Pastoral Prayers

What words reach out to a gathered congregation?

Do they bring comfort?


A call for renewal and re-commitment?

Are we free or stuck in a formula?

What words enable God to speak through us?


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Aboriginal art from Mary McCowan

A prayer arising from 1 King 19

God ever-new and ever-old,

Teach us to listen:

To listen with patience, when we want immediate answers;

To listen with openness to a new word, when we are more comfortable with the old;

To listen with deep respect to the roots of our faith, when we would prefer a new, flashy solution.

Teach us to hear your voice in stillness and silence, when we expect thunder and lightening,

To hear a renewed call to return, even when this means hard, incompatible work.

Teach us to listen, ultimately, with faithfulness, knowing that your voice can come in unexpected places, through unlikely people.

And, listening, give us courage to act.


Merryl Blair is Senior Lecturer in Old Testament at Stirling Theological College, Mulgrave, Australia


Our God,
Your living word is not static
but the unfolding story of your actions in the world

We pray that we would be part of that story
as recipients and participants

cutting across the addiction people have for the world
cultural addictions of greed, of status, appearance, recognition,
of voyeurism, celebrity worship, the need to know.

giving meaning to existence
giving meaning to work
giving meaning to leisure
giving meaning to contemplation
giving meaning to action

by recognising that all is part of your unfolding story

We know there is no single right way
We pray for the companionship of the Holy Spirit
Guiding us, leading us, standing back to let us fall

We know we will make mistakes
We pray the mistakes we make will be mistakes of generosity – of giving too much
As we endeavour to be Christ-like in our living and giving.
Risking comfort for the world’s sake.

We pray that we would be a people saying no to the power, violence, greed of the world

And instead, be active participants in healing the world
by doing what we can to enable all to contribute to society with dignity and honour.
Acknowledging, accepting and working with the diversity you have given us.
One, valuable person, at a time

We pray that we would be your faithful disciples
Bringing together whatever has been broken in your world
Living and loving as Jesus loved

in whose name we pray

The writer, from Hartwell Church of Christ, Melbourne, Australia, references Becoming the Authentic Church by Gordon Cosby, p38f as the inspiration behind the prayer.


Our God,
The world is more magical, less predictable, more autonomous, less controllable, more varied, less simple, more infinite, less knowable, more wonderfully troubling than we could have imagined being able to tolerate when we were young.

More surprising,
able to operate without us
and into this environment, we are.

We live, we grow, we interact, we flounder, we survive, we cope, we struggle, we are.
We are yours.

We are yours, and we are not alone; as those with the capacity to love, we reflect your image to the world.

We bring our cares and concerns, our joys and sorrows, our celebrations and our doubts.
We give thanks for the things that have fitted in to the pattern of life we enjoy.

Lead us into the thanks and praise for the things that don’t fit our pattern but fit yours.

Guide our prayers away from the selfish things to the things that are of the Spirit.
Guide us to prayers that are generous, that are gifts, that are life-giving, that are humble and aware.

Lord, the world is more magical and mysterious than we can imagine, so we limit ourselves to our field of vision.
Enlarge our imaginations, roll back the limits to enable us to pray effectively.

We give thanks for your church community here in this place, where we can grow in faith in a loving environment. Bless your churches in this district and wherever you people meet.

For the places where you are not recognised, we pray that your Kingdom would come, and your will be done.

Bless our efforts to be your disciples, and bless us as we offer ourselves as gifts to the world.

The writer, from Hartwell Church of Christ, Melbourne, Australia, references the quote on page 25 of Falling Upward by Richard Rohr as the inspiration behind the prayer.