesus, the Rabbi and Christ, we pray. May it be so. Ashe’. Namaste. Amen.
prayer submitted by REV. BRENDAN Y. BOONE Senior Pastor FirstCoast Metropolitan Community Church St. Augustine, Florida, USA
Prayer from Lindsfarne Scriptorium, Pentecost Spirit of our Living God, May Your fire revive us. Spirit of our Loving God, May Your Blessing Embrace us, Spirit of our Gentle God, May Your Mercy enfold us, Spirit of our Mighty God, May Your Wisdom inspire us. Prayer – Holy God, We Stand Before you as many peoples who know ourselves to be Your beloveds. We give You thanks and praise for the saving work of Christ and for all the faithful who came before us. Each generation is called upon to renew the call of the Gospel of Love to their world. Bless now this generation of the faithful of UFMCC as they continue to discern their call and witness to our world. Grant them the grace and consolation of the Holy Spirit Who guides and shapes us. May this community of faith know that others are holding them in prayer. We claim the fulfillment of Your blessings and will in the name of Jesus the Risen One. Amen. prayer submitted by BISHOP REG C. RICHBURG Diocese of the North Atlantic, Christ Catholic Church Visiting Clergy, Assisting the Office of the Bishop/Senior Pastor, MCCNY
Our good God, you called us to worship you in harmony and promised to dwell among us however few. Bless Metropolitan Community Churches and its leaders. Guide other denomination to understand your love for everyone and unity in diversity. Give us courage and tender hearts to find the value of inclusion. Guide the interim moderator, the elders and the pastors. Guide each congregation and it’s leadership. We thank you God for the founder of MCC, Rev.Elder Troy Perry, and for his family. Give him good health and more wisdom. May the message of inclusion spread globally, especially as we enter the next 50 years. Let your Holy spirit guide and bind us in one cord, and may peace and love dwell among us. In Christ we pray Amen. prayer submitted by ROBAI KHAYANJE Neema MCC and the Global Justice Institute Mtito Andei, Kenya
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. – Ecclesiastes 3:1
God, as the summer winds down in the Northern Hemisphere, we are grateful for what You have done in our lives throughout the past season. For those of us who used this summer to re-connect with family and friends, to travel or to relax in our own homes, help us to recognize the privilege of our experiences, and to be grateful to You for the wherewithal to do what we did. For those of us who are students resuming our formal education, help us to develop an unending thirst for knowledge that will drive us to excel in our studies, grateful to You for the learning capacity You have given to us. For those of us who are teachers, help us to return to the classroom with renewed enthusiasm, grateful to You for the gift of imparting knowledge You have given to us. For those of us who are parents or are in parent-like roles, help us to be perpetual sources of nurture and encouragement despite our own stresses and fatigue, grateful to You for the children whose lives you have entrusted with us. For those of us whose daily lives are not impacted by the school year, help us to remain motivated to make our best efforts in whatever we do, grateful to You for the abilities that you have given to us. For those of us working on Fall Programming in our respective churches, help us to discern which specific offerings would have the greatest impact on the lives of our members, grateful to You for the opportunity to contribute to the growth of congregants in concrete ways. And God, for our Sisters and Brothers in the Southern Hemisphere who will be entering spring, we ask You to provide whatever is needed for a smooth, exciting and meaningful transition. We are so grateful to You that our denomination has grown to span both hemispheres. We ask these things in Your many names, Amen. prayer submitted by CATHERINE MEADE Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, Canada Director of Music, Soulful Worship & Praise Ministry North America LEAD 10 Participant
Kind and Gentle Spirit God – be with us Let your wisdom and energy strengthen and renew us We are your people – you are our Shepard, Friend and Teacher You lead us in the path of Goodness to follow in Love’s way. We walk into uncertainty with the willingness to do good works, we are not afraid. You are with us You bless us and touch us, You feed us and companion us our cup overflows with abundance. You have prepared a place for us. We shall continue the faithful journey together. For we dwell in your heart forever. Amen. prayer submitted by SUSIE “SUZI” CHIN Interim Board Member MCC New York
Have you heard this one?* Question: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time. (Cue rim shot) But seriously, have you ever tried to eat an elephant? I don’t really mean eating an actual pachyderm, but have you ever been so overwhelmed by a problem, an evil in the world, maybe lack of mental health care or systemic racism or intractable poverty, that it seemed impossible? That it felt like you were trying to eat an elephant? In other words, have you wanted to help in a situation but find it so large and intimidating and complicated that you have no idea where to start? That’s how it feels to me in the world right now. So many things are happening all at once – in our families, in our communities, in the political sphere, in the environment – that it feels like I have a seafood fork trying to consume 13,000 pounds of problems. It’s tempting to just shake your head, to give up, to leave it to someone else. Luckily, we are not responsible for solving the problems of the world. Rather, as believers, we are pointed towards our individual places of action by discerning the call of the Spirit. The Spirit moves and, if we are paying attention, we are equipped with just the right size fork and companions with which to share the meal. We will never “fix” everything, after all, we are only human, but if we listen and make a move, we can take a sizable bite of our share. Heavenly Parent, We confess that the troubles of the world confound us even as we are complicit in their creation. We live in a time of unimaginable turmoil. We watch in horror as your beloved children are treated like criminals just for walking down the street, visiting a park or entering their own homes; when poverty and homelessness and injustice, war and murder and destruction are the reality for so many; when the very earth herself is imperiled by carelessness and greed. We feel helpless in the face of such suffering – paralyzed at the elephant – sized task. Open our eyes, God, give us our forks, show us where to bite, equip us with the stomach to do what needs to be done, each as we are called to do. Let us show your grace and mercy and justice as we endeavor to be your people in the world. Amen *With sincere apologies to vegetarians everywhere. prayer submitted by REV. S. BRAE ADAMS Provisional Pastor Open Arms Metropolitan Community Church
Beloved God, Father and Mother of all of us, We direct our many and diverse voices to you to cry out in the middle of this hectic world… Today, those who hold power only think about themselves, their interests, their security, their health, their own roof, their families… Today they “sold for money to the righteous, and to the poor for a pair of shoes, (…) today that the poor are exploited, and ruin the poor of the earth (AMOS 2 and 8) Today, the systems in which we live forget the old man, close their hearts abroad and attack the different. We pray, God, for the people who are forced to comply with norms that they do not understand or, simply, they are not called to live in that way imposed by systems that pretend to speak in your name. Forgive them God of great mercy! And listen to our prayer today! Today, as every day, grant us Your Peace. Peace to go through the persecutions of the now. Peace to live in authenticity and always speak the truth. Give us Your Peace and Love; To transform us once more, to die and resuscitate, to your will now and always. Love to face each relationship, each commitment, each responsibility … Love to conquer new and good things. Your Kingdom of Love. May your Kingdom come to us! Strengthen us, Lord, with the joy of Your victory on the Cross! Joy of Resurrection in the face of the many and diverse deaths that we see and know every day! And so, Lady of creation, we can subvert everything … And full of Peace, full of Love, full of Joy, we overcome our own hectic journey and we can sow more and more Faith, Hope and Love in our homes and communities. In each work and recreation space, in each Neighborhood, City, Province, State and Country. May each step we take, personal – community or denominational, be in light of Your Word and under the protection of Your Cross. Here we are, Holy Spirit, lift us in Your wings beyond what we know how to expect or imagine. We bless you with all the names, we praise you, and we thank you: for all you have done, what you are doing and for all that you will do. For all that you have given us, you are giving and you will give us. In the name of Jesus, your beloved son, redeemer and our friend. Amen. prayer submitted by DAVID DE JESÚS DE PASCUAL Pastor, Metropolitan Community Church of Tigre Buenos Aires, Argentina
Thread of Love, Weave your way into our days and nights inspiring us with your abundant grace, beauty, delight, wonder and wisdom. Weave a way for us to see the good within ourselves and each other. When difficulties arise, and they will, weave within us a spirit of patience and holy presence to be with each other and not at each other. Bless our going out and our coming in and may your Light which was in us before we knew it and is at work in us now be our Thread of Hope. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. JOE COBB MCC Governing Board
MCC is in a place of transition. We are in a place of questions, and for many uncertainty. Some are in need of healing and reconciliation. Others are in need of restoration and renewed joy. Some are experiencing a sense of division. Others feel united in common struggle. Some feel despair. Others feel hopeful. Some are in a space of lamentation. Others are in the midst of celebration. This is the human condition, to experience all of the best and worst parts of ourselves at the same time. And it is in the midst of all of this that we are called to make change in our world and bring about liberation for all. — Sacred Spirit of wonder, we pause in our hectic and distracting, joyful and sad, hope filled and despairing lives to assume a posture of contemplation and humility towards ourselves and each other. May we remember that we all struggle in various ways. May we remember that we all hunger for justice. May we remember that we all live on both sides of privilege and oppression. May we remember that we all came to MCC for a reason; out of hunger for healing, a sense of call, a desire for a community who reflects the divine. May we cultivate in ourselves a spirit of curiosity. May we cultivate in ourselves a spirit of generosity. May we cultivate in ourselves a spirit of collaboration. May we cultivate in ourselves a spirit of vulnerability, and forgiveness. May we remember to make the space for others that we hope is made for ourselves, and that we do you the divine as we do to the least of those among us. Amen prayer submitted by JARED VÁZQUEZ Associate Director of International Diversity and Inclusion Metropolitan Community Churches
Psalm 100: A Psalm of thanksgiving. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into God’s presence with singing. Know that the Lord is God. It is God that made us, and we are God’s; we are God’s people, and the sheep of God’s pasture. Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving, and God’s courts with praise. Give thanks to God, bless God’s name. For the Lord is good; God’s steadfast love endures forever, and God’s faithfulness to all generations. — Loving, Creator God, we come before you in awe, for you are beyond all things, above, below, all around, everywhere. You made us all in your likeness and love us beyond measure. No praise is too great for you. We are your people and we love you. You are good and faithful for all eternity. This is too great to comprehend. Unbounded love, accepting love, unconditional love for everyone. Let us know this truth deep in our hearts and let it liberate us to live as the people you have imagined. This is a truth too wonderful to understand. Let it revitalise our lives. Jesus, Our True Shepherd, we give you thanks and praise for the love that you have shown us. We thank you for showing us the way to love you, ourselves and those around us. We know love is the only way that brings us closer to you. Let our hearts be full of your love. Let us live with you. Your love is solid and lasts beyond time. We can rely on you. Spirit, Our Guide, show us the way to live, show us the way to share your love. Fill us so that we are overflowing with you. Let our hearts, minds and souls know your gentle touch, let us know the Spirit’s roar so that we can ride the wave of your love. We pray in name of the Creator, the One who is love, and the Spirit who is our guide. Amen. prayer submitted by LEWIS REAY Member of MCC Oasis and Our Tribe, Augustine United Church Edinburgh, UK
I encourage you to replace every single word in this prayer you don’t like, with a word that suits you better. Nothing should be in your way when trying to establish a connection to god. I love to use this technical phrase for praying: make a connection, turn on the radio, go online… I believe God is always on air, online, trying to reach us. But we have to turn on the radio, establish a connection, to hear him, feel her and talk to him. We often forget to turn that switch, sometimes we even forget there is a switch. Sometimes the switch is damaged or broken and needs repair. For some people the switch may be not fixable anymore during their lifetime. But that doesn’t mean god isn’t with them. I believe that even the wish to able to pray, to make that connection, to turn the switch, is a prayer in itself – a powerful one. I invite you to take 3 deep slow breaths into the nose and out through the mouth, realizing your feet on the floor and the points of contact to the chair you are sitting on, before you begin to pray. Get yourself ready to establish your connection to god: — Holy God, Creator, Motherfather, wearing all the colors of skin and gender. In times I feel anxious, depressed and desperate, help me to remember: YOU are always with me, in me, even in times I cannot feel you – residing in my inner core that can never be destroyed. Jesus Christ, Son of Man, best friend and teacher. In times I feel weak, helpless and oppressed, help me to remember: YOU are always with me, in me – Christpower, the force of empowerment, friendship and love. Holy Ruach, holy female ghost, dove of peace. Help me to switch off the news channels more often; they are celebrating and praising violence, war and destruction. They are leaving me in restlessness, they poison me with fear and anger, trying to replace the good news Jesus Christ teaches us, with the latest sensation, the latest disaster. Be with me holy Ruach, inspire me, help me to develop my courage and vital energy, to help myself and others. Amen prayer submitted by STEFAN BAUER Board Member MCC Cologne Germany
Our God who is doing a new thing, making a way out of no way, with rivers of life-giving water to flow through our desert places, bringing beauty everywhere; Our God who is doing a new thing, who created us, redeems us, calls us by name, who is with us through flood and fire so we have no reason to fear; Our God who is doing a new thing, we thank you for your Spirit, who transforms us to become more and more who you have created and called us to be. Our God who is doing a new thing, we are here to listen to you and one another and your world and discern what that might be, what and where new life is springing up, and how we might find our way there, each of us individually and all of us communally. We ask now for help to experience you in new and different ways and people and customs, even those that are uncomfortable for us. We ask now for help to ensure what we are doing is discerning spiritually together and not just deciding strategically what seems best at the moment. We ask now for help to empower us to move forward in new life with you, expressing gratitude for your goodness, and being both faithful and fruitful in wherever it is you call us. O God, lead and guide us throughout our journeys in a mighty and powerful way! Holy Spirit, grant us wisdom, discernment, and clarity of mind and purpose as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus to lead with both compassion and boldness that we may live out the mission to which you have called us. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. DR. LISA HEILIG (she/her/hers) Resource Development Specialist Office of Church and Ministry Development Metropolitan Community Churches
Most Holy and Gracious God, you created all things and called them good. You made all of humanity in your image and called that creation good. We are also told that we are awe-fully and wonderfully made. So, God, when we look at ourselves and those around us, how can we be anything but amazed at the complexity and intricacy of what we experience. We are in awe of sunrises and sunsets. We marvel at the beauty of oceans, rivers, lakes, steam’s and ponds. We wonder at the glory of trees and flowers. We are amazed at the variety of patterns in the land from skyscraping, ice covered mountains to dry and dusty deserts. Liberating God, release us, then, from the prejudices we may carry toward others who look different from us or speak a different language or worship you in a different way. May we see one another as you do, as beloved and precious, as beautiful and treasured, as unique and cherished. For when we do, when we let go of our bigotry, then, just maybe, we can see You in our neighbors and in our enemies. In the name of Jesus. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. ELDER DR. CANDACE R SHULTIS PASTOR, KING OF PEACE MCC St. Petersburg FL USA
Community means caring: caring for people. Dietrich Bonhoeffer says: “He who loves community destroys community; he who loves the brethren builds community.” A community is not an abstract ideal. We are not striving for a perfect community. Community is not an ideal; it is people. It is you and I. In community we are called to love people just as they are with their wounds and their gifts, not as we would want them to be. Community means giving them space, helping them to grow. It means also receiving from them so that we too can grow. It is giving each other freedom; it is giving each other trust; it is confirming but also challenging each other. We give dignity to each other, in a spirit of trust and of dying to oneself so that the other may live, grow and give. – Jean Vanier “From Brokenness to Community” Holy and Amazing God, make Your presence known to us today. We come to You, just as we are; saints, sinners, people who make mistakes. Help us to let go of anything that is not of You. Help us to know that our self-worth does not depend on our ability to hold on to our own lives, but our dependence on Your Strength and Power to release ourselves into Your hands as clay to be shaped and molded in community. God of Wisdom and Strength, make Your Holy Presence known to us today. Give us Your Vision for our lives, our community and our world. Clear away the fog and the weights of complacency through Jesus the Christ, so we may catch a glimpse of Your Glory in the here and now. Help us O God, to live and grow in community by Your Holy Spirit to become what You have dreamed and created us to be. We pray in your many names and in Jesus’ name. Amen prayer submitted by REV. GINA DURBIN ASSOCIATE PASTOR FOR CONGREGATIONAL CARE King of Peace MCC St. Petersburg FL USA
Most Gracious God We come before you in thankfulness and humility for all you have done for us. Let us be a beacon to the world of what love for one another can do. Lend us your strength to live as you have made us to live. Lend us your love to love as you have asked us to love. Lend us your compassion to be compassionate to our neighbors, because all people are our neighbors. Help us to be patient and remember that all things happen in your time, not ours. Help us to greet each day with a new heart and to always be thankful for your love. We ask you to open the minds and hearts of those who would persecute us for being who you have made us to be. prayer submitted by CHRIS AND DAWN SOUCY Members, King of Peace MCC Saint Petersburg FL USA
Loving and gentle God, we come to you with full confidence in your steadfast love. Have mercy on us as we speak our hearts – we who often do not know how to pray, inspire us and give us words where we need them, and silence where it speaks most eloquently. We pray for all world leaders: may they promote life, peace and justice for all peoples, and may we be quietly and Godly governed. We pray for all victims of war throughout the world and victims of violence, especially remembering the people of Syria and Yemen: grant your protection and peace. We pray for the refugee and alien: help us to look after the interests of the stranger among us. We grieve for the hardship of those who have had to flee their homes and countries in many places around the world, grant us insight and compassion. We pray for all who suffer economic hardship: bring relief in measure of your abundance. We remember those who have gone before us in the peace of Christ, may they rest in peace and rise in glory. Give comfort to all who mourn, and hope to the hopeless. We lift up all who are in need of healing, in body, mind and spirit, for the suffering we do not understand, for the despairing and the forsaken. We especially pray for those who have no one to pray for them; grant your healing, help and wholeness. We ask all these through Jesus Christ, our mediator and advocate. Amen… prayer submitted by MIKE STEEN MCC OF THE COACHELLA VALLEY California, USA
Hebrews 13:1-3 Continue in brotherly love. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were bound with them, and those who are mistreated as if you were suffering with them. Holy God of life and love, God of outcast and downtrodden, God of refugee and safe harbor, hear our plea: Sometimes it is unbearable to witness the brutality of this world. We stand paralyzed, not knowing what to do, where to begin, how to help. Yet we know doing nothing is not an option. As we sit comfortably sipping our cappuccino in our local coffee shop we try to drown out the cries of your children around this earth. In neighboring towns, even in our own communities. We try to ignore the rounding up and dismantling of families, we try to breathe through the inhalation of entire cultures of color, we so often avert our eyes and pretend that we haven’t lost our humanity and that we are not powerless to an oppressive and broken system. Yet Creator, we are not heartless people, we just feel so inadequate to handle the task at hand. You are the God who set the captives free, who parted a mighty sea, who let it rain manna from heaven, who knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb. You teach us how to love one another as we have been loved by you, which may be your biggest miracle yet. Oh God liberate us from fear which keeps us complacent and fills us with a mighty righteous indignation to take a stand against bigotry, hatred and the manifestation of pure evil in this world. Creator, we submit this to you in your many Holy Names and in the name of Jesus the Christ, may it be so. prayer submitted by REV. JENNIE M. GARCIA-KITCH Pastor, aChurch4me MCC Illinois Hospice Chaplain Chicago, Illinois, USA
Creator God, Allow us to be open for You to do what You need to do in us. Then You can work through us in all the ways You wantto. The busyness of our lives creates a “let me see if I have time for you” mentality. Help us to create time and space to identify You in the people around us and in the world around us. Let our spirits be sensitive to the needs of others. As a global movement, let our hearts be open to all the ways You might use us. May we embody You today and every day. Amen prayer submitted by COLLIS J. FLOYD 2019 General Conference Programming Team Co-Chair
Oh God, come to my assistance; Oh Lord, make haste to help me. We come before you in our varied states: Some joyous; Some grieving; Some frightened; Some calm. May we claim and know the promise of Psalm 27: The Lord is the Light and my salvation God, these are frightening times: With wars and rumors of wars– Where refugees are shunned and Racist violence is rampant– While the powerful lie and mislead. The Lord is the Light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? In times such as these our endurance fades: The news is too much The arguments are too much Daily fighting for the humanity of our fellow travelers–and our very selves–to be recognized… Is too much. In those moments may we remember The Lord is the Strength of my Life, whom shall I fear? We don’t know how the details will play out But we do know how the story ends. We do know how the story ends. God, be with us in the struggle, as you’ve promised. Be with us as we speak, Be with us as we pray, Be with us as we write, Be with us in every breath. May we sing it, claim it, and remember this day to Wait on the Lord and be of Good Courage Amen, and Amen. prayer submitted by REV. LORI MCPHERSON Member of the Governance Committee Baltimore, Maryland, USA
“In times like these we need a Savior; In times like these we need an anchor. Be very sure, be very sure Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!” Ruth Caye Jones, 1943 Gracious God, You are our anchor and our Savior. When we are being oppressed, be our Savior. When we are being killed in other countries because of our love for You, be our Savior. When we are killed just for worshipping You, be our Savior. In times like these, watch over us and comfort us. Help us to remember that Your Holy Spirit is always with us to guide us, protect us and provide wisdom and discernment. When we are alone, remind us, God, You are with us. Help us to remember our spiritual family, all over the world, who are being harassed for simply living the life You created them to live. As we live our authentic lives, protect us! May this be our prayer today and every day. Amen prayer submitted by REV. WANDA FLOYD (she, her, hers) Metropolitan Community Church Emerging Church Specialist
We are living in a fast-paced ever-changing world that favours individualism, materialism, classism, racism, ableism, and all the -isms that give power to some over others thus allowing situations of injustice and oppression. We might be victims ourselves or we might be close to others around us who are suffering from oppression. We ask: where are you God? When will your kin-dom come? In our tiredness and desolation, we might feel tempted to sit and wait for God to do all the work. It is not easy to have conversations about our culture, race, identity, feelings, perceptions, and many other issues. However, hearing these stories, even the ones we might not agree with, are opportunities for growth; Let us put our differences aside to work together and to let God work through us. Let us embrace our diversity, joining together in our common fight for social justice. It is in our struggles and our discomfort, in our pain and our hurt that we can draw on the power of our community, our commonality in our mission, and the certainty that, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we can make a difference and be the “change we want to see in the world.” Let us be God’s instruments in proclaiming to a world that needs healing the liberating gospel of God’s unconditional love for all. prayer submitted by REV. CARMEN LLANOS Pastor of Hispanic Ministries and Interfaith Dialogue at MCC Toronto
“For we are God’s masterpiece. Created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things that God has planned for us long ago.” -Ephesians 2:10. Loving God, As we come before you as individuals, and as one body in this short time of prayer help us to remember that we are your masterpiece. In the times that we feel insignificant, let us remember our value to you, that we are created in your image, and called to be your ambassadors upon this earth. In the times that you call us forward to speak out against injustice in the world, and stand for what is right: help us to remember that you planned our works for us before the foundation of the world – and that you know us intimately in all of our complexity, weakness, and strength. And in the times that we feel alone in the wilderness, instill in us your peace that transcends all understanding, that we may cry with boldness and passion “Prepare the way for our God”. In Jesus’ name, Amen. prayer submitted by LACHLAN BOEREE Crave MCC Australia
Loving God, as a people of faith, we may be standing on high mountains or in deep valleys; we need Your love and protection to bring us closer to You. In times of growth we feel Your presence ever close; yet in our valley times we many not find You so readily. You are always there God, above those dark clouds that loom upon us sometimes. Help us to meditate on the immeasurable love You have for each one of us; we feel the swell of Your love grow in our hearts. Holy one be with us, as we search for our Sabbath time; our time of pastures green and rest, of knowledge and wisdom. Let us find the sacred in the ordinary times, quietness in the noise, contentment and peace in our difficulties. Help us God, to find that still small voice within and know that you are GOD. John Rutter encapsulates it quite simply in the words of his hymn: “For the beauty of the earth; for the beauty of the skies; for the love which from our birth, over and around us lies.” How beautiful You made our earth and we are so grateful that we live with such beauty all around us God; let our grateful hearts help us to do all we can, to help preserve Your wonderful creation; we are human beings, part of your divine plan, given freely and with Your grace; we thank You for Your constant love and guidance. Amen prayer submitted by REV. JANICE BOWKER Senior Pastor God’s Acre MCC Ocala, Florida, USA
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers … Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” (excerpt from “Here’s to the Crazy Ones,” by Jack Kerouac)
Sacred Source of the Improbable, you invite us into your ridiculous and crazy upside-down realm of foolishness: foolishness that insists the last shall be first, and the first shall be last; foolishness that compels us to love our enemies and turn the other cheek; foolishness that declares us loved because of who we are, not in spite of who we are. We give thanks for your servants who have laid a foundation for us: for Troy Perry, who was crazy enough to believe that your LGBTQ+ children have a reserved place at your table of grace; for Freda Smith, who was crazy enough to call for the inclusion of women in all leadership positions; for Nancy Wilson, who was crazy enough to passionately proclaim an affirming, all-embracing queer theology. Spirit of Holy Foolishness, infuse us with your spirit of craziness. May it fall fresh on us. Use us – deeply flawed, though we may be – to your glory. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. CHARLEY GARRISON Senior Minister Central Texas MCC Waco, Texas USA
Loving God We live in times where in places like Afrin, Eastern-Ghouta, Yemen and so many other places people are forced to flee because of their religion, their ethnicity or the socio-political group they belong to – forced to flee war and oppression. In times where in places like Chechnya, Egypt, Iraq and so many other places people have to flee their home countries because of who they love or how they express their gender. Yet Loving God your stories, your commandments and your churches and other communities of faith give both refugees and the people working to support them strength in these difficult times. Indeed your commandment that “You know the heart of a stranger for you were strangers in Mitzrayim (The Land of Egypt)” is the most common commandment in your Torah. We pray for the people who have had to flee – because of their religion, because of who they love or for many other reasons. Be with them. We ask for strength for those people of faith and no faith who work in churches and many other organizations to help refugees. Be with them. We ask for inspiration for people in MCC churches around the world who work with refugees. Be with them. Amen prayer submitted by PHILIPP BRAUN MCC Cologne and currently in the European L.E.A.D. Program
Oh you who are the perfection of love, harmony and beauty Lord of Heaven and Earth Open our hearts that we hear your voice as it’s constantly speaking in us. Lest we get deaf to your admonishing words Let us look deeper into our souls and let us know that it’s you who gives sense and form to our lives Let us look further that we overcome our limited horizon which hinders us to go new ways. Let us look into ourselves, give us the strength to overcome our false ego which hinders us living truthfully, and help us to prepare the free room in our hearts for you Let us look around that we won’t think just about ourselves but also about those people living with us Open our senses for the other one’s needs Give us the power to love ourselves, for only when we accept ourselves as we are, we can go to other people and see our neighbor in them Give us the gift to go to those who hate us, exclude us, and defame us Let not hate, anger, fear and despair lead us astray Lead us ever and ever on the path of love, harmony and mutual understanding Draw us nearer to you in every moment of our lives Until in us is reflected Your grace, Your wisdom, Your beauty, Your joy, and your peace AMEN prayer submitted by MADELEINE Cologne, Germany
Holy God, Jesus welcomed everyone who came close to him. People like Zacchaeus, Prostitutes, Fishermen, The Suffering Man at the Pool, The Lepers, The Thieves, The Betrayed, Children, Women, The Sick, The Beggars. Everyone who has a broken heart. God’s gift to us is giving us God’s Son. May we follow in the way and example of Jesus the Christ. Amen.
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Dear Savior, We thank you for your life in our lives, for the sacred gift of our sexuality, for being part of a greater MCC family around the world. We honor you and praise you for resurrecting us every day, with you and within you. Give us the strength so we can be living sacraments of your love. May the rainbow, our symbol, always be a signal of your alliance with humankind. May it be our joy, our breathing, our inspiration! Give us a heart like yours, so your light may shine upon us every day. May brightness, color and fulfillment of life be seen whenever we walk by. We joyfully celebrate 50 years of our denomination, in the diversity we are, and through the voice manifesting to the world. This we ask you and give thanks, in every single name you are known and called. Amen! prayer submitted by REV. FRANCISCO FERREIRA JUNIOR Religion scientist Associate Pastor of MCC Fortaleza Ceará, Brazil
PRAYER FOR MCC O God Almighty, praise and honor are yours forever. Look upon the UFMCC with favor give good health to our founder Troy Perry, his successor Nancy and our present interim moderator, Rachelle. Guide all clergy and laity in their furtherance of inclusive Ministry. May your love embrace in all. In Jesus Christ is our prayer. AMEN PRAYER FOR THE WORLD O God of all Creation, you gave us this World to be a home for all. Look upon the many nations where strife and conflict abound. Help us to realize love for all. May the mighty and the low live in harmony. May your spirit always remind us of our duty to care for the environment and our neighbors. May we accept the call to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. Amen prayer submitted by REV. MICHAEL KIMINDU Pastor Neema MCC, Kenya
Blessed be, God dwelling at the highest heavens, just as you dwell in our lives, our smiles and tears, blessed be as you dwell in our pain and the delight of Beingness. Blessed be God, in Whom we move and exist. Teach us to perceive your presence and praise you. Teach us that this brief, short existence does not require us to be small. Help us contemplate life as the unfathomable mystery that is. In boredom and pain, no less than in emotion and in joy – the joy of touching, tasting, smelling, feeling the sacred simplicity, because we are unique, precious and with a life and grace of our own at those times. Blessed God, dwell delightfully within us. So be it. prayer submitted by REV. CRISTIANO VALÉRIO Development Coordinator of MCC in Brazil
Creator of the Universe, we ask you today to share a strong, loving communion with us. We know your name is love and freedom, and to commune with you is to share your love and freedom, as you are the origin of all the universe. We ask you today to help us be as you are, love life, love and live in freedom. Help us love as you do, without conditions, bias or constraints. We find ourselves oppressed and we need to be liberated, help us love and release all of your creations, especially human beings, because when we oppress them, we oppress ourselves, and as we do so, we deny your gift of freedom. Help us love others just as they are, without conditions, help us accept them as they are without any judgement, clean our heart today from any emotional venom, and unleash our mind from all prejudice so we can live in a true love and peace, freely with all of your creation. Today is a very special day, we open our heart to love again, to say to each other -I love you, with no fear, a true and free ‘I love you’. Today, Creator, help us be like you. Thanks for everything granted today, especially for the freedom of being what we really are. Amen. prayer submitted by ISAI LOPEZ PAULINO PASTORAL LEADER ICM Veracruz, Mexico
Lord God, as mother and father of love and infinite grace, set us before You so we can ask once more, to lead us every day to the core of Your will. We want to do Your liberating and transforming will in this world, sharing with all people in suffering, that the fruit of injustice and intolerance will not prevail. Wear our feet, anoint our hands, so we can fight the good battle and promote peace and justice, at this land tarnished with the blood of the oppressed, the excluded and the marginalized. We wish to restate once more, our commitment to build your community here and now. We thank You for everything you have done, for all You will do, and we praise and adore You in Your many names, Amen. prayer submitted by TRANS PASTOR ALEXYA LUCAS EVANGELISTA SALVADOR Sao Paulo, Brazil
DEEP CALLS TO DEEP Listen to your soul’s cry Spirit’s longing Deep calls to deep Be attentive Slow to speak You’ll find what you seek Whispers of compassion Truth that heals Divine wisdom is revealed Be still my beating heart Do not panic or be in a rush Focus on God Pause… Breathe… Trust. prayer submitted by REV. BEULAH DURRHEIM SENIOR PASTOR Good Hope MCC, Cape Town, South Africa
God, in the light of this dawning New Year, we come to You, kneeling in reverence and awe. Help us to remember this year, all year, that You are our God, and You are One. There is none like You. We are dependent on You, every day, for breath and bread, for friendship, justice and peace. In this season of Epiphany, we ask questions of meaning. What do you want from us? What does it mean to follow Jesus in these times? What have you called us to in this hour, for this year – the year that You brought into being! — that stretches before us. Like us, it is filled with hope and dread, confidence and uncertainty. We say goodbye to a year that was filled with climate catastrophes, division and violence. At the same time, miraculously, more people than ever devoted themselves to peacemaking and to human rights. Help us breathe in Your dreams for us, and help us engage faithfully with communities, structures, and institutions, including Your Church, including MCC. When we fail, forgive us, and allow us to make amends. When we succeed, let us humbly acknowledge that it was a team effort. Let us know that You are with us in every encounter, and that we can make a difference right where we are, even in small ways. Let us never succumb to apathy or despair. Anchor us, this year, in Love, and in You. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. DR. NANCY WILSON CO-PASTOR SunCoast Cathedral MCC Venice, Florida, USA
Dear God, As this year comes to a close, we give thanks and praise for the many blessings You have bestowed upon us. We are grateful for those You have put in our path to guide us so we may continue the work You have called us to do. As we look forward to the new year, we ask You to be in the center of our lives and the focus of our churches. Help us to continue to reach out to those who need You, feed those who are hungry, and fight for those who suffer injustice. And we pray we have the courage to be a voice for those who have no voice and empower those who are weary. We pray for our denomination as it moves into its 50th year. Millions of lives have been changed by MCC, and there are countless lives yet to touch. We pray for our denominational leaders as they guide us into a changing world. Bless them and give them wisdom to see our future and the direction You would have us go. And God, most of all, we thank You for Your unconditional love so that we are able to live an authentic life in honesty and truth. Amen prayer submitted by PASTOR SUSIE BRENNER BEYOND THESE WALLS MCC Punta Gorda, Florida, USA
(Finnish Language) Me olemme Jumalan kansa, me olemme Pyhä kansa, me olemme yksi. Me olemme Jumalan luomia, me olemme erilaisia, kaikki samanarvoisia. Tänä aamuna aurinko nousi ja valaisi luomakuntaasi. Tänä aamuna sinun armosi ja rakkautesi on minulle tarjolla. Auta minua, että uskaltaisin heittäytyä koko sydämestäni niiden varaan ja luottaisin siihen, että sinä kannat. Anna rohkeutta avata suuni, kun näen sortoa ja epäoikeudenmukaisuutta. Anna viisautta, että en lietsoisi vihaa vaan rakentaisin ymmärrystä ihmisten välille. Auta näkemään sinut kaikessa luomakunnassasi. Yhdistä meidät niin, että me olemme yksi. Tätä pyydämme sinun nimessäsi Jeesus Aamen We are the people of God, the Holy nation, we are one. We are created by God, we are all unique, we are all equal. This morning sun rose and brought light to this world that is your creation. This morning your love and mercy are available for me and us all. Help me to throw myself with my whole heart to be supported by them and trust that you are there for me and us. Give me the courage to open my mouth when I see oppression and injustice. Give me wisdom so that I would not incite hatred and instead would be building understanding between people. Help us see You in Your creation. Unite us in You so that we may be one. This we ask in Your name Jesus Amen prayer submitted by TARJA PYYKKÖ PASTOR OF LIVING WATER MCC Helsinki, MCC Emerging Church
Heavenly God, My heart is filled with both sadness and joy as I take this moment with my family across the globe to still my mind and center on those around me. As I contemplate refugees in detention centers in my own country, I am filled with shame, and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me. Witnessing the social imbalance between our Indigenous community and the non-indigenous community, leaves me bewildered, and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me. Hearing our local politicians hide behind their fear through cruel statements, often directed at minority groups, makes me angry and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me. Knowing that our trans-family face dangers often daily in their lives, breaks my heart, and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me. Watching our elderly become more fragile touches such a strong vulnerability within me, and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me. I struggle seeing the class systems across the world widen the divide between the ‘Haves’ and the ‘Have-Nots’, and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me. When I allow myself to reflect upon the lives of those living in other nations, I witness their toils and suffering, I am filled with sadness, and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me. Loving Parent, you understand the conflicting feelings I carry each day and Your heart is overflowing with joy and love for me. May my pain be transformed into compassion and my joy and love be transformed into action. Wonderful Maker, please watch over our leadership teams, both globally and locally, to ensure their eyes remain on God. In all they do. In all they say. And in all they want. I acknowledge those forever-famous past MCC Leaders who have guided and shaped our global-church and we send wisdom and courage to the current ones – may they have the support they need to lead us into tomorrow in accordance with Your will. In You and with Your love of us, we are able to carry Your Word and Your love out into the world. May You continue to shower us with constant reminders, so that we honor and live out Your plan, daily. Finally, God, I send eternal gratitude to You. In Your many beautiful names, I am humbled and eternally grateful for the gift of faith. Amen prayer submitted by SARAH DE ROOY LAY DELEGATE MCC Sydney, Australia
A Prayer for the People of Puerto Rico My Dear God. My Precious Creator. It is with a broken heart that I render prayers for my beautiful land of Borinquén. Isla de mis padres. Puerto Rico of my heart. The Land of my ancestors has been destroyed by the winds of wrath and the drenching rains of despair. María has descended upon them with a fury that devastated the land we know as home. For once we sat down by the rivers in the Land of the Boricua and sang “Preciosa Preciosa Te llaman los hijos y hijas de Borinquén.” But today, we pray in the great words our poet and psalmist Rafael Hernandez (translated to English): The mourning is heard everywhere Through my wretched Borinquen, yes. And sad, the peasant goes Thinking, saying, Crying like this -along the way: “What will become of Borinquen, my dear God, What will become of my children and my home?” Borinquen, the Land of Eden Which when the great Gautier sung He called “The pearl of the Seas” Now that you are dying from your sorrows Let me sing to you too Borinquen, my love”* Create in her a new land oh God and renew and right spirit in her. May her mountains once again flourish with the green pastures of your grace and may the valleys be filled with the promises of your love. Heal and restore my land of Puerto Rico and let my Boricuas rise with the love and pride that you have instilled in us. For when the Lord brought back the captive ones of Borinquén, we were like those who sang: “The Lord had done great things for us and we are glad… yes we are glad… For the Lord will do great things for us.” “Cuando el Señor trajo a los cautivos de Borinquén, éramos como aquellos que cantaron que el Señor hizo grandes cosas por nosotros… Y nos alegra que sí, estamos contentos.” Amen. *Rafael Hernández Marín, Lamento Borincano, 1929. Sony Publicación “Se oye este lamento por doquier, en mi desdichada Borinquén sí. Y triste, el jibarito va, pensando así, diciendo así, llorando así por el camino, Qué será de Borinquén mi Dios querido Qué será de mis hijos y de mi hogar? Oh, Borinquén la tierra del Edén La que al cantar el gran Gautier Llamó la perla de los mares Ahora que tú te mueres con tus pesares Déjame que te cante yo también Borinquén de mi amor” prayer submitted by PASTOR STANLEY RAMOS, FOUNDING MINISTER OF ALABANZA MCC East Orlando Florida, USA
Loving God, as we prepare to observe World AIDS Day we thank you for the multiple advances in care that have been made over the past 30 years. We remember our brothers and sisters that have succumbed to the disease. We pray for all those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS who remain consigned to the margins. Provide them comfort and remove the isolation and fear that creeps in and envelopes them. Help them to remember that you love them just as they are, and that you are always there beside them, watching over them and guiding them. We ask that you break down the barriers of stigma and shame that leads to isolation and fear. Help us to examine the intersections between poverty, immigration, class, race, sexism and other “isms” that contribute to new diagnoses. Give us the courage to confront these issues and their intersectionality and “live as people who are free, not using our freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” Amen prayer submitted by DR. DAVID WILLIAMS, M.D., M.P.H INTERIM PASTOR MCC CHRIST THE LIBERATOR Program Officer/Coordinator Health and Wellness Metropolitan Community Churches
Creator God, As we hear, see, feel, and perceive you, help us to emulate your grace. Show us that ability transcends the five senses and all human talents and abilities. Remind us of the words of Jesus that say, “Whatever you do for another person, you do it for me.” Guide us as we plan our services, meetings and events-to plan as if we are expecting your children who are deaf, who are blind, who have an intellectual disability or a mobility impairment or who have a food or environmental intolerance. Show us that, with planning and forethought, we can be more accessible and inclusive as a Church and Social Movement. Encourage us to seek out people in our communities and organizations who serve people with disabilities, who can answer questions and provide training for us as we travel the long and ever-widening road toward full access and inclusion for all of God’s people. Give our leaders and educators, who offer training and guidance, a creative mind and a heart of grace. Help us to be intentional as we work together to be accessible and inclusive. When we don’t get it right, bring us together in peace and forgiveness to learn from our mistakes, so we can be ready for the next opportunity to be even more accessible and inclusive to all of God’s people, and, as you invite all of us to your table, everyone can truly “come taste and see,” or “come accept and receive” the goodness of God’s inclusive love for all people. Amen. prayer submitted by JIM EAST LAY DELEGATE OF TRINITY MCC Gainesville, Florida, USA Officer of the UFMCC Disability Access and Inclusion Team Working Group General Conference Team Planner and LEAD 10 Cohort
Wonderful God, your creations are limitless. And, our ability to comprehend your creation is limited by our humanness. It is through unconscious, yet self-imposed, blinders that we judge others who are different from ourselves. When we are given a chance to glimpse beyond our preconceptions, biases, and social constructs, allow us to comprehend that we have no idea of all that is possible. So, at this time we ask You to remind us that differences are only part of Your creation. Help us to spread this understanding to others, particularly at this time when we say the names of our transgender siblings whose lives have been brutally taken. Help us to guide others to know that the vast diversity and variety of self-expression are all of your creation, and therefore, good. Amen. prayer submitted by STACY SANDBERG MCC TRANS* AND DIVERSE GENDERS WORKING GROUP PROGRAM OFFICER
“It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart” (unknown) In the season of Remembrance let us draw together in prayer with a focus on the Mental Health and Wellbeing of all in our diverse and multi-layered communities. Creator God In a world, full of uncertainty and unanswered questions we look to you Oh God to be the one who keeps us steady. We ask that you let each one of us feel your presence as we come to you in prayer. We remember all who are affected by the challenges of mental illness and the struggle to stay well. Be the light that guides our way. We remember all with lived experience of recovery who are role models for their peers. Be the light that guides our way. We remember all those who care for their lovers, family and friends. Be the light that guides our way. We remember all who give their time to volunteer in support agencies and programmes. Be the light that guides our way. We remember all who follow their calling to work daily in mental health care. Be the light that guides our way. We remember all who did not make it to this day and those who may not see tomorrow. Be the light that guides our way. We remember all who rise up to challenge injustice, prejudice and stigma. Be the light that guides our way. We remember all who reach out to the stranger in the street with a smile of acknowledgment. Be the light that guides our way. We remember each other through the difficult days when minutes last for hours and hours last for days. Be the light that guides our way. We remember each other through the times of joy and happiness which we wish would never end. Be the light that guides our way. Transforming God, be the light that guides our way as we strive to make a difference, living with hope for peace in our hearts and minds. Amen prayer submitted by REV. MAXWELL REAY COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTHCARE CHAPLAIN National Health Service (NHS) Lothian, Edinburgh, Scotland.
What is your prayer for the women of MCC? Holy One, Giver of life. Our ravaged spirits cling to You As waves of Injustice and hate overwhelm Your children. Instill in us the capacity to hold within our hearts and souls Your peace and your hunger for justice. Equip us with courage and strength that we might bring into existence Peace over the land and amongst your children. Burn into our hearts the desire To drive justice over the mountains of injustice and to foster care for all of your creation that longs for enough. Empower us to speak for those who have been silenced and to bring with us those who have lost the step of their march. We pray knowing that our hearts are changing as we ask. In your many names. Amen. prayer submitted by JACKIE CARTER SENIOR PASTOR AT TABLE OF HOPE MCC Wichita, Kansas, USA Program Director for the Women Working Group
Veritable Real I love you passionately in the heavens, the moon, the stars, in the wind, in the land and in the sea. Veritable Real I love you passionately in my breathing, in the touches on my flesh, in the trembling of the orgasm, in the energy that unfolds, runs through my spine, explode in You. Veritable Real I love you passionately in joy with the other, in favor of others, in the embraces of the latter, in the glow of the eyes of the humble. Veritable Real I love you passionately in the revelation in Jesus, the Christ, who welcomes me in love, teaches me to love, expands my existence and turns my ultimate concern into You, into me, in the other and in us. So be it, for so it is. prayer submitted by SANDRO AURELIO S. BRASILEIRO PASTORAL LEADER OF MCC BELO HORIZONTE Specialist in Contemporary Theology.
The theme is light in the houses of God. In this case the chandelier is located in a mosque. You find precious chandeliers in most of the mosques all over the world. The pictures invite to meditate. Mediate about light. The light of the sun. The light of bulbs. The light in our hearts. Mediate about being the light of the world. One of the pictures invites to have a second glance. Then you will discover the calligraphy painted at the cupola of the mosque. prayer submitted by JOCHEN GEWECKE LAY DELEGATE Salz der Erde MCC, Stuttgart MCC’s Europe Network Leader. Art photographer, freelance graphic designer and author in Mössingen, near Stuttgart/Germany.
Tēnā koutou !!! This week I wanted to share with you a spiritual practice that our local MCC really loves, ‘Prayer Doodling’. I was thinking/praying about Exodus 20 and doodled as I let my thoughts wonder. I won’t explain my scribblings but I do encourage you to doodle your own. https://youtu.be/CpBZaQsq-zc Enjoy your time with God – who knows what conversation you’ll have? Ngā manaakitanga Blessings prayer submitted by REV. EMILY WORMAN PASTORAL LEADER Church in Progress MCC, South Auckland, New Zealand
Holy, Eternal and Wonderful God, We are grateful to You for Your wonderful calling to our lives and for the opportunity we have to follow Your voice, as did our dear brother, Rev. Troy Perry. In the same spirit of radical inclusion, we invoke Your Holy Presence over all the congregations of the Metropolitan Community Churches throughout the world this week, when we have completed 49 years of existence. Blow Your Holy Ruah on the laborers selected by You in the ICM’s to preach love, grace and mercy to all people. Bless our lives and our local ministries, as well as our particular charismas. May all of us, in our diversity, from Pentecostals to traditional, spread the beautiful colors of the diversity of Christ Jesus on Earth. Help us also, Holy God, to be inspired by the ministry and spirituality of Francis of Assisi, whose memory we celebrate in these days, may we learn to honor and care for Your Earth, as well as the creatures you have delegated to our care. Pour Your peace in a troubled world that is full of hate. May we be sowers of Thy peace, bearing love where hatred abounds and forgiving to be forgiven, as taught by the brother of Assisi. In the precious name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, Amen prayer submitted by DIAC. LUIS GUSTAVO SILVA PASTORAL LEADER – ICM Baixada Fluminense Vice President – ICM Rio de Janeiro Historian, Master in Social Sciences from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
God can be found in beauty and artistic expression, and in dance, love-making, drumming and poetry. God is in a church and a garden and the back of a cab. We pray to God to live a life of joy, to receive blessings, to find comfort in humbleness. We find God when we seek forgiveness, when we bring mindfulness and celebrate beauty; When we find-or create-comfort, hope and protection in times of our own-or other’s-grief or pain; When we bring peace in times of violence or find hope when mired in disillusionment or anxiety. God is what we do. God is how we treat each other. God is what we focus on and strive to understand when we seek Love and understanding. . .and salvation. God is mystery and God is also in plain view. God can be found in every language. . .and utterance-in some hugs and smiles And in every spoken and unspoken yearning for understanding. . . God is in prayer and faith-practiced and pursued, challenged and found. On and On. . . prayer submitted by TODD CLARK Founder of www.theDCPLACE.com (A Progressive online video magazine) Washington, DC USA
In this time of rhetoric and chaos, we need to remember that God has a feminine side. I want to share this prayer that is always close to my heart. It was taught to me by my father, a non-practicing Jew. Certainly, the concept of the Holy Spirit as feminine is not a new one, and it’s not without historical and scriptural support. Currently, the tradition of associating the Wisdom of God (Sophia literally means “wisdom” in Greek) with the Holy Spirit and to think of that Spirit as feminine is a minority view, but I’ve never been afraid to be in a minority. I love the idea of a Mother God, of a feminine Holy Spirit. It’s comforting, and has Biblical support. “So God created humankind in God’s own image, in the image of God they were created male and female.” (Gen 1:27 NIV) “Mother God, there are so many decisions to make. I don’t know what is best for now or the future. You said if we lack wisdom, all we need to do is ask you. I really need you to put wisdom into my mind, heart and soul today. I need the peace of your nurturing love.” Amen. prayer submitted by CAROLE WEISSMAN ST. JOHN THE APOSTLE MCC Fort Myers, Florida, USA
You are here, Holy One, wherever we are You are already present. We want to be here, too, with You, in You, breathing in the dark luminosity of holiness, knowing we dwell, no matter continent or archipelago, nation, tribe, age, or faith, in the deep womb, the web of life, You created for us at conception, from which our body emerges and grows cell by cell, muscle by muscle, where our soul finds, draws, rest and refreshment. For life, we give You thanks, and more even for the love from which all life grows, praying earnestly to live each moment in the fullness of You, knowing Your desire for humanity and all creation not only to survive but also thrive. May it be so. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. DR. ROBIN GORSLINE WRITER-THEOLOGIAN IN RESIDENCE Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, D.C. Greenbelt, Maryland, USA
“O God, our Help in ages past, Our Hope for years to come, Our Shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal Home! O God, our Help in ages past, Our Hope for years to come, Be Thou our Guard while troubles last, And our eternal Home!” ~”Our God, Our Help in Ages Past” by Isaac Watt
Gracious and present Holy One who is actively engaged with all of your created order, thank you for your presence. Thank you for being available to each one in the here and now, and in the great beyond. Your Spirit comforts us in times of grief, supports in times of faltering, provides stability in times of uncertainty, and hope in times of hardship. As we move in this larger world and in each of our small worlds, shelter and guide us for the work of justice that is before us. Demanding One, help us to remember and learn from the joyful and painful past. Sheltering One help us to fix our hearts upward and inward for guidance and to co-create solutions. Provocative God, help each of us to be moved to action outward in service to you. Challenging God, assist each one to develop compassion and forgiveness. We need your help to work against injustice and systems of oppression. Strengthening One, as the journey continues, thank you for attending to each of your creations. In your many names we pray. Amen, Ashe, and so it is. prayer submitted by REV. CATHY ALEXANDER ASSOCIATE PASTOR Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, DC Arlington, Virginia, USA
Jesus Prayer Applied To Our Churches Our Creator who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. God, you are the one who has called us into existence – our MCC Movement, each local MCC, and each of us as individuals. Thy dominion come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. We long for Your fondest dreams to come to pass for our churches, for our movement, for each of us – Your dreams, not ours. Give us this day our daily bread. Every one of us is facing some immediate, pressing need. We look to You to supply exactly what we need right now. We trust You to supply exactly what we need right now. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Help us to let go of the grievances we have against one another with the same ridiculous grace we hope to receive from You. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. We are keenly aware that, if we’re not careful, we can end up doing harm, instead of good. Help us to do good! For Thine is the dominion, and the power, and the glory forever. Regardless what happens, we remind ourselves that Your power and glory will prevail. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. JEFF MINER SENIOR PASTOR LifeJourney MCC Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Source of all love, Fount of all mercy, In these turbulent times reveal yourself as anchor. Remind us you are They who never changes even in the midst of tumult. Empower us to stand grounded in the foundation of your hope. Guide us to the secure shelter of the permanence of your peace. Propel us forward even when standing our ground feels like the most we can manage. Spur us to work when labor is needed and to pause when rest is due. Help us to arm ourselves with compassion and to be fueled by the legacy of those who fought before us. Compel is to be courageously honest in our dealings with one another. Let us rise each morning clothed in justice with full equality fixed in our minds and radical love fixed in our hearts. Holy Spirit, breathe on us the fire and the fervor of what is right. Then, may our every inhalation be a prayer and may our every exhalation be an Amen. prayer submitted by ANNETTE BILLINGS Poet, Playwright, Actress, Nurse MCC of Topeka Topeka, Kansas, USA
Loving God, teach us your wisdom through stories of peoples, communities and our lives. Teach us the wisdom of our MCC heritage and from our forbearers. Speak to us through our worship, our fellowship and our conversations. May we have the silent and discerning heart to listen to you and one another, but most especially to the cries, laughter and hopes of the poor, the marginalized and the rejected of our world. We pray for those whom you have called to study theology and ministry in preparation for ordained ministry. We pray for lay leaders who continue to learn and teach in our churches. We ask this prayer for the continuing learning and development of our leaders, members and communities so in doing we may continue to participate in the work of justice and love in the world. For it is only in the realities of life, the use of our critical thinking and the sincere opening of our hearts that we truly learn, grow and are formed by and through your Spirit of truth and compassion. These and many other things we pray in all that is Holy and Loving and through Jesus whom we follow. Amen. Mapagmahal na Diyos, turuan mo kami ng iyong karunungan na masusumpungan sa mga kwento, sa mga kumunidad at sa aming mga buhay. Turuan mo kami ng karunungan mula sa kasaysayan ng MCC at ng aming mga na-una at nanguna sa amin. Mangusap ka sa amin sa pananambahan, sa pakikipagkaisa at sa aming mga pag-uusap. Nawa’y magkaron kami ng tahimik at mapanuring puso upang marinig ka at ang bawat isa, at higit sa lahat sa mga pagtangis, sa mga pagtawa at sa mga pangarap ng mga mahihirap, marginalized at mga itinatakwil ng mundong ito. Aming dinadalangin sa iyo ang mga lingkod mong tinawa upang mag-aral ng teolohiya at ministeryo para sa ordinasyon ng pagpapastor. Gayun din pinagdadasal namin ang aming mga layko na patuloy na nag-aaral at nangangaral sa aming mga simbahan. And aming mga dalangin na ito ay nakatuon at naka-ugat sa patuloy na pag-aaral, pagyabong ng aming mga leaders, members at mga kumunidad upang sa pagkatututo kami ay patuloy na makibahagi sa gawain ng katarungan at pag-ibig sa mundo. Pagkat sa realided lamang ng buhay, sa pagkamit ng ating kritikal na pag-iisip at pagbubukas ng aming puso lamang kami tunay na natututo, lumalago at nahuhubog sa pamamagitan ng iyong Espirito ng katotohanan at habag. Eto at marami pang ibang bagay ang aming ipinapanalangin sa ngalan ng lahat ng banal at mapagmahal at sa panngalan ni Hesus na aming sinusundan. Amen. prayer submitted in English and Tagalog by JOSEPH SAN JOSE LAY PASTORAL LEADER MCC Quezon City Philippines
Find a tree, find one quickly. Put your hands on the trunk, or lean your aching head in and rest your third eye on the bark, you could sit down and lean your heart against the wood, maybe if appropriate (or not) and possible…climb up and have a seat. However you connect with this creation that is simultaneously rooted and playing in the wind the one thing you must absolutely do is… Breeeeeeeeathe Breeeeeeeeathe Breeeeeeeeathe “After saying this, Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit…” (John 20:22). Let the Spirit come and live in us so that every breath is a prayer. Find a tree, find one quickly. Repeat daily. prayer submitted by REV. S. DAVID WYNN LEAD PASTOR Agape MCC Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Holy Ruah, You who are the air that drives us, The wind that blows our bodies, To thee we pray, breathe in us! Holy Ruah, You who are the invisible mystery of the Trinity, Force that can not be contained, To thee we pray, move on us! Holy Ruah, You who are the maternal power of creation, Who makes living beings give birth, To thee we pray, bear in us! Holy Ruah, Embrace the Metropolitan Community Churches, Dispel us from what separates us, Kiss us with compassion, Involve us in the power of your love, Penetrate us with sorority, To thee we pray, Sweet Holy Ruah, find pleasure in us. prayer submitted by ANA ESTER FREIRE Feminist Theologian Religious Studies Doctorate Student MCC BELO HORIZONTE Brazil
Holy God, the Almighty Creator, the settler of the displaced. May you raise up and listen to the cries of the suffering and hungry people that have been thrown into seeking asylum and being refugees in foreign lands. O God, you created this world to be self-replenishing in its own resources to be able to feed every creature of your creation that walks the lands, but why God have you let your children be so spiteful, resentful and grow cold hearts towards those that are lacking in one way or other? Why God do you let your people fear the unknown about their fellow brothers and sisters that have managed to migrate and escape brutality or persecution? And lastly God, why do you let humanity, your best creation, make some people refugees? O Holy God Almighty, I call upon your loving grace to calm down the anger that’s bottling up into people’s hearts and also turn every negative and evil thought towards asylum seekers and refugees into cool heads and loving souls. Please God, I raise my prayers unto you that this world may find a way to live in harmony and peace without both natural and artificial disasters that push humanity into diaspora. Dear God, may you touch the hearts of all the leaders in those countries that are either harbouring brutal regimes holding their people hostage into unending crisis like Sudan, Syria, and Somalia or facing dictatorship, like my own country Uganda, to disown the evil acts of LGBTI persecution and brutal treatment and torture of political opponents. I pray for an end to the violence perpetuated by all those rebel groups like Isis, Al-Shabaab, ADF (Joseph Kony) etc. Also, God, may you continue to bless and provide for first world countries like America, Great Britain, Australia etc. that offer a warm-hearted welcome towards refugees. Help them to overcome any political opponents with cold hearts spreading malevolent propaganda into the public for their own selfish political gains. Dear God, in your hands, I place my cries and thoughts towards goodness, better settlement, refugee integration and an ultimate ending of wars and disasters on our planet, so that peace, happiness and love may prevail and prosper. prayer submitted by ALEX MATOVU MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND FUNDRAISING COORDINATOR MCC North London, England
Dear God and dear Lord Jesus, Please take away all illness, sorrows and fears. Make that no houses are burnt anymore. And make peace on Earth and take away war and injustice. We thank you for the beautiful community we have through MCC. We thank you that we all got a bed and something to eat. We pray for the poor all around the world, who have no home nor something to eat. Feed them with all that they need. I want to ask you, Lord Jesus, for forgiveness of all of my sins, and thank you that you died for our sins on the cross. In the name of Jesus, Amen. prayer submitted by NASCHI-JOHN ROSS MEMBER MCC Cologne, Germany
The Zulu greeting used in South Africa, “Sawubona” simply means “I see you” and the response “Ngikhona” means “I am here”, and so we pray together this week: God, when we gather for communal worship, we dance and praise to the rhythm of the beat singing: Sawubona – “I see You” And You respond: Ngikhona – “I Am Here” When we look at the mysteries and wonders of all creation, we declare with deep admiration: Sawubona – “I see You” And You respond: Ngikhona – “I Am Here” When rain softly soaks the dry, drought driven earth, our thoughts quietly proclaim: Sawubona – “I see You” And You respond: Ngikhona – “I Am Here” When we observe one human gently and generously helping another, we whisper: Sawubona – “I see You” And You respond: Ngikhona – “I Am Here” When we look to the cross and see the compassion driven sacrifice, our forgiven souls humbly respond in gratitude: Sawubona – “I see You” And You respond: Ngikhona – “I Am Here” When we breathe in Spirit who searches all things, even the unfathomable things of You oh God, our hearts cry out: Sawubona – “I see You” And You respond: Ngikhona – “I Am Here” When we pause long enough to meditate and pray, to honour our soul’s longing, we will hear Your tender voice saying to us: Sawubona – “I see you” And we respond: Ngikhona – “I Am Here” Selah….. prayer submitted by REV. BEULAH DURRHEIM PASTOR Good Hope MCC Cape Town, South Africa
Sometimes I pray quietly and reflect about a few moments of Mary’s life that surely happened, and that I like because it happened in silence. At the end, it is true prayers that are hidden in our room or in the monastery of our heart. I want to remember the moment when Mary’s parents made love and conceived their daughter in silence. I want to remember the whole life of Mary, who spent it in silence, she did not travel like Paul, but was much more humble and greater than Paul. I want to remember the day Mary was born from the womb of her mother. I want to remember the moment when Mary decided to give herself to God. I want to remember Mary’s engagement with Joseph. Notwithstanding the normality of these acts and the fact that none of the important people of that time realized anything, God was preparing His Revelation among us. prayer submitted by Daniele Pertici Il Cerchio MCC Milano, Italy
We are alive but a small moment in infinite time. You, God, are the creator of time. We claim this when we affirm that you set the universe in motion and separated day from night. We also claim that every life is precious in your sight, no matter how long or how short in our calculating of time. So, we thank you for those who have come before us, especially in MCC. Thank you for the lives that have been touched and changed by MCC’s message of Your love for every person. God, help us to live each moment we are alive. Empower us to see the capacity that our lives have to make a difference in someone else’s life. May we know that our prayers join the prayers of all your people in this moment. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. ELDER DR. CANDACE R. SHULTIS Senior Pastor, King of Peace MCC, St. Petersburg, FL, USA MCC Council of Elders
God of love who made us in your own image, We thank you for the diverse tapestry of your creation. With the stars, moon, sun, and sky, We praise you in glory and uncertainty. With the flowers that bloom with vigor and fragrance, We strive to live our lives as brilliantly and beautifully as we can. With the leaves that turn from green to yellow, orange, and red, We marvel at the stunning power of change. God, today be with us as we dwell in the tension between peace and conflict, Love and loss, birth and death. Grant us opportunities to be your voice of justice and mercy today. Allow us to notice ways you are present in our world. Challenge us to find you in difficult people and places. With the breath between our lips that cools upon entry and warms upon exit, Bind us together as a global community that works in your name. As we start our day, we offer these prayers of our hearts: – For the tasks of our day and the people in our lives… – For Metropolitan Community Churches… – For our global community… God, hold these prayers in your tenderness and grant us assurance that you are at work within, around, and between us. Amen. prayer submitted by LAUREN BENNETT MCC Conference Coordiator and Divinity Student at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC
Oh Glorious God – through your manifest Grace we begin this day anew, overflowing with your Divine Love. We celebrate and give thanks for your Church, that in and with and through MCC we find community, solace, forgiveness and the succor of ultimate acceptance and love. Now filled with Your Spirit, guide us to share that radically inclusive love and acceptance with everyone we encounter today, for while their journey is different, we all share the same path. Let our example to our fellow sojourners reflect the Gospel of Our Savior, that they may see that Light Immutable that shines in our hearts. And may you bring us to the end of this day enveloped by that Peace which passes all understanding. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. prayer submitted by Craig Cranston Member of King of Peace MCC, St. Petersburg, FL USA
God of Justice and Mercy, as we enter this month of Pride celebrations, we are mindful that though we have come a long way, we have a long way to go. We especially give You thanks for those who may have felt marginalized by our own community, including drag queens and leather-people, who were the first to step up and out and made the way for our liberation. We give You thanks for those who gave of their financial resources to give our movement momentum. And we give you thanks for the ordinary TLGB people who marched, made phone calls and in other ways made their presence known and changed history. During this month, may we remain strong in Your Spirit as we celebrate and remember all of those who have made a way for us out of no way. May Your Justice and Mercy remain ever before us as we continue the struggle for all of Your people. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. ELDER DR. CANDACE R. SHULTIS Senior Pastor, King of Peace MCC, St. Petersburg, FL, USA MCC Council of Elders
God of Life, Jesus, King of Peace, Holy Spirit, Lord of Dance and Music, the assassin at the concert in Manchester killed 23 people including himself. Help us pray. Comfort everyone who lost their children, relatives, loved ones and friends. Revive everyone who lost their hope. Touch everyone who lost their belief in a common future and the means of peace. Heal everyone who lost their respect for people with religions and life-styles other than their own. Attacks and bombings often are supposed to kill cultural values as well. Bless everyone who opened their doors and their hearts in the midst of tears and fears. Bless everyone who shared money, food, blood, homes and time. Bless everyone who hold up signs stating “Fear divides, love unites” and “Love for all, hatred for none”. Bless everyone to understand these actions and words as an encouraging example. Help us continue to tearing down walls and buliding up hope – for and with people both inside and outside of Europe. In your many names we pray. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. ELDER INES-PAUL BAUMANN MCC COUNCIL OF ELDERS
Holy Creator, We come before you as your beloved children wandering often in a world of uncertainty and chaos, but resting in the assurance you have provided that we do not do this alone for you are always with us. May we each know your peace that fills our souls even when we do not recognize it. We ask that your Divine Spirit guide us as we walk each day in the knowledge that you will never forsake us and may we be reminded that Jesus walked on this earth and experienced much of the turmoil and suffering that we face. May we live each day by the example that has been given to us through that walk and not become discouraged. We lift up our churches across this world asking that each may find blessings in sharing together in this movement for inclusivity, empowerment of the disenfranchised and seeing love win out over hate daily. Remind us, as only you can do, that miracles are not just found in the writings of the sacred texts but also in our daily lives as seek your will. Amen prayer submitted by PHIL GRIFFIN MCC of Topeka, Topeka, KS, Lay Delegate and Co-Coordinator of the MCC LEAD (Laity Empowered for Active Discipleship) Program in North America
Most loving and gracious God, We Your children come here, first and foremost, to say “Thank you” for being our God. We ask You to go with Your people. Lift them up, strengthen them, guide them, let them know that as long as they keep You at the center of their heart, You will guide and direct their path. God, even though the path may seem dark for some of Your children, we pray Your ever-burning light will shine through. Help them to realize it is just a cloud passing over their horizon, and Your radiant beams of light will once again shine through. Now God, as we look to Your nation and world, we ask You to wrap your arms around those who have said “Yes” to leading. Remind them it doesn’t matter if they are leading a small social club or a large nation or country, that their Number One focus should be the uplifting of the people You have put in their charge. Let them know that together, and with You, we are strong, but separated from You, we shrink to nothing. Finally, God, be with our Interim Moderator, Senior Leadership Team, Governing Board and Council of Elders as they persevere, for they have been called for a time such as this. prayer submitted by BARRY HUNDLEY City of Light MCC, Co-Coordinator of the MCC LEAD (Laity Empowered for Active Discipleship) Program
Wonderful Creator Standing in the red ochre sand of the Simpson Desert, I hear a song A song being sung by people all across the globe I walk in faith towards the singing To the north, towards the tropics and into Asia and Europe To the west, towards the coast and across the Indian ocean to Africa and the Middle East To the south, to the Antarctic winds as they meet the Great Australian Bite To the east, where the golden sands disappear into the waters of the Pacific Ocean Open us to this connection Encourage us to LEAD Inspire all to sing the song We pray in your many beautiful names Amen
Holy Spirit, we acknowledge Your presence with us always. We worship You and are grateful for Your wise counsel, Your healing power, and Your desire for the realm of heaven to be manifest in Your world today. We lift up Your denomination, Metropolitan Community Churches, as we stand in the “tragic gap” of what is and what might be. Be with us to build communities to sustain ourselves, to balance us between cynicism on the one side, and idealistic irrelevancy on the other side, which border the “tragic gap”. Lead us in paths of personal integrity, remembering the words of Isaiah, which Christ took up as his personal call: “The Spirit of the Holy is upon me, because the Holy has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. The Holy has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, . . . to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of God’s favor.” May it be so. See Parker Palmer, https://www.couragerenewal.org/democracyguide/v36/  Luke 4:18-19
prayer submitted by ELDER NANCY MAXWELL Convener of the Council of Elders, Co-Coordinator of the MCC LEAD (Laity Empowered for Active Discipleship) Program