A – Prayers for Sunday

Venice, by Carol Kreis

From a Daily Prayer Series by Lawrence Moore, UK

Sunday – Resurrection and New Life

I began looking for a daily prayer series that would nourish me in the sort of spirituality that is necessary to be ‘transformed by the gospel’ and ‘making a difference for Christ’s sake’ (ie life-in-mission). I wanted something that would weekly put me in the place where renewal in the Holy Spirit could happen; where I was engaged with the vital questions posed to faith by our contemporary context (depth experience of God, a habit of prayer and spiritual discipline, global warming, human suffering, and faithful discipleship of Jesus). I couldn’t find what I wanted, so I wrote my own.

In offering them to you, I am conscious of how personal they are. I don’t mean ‘personal’ in the sense of being intimate; I mean it in the sense that they are my words and work for me. I have tried to keep them as free of ‘Church-speak’ as possible; tried to be as honest before God as Jewish Old Testament spirituality encourages us to be, and to make them open-ended and non-prescriptive in the belief that they need to facilitate and create a space in which we can commune with God.

If they work for you, I shall be only too glad – and humbled.

Lawrence Moore, UK

 

Suggestions:

  • Light a candle or tea light.
  • Read the prayers aloud.

Affirmation

I live this day in the presence of God,
the embrace of Jesus
and the joy of the Spirit.

Lighting the resurrection candle

The Light of Christ has come into the world,
a Light into the valley of the shadow of death.
That Light is the Light of Life –
a beacon of resurrection fire.
The Light shines in the darkness
and the darkness has never been able to put it out!

Reading

Read the following passages aloud, together with any of the other passages suggested below.

Genesis 1; Psalm 8; Isaiah 40: 9-31; 1 Corinthians 15: 1-28, 54-55

37 The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.” 7So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” 10I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude. 11Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ 12Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act,” says the Lord.

8There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

10But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you. 12So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

31What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.

5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. 14And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

15(John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) 16From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

Response

What can separate me from your love, O God?
There is nothing I can do to make you love me more;
nothing I can do to make you love me less.
You have drowned out my last word of rebellion
with your own Last Word of resurrection –
a shout of Love and Life!

Praise and thanksgiving

Creator God,
I see your goodness and your greatness in the world around me;
in the vibrancy of colour,
the intricacy of design,
the delicate veins of the leaves,
and the grandeur of the mountain crags.
I marvel at the richness of the tapestry you have woven;
I stand in awe of your creative power.

Divine Weaver
You have taken the threads of my life
and knit them together with yours in Jesus.
By your Spirit
You call me to stitch with you the canvas of resurrection;
of hope for a world of despair;
of joy for a world of sadness;
of forgiveness for a world wrapped in guilt;
of healing for broken people and a broken planet.

Yours are the colours of dreams;
Yours are the stitches that make whole;
Yours are the threads of Life.
Glory to you, breathtaking God.

Amen.

Confession

Pause before the prayer, allowing God’s Spirit to search your heart.  Make your own confession.  Pause after the prayer to experience the reality of God’s forgiveness.

Roll away the stone from the tomb of my heart, Resurrection God.
Flood the darkness with the Light of the Risen Jesus.
Speak my name.
Call me out of darkness into the light of abundant Life.
May these dry bones take Spirit life and dance;
may I sing the liberation song of forgiveness and healing.
Unwrap the grave clothes in which I have dressed
and clothe me with your salvation.
Take my hand in yours.
Lead me from the graveyard of squandered opportunities;
failure; hurt; chosen wrong
into New Life;
into this day.

Amen.

Intercessions

Read the prayers aloud.  At each point, pause to reflect and fill in the names of places and people as appropriate.

The Light of Christ has come into the world.
The Light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has never been able to put it out!

Liberating Christ,
Shine your Light into the prisons of our world:
the places where people are held
for the sake of others,
for the things they have done,
for the things that they believe.

Unlock the chains that bind people to a living death:
addiction,
mental illness,
personal history.

Risen Christ,
Shine your Light into the tombs of our world:
the places where death reigns
through fear,
bereavement,
broken relationships,
injustice.

Give flesh to the dreams of life:
for a healed planet;
food to eat;
an end to war;
freedom from persecution and oppression;
a world in which peace and justice kiss.

Compassionate Christ,
Shine your Light into the darkness of our lives:
the people who need your Living presence with them today
in illness,
tragedy,
loneliness,
worry.

Grant them by your Spirit,
the comfort of your presence,
the reassurance of your protection,
the relief of your peace.

And today, O God, grant me this:
that I may live today
in order to be an answer to the prayers of others.

Amen.

Blessing

May the God of Life go with me,
the Risen Christ beside me,
the Vibrant Spirit within me.  Amen.