19 June 2006

prayers for the church

prayers for the church

This is the time of year in North America for church conventions and national meetings.

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA is already meeting in Birmingham, Alabama. And later this week General Assemblies are meeting for the Presbyterian Church in America (in Atlanta, Georgia, starting June 20), the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (in Rome, Georgia, starting June 21), and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (in Palos Heights, Illinois, starting June 21).

The following prayers may be useful as we pray for our presbyters assembling together among these sister denominations that have a common heritage and, in their sad divisions, have developed their own specific characters and gifts, strengths and problems.

From the PCUSA Book of Common Worship:

Almighty God,
in Jesus Christ you called disciples
and, by the Holy Spirit,
made them one church to serve you.
Be with members of these, our General Assemblies.
Help them to welcome new things
you are doing in the world,
and to respect the old things you keep and use.
Save them from empty slogans or senseless controversy.
In their deciding,
determine what is good for us and for all people.
As these General Assemblies meet,
let your Spirit rule,
so that our church may be joined
in love and service to Jesus Christ,
who, having gone before us,
is coming to meet us in the promise of your kingdom.

And from the Church of Scotland's Book of Common Order:

Almighty God,
your Son promised his disciples
that he would be with them always.
Hear the prayer we offer for your servants
meeting in General Assemblies.
May your Holy Spirit rest on them:
a spirit of wisdom and understanding,
a spirit of counsel and power,
a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.
Grant them vision and courage;
unite them in love and peace;
teach them to be trustworthy stewards
of your truth.
And so guide them in all their doings
that your kingdom may be advanced,
your people confirmed in their most holy faith,
and your unfailing love
declared to all the world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Our brothers and sisters in the Episcopal Church in the USA also need our prayers as they struggle to be a witness and find a way forward while their church appears determined to further rend the fabric of the Anglican Communion.