Many of us have been asked to pray at a variety of occasions outside our congregations or church buildings — from city council meetings to opening a homeless shelter to community thanksgiving events. As many places have Remembrance-related events this week, as the weather turns in the northern hemisphere and shelters open for the winter, as the COP26 conference comes to a climax and political leaders head home, there may be a variety of opportunities for you to offer a blessing or a prayer in an unexpected place or community occasion. Here are a few that you are welcome to use or adapt or be inspired by if you find yourself in such a situation…or to tuck away for the unexpected moment!
Prayer for City Council Meeting by Mona Dale
Thank you for the opportunity to be here this evening. I have great respect for the polity and processes of local government and I consider it a privilege to lead the invocation.
I understand that Muncie is a diverse community with many faiths and beliefs so please know that everyone is invited to join me in prayer or simply take this moment to focus your heart and your mind on the task at hand.
Let us pray…
God of justice, mercy and grace…we thank you for this day and for the blessings of family, friends, and neighbors. We especially thank you for the people in our city who have been entrusted with the responsibility for making decisions that affect the dignity, safety and well-being of all people in this place. Give us the courage to set aside our political differences, guide us with your wisdom, and help us to speak with honesty, kindness and clarity as we work together to make Muncie a place that everyone can be proud to call home.
And all God’s people said, “Amen.”
Melissa Hinnen wrote this closing prayer for a commemoration of 9/11 but it feels perfect for Remembrance/Veteran’s Day/Armistice Day as well, with a small tweak to the third line (I would probably use “remembering those who lost their lives to violence in war and conflict” or something similar). For those of us who observe moments of silence on 11/11, especially at local war memorials or government-sponsored remembrance events, or on the Sunday following, this is a beautiful framing of that time.
As we enter into a moment of silence,
remembering those who were lost
because of the violence on 9/11,
offering thanks for the heroes,
asking for healing for those who are sick,
and praying that those who grieve find comfort,
I invite you to visualize the source of Divine love and peace,
Reaching through the shadows,
covering and filling each one of us in this space
and moving out from you into the world.
Let us join in a moment of silence.
Please pray with me,
As we leave from here today,
may we embody love and peace and grace
that is stronger and bolder
than any act of violence.
Fill us with the hope and promise of your mercy and goodness so that we may joyfully share your Good News as agents of your peace with justice. Amen
Prayer for Emergency Services (civic prayer event) by Teri Peterson
O Lord our God, you are our refuge and strength, our help in every trouble. We thank you today for your servants in the Emergency Services — they come when we call, and rush into danger to save lives. We thank you for the people of the Fire Service, ready at a moment’s notice to bring any kind of aid. We thank you for the people of the Ambulance Service, who meet so many different challenges with knowledge and grace. We thank you for the people of the Police Department, working together to make our communities safer. For all who answer the call to serve, to protect others from harm, even at risk to themselves, we are grateful.
We pray, powerful God, that you would fill all those who give of themselves though the Emergency Services with courage to face each day. Give them wisdom to discern the path that leads our community to wholeness and peace, and give them the strength it will take to walk that path. Surround them with your protection and help, that as they serve others, they may know themselves held in the palm of your loving hand. Guide them as they offer hope and comfort and healing, education and training and support, responses to disasters and tragedies and accidents. They are stretched thin, O God, so we pray too that you would place a calling to serve in the hearts of others in our community, that they may hear your voice and follow. And we ask for your will to be done in the halls of power where budgets are made, that these first responders may have the equipment, training, and colleagues they need to fulfil their calling in whatever situation they find themselves.
By your grace, we pray you would bless the hands of all who serve in times of trouble. May your justice flow down like waters, your righteousness like an ever-flowing stream, watering us with compassion and grace, giving rest to the weary and strength to the despairing, bringing forth the fruit of peace in this place. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Blessing the opening of a new school building by Teri Peterson
We come today with gratitude for new beginnings.
We come with gratitude for the hard work of labourers and visionaries, architects and councillors, administrators and teachers and parents and students.
We remember with joy the good things we have learned in this place, the friendships made and the futures built.
And now we look forward, giving thanks for the sense of possibility that still floats in the air of these new spaces.
We call forth a blessing on these rooms, this land, these walls, even the very air within,
and a blessing for all who work, learn, and play here.
A blessing that seeks and finds, that laughs and cries, that wonders and wanders.
A blessing for teachers and staff, full of wisdom, compassion, energy, and joy.
A blessing for students, for imagination, kindness, and a desire to learn.
May this school be a place where friendship blossoms, a place where minds and hearts are fed, a place where community is built as we learn and grow together.
Bless this school, and all who pass through its doors, that we may see possibility made into reality.
We lift up this hope, this blessing, this prayer.
Blessing for a litter pick-up/community clean up even by Teri Peterson
God who called the earth good,
who gave us this home and called us to serve and tend it,
walk with you as you go.
May you have eyes to see what does not belong, and hands and tools ready and able to reach out and bring it in.
May you have strong shoulders to carry the load, and a heart open enough to resist resentment.
May you have flexible legs to stretch for the things others ignore, and shoes sturdy enough to carry you in all terrain.
May your voice carry so that all are inspired to take their litter home,
and may your bright vests be visible so that everyone sees and gives thanks for your work…and wonders how to join in!
The waters and the soil be blessed by your care.
The animals of land, air, and sea be protected by your hand.
The trees and flowers be set free by your work.
The people of this community be blessed by the beauty of this place,
gifted to our stewardship.
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