Uniting in Prayer
We now have Uniting in Prayer, 26 days of prayer across the national Uniting Church. Born out of the national Act2 Project, Uniting in Prayer is about bringing our Church before God at this moment in our life and seeking the leading of the Holy Spirit for our future.
"As we gather for these days of prayer, may the Spirit pour out upon us"
"Today on Pentecost Sunday we celebrate the gift of the breath of Christ on every believer, the outpouring of the Spirit on a new community called to a new character of life."
"Today marks the beginning of 26 days of prayer across the life of the Uniting Church. Just as the Spirit guided the very earliest church to form its life around Christ and be guided by Spirit of Christ, so we trust that we are being guided by Christ in our conversations about the future."
"As we gather for these days of prayer, may the Spirit pour out upon us, and may we dream dreams and see visions of the future that God has for the Uniting Church."
Over the last five months the Act2 Project has been in an intense period of deep listening to the experiences, joys, frustrations and hopes of people right across the Uniting Church. This has helped us understand our context, many of our challenges and what might be needed to support our future mission and ministry.
Uniting in Prayer begins the second phase of the Project - Collective Discernment - in which we will grapple with what was heard across that time and invite the whole Church to engage with some possible options and directions.
It is deliberate that Uniting in Prayer stands at the beginning of this work. Instead of the movement between phases being marked first by a report (coming in June), an intentional time of prayer prepares us for the imagination and deep discernment this next phase will demand. Before anything, we are the interconnected body of Christ placing ourselves again in the hands of God who holds the future.
For 26 days we’ll be sharing prayers drawn from across our Church and our rich faith tradition, gathering for worship and prayer locally and inviting Uniting Church communities to pray for each other.
We will hold before God the deep and wide range of things being felt across our Church at this complex moment of our life. In all of this, we come together to give thanks for God's faithfulness in our past and present, affirm our hope in Christ and seek new paths under the leading of the Spirit.
Day 1: let us pray -
Holy God, we beg for your Spirit:
Enliven this bread of life,
Awaken this body of Christ,
Pour us out for each other.
Transfigure our minds,
Ignite your church,
Nourish the life of the earth.
Make us, while many, united,
Make us though broken, whole,
Make us, despite death, alive.
Day 2: 29.5.2023
Holy One - Sacred Three
Ground of our being, Water of life, Fire of truth
Composer of all, our homecoming, and freedom
we gather to you.
You dwell with us in person in Jesus:
cascading with compassion
disrupting our expectations
carrying us on the tide of your kingdom’s un-power.
In Spirit Holy you meet us as we are:
embracing and challenging us
unbinding us from fear and prejudice and apathy
pushing us forward so that we may grow into the fullness of your dreams.
You call us to be your people:
light and salt and fruit bearing branches
servants and feast sharers and hope bearers
communities where love and joy and peace can flourish.
Yet so often we fail to listen to you:
we rely on our own strength
we are captivated by anxiety
we think you are absent because you do not act as we would act.
Precious Christ we bring our beautiful, broken Uniting Church to you:
renew us in your own strange way
rescue us from our narratives of despair
drench us in your love that undoes empires and makes communities of friends.
Day 3: 30.5.2023
God of endless possibility,
thank you for your patient nurturing
of everything emerging.
Please continue to shape our becoming.
Dig down deeply into our hiddenness,
help germinate seeds that have been dormant,
encourage tendrils that stretch up for more light,
toughen growth that must face coming storms,
prune old growth that has served its purpose,
feed emerging fruits that have gone unnoticed,
and hasten the day when we shall become
a child growing in the likeness
of your beautiful son, Jesus:
Who with You and the Spirit of new life,
are the Source and Goal of all things beautiful,
seen and unseen, known or as yet unknown.
Day 4: 31.5.2023
God of ancient dreaming,
who called the Uniting Church into being
who calls us in this moment
and each moment
to dream with you:
Help us to be free
of our dependence on structures, legacies,
and historical reputation
and to learn to love
the endless possibilities
when we walk the risky way of Jesus
Help us to see the gentle strength
and vibrant grace you offer
when we share in the brokenness of the world
Help us to notice
the opportunities for flourishing
where others see only weakness and weeds
and help us tend them
with gentleness and humility
Help us to wait
with patient hope
to respond with all-consuming delight
to the wild chaos of the Spirit
moving in and through,
among and around us
May we be courageous bearers
of your creative passion for your world
and each and every good thing in it
May we be builders of community,
sharers of bread,
listeners to longings,
nurturers of hope
dancers with joy.
May we dare to be the church
that this time and this place needs
builders of more and more footholds
for your grace
in our wounded and wonderful world
Day 5: 1.6.2023
Gracious and merciful Father, we praise you:
for the vision of the Uniting Church in Australia
which you gave to our founding sisters and brothers;
for their diligence in preparing our Basis Of Union;
for their declaring that we should be a people going forward together
in sole loyalty to Jesus Christ, the risen crucified One;
that you have called us to constant reform,
and to seek wider unity in the power of the Holy Spirit;
that you have called us to be part of your purpose to bring the whole creation
into unity in Jesus Christ.
that our worship, witness and service have been incomplete—
the weakness of our witness to Christ, the limiting of our love for you and for others,
the poverty of our service for a suffering world for which Christ died.
Forgive us, we pray.
Renew us in faith and hope and love,
that we may live in the power of Christ’s resurrection,
awaiting the day of his coming and the fullness of his kingdom here on earth.
Day 6: 2.6.2023
Let us draw ourselves into God and draw God into ourselves; mind and heart.
We are mindful of the land on which we live; for its breath of life giving, its history of lives that have walked before us and for its ongoing renewing.
You call to us eternal God, as you have done down throughout the ages; to people of all places and times.
Let us sit long enough to listen as the church.
Let us sit long enough to hear your longing for humanity.
Creator God, by whose breath we are created
and by whose love we are embraced,
guide and strengthen us by your Spirit
that we may give ourselves to the way
and live this day in love for one another and you. Amen.
Day 7: 3.6.2023
Call us on to the adventure of your passionate life, O God.
Carry us past the boundaries,
the near horizons of our small dreams.
Hold the cup of living water to our lips
and breathe into our souls the life of your Spirit.
May we be those who dare to take into our hands
your cross of courage, justice, hope and love
and plant it as the tree of life, abroad in all the earth.
We ask this in the name of the One who walks this way
before us to the end of time.
Day 8: 4.6.2023
Our land is alive with the glory of God;
desert sands hum and gum trees dance.
Brown grasses sing
and mountains breathe their stillness.
All created things add their rhythms of delight
and even stones rap out their praise.
Let our voices mingle with those of the earth;
may our hearts join the beat of her joy,
for our triune God is with us:
the source of all being surrounds and upholds us.
Christ Jesus walks beside and before us.
The Spirit moves within and between us.
Blessed be God, our wonder and delight.
Day 9: 5.6.2023
We pray for the cities in which we live,
the neighbourhoods, streets and homes;
the places we play, imagine, dream,
where we strive, work, and learn,
where we rest, connect, refresh.
May all who dwell here with us flourish,
may we live our lives with wisdom, courage and compassion.
We pray for the land in which we live,
for these lands now called Australia;
we pray for the First Peoples,
the oldest Peoples and stories and songlines;
we pray for the newer peoples
who call Australia home:
may all who dwell here with us flourish,
may those who lead our communities do so with wisdom, courage and compassion.
We pray for the places from which we have come;
the places we were children, the different places we have called home,
the lands of our ancestors.
We pray for the stories we have known, told, lived, heard, remembered,
and the people who populate those stories.
May all who dwell in those places flourish;
may we remember our stories with wisdom, courage and compassion.
We pray for the Uniting Church, and give thanks for the home it is for so many and such diverse creatures of God;
and we pray for those among us who do not feel at home;
the homeless, refugee, migrant, lonely, isolated, those on the margins;
for those who are ill, dying, grieving, or losing tethers to what they have known;
we pray for the places in our Church that feel alien to some,
as we commit to diversity that enriches the whole:
may all who dwell among us flourish, and may we greet strangers, neighbours and friends alike with wisdom, courage and compassion.
Day 10: 6.6.2023
God who unites,
Listen to our voices.
We find ourselves at a critical point in the journey of our church, your church.
Listen to our voices.
We have been called to be a uniting Church,
yet we are not united in so many ways.
Some of us are tired, burned out, discouraged.
Some of us feel we don’t belong.
Some of us have been hurt, traumatised by others in our Church.
Some of us miss the old days, the days of our youth.
Some of us lament the empty pews and the declining budgets.
Some of us struggle to try something new, or to bring about change.
Listen to our voices.
So much has changed.
We have changed, our world has changed, your church has changed.
Our future is uncertain.
Yet, you God are faithful.
We can be sure that Christ is still present among us.
We recognise those times when we have seen new life, and joy, and mercy, and love.
(pause to name those times you are thankful for)
Thank you, for your goodness to us.
Send your Spirit!
Capture our attention so that we may hear your voice.
Awaken our faith,
give us courage and hope to face change.
Come, renew us, your people.
Come, renew your church.
Unite us, we pray.
Day 11: 7.6.2023
Thank you for this day.
For the opportunity to breathe and stretch and move and feel the sunlight on our skin.
Thank you for placing us here, wherever we are, and for your faithful and enduring presence as we navigate our place in the world.
In all our little outposts of the kingdom, we are your hands and feet Jesus.
Help us as we try to follow in your footsteps.
We pray for the earth under our feet.
For the hills and valleys and rivers and oceans.
For the creatures of land and sea and sky.
God who holds the universe, send your Holy Spirit to keep us connected to your creation, as you desire for us.
Give us the curiosity of children and the wisdom of elders.
We confess that too often we act as consumers rather than custodians, forgive us, and reconnect us with the world from which we have become separated.
We pray for the communities in which we live.
For the people we know and those we don’t.
For the faces we see every day and the ones that are hidden away.
Help us follow Christ’s example of radical hospitality and generous welcome, especially to those who have been excluded.
Help us, your church, to fulfill the call to care for all those around us.
When we come together as communities of faith, empower us with your Holy Spirit to be the church.
In the name of Jesus I walk and pray, Amen.
Day 12: 8.6.2023
Living and Loving God,
we give thanks for our inspiring and evocative history.
A history which has shaped our Uniting Church,
continues to mould our present
and inspires our future.
As your pilgrim people,
You have called us on courageous and risky paths.
We give thanks for the courage that brought us into union
and for the willingness to make bold decisions throughout our life.
Continue to lead us, O God,
that we may be courageous in our decisions as we discern our future.
May we be bold as we trust your guidance.
As your missional people,
You have called us to be pioneers in this land.
We give thanks for the legacy of mission and ministry
that has stretched over this vast land
speaking out for injustice
supporting the oppressed.
May we continue this legacy of pioneering
to explore new ways of doing and being Church.
As your kingdom people,
You have called us to be inclusive and people focused.
We give thanks for our proud legacy of inclusivity,
where all people have had a place and a voice in your Church.
May we continue to strive to be a Church
that gives a voice to the voiceless
that includes the excluded
and that celebrates the rich tapestry of diversity
that makes our Church what it is.
God, our history is bold and evocative
and for that we give you thanks.
As we continue to shape our future
May our history inspire us
as we seek a new way forward.
In Christ’s loving name we pray, Amen.