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Litanies and Occasional Prayers

A Litany for the Dedication of a Cross


      Christ said of his death on a cross:

‘Now is the moment when the truth will be unveiled;

now the ruler of this world will be driven out.

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth,

I shall draw all people to myself.’


Lord Jesus, by your cross, draw us from lies to truth:

      Lord Jesus, by your cross, draw us from lies to truth.


      The Apostle Paul wrote:

‘Jews demand dramatic signs from heaven,

and Greeks desire knowledge and wisdom;

but we proclaim Christ crucified,

a stumbling block to Jews and mere foolishness to Gentiles.’


Lord Jesus, by your cross,

confound our ‘wisdom’ and destroy our yearning for power.

      Lord Jesus, by your cross,

       confound our ‘wisdom’ and destroy our yearning for power.


      Christ said of his death on a cross:

‘If any want to become my followers,

let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

For those who want to save their life will lose it,

and those who lose their life for my sake,

and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.’


Lord Jesus, by our death on your cross, save our lives and make us whole.

      Lord Jesus, by our death on your cross, save our lives and make us whole.


Blessed are you, O God our Saviour.

In your great mercy you sent Jesus

to accomplish what we couldn’t accomplish for ourselves.

By our baptism into his death and resurrection,

you released us from our bondage to sin and death.

Now we are free to walk freely in the wide open spaces of your love.


Today we dedicate this cross to your service.

May it stand here, always, as a resonant reminder of your costly grace.

Because we have already died with Christ,

grant that your people may, with him, be ever ready to lay down our lives

for the peace and salvation of our neighbours.

This we ask in the name of Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God for ever and ever. 


Pray for us

Great Lifegiver, maker of the whole universe,
pray for us.

Spirit Wind, whose breath sustains and animates,
pray for us.

Sorrowing One, whose tears water the earth,
pray for us.

Mighty Liberator, who leads the poor out of slavery,
pray for us.

Angry Whirlwind, whose prophets cry out for justice,
pray for us.

Suffering Christ, body broken and blood poured out,
pray for us.

Fiery Cloud, ever leading God’s people home,
pray for us.

Transfiguring Light, poised to make all things new,
pray for us.

Now and in the time of our greatest trial,
Lord, set us free!

For battered women

We lament today a culture in which women must struggle
so very hard to possess what is already theirs.
Hear, today, the cries of the woman whose dignity has all
but disappeared under the yoke of masculine vanity.
We pray for the woman who, today, has gathered sufficient
strength to leave that abuse behind;
We pray, too, for the ones who have returned because the
voices of self-loathing were too great.
We pray for the woman whose bones are broken, whose soul
is scarred, whose children have been violated.
May she glimpse her worth, even in the tears, and, grasping
her anger, make a step towards life.

God our Sister and Mother,
encourage this little one:
Strengthen her now, and in the time of her greatest trial.
In your mercy, let her cry come to you. Amen.

When hope has gone

Coming God,
In the resurrection of Christ the reality
of your coming becomes transparent.
Lord, open our eyes to see.

In the presence of your Spirit we groan
with the birth-pangs of a new justice.
Lord, renew our commitment to your cause.

In the hope of your coming we imagine a new world
where your Spirit fills and transfigures all things.
Lord, restore our hope.

When lost or alone

God, you stick with us through thick and thin.
Even when we feel lost and alone,
you're there in the background,
waiting 'til we're ready to receive the care you offer.
You assure us that when there's nowhere to turn,
we can still turn to you.
In a smile or a hug or loving word
you greet us with peace and with a heart that knows our pain.
Thankyou God for being with us. Amen.


For insight

God of breakthrough,
You spoke wisdom to the crowds on the hills of Galilee;
let us hear your voice anew in the lyric of our poets.

You healed broken bodies by the pool of Siloam;
let us meet you again in the work of our healers.

You brought calm to the troubled mind of the Gerasenes;
through the care of friends let us experience your peace once more.

You bore the sin of many on the tree of Golgotha;
in service and solidarity may we share in your sacrifice.

From the emptiness of death you rose into life's fullness;
lead us beyond our sin to the abundance of grace.

For new hope

you are our horizon.
Help us to stop looking at our worn-out shoes;
help us to stand up straight.
and feel the warmth of the rising sun
on our faces.


At Pentecost: for reconciliation and unity

God of Pentecost
We are gathered today as a people of the Holy Spirit,
born anew from the watery womb of your love.
We are aware today that there remains much to divide us.
We lament the fact that we cannot yet gather
at the supper of our salvation as one holy people under Christ.
Lord, you send your Spirit to create one body of Christ
with each of us as members thereof.
We pray today, then, for a new spirit of love amongst the Christian people of our city.
Help us, Lord, to overcome the sad divisions that keep us apart.
In your mercy, give us the courage to begin a journey of healing
in the amazing power of your forgiveness.
Gift us with a renewed humility, that we may listen to each other without prejudice,
believing that by entertaining the stranger, we entertain angels.
Come, Holy Spirit; kindle a fire of love . . .

·  Sung Response: Come Holy Spirit, gracious heavenly dove, come fire of love.*

Creator God,
you send out your Spirit to renew the face of the earth.
And so we pray for our world, shattered in so many places
by ethnic and religious violence.
Lord of peace, wherever the forces of prejudice and greed reign
we pray that your Spirit would light there a flame of love,
even in the hearts of those most committed to violence and oppression.
And strengthen your broken and crucified people,
that when the day of evil comes they may not lose their resurrection hope.
Lord, kindle a flame of love in Fiji, and in the Solomon Islands . . .
Lord, kindle a flame of love in Indonesia, and particularly in the Malaku Islands . .
Lord, kindle a flame of love in Ethiopia and Eritrea . . .
Lord, kindle a flame of love in Sierra Leone . . .
Lord, kindle a flame of love in the Balkans . . .
Lord, kindle a flame of love in Northern Ireland . . .
Lord, kindle a flame of love in Australia . . .
Come, Holy Spirit; kindle a fire of love . . .

·  Sung Response: Come Holy Spirit, gracious heavenly dove, come fire of love.

Spirit of the prophets, and midwife of peace,
We come today with a painful awareness that it is not only the Church
which is divided against itself. So, too, our nation.
As our spiritual leaders have gathered in the nation's heart, in Uluru,
so we would join with them in an earnest prayer for reconciliation.
Lord of justice, Lord of peace,
by the power of your love, reconcile your divided people!
Give us the courage to create in our midst a sacred space where the healing may begin,
a space of the Spirit where we may find the courage to lament . . .
and repent our wrongdoing . . .
and say sorry . . .
and forgive.
Come, Holy Spirit; kindle a fire of love . . .

·  Sung Response: Come Holy Spirit, gracious heavenly dove, come fire of love.

And so we come to pray for each other, our God.
For reconciliation begins with us . . .

(Invite people to turn to another person, introduce themselves,
and then say a prayer for each other. Stress that this prayer need not be said out loud).

Come Holy Spirit; kindle a fire of love . . .

·  Sung Response: Come Holy Spirit, gracious heavenly dove, come fire of love.

Wisdom of God and primal fire,
we praise you because you take our many stories and make of them one story,
that you take our many ministries and make of them one ministry in Christ,
that you take our many churches and make of them one Church of God.
Lord of Pentecost,
come amongst your worshipping people today
and breathe new life into our feeble ecumenism.
Remind us today that we worship the one Lord Christ, crucified and risen.
Remind us today that we share a common heritage of faith.
Remind us today of our common baptism in water and the Spirit.
And make of these mysteries a crucible of love
by which we might dare to change our world.
For ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

* responsorial chant is from the Iona Community in Scotland.

Prayers for the Creation and those who tend it

God of life
You gather us into the circle dance of your life;
You spin your web of love in the fabric which is our bodies,
the bodies we share with brother sun and sister moon.
Now we gather in the communion
which is the body of Jesus our Lord.
We bring our concerns and our hopes,
our despair and our dreaming,
asking that, in Christ, all this wonder about us,
this fragile earth
may be renewed in love.

(CHANT begins) :

Men:   Da  pac-em  cord-i-um
 Da  pac-em  cord-i-um
 Da  pac-em  cord-i-um
 Da  pac-em  cord-i-um
Women 1:  Pa-cem, pa-cem, pa-cem
Women 2:  Pa-cem in te-rra.*

 (Translation:  Give peace to every heart.  Give peace in all the earth)

God of the first day,
Spirit who brooded over the watery chaos and brought forth life in all
 its fullness:
we pray this day for the complex ecosystems of our world,
threatened as they are by the arrogance of our desire
and the ignorance of our consumerism.
Protect and keep them, God,
 hold them to your breast and cherish them.

 CHANT:  Da  pac-em  cord-i-um . . .

God of the village well,
river of life and mother to all who are poor:
we pray this day for the Indigenous peoples of the world
whose fragile kinship with the lands of their dreaming
are threatened today by the greed of big government and big business.
We remember in particular the custodians of this place,
 the Djadjawurong people.
Protect and keep them, God,
 hold them to your breast and cherish them.

 CHANT:  Da  pac-em  cord-i-um . . .

God of the desert,
wild willy-wind of prophets and mystics:
we pray this day for all who seek to live their lives in solidarity
with the threatened species of our world,
for all who fight the good fight in season and out of season,
when it is popular to do so, and when it is not.
Protect and keep them, God,
 hold them to your breast and cherish them.

 CHANT:  Da  pac-em  cord-i-um . . .

God of the Rabbi from Galilee,
friend of the godless and bringer of hope:
we pray this day for ourselves,
and for all who despair at the fact of our own apathy.
In your mercy, visit us with new stories of hope,
with mustard-seeds of possibility that might,
with prayer and careful nurture,
grow to provide shade for all the fragile species of this beautiful world.
Protect and keep us, God,
 hold us to your breast and cherish us.

 CHANT:  Da  pac-em  cord-i-um . . .

After the petitions, people are invited to wander into the centre and place a leaf in the watery womb of creation (a glass bowl) asking that God may bless these prayers with fruitful action.  At the end of the prayer time, this collect is said:

Great Potter
who moistens the dust of the earth
and creates, out of barrenness,
all that is alive and beautiful.
Take these prayers of ours,
these groans of fragile humanity
and make with them,
—against all we dare hope or expect—
make with them a peace which overcomes.
For we pray in the name of him who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
 one God for ever and ever.  Amen.


*Adapted from a chant by Jacques Berthier
© Ateliers et Presses de Taizé

 At a time of pain

Living God
When we are hurt or in pain, save us from the 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.
That our wounds may be healed,
help us to breathe in the presence of hope once more.


Lord of Life,
we come this morning to acknowledge your goodness
in providing everything we need for discipleship.
You have given us the word of life
and the waters of baptism
and the communion in your body and blood.
And you have placed us within that great
company of strangers which is the church.
We praise you, this morning, for the many mentors
in faith you send to us as we hunger
for a deeper relationship with you.
Confirm in us, this very morning,
our desire to take up their mantle
for the sake of Christ and his gospel of peace.


In a time of war

Maker of the earth
let not the breaking of the atom undo us

Maker of the wind
let not the smoke of bombs choke us

Maker of reason
let not the computers of war murder us

Maker of the heart
help us to stop killing each other.

The Lord's Prayer

God our Mother and Father,
whose dwelling is sea and sky,
may your name be always honoured
by those who wander the earth.
We long for your compassion and justice
to grow to full stature in the world.
We long for the great transfiguration
when all things will pulse with your presence.
Feed us today with bread and water;
in these we receive of your life.
Encourage us in passing these gifts on to others,
for your life is poured out for the whole creation.
And in our trials,
when we encounter your dark and terrible fire,
consume our demons but spare our souls.
For all authority, power and honour are yours,
now and evermore. Amen.

For salvation from despair

O lover of the poor in spirit:
in Jesus you showed us that even the least of persons,
even a wandering peasant from an unimportant town,
can become the vehicle of divine love.
O God, we are poor and needy:
come quickly to save us.

In Jesus' execution you revealed that even
the most hideous of all tragedies
may conceal a secret hope.
O God, we are poor and needy:
come quickly to save us.

In Jesus' resurrection we glimpsed,
if only for a fleeting moment,
a flame with strength enough to endure the dark.
O God, we are poor and needy
come quickly to renew our hope.

For women in ministry

Jesus, who met the woman at the well:
Grant freedom to those sisters
who are prisoners of prejudice,
who remain the oppressed citizens of this company
which is your holy church.
We give thanks for the courage of many patient years,
and ask that your Spirit would continue to strive
within women everywhere,
speaking forth the word of liberation.
We pray, O God, that you would visit your church
with metamorphosis, with revolution,
that women may be free to minister
as you have appointed.

For Reconciliation between Indigenous & Non-indigenous people

God of love, creator of this ancient land,
We are a nation divided in many ways:
city against country
rich against poor
man against woman
industry against environment.
Today we gather to name, with heavy hearts, the longstanding hurts
which divide Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

We acknowledge the grief and heartache caused by
the invasion of this continent by Europeans
the taking of Aboriginal land without permission
the rape and torture of Aboriginal women, men and children
the policy of assimilation and the dislocation of Aboriginal families.
Lord, encourage all Australians to dream and live for a new vision:
help us to imagine a land in which all may share in the gospel
values of justice, peace and harmony with our environment.

Mysterious God, creator of life and bearer of pain,
we pray earnestly this day for reconciliation between
Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
Change our hearts of stone into hearts that feel;
transform our hollow words into works of peace and compassion.
Give us a deep respect and care for one another,
that we may listen to each other's stories without fear or prejudice.
Help us to walk and talk a renewed vision for Australia;
and give us the courage to see it through.

Ancient Spirit of Australia,
come upon your people gathered here.
Bless and keep us in changes we make this day.

For the loosing of chains

Saving God:
We pray today for a new awareness
of the chains which bind us.
Grace us with courage to remove
our bonds and cast them away,
even the ones we have grown to love,
the ones which are our favourite
excuses for stagnation.
Be fore us the never-wavering encouragement
to flee from death and choose life.


At time of farewell

God, bless our parting.
Make it like the departure of Christ at the end of his life:
a leaving
to arrive in familiar country
a weaning
to suckle anew
a letting go
to take rightful possession
a dying
to renew life
a dividing
to gain wholeness

God, bless our parting
Make it sorrowful
Surprise us with joy.

On Sorry Day (May 26th)

God of Earth and Sea and Sky,
God of our Ancestors,
We cry out today in grief for what happened in this nation.
Our hearts churn with the pain of generations:
generations stolen from the love of father and mother,
generations stolen from kin and culture,
generations stolen from the land of their dreaming.

Forgive our complicity in the actions of church and state.
Help us to change our hearts.
Infuse our hearts with courage to join with the journey of healing.
For we long for the day when the children can return home,
when their broken hearts may find healing
in the land of their dreaming and the people of their birth.

God, you are our sister and our mother,
the earth at our feet and the breath in our nostrils.
We turn to you today,
not knowing how the healing will come,
but trusting that you will be
our strength and our courage for the journey.

At the beginning of the day

Warm-winged Spirit,
Be beside us and between us today:
as we go about our work
as we seek to celebrate the gift of life
as we explore the universe
as we wrestle with intimacy
as we take new steps in the way of Jesus

At Pentecost or at Springtime

Merciful God,
your welcoming presence fills the whole creation.
The smile of your evergiving love visits us daily -
in spring rain and the teeming life of rainforests
in works of beauty and acts of compassion,
in human tenderness and the cry of newborn babies.

Loving God,
in Jesus, you are ever before us,
luring and seducing,
inviting us to join your divine dance, your celebration of life.

We behold your depths of your love, O God,
in the Spirit poured out upon Cornelius and his household.
With your servant Peter, may we learn today
that Christ is raised for all people,
regardless of race, creed or gender.

Renew our resolve to care for all people in your name,
after the example of Christ our Lord;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit
one God for ever and ever. Amen.

At a conversation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous

Blessed God, Ancient Spirit of this land,
you are the one in whom we live and move and have our being,
you are the one who nurtures and feeds us
with the pure nectar of our ancient faiths.

Come now, Blessed One, gather us together in a spirit of hospitality,
that we may welcome your own wisdom in each other's wisdom,
and hear your own voice in each other's voices.
Help us to patiently wait for the word of liberation,
that our hurts may be indeed be healed
and our work for others hallowed.

Glory be to you O God - Earthmaker, Painbearer, Lifegiver -
as in the beginning, so now and forever.   Amen.

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.