As the United Church of Canada prepares for General Council 43 in Oshawa, ON July 21-27, 2018, members of Cruxifusion have committed to pray for GC43 and all related activities. Some have chosen to share these prayers, and you will find those captured below.
We celebrate Your goodness to us each and every day. In a world where darkness would press in, Your light dispels it. You invite us to walk in Your light and we pray this for our commissioners. We pray that they would walk in Your light. Grant them wisdom to discern the path You have set for Your church. Give them courage to speak out in Your truth when it may be unpopular. Give them perseverance as they read through the required documents. We are thankful for the people You have raised to lead us in these times, may they be faithful to You and blessed.
Lord, we also pray for each congregation within Your church that they might also seek Your wisdom as they move forward in a time of change. Help them keep their eyes on Jesus, remembering to love others in all they do.
We ask these things in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!”
“Almighty and Most Merciful Father, we thank You and praise You for the manifold ways in which You have blessed us, Your children, collectively and individually. We stand in awe of who You are and what You’ve done through your Son, Jesus Christ. We love you, Lord!
We pray this morning for the expression of Your Church that we find ourselves in, The United Church of Canada. God, we acknowledge that our institutional impulses and hang-ups have, at times, caused us to stray from your ways like lost sheep. We have too often followed the deceits and desires of our own hearts, instead of living with a posture of utter trust and reliance upon You. For this and our other sins, forgive us, Lord.
Wonderful Creator, make us into the likeness of Jesus, we pray. By the power of the Holy Spirit—the same Spirit that raised Him from the dead—resurrect our lives with new life, new energy, a new passion for Your name. Grant us hope for the future which only You can see, humility about our own limited perspective about what is to come, and the wisdom to know the difference.
As GC43 approaches, we pray for all the leaders, clergy, laypeople, commissioners, stewards, and behind-the-scenes servants, who will come together in Oshawa to make decisions about the direction this church is heading in the years ahead. We pray that what we profess to believe about gatherings of church courts would actually happen—infill the commissioners and the whole room in which they meet with the tangible, physical, overwhelming, and undeniable presence of Your Holy Spirit. Show Yourself to them, O God, so that the decisions that they make and the votes that they cast would be deeply informed by Holy Scripture and by Your Living Word as you move in their midst.
Strong Deliverer, You are mighty to save, and we bless your name. May you see fit to preserve us and empower us to continue our participation in this Kingdom work to which You have called us. May You revive Your Church, across denominational lines and human divisiveness. We seek to do Your will. In the most holy and powerful name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, we ask all these things. Amen.
Today’s prayer for General Council comes from Rev. Heather Joy James on this, the National Day of Indigenous People. To view the archive of all prayers being offered in the lead up to GC43 click here.
“Great God of the Universe, we come to you with heavy hearts, weary from a world gone wrong. We Canadians stand on our home and native land that does not belong to us. We have not honoured you in all that we do. We have not loved our neighbour as ourselves. We have not always protected and cared for the sea, the land, the sky. We have not always been in right relationship with you and with one another. But we want to. Today, we repent, and turn from our broken and selfish ways. Today, we accept your offer of mercy, healing, and grace. Today we breathe in your love, and we breathe out the habits and hangups that have caused harm to your creation.
As we look towards the the General Council, prepare our hearts, O God, to listen to you, to listen to one another, and to be ready and willing to follow the light of Christ above all else. Turn our hearts to you, O God. Keep us mindful of your Spirit in every breath, every moment, every creature. Keep us present with your Holy Spirit as we move through our days, and keep us willing to move with your Spirit as you give us eyes to see and ears to hear your will and your direction. From the beginning of time, you have been Creator and protector, Redeemer and friend, you are our loving parent, and we are your children. Guide us, o holy one, and set our hearts in tune with yours. Amen.”
Today’s prayer for General Council comes from Rev. Ingrid Brown, who was ordained by BC Conference just a few weeks ago. To view the archive of all prayers being offered in the lead up to GC43 click here.
“God of love and of challenge, of mystery ever revealing, we pause this day to give you thanks. Thank you for creation all around us, pulsing with your heartbeat. Thank you for showing yourself to us in Jesus the Christ. Thank you for your continued faithfulness as your Holy Spirit guides and directs us according to your perfect will, creating in us yearnings for goodness beyond that which we are capable of ourselves.
As we, the UCC limb of Christ’s body in the world, prepare to gather in Oshawa, help us to use your model of relationship expressed in the Trinity as a guide for the way that we encounter one another. Quicken our hearts and make us bold in our proclamations of your truth, unashamedly claiming you as Lord.
We ask this so that we might join together well, each sinew of your body knit together for your glory, with the ultimate purpose of witnessing to the world of your power, your love, and your way of life. May we do your will always, please show us how. Amen.”
“O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, may You be present in each person attending the council. May the paradox of honouring the past and embracing the future, be resolved within the community as the council continues. Let each decision that comes forth be most in keeping with Your timeless nature and be least bound by our transience. May our denomination find the shelter we seek from the stormy blast of change that has left some disheartened and fearful. May Your spirit lay hold on all hearts within our beloved church and especially on those who are serving as delegates, so that they will behold Your mighty and beautiful vision for the United Church of Canada which is our spiritual abiding place until we come to our eternal home. In the blest name of Jesus. Amen.”
“Gracious God, things and times change, but you remain constant, constantly loving, constantly patient, constantly forgiving, constantly kind. Even when we mistake your patience for inaction, your forgiveness for weakness, your kindness as meekness, you continue to be and to do what your omniscience dictates. We thank you for not giving up on us and for constantly seeking to renew your church through her people and her structures.
As we approach the final weeks to GC43 we lift up the possibilities that this gathering holds. As your Word is lifted up as your work is assessed, we ask for your guidance in discerning the way forward. Let us not lose sight of what you have called us to be an to do in the world, to be salt and light. Let us never stray away from the purpose for which we exist, the same purpose that Jesus declared at the start of his ministry to.
1. bring good news the poor
2. call for the release of those who are held captive by systems and situations
3. aid in the recovery of sight to those who are blind to the afflictions of the world, the gift of their being and the equal humanity in others
4. set free those who are oppressed by the isms and schisms of the social systems
5. to declare the love of Jesus and salvation through His love
Let this time be one to stir our faith in Jesus, ignite our faith in Jesus, share our faith in Jesus and restore our faith in Jesus.
Let this time be a return to the core tenets of our faith.
Let this time be one, where we develop an appreciation for the power and love of God, expressed in Jesus and guided by the Holy Spirit. If ever we need to be reminded of the unity in diversity it is in this time.
Grant us grace in our deliberations, free from skepticism, ostracism and racism and other isms that will taint and distort our discourse and reflections. Keep before us, your Will and your Way.
In the name of Jesus we pray, AMEN.”
Your people within the United Church are gathering to chart a new course. The many variables created by the changes can give me brain freeze. I wouldn’t know where to start. Except that I know that my life is better when I start with you. Help the people at this year’s council to start with you. Give them hearts that look for the good in others. Give them strength for their days in community. Help us to rededicate our churches to work towards your purposes. Systems matter, structures can be important, so guide us to make faithful decisions, for we ask it through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN”
“Gracious God, we come before you today with humility and gratitude. We thank you for this day and for every glimpse of your glory we might find in it. In the smiles of strangers, the blessing of a child’s laughter, the touch of a loved one…you are there, and we give thanks.
God, set our hearts, minds, and spirits upon you this day. Help us to see Christ in others and to be Christ for others.
As the meeting of General Council approaches, we pray for all who are preparing and planning for the meeting. For those who are making their way through the lengthy reading requirements, for those who are organizing everything from transportation to food to accommodation, and more…we pray. For all who will facilitate table groups, the stewards, the tech people, those planning worship and music… God, there are so many things to be done! Today we hold in prayer all who will come together next month to do the work of our United Church of Canada.
Bless, hold, and keep us all in your astounding grace, for we pray as we live, in the name of Jesus. Amen.”
“God of all time and space, you set us on a path of faithfulness and walk beside us whispering – sometimes shouting – words of encouragement. Your Spirit breathes in and through and among us even when we strike out on our own way and listen to the words of the crowd. Thank you for the promise that you will never leave us or forsake us, that you long for us like a nursing mother for her babe, that you wait and watch, a loving father, to welcome us home. Grant to commissioners who even now prepare, and to all members of the United Church of Canada to catch your vision. May Jesus the Christ and the passion he lived for Your Way and the ultimate sacrifice he made and the new Life his resurrection opened to us be before us always as we make choices and decisions for the future. Remind us with every breath that we are yours and that we live and move always in the Light of Your Love. Through Christ, in Christ, with Christ, in the unity of the Spirit we pray. Amen.”
Today’s prayer for General Council comes from Rev. James Murray on the 93rd anniversary of the United Church of Canada. To view the archive of all prayers being offered in the lead up to GC43 click here.
“Gracious God, we give thanks that on this day you called us to be your church. The union of the Methodists, Presbyterians and Congregational churches in Canada was unprecedented. You called us to be one in service, one in faith, and one in love. You gathered our different parts in. We were three streams of spiritual experience and achievement which you called together to flow like a mighty river. On this day you called us to be like a grain of wheat that must be willing to die in order bear much fruit. You called us to die to our past traditions so a new community might be born to serve your purpose.
We ask that your Holy Spirit guide and bless us on this day as we seek to be your church. We are having to learn how to die to what was all over again. We are seeking the hope that only death and resurrection can bring. Fill us with a vision of your kingdom come, here on earth as it is in heaven. Remind us, dear Jesus, that we do not face these challenges and opportunities to serve on our own. It’s not all up to us. For you are with us. In life, in death, in life beyond death, we are not alone. Thanks be to God. Amen.”