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At Baptism

God of Life
In the midst of our darkness you are the light.
But when we get too cocky and certain about things, you come to
    plunge us into darkness once more.
In the midst of our suffering, you are our comforter.
But when we get too comfortable, you come as the hungry one, the stranger,
    the refugee, and call us to a life of costly mercy.

God of Life
We confess that we are all too unfamiliar with your ways.
You call us to be baptised with the baptism of Christ:
    to love and to care for the earth’s most wretched;
    to suffer and die for the cause of truth and justice.
Instead, we buy the dream of the advertisers:
    that one might escape all of that,
    that one may hide in the shiny happy world of money & property
    and beautiful people.
Oh how wretched we have become!

Forgive us God.
Knock us around a bit so that we come to our senses.
Show us anew where the good way is,
and help us to walk it with all our hearts.
For in Jesus you showe us the way:
    that in dying there is life,
    in stillness there is dancing,
    in poverty there is plenty.

In the Forest

In the beginning when the earth was made,
 God brought forth life and light from the watery depths.
 And God saw that it was good . . .
But look what we have done!
 In the clouds of industry the light is hidden;
 And life itself struggles for breath
 amidst the stench of human greed.
 God, have mercy on us!

 All sing:  Kyrie eleison (x3)

In the beginning when the earth was made,
 the land emerged and burst forth with vegetation.
 And God saw that it was good . . .
But look what we have done!
 With ‘green revolutions’ and the love of money
 we’ve endangered the variety on which all life depends.
 Christ, have mercy on us!

 All sing:  Christe eleison (x3)

In the beginning when the earth was made,
 the sea was filled with fish, and the sky with birds,
 and the land with creatures from God’s secret purpose.
 And God saw that it was good . . .
But look what we have done!
 Our brother the Thylacine
 and our sister the Pig-footed Bandicoot
 wander the bush no more.
 God, have mercy on us!

 All sing:  Kyrie eleison (x3)

 Listen to what God says:
A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
He shall not judge by rumour or by so-called ‘common sense’.
With Righteousness he shall judge for the little ones,
With justice he shall decide for the one most vulnerable.
The dingo shall live with the kangaroo,
the calf and the croc and the emu together;
and a little child shall look out for them.
Isaiah 11.1, 3, 4, 6

Therefore Christ has this word of grace
for all who lament their complicity with all that is wrong in the world,
who come to God with a broken and contrite spirit:
 Your sins are forgiven.
 Thanks be to God!

At Sorry Day (May 26th)

Ancient Spirit of Australia,
we confess coming to a land not our own
to rape and exploit it for profitable ends
to use it as a rubbish-heap for our undesirables.
Lord, have mercy,

Lord, have mercy.

We confess coming to a people not our own
whom we hunted and enslaved like wild animals
whom we chose as the bearers of our sin.
Christ, have mercy,

Christ, have mercy.

We confess coming to a spirituality not our own,
a Way inscribed in the land itself,
which we ridiculed and hunted as witchery.
Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

We confess that the land we exploit is a sacred place;
that the people we enslave bear your image;
that the religion we denigrate is able to speak of Christ.
Lord, in your mercy

forgive and set us free

At Social Justice Sunday

Because kids are dying of malnutrition
while we have more food than we need
Lord, have mercy: Lord, have mercy.

Because people are crippled by unpayable debts
while we save for our latest dream
Christ, have mercy: Christ, have mercy.

Because we pray for justice
but lift not a finger to help a neighbour in need
Lord, have mercy: Lord, have mercy.

At Christmas

In penitence and faith, let’s confess who we are before God . .
We are people who easily forget that Christ has come amongst us.
Lord, have mercy: Lord, have mercy.

We are people who forget to seek for the presence of Christ in our everyday experience.
Christ, have mercy: Christ, have mercy.

We are people who forget to earnestly pray that Christ’s reign of justice and peace will come on earth.
Lord, have mercy: Lord, have mercy.

On this day of days, when God becomes a human being, it also becomes possible that human beings may be reunited with their Creator. In the Christ of Bethlehem, God has come near to forgive all our misdeeds, all our hatreds of self, others and God. And so I declare to you this day Christ’s extraordinary word of grace to us all: Your sins are forgiven! Thanks be to God.

At the Reign of Christ

Lord, we are your people, the sheep your pasture. We are the ones who look to Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. But sometimes we become so secure in our status as your chosen ones that we forget that you are the Creator of the whole world, and that you have a plan for others as well. For those who are not of our own sheep-fold.

Forgive your people those many times in our history when we have persecuted and killed people simply because they are not Christians. Forgive us, even today, when we look with suspicion and fear at people whose faith is different to our own.

In a moment of quiet, we search our hearts and confess our own injustice, our own prejudice. . .


At any time

Crucified and risen God,
we thank you for your amazing love.
Even while we were lost in our sin,
still entangled in the wrongness of this world,
you took our breath away with your forgiveness.
Grant us the breath of your Spirit to sustain us
as we seek to walk in newness of life. Amen.

At Easter

God of mercy,
in Jesus you came to look for the lost,
you came to look for us . . .

But such compassion is . . . dangerous,
When you confronted the powers of fear and of hatred,
you were mocked, tortured and killed by evil men.
The sky went dark, the moon turned to blood.
It was like the whole universe was struggling for breath . . .

But then something strange happened.
In your anguish, we found our joy.
In your disfigurement, we found a god we could understand.
In your wounds of love, the whole universe found its healing . .

As the buried grain brings forth a harvest,
as the pangs of labour give way to joy,
so Christ died and is risen,
risen to fill the whole universe with God's light . . .

And so we worship you, our God.
For you did not abandon us to our evil ways.
In Christ the world is made new.

Alleluia . . . Alleluia . . . Alleluia . . .

At Baptism

Loving Lord, even before we were knit together in our mother’s womb, you knew every day ordained for us, and loved us with an everlasting love. Yet we so easily forget that we are so fearfully and wonderfully made.
Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy . . .

Lord Jesus, you know us so very well. You are closer to us than our own breathing. You know who we are and call us to find ourselves by following you. Yet so often we turn aside from your path, and make for ourselves masks by which we hide our true identity, even from ourselves!
Christ have mercy. Christ have mercy . . .

Merciful God, in baptism each of us pledged ourselves to you, soul and body, saying "I am no longer my own, but yours". But we are adept at using and abusing our bodies as though they were ours alone. We don’t look after these temples as we ought. We forget that our bodies are part of Christ’s own body.
Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy . . .

At any time

God of mercy
Forgive us our riches while so many are poor,
forgive us our full stomachs while so many are hungry,
forgive us our laughter while so many are weeping,
forgive us our idolatrous yearnings for status and success,
while true prophets are spurned and ridiculed.

God of mercy
In Jesus you gave us an opportunity to let go of these things,
to put aside all that maims and poisons.
In your grace, you gave us an opportunity to be healed, to start again.

We want to embrace that healing now.
We want to be free for the new life you offer.
Touch us with your lovingkindness.
In your compassion, bring us to life once more. Amen.

At Jubilee/ Reconciliation

Because we do not honour your name, or look for the coming of your kingdom in our relationships and our politics,
Lord have mercy: Lord have mercy.

Because we hesitate to share our food with the hungry,
and our water with the thirsty,
Christ have mercy: Christ have mercy.

Because we are slow to forgive our debtors after the way you
have forgiven us,
Lord have mercy: Lord have mercy.

In a world so weary of doing good, it is easy for God's children to become weary of doing good as well. But our God is one who strengthens the weary of heart. Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall rise up on wings like eagles. They shall run and not be tired. They shall walk and not be faint. Hear then Christ's word of grace to us: Your sins are forgiven. Thanks be to God.

At Any time

Living God
When we are hurt and in pain
save us from that cold which paralyses our breathing,
our moving, our feeling;
and save us from the impenetrable mist of our loneliness.

When we want to curl into a coma,
when we want to enter that numb forgetfulness,
open our hearts wide.
Warm us with neighbours,
comfort us with strangers,
help us to breathe in the presence of hope once more,
that our wounds may be healed. Amen.


At any time

Loving Lord,
sometimes we don't use the freedom you've given very well.
We fight with each other over things that aren't important,
and keep silence over things that are.
We litter and consume the beautiful earth
instead of loving it as God's own body.
We sneak away when a friend needs our help,
and hide away when we could use some help ourselves.
We are quick to have a go at each other,
but slow to offer words of encouragement or care.

Loving Lord, forgive us.
In Jesus you showed us a most excellent way:
a way of honesty and courage.
Grant us courage today, that we may address ourselves
and each other,
with the words of God's freedom on our lips:
Your sins are forgiven!
Thanks be to God!

At any time

Merciful God:
Forgive us for holding our pain inside.
Help us to share it with caring friends,
to name it out loud
that the burden might not be so heavy.

Forgive us for clutching our possession so.
Help us to share our fortune with the poor
and with the stranger at our gates,
that your gifts may be evermore given.

Forgive us for hiding our sins in secret places.
Help us to confess our sins to you
and present honest faces to one another,
that we might awake to the joy of forgiveness.

Forgive us for holding our love inside.
Help us to give to each other out of our truest selves
that the love of Jesus might grow within us
and the kingdom of Jesus between us.

At any time

Merciful God:
We are weak and pathetic,
yet there is so much strength in us!
We are cold and heartless,
but our hearts go out to the needy!
We love evil and avoid doing good,
yet we are lovers and dreamers of peace!

Merciful God:
In Jesus Christ you became like us,
so that we might become like you.
In your mercy, forgive our ambivalence
and make us alive with your pure, single-minded, love.

At any time

We lazily cling to all that is miserable and degrading;
we love stagnation more than life in all its fullness.
Save us from laziness, O God.
Lord, have mercy: Lord, have mercy.

Forgiving God, we are a people who live in fear.
We are scared of the unknown and of all that's genuinely new;
we're afraid to die, we're afraid of transformation.
Save us from fear, O God.
Christ, have mercy: Christ, have mercy.

Loving God, we are a forgetful people.
We've forgotten that we are your children,
heirs of God and all that belongs to God.
Save us from forgetfulness, O God.
Lord, have mercy: Lord, have mercy.

At any time

God, in Jesus you showed us the way to joy.
But somehow it’s easier to be miserable,
to stick with what’s known and familiar,
even if that robs us life’s riches.

I guess we’re afraid, God.
I guess we’re afraid of what might happen if we let you in,
what renovations you might make to those houses within.
I suppose we forget that you love us deeply,
that you’ve got our best interests in mind,
that you long to tend our souls
like the angels do the gardens of heaven.

Lord, today we want it all to change.
All the lies and the sneaking around.
All the fear and the guilt and the feeling sorry for ourselves.
Come like a loving gardener.
Come like Peter Cundall and prune away the rubbish.
We want to be roses for you God,
a garden of your own planting,
a sweet-smelling offering to your love.

Please forgive us our attachment
to all that is miserable and ugly.
Make us the beautiful souls we were destined to be.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

At any time

O God our friend and companion,
we are people who cheerfully praise you when all is well,
yet we quickly forget your goodness during the tough times.

In your mercy, forgive us.

We are people whose lips speak of 'good news for the poor',
while our hearts turn aside from the needy all around.

In your mercy, forgive us.

We are people who believe that Jesus is Lord,
yet we daily pay homage to the gods of Money and Success.

In your mercy, forgive us.

We are people who yearn to unlock the mysteries of your love,
yet we invest so little time in prayerful listening.

In your mercy, forgive us.

God our Companion, we believe that you love us.
But we confess our failure to be the people you call us to be.
We take refuge in Jesus, whom came as the suffering one
who bears the sins of the world.
In him our sins are forgiven.
In him we dare to hope for a brighter future.

Lord, in your mercy, set us free. Amen.


At any time

you have given us your Spirit of Love (hands to heart)
But we keep that love to ourselves (one hand out in a 'stop!' sign).
You have given us your Spirit of Joy (hands up, saying 'whoopee!').
But we prefer to mope around (head hung, pout on face).
You have given us your Spirit of Peace (hands in monkey-grip).
But we hit out at each other when we can't get our way (hit out).
Loving Lord (reach up), forgive us (hands crossed over heart).
Set us free from our sins (hands at sides, palms forward)
and make us whole once more (standing, arms outstretched to heaven).

At any time

Save us from bitterness -
that little seed of anger
which grows like ragwart
and takes over all the good ground
in no time flat
leaving our hearts barren and spent.

Make our anger
into a sharp instrument of cultivation
which makes the paddocks
produce a harvest.
May we wield it with thought
and direct it with planning.

Then the crop will grow
and we can have done with anger.
We will put the plough away
and throw a big party
where the poor can eat their fill
and never go hungry again.

God, save us from bitterness.
Make our anger count,
for Christ's sake. Amen.

At Easter

Loving Lord,
in the brightness of this resurrection season
we greet you as the one who makes all things new.
You are the beginning and the end of all our striving.
You are our healing and our home.

Lord Jesus, we love you. We worship you. We adore you.
Forgive us when we live as though the resurrection isn't real.
Forgive us when we continue in bitterness towards others
or loathing towards ourselves.
Forgive us when we hoard our riches and refuse to share.
Forgive us when we neglect the word of your good news,
and the company of our brothers and sisters in the reign of

(Psalm 51 is said or sung:  'Create in us a clean heart, O God')

Loving Shepherd, you care for all your sheep,
and especially for the weakest and most vulnerable.
We wander from your path often,
but you call us by name and search until we are found.
Forgive us now, Lord.
Only say the word, and we shall be healed. Amen.

At Lent

Loving Lord

We are the people who believe that knowing you is more important than anything else in the world. You are the pearl of great price, the treasure found in a field. For the joy of obtaining you, we declare our willingness to give up everything else, to put away our idols in order to worship you, the one true God.

Still . . . today we gather, a company of liars and cowards. We cling to almost everything else but you. Given the choice between spending time with you and watching TV, we watch TV. When you came to us in the guise of the stranger and ask our help, we say no. Given the choice between common sense and losing ourselves for your sake, we choose common sense every time.

Merciful Lord, as we confess who we are in the silence, hear us, and forgive.

(silence . . .)

Nothing in the whole creation can separate us from the love of Christ. Not trouble, nor suffering, nor hunger, nor danger, nor illness, nor unpopularity, nor being out of step with fashion, nor even death. God loves us. And so I declare to you Christ’s amazing word of grace to us all. Your sins are forgiven!
Thanks be to God!


At Lent

We need your forgiveness, merciful God,
for not allowing our complacency to be shattered,
for taking refuge too often in the familiar and the certain;
for not believing in the victory of vulnerability,
for not daring to accept your gifts nor claim your promises.

Sung: Lord have mercy (x3);  Christ have mercy (x3);  Lord have mercy (x3)

Merciful God,
In this time of Lenten reflection, grant us true repentance.
This is a time for clarity,
as when the bare boughs of winter show us the
true shape of the tree in its austere beauty.
Grant that we may clear away the clutter of our lives
and follow you with single-minded devotion.

Based on a prayer from the St. Hilda Community in London.

At any time

Who we are is known to God.
Who we will be is known also.
At no point in any of our stories has God rejected us
because we reject ourselves.
We are God's beloved children,
heirs to all that is God and belongs to God.
Our suffering is God's suffering.
Our joy is God's joy.
God accepts and celebrates the selves
we find so hard to accept.

Let us find our peace, then.
Let us receive with a deep thankfulness
that cup of God's love
which is Christ's forgiveness.

At Easter or any time

Lord Jesus Christ,
you came into this world to save sinners:
Lord have mercy: Lord, have mercy.

You were tortured and killed by evil men
that our sins might be forgiven:
Christ, have mercy: Christ have mercy.

You live forever, our risen and exalted Saviour,
praying for us in the life of God:
Lord, have mercy: Lord have mercy.

At any time

Lord, you search us and know us (search)
Lord, you search us and know us

You know our hearts (hands on heart)
You know our hearts

You know that we have failed to love - (give heart away)
You know that we have failed to love -

To love ourselves (embrace self)
To love ourselves

To love others (arms outstretched to others)
To love others

To love God - (arms reaching out to the heavens)
to love God -

Lord, forgive us (down on one knee, penitent)
Lord, forgive us.

In your love, set us free (on two knees, arms to the heavens, then stand up, smiling)
In your love, set us free.

These prayers are © Garry Deverell of 13 Lerina Street, Oakleigh East 3166, Australia. If you use them in any way, I would appreciate your acknowledgment of the source.