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Prayers for Mennonite Church USA

Mary E. Klassen

March 6, 2014

Prayers in the AMBS Chapel of the Word.

Prayers in the AMBS Chapel of the Word.

Instead of eating lunch on Fridays, some members of the seminary community are gathering for prayers for Mennonite Church USA.

David Miller, associate professor of missional leadership development, initiated this with his own commitment to pray and fast every Friday at lunch time. As are many in Mennonite Church USA, David is troubled as he reads the "Rule of Love" and the "Transformation Letter," proposing alternative paths by Mennonite Church USA in its response to people in same gender relationships.

Some of David's discomfort comes because he knows many of the people who have signed both letters. “These are people with whom I have served and studied; they are people who have been my students. They are people I trust and with whom I have shared at the Lord’s table,” he said.

So he has made a commitment to fast and pray during lunch time each Friday through the end of the semester. From 12:15 to 1:00 p.m., he and others who wish to join him gather in the Chapel of the Word. David has shaped this time of prayer for the church and church leaders with praise, confession and intercession, based on Scripture.

“There must be a way forward and it’s not something we can manage. We will be led by the Spirit of God, the Spirit who makes unity possible,” David said.

Others are invited to join the prayer time at AMBS and to use this guide for their own prayers.

Prayers for Mennonite Church USA as PDF file for downloading.

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Prayers for Mennonite Church USA

The prayes are divided into sections, with each section having a focus for specific petitions. Following the scripture introduction to each section you are invited to pray, silently or aloud, then respond as indicated.

Collect (in unison):

Lord Jesus Christ, before your passion, you prayed that those who believe in you might be made one by the working of your love in us. Let your love accomplish in us what you desire. Amen.

Praise to Christ who makes unity possible.

Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through [the cross]. (Ephesians 2:13-16)

Prayers

Leader: Reconciling God,
People: Hear our prayer.

Lament for the divisions within the body of Christ

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Prayers

Leader: Reconciling God,
People: Hear our prayer.

Confession of our own role in this present conflict
(let us examine ourselves regarding fear, animosity, believing or speaking half-truths, treating others with disdain, silencing others, lack of trust, etc.)

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:12-15)

Prayers

Leader: Reconciling God,
People: Hear our prayer.

Intercession for those we have called to serve the church in leadership

The gifts Christ gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

Prayers

Leader: Reconciling God,
People: Hear our prayer.

Intercession for those wounded by silencing, exclusion, labeling and animosity

Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you.
Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress. Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call. (Psalm 102:1-2)

Prayers

Leader: Reconciling God,
People: Hear our prayer.

Petitions for a way forward

I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them. (Isaiah 42:16)

Prayers

Leader: Reconciling God,
People: Hear our prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer

Benediction

Beloved of God,
May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Abba of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:5-7, 13)