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Quaker and Ecumenical essays by Eden Grace
© 2004 Eden Grace

Pastoral Prayer:
A prayer for the church of Christ

The Temple
Ocean Park, Maine
August 15, 1999

Precious Lord, we thank you this morning for bringing us together to worship you in this beautiful place. We thank you for your faithfulness in sustaining Ocean Park as a Christian community from generation to generation. You have gathered us together today from many places. You have called us out of your scattered churches to be one congregation. We come from a variety of denominations, yet we worship you today as one body of Christ. We here in Ocean Park experience the blessings of unity which you bestow on your gathered people, and we are thankful.

Before his death, our Lord Jesus prayed that his followers would be “one”, as he and the Father are one. That oneness is a gift to us through the Holy Spirit, yet we are ashamed to say that we have often turned our back on it. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we have sometimes looked more like quarreling children than mature disciples.

We confess that the church has divided where you sought to unite. We confess that the church has sown prejudice where you sought to reap love. We can hardly bring the good news of justice and peace to the household of humankind, when the world can see that we Christians are like a house divided against itself, which cannot stand.

We confess that we have fallen short of your vision for the church. We have not lived in the loving communion which mirrors the unity of the Father and the Son. For this, we repent and humbly ask your forgiveness.

Lord, help us to realize your vision of a church that will bring all people into communion with you, God, and with one another, professing one baptism, celebrating one communion, and acknowledging a common ministry. This is our gift; this is our calling. For this, we pray.

Lord, help us to realize your vision of a church which will express its unity by confessing the apostolic faith, living in genuine fellowship and acting together in mutual accountability. This is our gift; this is our calling. For this, we pray.

Lord, help us to realize your vision of a church that will reach out to everyone, sharing, caring, proclaiming the good news of your redemption, a sign of the kingdom and a servant of the world. This is our gift; this is our calling. For this, we pray.

Lord, help us to realize your vision of a church, your people on the way together, confronting all divisions of race, gender, age or culture, striving to realize justice and peace, upholding the integrity of creation. This is our gift; this is our calling. For this, we pray.

We know you have a purpose for us in your kingdom, Lord, and we pray for your forgiving grace and loving guidance as we seek to fulfil our calling, to mirror among our brothers and sisters the creative communion which marks your being in trinity.

We pray these things in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

© 1999 Eden Grace

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