Forty years. Forty days. Forty hours.

 

Forty years

The Uniting Church in Australia is celebrating 40 years as a uniquely Australian church.

At our inauguration service on Wednesday 22 June 1977 the first President Rev. Dr Davis McCaughey, the primary author of our Basis of Union, remarked that church union ‘meant absolutely nothing, unless it drives us back to the fundamental questions – where do you come from, where are you going, and who are you?’

“Are you and I prepared to find our bearings afresh?” asked McCaughey, as he urged the 1977 faithful on a new pilgrimage, to engage the world through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of his spirit.

 

Forty days

Our leaders are marking the occasion with 40 days of prayer up until our historic inauguration date, from Sunday 14 May to Thursday 22 June.

During this time, we will pray together for renewal for ourselves, our communities, our world and our Church. We will participate in A Destiny Together: A Week of Prayer and Fasting during National Reconciliation Week from 27 May to 3 June 2017.

How can you participate:

  • Pray throughout the 40 days
  • Set aside time in your congregation to pray – each Sunday, for a day, for a time each day
  • Join with other congregations to pray together
  • Use the resources for A Destiny Together: A Week of Prayer and Fasting during National Reconciliation Week, as we stand together with First Peoples to deepen the covenant relationship we are committed to

 

Subscribe to 40 Days of Prayer

The first week of the 40 Days of Prayer is from Sunday 14 May - Sunday 21 May begins with the prayer from our first President Rev. Dr Davis McCaughey at the Service of Inauguration and ends with us praying for the work of UnitingWorld.

The second week of the 40 Days of Prayer is from Monday 22 May - Sunday 28 May has prayers for Church Leaders from our first female President Dr Jill Tabart and the beginning of A Destiny Together, seeking justice for First Peoples.

The third week of the 40 Days of Prayer is from Monday 29 May to Sunday 4 June which coincides with the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and ending with a reflection on the feast of Pentecost.

 

Prayer #1 - Revisiting Our Inauguration

Day 1 – Sunday 14 May 2017  

We begin our 40 days of prayer with the first prayer by our first President Rev. Dr Davis McCaughey at the Service of Inauguration on 22 June 1977.

In peace let us pray to the Lord,
For the peace which is from above, and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord have mercy.
For the peace of the whole world, for the welfare of God's holy churches, and for the unity of them all, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord have mercy.
For Ministers of Word and Sacrament and all others called to minister in the Church of God, that with pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith they may accomplish their ministry, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord have mercy.
For our homes that they may be holy, for parents and children, brothers and sisters, and all our families let us pray to the Lord.
Lord have mercy.
For the rulers of our country and all in authority among the nations, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord have mercy.
For the sick and the suffering, the sorrowful and the dying - for the homeless and starving, for the prisoners and captives; and for those who suffer persecution, let us pray to the Lord.
Lord have mercy.
For ourselves and all who confess the name of Christ, that we may faithfully serve and obey Him in this life and at the last join those now at rest in unending joy, let us pray to the Lord.

Response: Glory be the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

For this 40th anniversary, the 6th President Rev Dr D'Arcy Wood has updated a prayer of thanksgiving given by his father, Rev Dr A. Harold Wood at the time of the Inauguration.

Mighty and merciful God,
you have led your pilgrim people through centuries past
and are calling us to serve you today.

You have blessed us with gifts of the Holy Spirit.
You have given leaders to your Church
who have guided us with courage and insight.

Despite the failings of your Church, you continue to claim us for yourself,
to renew our faith
and to send us out to a world in need.

We thank you for the inheritance into which we have entered:
for the Reformers of the 16th century who preached the centrality of Jesus Christ;
for the Evangelical Revival of the 18th century which reached out
in fresh ways with the Good News;
for the Ecumenical Movement of the 20th century which has brought Christians
together across barriers of race, language, culture and tradition.

We give you thanks for all who prayed and worked to bring the Uniting Church into being:
for those who wrote the Basis of Union;
for those in every locality who worked patiently to bring people together;
for those who for 40 years have proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
ministered to the sick and suffering,
and developed new initiatives in mission.

We ask your blessing on your Church in the coming years:
that you will draw us closer to other Churches;
that you will strengthen our work for justice and peace;
that you will help us minister to the poor and distressed,
the lonely and alienated, the confused and despairing.

May your Spirit of truth and love be our guide both now and in the future,
that we may be a faithful servant Church,
giving of ourselves and all we have
as Jesus gave himself for us. Amen.       

Prayer #2 - Prayer for Rural and Remote Ministry

Day 2 – Monday 15 May 2017

Today we pray for all those working in rural and remote ministry.

On the anniversary of the first flight of the Australian Inland Mission Aerial Medical Service later known as the Royal Flying Doctor Service, we remember the pioneers of ministry in the outback and all those who have followed in their footsteps to support and advocate for the people of remote Australia.

Loving God
undiminished by distance
unconstrained by place or time, forever seeking, forever calling,
forever drawing humanity
to yourself and to each other,
We glimpse your Spirit
in the brooding silence of awesome landscape, the ancient law of Aboriginal nations,
the unspoken trust of honest mateship.
Yet in the vastness of this place, Australia,
we often feel alone, alienated, unworthy
of more than a passing acquaintance with your love.
Help us understand
You ever yearn to make us whole,
drawing near in Christ
to show us the way.

We pray for all who live beyond our cities,
especially for people and communities in the grip of drought
or economic hardship or despairing for their future.
Come with your spirit of hope.

We pray for those who are feeling disconnected
from their families, their communities, their God.
May their loneliness be replaced with a sense of belonging and relationship. 

We pray for those suffering the impact of our unpredictable climate,
those who are burdened with the darkness of depression,
and for families and communities devastated by the scourge of suicide.
May your peace encircle and strengthen them and bring them consolation.

We pray for all who serve in remote communities,
especially through the work of Frontier Services, for the Patrol Ministers
and the volunteers of Outback Links,
who by their presence reflect
your compassion and love to all they encounter.

Amen.

Prayer #3 - Prayer for the work of our community services

Day 3 – Tuesday 16 May 2017

This prayer was written for the launch of UnitingCare by the members of the UnitingCare Secretariat.

Your Hands

God of Hope and Joy,
In your greatness you call us
To seek those who are lost,
forgotten and isolated.

God of light and strength,
by your Grace
you call us to be together
to journey our understanding of the Way.

Show us the way forward
into this world you love,
to be your hands and heart,
to respond with willingness and humility,
to love and share
as you have loved and shared.

Send us to the edges,
give us the grace to stand beside
those who are voiceless,
marginalised and rejected,
those who experience pain and hardship,
loneliness and grief, coldness and hunger.

Show us how to care, how to listen,
how to respond, how to love,
how to proclaim and liberate.

Lead us so that in being
your hands and heart
we may ever faithfully
walk in your Spirit.

Amen.

Additionally you may like to offer this contemporary prayer for the poor and needy. Thanks to UnitingCare National Director Claerwen Little for sourcing this prayer.

Lord God, 
You came to give honour to the least, those forgotten, overlooked and misjudged.
You came to give first place to the last, those left behind, misunderstood and undervalued.
You came to give a warm welcome to the lost, those who are orphaned, abandoned and destitute.

Help us to be your ears to listen to their cries.
Help us to be your voice speaking out love and acceptance.
Help us to be your feet walking beside those in need.
Help us to be your hands to clothe, feed and shelter them. 

You came for the least, the lost and last of this world. 
Lord, hear our prayer.

Amen.

This prayer is from the website lords-prayer-words.com

Prayer #4 - Prayer for the work of our schools

Day 4 – Wednesday 17 May 2017 

Today we pray for Uniting Church schools across the country.

This prayer was contributed by Elaine Rae, Assembly Standing Committee member and former Executive Officer of the Schools Commission, UCA Queensland Synod.

Lord, we pray for those exercising ministry through working in Uniting Church schools throughout Australia 
as they seek to model servant leadership, share the Gospel and build Christian communities. 

Lord, we pray for the work of our schools;
for Principals and Boards that they may reflect Christian values in all their deliberations and actions
for Chaplains that they are provided with opportunities to share the Gospel
for teachers and other staff that they may model Christ's love in their interactions with each other and students
and for students that they be open to the leading of your Spirit.

Lord, we pray for all who work in and with our schools.
Grant them wisdom, courage and compassion in all their deliberations and actions.
We pray that their influence on the lives of young people is reflective of Christ's love and teachings.

Amen.

Prayer #5 - Prayer for the work of our ministry lay and ordained

Day 5 – Thursday 18 May 2017

Today we pray for all those exercising ministry across our Church in whatever capacity. This prayer is contributed by the General Secretary of the Uniting Church in Western Australia Rev. David de Kock.

Holy God, revealed in Christ Jesus, as Lord of the church, we come with thankful and joyful hearts to celebrate the ministry of all leaders in the Uniting Church in Australia.

For those who have served gladly over the past 40 years – whether ordained or lay, for those who serve Your people at this time, and for those whom You are calling to serve in the days ahead,
We thank You Lord. And we celebrate with joy!

For those who have provided for our needs and comforted us in our despair, for those who lifted us when we were down, who accepted us as we are, and who spoke Your words of forgiveness over us,
We thank You Lord. And we celebrate with joy!

For those whose words and deeds have made the love of God real for us, for those whose lifestyle is so shaped by the presence of the Father that they became beacons of hope in a dark world,
We thank You Lord. And we celebrate with joy!

For those who have borne witness to the One who lived, died, and was raised to make us whole, for those who told us the stories of Jesus, for those who brought us to Christ,
We thank You Lord. And we celebrate with joy!

For those whose warmed hearts have revealed the renewing and enabling power of the Holy Spirit, for those lives that demonstrate the fruit and the gifts of the Spirit’s presence,
We thank You Lord. And we celebrate with joy!

For those servants of God whose vision has brought us to this time and place, for those who through the years have stood firm for Christ, for those who have finished the race and won the prize,
We thank You Lord. And we celebrate with joy!

For our life in Christ and the fellowship of His people, for freedom to worship and good news to share, for opportunities for evangelism and the mission of caring,
We thank You Lord. And we celebrate with joy!

For our gathering together in the name of Christ across this land, for our oneness in Him and the promise of wholeness both now and to come, for the God who had the first word and who assures us that He will have the last, for the One who is worthy,

We thank the Lord. And we celebrate with joy! Amen.

Prayer #6 - Prayer for the work of our theological colleges and educators

Day 6 – Friday 19 May 2017

Today we pray for all those working in Christian education in the Uniting Church.

This prayer is contributed by Rev. Dr Chris Walker, the Assembly’s National Consultant for Christian Unity, Doctrine and Worship. Chris has worked in educational roles in the Uniting Church for more than 30 years.

Gracious God, you are the source of all life and truth.
Your son Jesus was known as a teacher and master.
Your Spirit enlightens people with your wisdom.

Bless the work of teaching in the church
that it may bear much fruit in the lives of people,
in the church and in the community.

We pray for our Uniting Church theological colleges and educators in their work of enabling people
to deepen their knowledge of you and your purposes. 
Assist them to be effective in equipping people to serve you in their lives.

Bless the teachers and learners.
Be with those who teach as they prepare and guide.
Make them strong in their believing,
insightful in their understanding
and humble in their presentation. 

Be with the learners as they study and consider.
Make them eager in their tasks,
proficient in their study
and perceptive in their discernment.

Bless those with responsibility for the oversight of the educational ministry of the Uniting Church.
Be with them as they encourage and inspire the teaching ministry across the Church
so that people are given opportunities to grow as disciples
in their understanding and commitment to Jesus Christ. 
In his name we pray.  Amen.

We pray also for those who form and nurture us in faith. This prayer is written by Craig Mitchell, National Director of Formation, Education and Discipleship.

Today, let us give thanks for those who formed and nurtured us in faith.

Spend some time in silence, remembering and being thankful for the people who introduced you to faith
Those who told you the Gospel stories and opened up the Scriptures,
Those who were living examples of what it means to follow Christ,
Those who heard your doubts and withheld easy answers
Those who led you into experiences of discovering your gifts and serving God
Those who walked alongside you as fellow pilgrims
Grandparents and parents, ministers, Sunday School teachers and youth leaders,
Bible study leaders, school chaplains, friends and mentors

You may wish to write down some of their names as you give thanks.

Spend some time in silent confession
For when we have failed to pass on the faith to younger generations
For when we have neglected to raise up and resource teachers and leaders
For when we have learned not to struggle with the hard questions of faith
but are instead satisfied with easy answers and shallow discipleship

Lord, have mercy

Spend some time praying for people
For those who are the teachers of the faith in your congregation
For church councils as they resource the ministry of teaching and learning
For those who provide leadership in faith formation and education in presbyteries, synods and assembly
Reflect on how you pass on the faith in word and deed
with those in your spheres of influence
Ask God to help you be a person who with humility is a companion to others
on the way together as disciples of Jesus Christ

Close with this ancient prayer by Thomas Aquinas
Give to us, Lord
understanding to know you,
diligence to seek you,
wisdom to find you,
and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer #7 - Prayer for the work of our congregations

Day 7 – Saturday 20 May 2017  

This prayer is contributed by Rev. Dr Chris Budden, the interim National Coordinator of Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress.

Chris is a former General Secretary of the Synod of NSW and the ACT. He prefaces his prayer with two paragraphs from the Basis of Union.

The Congregation is the embodiment in one place of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, worshipping, witnessing and serving as a fellowship of the Spirit in Christ. Its members meet regularly to hear God’s Word, to celebrate the sacraments, to build one another up in love, to share in the wider responsibilities of the Church, and to serve the world. (Basis of Union, paragraph 15)
 God in Christ has given to all people in the Church the Holy Spirit as a pledge and foretaste of that coming reconciliation and renewal which is the end in view for the whole creation. The Church’s call is to serve that end… (Basis of Union, paragraph 3)

Holy God, dancing community of Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
          You call people into that community which is the Body of Christ,
                   a community of reconciliation and renewal,
                             of diversity, welcome, justice and breaking of bread.

We thank you for the diversity of congregations in our church
          large and small, rural and city, stretched across the theological landscape.
We thank you for the languages and cultures, the worship styles and traditions,
          held together in common commitment to Christ.

Sustain and encourage your people in worship
          encourage them as they do their best to tell the story of Jesus,
                   enable them to be beacons of compassion in what is not always an easy world.

We ask that your Spirit will help us celebrate, find joy, and be fed by the living Word;
          encourage us to take steps – however tentative – into your world;
                   and offer hope to the broken-hearted, the lost, the lonely, and the ignored.

May the life of Jesus so inspire us that we may bear your image in the world,
          opposing racism and sexism, standing with those who are different,
                   seeking peace, welcoming strangers, building families of all kinds,
                             enabling people to celebrate the gift of life.

Enable us, we pray, to be your people,
          a community shaped by the life and presence of Jesus,
                   committed to the life of our community.

In his name we pray.
Amen.

Prayer #8 - WCC Global Day of Prayer to End Famine/Prayer for the work of Uniting World, the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan, and UCA South Sudanese faith communities.

Day 8 – Sunday 21 May 2017 

The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the All Africa Conference of Churches have asked member churches to observe a Global Day of Prayer to End Famine.

This prayer is offered by Rob Floyd, National Director of UnitingWorld.

Loving God,
Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread”
we acknowledge that all good gifts come from your generous hands. 

We thank you for the blessings of food, water, shelter, family and well-being.
As we enjoy healthy food, we know that this abundance is not shared equally among us.
While some are satisfied, others are starving.
We think of people who struggle to feed their families every day.
As we say “Give us today our daily bread” we pray also for the millions who go hungry every day.

Lord Jesus,
On this day that our sisters and brothers in Christ around the world are joined in prayer to end famine, we remember how you fed the hungry. 
Inspire us to follow your example, showing compassion in action and sharing what we have with people who have less.
Give us the courage and determination to speak out about the systems in our world that perpetuate injustice and inequality, poverty and hunger.

We pray for the work of UnitingWorld and the overseas church partners of the Uniting Church in Australia.
Many of our partner churches are located in places where their communities are subject to great hardship and shortages of the basics of life.
Particularly today we join with our African brothers and sisters, once more facing famine on their continent.

We pray for the people of South Sudan and our partner the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan.
Bless them as they care for their people and as they work to feed the growing number in their communities facing starvation.

We pray too for the South Sudanese communities in Australia, whose hearts ache for their relatives and friends in their homeland as they endure the miseries of famine and conflict.

Loving God,
You care for all people. Help us to remember your command to love one another.
Help us to see you in each of our brothers and sisters— especially those who are in need.
You are the Bread of Life. Strengthen us as we work for justice in the world.

Amen.

Prayer # 9 Prayer for Church Leaders

Day 9 - Monday 22 May

Today we pray for the leaders of our Church. This prayer was written by Dr Jill Tabart, the first woman President of the Uniting Church in Australia. She held this position from 1994-1997.

Living, loving God,

We give you thanks that your Spirit has endowed members of your Church with a diversity of gifts, and that there is no gift without its corresponding service. For those with the gift of leadership in the Uniting Church in Australia, we pray this day:

• for those whose vision and faithfulness fashioned the Basis of Union to provide boundary markers for the journey of the new Church;
• for those whose faithful and scholarly interpretation of the Scriptures is helping us all discern, with an informed faith, where you are calling the Church in this day and age;
• for those whose hearts are heavy at declining numbers in congregations, and who grieve that patterns of the past are no more;
• for those whose creativity and passion are opening up fresh ways of helping people find you, and worship you, and serve you;
• for those catching anew the vision of your call to a Pilgrim people, alive with the urgency of proclaiming the timeless good news of your love and forgiveness for all.

Living, loving God,

We give you thanks this day as we seek your blessing on all in leadership positions across this church.

Amen

Prayer # 10 Prayer for Justice

Day 10 - Tuesday 23 May 

Today we pray for the work we do in pursuit of justice. This prayer was written by Rev. Elenie Poulos, former National Director of Uniting Justice. It was first published on Social Justice Sunday in 2004.

Loving God,
help us to be true:
to see the truth of our brokenness,
hear the truth of our pain,
and speak the truth of our violence,
regardless of the cost.

Loving God,
help us to be merciful:
to open our hearts to everyone we meet,
to reach out our hands with compassion,
and offer love without condition.

Loving God,
help us to be just:
to transform our violent world -
overturning the systems and structures of oppression
and bringing justice to all creation.

Loving God,
help us to be community:
to live together in trust -
all people and all creation,
reconciled and renewed in your grace,
a world of peace.
Now and forever. Amen.

Prayer #11 - Prayer for Parish Missions

Day 11 – Wednesday 24 May

Today we pray for Parish Missions. It is also the day the Uniting Church remembers church reformers John and Charles Wesley.

This prayer was written by Rev. Dr Chris Walker, National Consultant Christian Unity, Doctrine & Worship.

 

God of love and justice, we pray for the work of Parish Missions across Australia. We thank you for the extensive ministries they have developed to serve people, especially those with particular needs. 

Be with the leaders of the Missions both ordained and lay that they may offer servant leadership that is wise and compassionate.

Uphold the many staff that they may serve people in the spirit of Christ.

May the Parish Missions continue to hold word and deed together as they proclaim the gospel and serve in the name of Jesus.

 

Assist the leaders in Parish Missions and all of us to take John Wesley’s prayer to heart as we remember John and Charles Wesley on this day.

 

Deliver us, O God,
from a lazy mind,
all lukewarmness of heart,
and all depression of spirit.
We know that these must deaden our love for you;
mercifully free our hearts from them all.
And give us such a lively, fervent and cheerful spirit
that we may vigorously perform whatever you command,
thankfully suffer whatever you choose for us,
and always be eager to obey your holy love
in all things;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer #12 - Prayer for our work in following God’s mission

Day 12 – Thursday 25 May

Today we pray for our work following God’s mission. This prayer has been shared by Rev. Dr Dean Drayton who was President of the Uniting Church from 2003-2006.

Living reconciling God, we thank you for the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ, who through his life and death and resurrection has let loose the grace in which we now stand. 
In him we see the sheer scope of the renewal and healing of the whole creation already beginning to happen, naming and destroying all that works to subvert the Kingdom of God.  
Death is faced and life is given, Sin is exposed and taken away, sickness is replaced with healing, injustice is rejected and overwhelmed with rightness and darkness is lit up with the light of life.  

You have called us into the strange way Jesus Christ seeks both our obedience and delight as those who witness to the unfolding directions of grace and joy that is your mission.  
You have called us as a Church to be the bearer of uniting as your sign that we may all be one, in a diversity more than ecclesiastical unitedness that is a searching reconciliation with all sisters and brothers owning you.

You have called us as congregations to live beyond ourselves to embody your grace for the sake of our nation and world, with all who long for that which is good and right and true.  
You have called each of us because you love us and have gifted us to be found in your mission of hope and light and truth.  

Living joyous God you delight in the creation you have brought into being, larger than we can conceive, yet a hazelnut in your hand.   
We thank you for gathering us into your mission, in which you walk with us in the power of your Holy Spirit, lighting up the way even as sometimes the darkness seems all pervasive. 
Keep us in this grace that is given through our Lord Jesus Christ, freely given to be freely received.  
Help us to find companionship and partnership with you, and each other, as we celebrate this first forty years of the Uniting Church.  
In our worship and witness and service let us see the gift of your Shekinah glory.  

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

Prayer #13 - Prayer for our work as stewards

Day 13 – Friday 26 May 2017

Today we pray for our work as stewards of the environment and all its resources. This prayer was written by Rev. John E. Mavor AM, Past President, Uniting Church in Australia, 1997-2000.

Jesus, confirm my heart’s desire to work and speak and think for Thee.

                                                          Charles Wesley

                                                          TIS 572

Loving Lord,
We thank you that the Uniting Church was called into being ‘to work and speak and think for you’. You have called us to be stewards sharing with the world what we have received through your love.

We praise you that we have been called to be stewards of the Faith to share the Good News that in Christ we are a new creation.

We celebrate that we are stewards of this world in which we live, that you call us to use the resources of the world wisely and productively, that the environment may be respected and cared for and that sea levels may not rise.

We recognise that we are stewards of your Kingdom and that we ask for your help as the starving are fed, the homeless are housed, the refugees find safety and people learn to live in harmony in this world which you love and to which your Son came to make all things new.

Amen

Prayer #14 - We begin A Destiny Together

Day 14 – Saturday 27 May

Today we enter into A Destiny Together: A Week of Prayer and Fasting for justice for First Peoples. At the same time, we mark National Reconciliation Week from 27 May to 3 June.

A Destiny Together is an expression of the Uniting Church in Australia’s commitment to the Covenant with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC). In 2012, the 13th Assembly resolved to call all members and congregations to a week of prayer and fasting.

The week, celebrated 17-23 March 2014, included a public prayer vigil outside Parliament House in Canberra. Church members from all over Australia came to Canberra to participate in what is likely to be remembered as one of the most significant events in the life of the Uniting Church. Rev. Rronang Garrawurra, Chairperson of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) and Assembly President, Rev. Prof. Andrew Dutney, led the service. From remote communities in places like Arnhem Land and the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands and from the centres of our big cities, people gathered to pray.

This prayer was written by Rev. Dr Chris Budden, Interim National Coordinator, Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress

 

Reconciliation,

          Justice,

                   prayer and fasting,

                             forging a common ‘destiny together’!

Gracious and loving God, Spirit of life and land, Spirit of the living Word Jesus,

          these are fancy words for a broken people.

There are other words:

          invasion,

                   dispossession,

                             massacres,

                                      stolen children

that wash over us with shame and pain,

          words we can only speak because we trust your grace and forgiveness,

                   and know that you call us to seek reconciliation, reparation, and new life.

We are reminded this week that you call us to be a people who break down the walls that divide us.

We are reminded that in Christ there are no divisions, but only a people who share the bread and wine of the table with the whole world.

We are reminded how easy it is to expect others to offer us forgiveness, to not tell us of the pain and broken-ness that remains. We want to be let off too easily; we want to feel good.

We are reminded that we are bound together; we cannot escape each other. We are tied with the covenant of creation, the call of Christ, and our Church’s covenant commitment. You, O God, have called us to learn to love our neighbours as we love ourselves.

In your grace, draw us into the week. Help us find words to name injustice and division. Give us courage to hope and pray for justice and reconciliation, for new life for First and Second Peoples in this land.

Hear us we pray.

Amen

Prayer #15 - A Destiny Together

Day 15 - Sunday 28 May

We continue our prayer for justice for First Peoples. This prayer is drawn from the A Destiny Together Congregational Worship resource: https://assembly.uca.org.au/images/PDF/A_Destiny_Together_Congregational_Worship.pdf

Reconciliation Prayer

God of love,
you are the creator of this land and all good things.

We acknowledge the pain and shame of our history
 and the suffering of our peoples
and we ask your forgiveness.
We thank you for the survival of indigenous cultures.

Our hope is in you because
you gave your son Jesus
to reconcile the world to you.
We pray for your strength and grace to forgive,
accept and love one another as you love us and forgive and accept us
in the sacrifice of your Son.

Give us the courage to
 accept the realities of our history
so that we may build a better future for our nation.
Teach us to respect all cultures.
Teach us to care for our land and waters.
Help us to share justly the resources of this land.

Help us to bring about spiritual and social change
to improve the quality of life
for all groups in our communities,
especially the disadvantaged.
Help our young people to find true dignity
 and self-esteem by your Spirit.

May your power and love be the foundations
on which we build our families,
our communities and our nation.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prepared by the Wontulp Bi-Buya Indigenous Theology Working Group, March 1997. © NATSIEC. Used with permission. 

Prayer #16 - Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

 

Day 16 – Monday 29 May 2017 

Churches across Australia are taking part in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity from 28 May – 4 June.

Today we join with our brothers and sisters in Christ in a prayer for unity. This is the 2017 prayer for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity with an extra section for our ecumenical partners, thanks to Rev. Dr Chris Walker, National Consultant Christian Unity, Doctrine and Worship.

Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we thank you for this week of prayer, for being together as Christians and for the different ways we have experienced your presence. Let us always praise your holy name together so that we may continue to grow in unity and reconciliation.

We pray for the ecumenical bodies with which the Uniting Church has connections: the World Council of Churches, the Global Christian Forum, the World Methodist Council, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the Christian Conference of Asia, the Pacific Conference of Churches and the National Council of Churches in Australia.  We pray especially for the churches within Australia with which we have dialogues and relationships.  May we work together with others to jointly serve your mission of reconciliation and renewal in the world. 

This we pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Prayer #17 - Week of Prayer for Women

Day 17 – Tuesday 30 May 2017

Today we pray for women and their place in the life and mission of the Uniting Church. This prayer was written by President-Elect Deidre Palmer. 

Gracious and loving God

We thank you for the many women who have shaped the Uniting Church and its mission.

We thank you for women in our families who have loved and nurtured us.

We thank you for women who have been our teachers in the faith, for those who have mentored us and invited us into life-giving relationship with you.

We thank you that from our beginning as a Uniting Church we have upheld the equality of women and men.

We thank you for those women who are prophets witnessing to your justice and peace in our Church, communities and wider society.

We thank you for those women who have overcome discrimination and resisted those who would silence them.

We pray for women who are leaders in our church and wider community. Grant them wisdom and strength.

We pray for women who live in situations of violence.

Strengthen our advocacy as a Church for safe havens and life-giving relationships for all people.

We pray for women of all ages whose ministries take many forms and whose places of ministry are in congregations, workplaces, homes, community centres, boardrooms and schools.

May their voices sing out your hope, joy and reconciling love into all the world.

Through Christ our Liberator we pray, Amen.

Prayer #18 - A Destiny Together

Day 18 – Wednesday 31 May 2017

As we continue to participate in A Destiny Together we share a prayer written by Rev Rronaŋ Garrawurra, former UAICC National Chairperson.
The prayer is written in Yolŋu Matha with an English translation.

Go –Waŋarr Bäpa,
Napurr ga buku-mirriyam nhokal Garray-walaŋawurr
Djesu-walaŋawurr ŋunhi ŋayi Christ Buŋgawa napirruŋ
Bukmakku yolŋuw ga balandaw.
Go Garray waŋgany manapul napurruny märr napurr
Dhu ga dhärra wundaŋarr
Yan Garraywal ga märr-nhirrpanmirr Godkal
Bitjan bili ga bitjan bili Yo Yo. Garray marrkapmirr

God-Spiritual Being Father
We are praying to you through Lord Jesus
Who is the Christ or Boss for all peoples
Both First and Second Peoples.
Come Lord bind/join us together
So that we will stand strong
With the Lord and trusting in God
Forever and ever, Yes Yes. Dear Lord, beloved. 

Prayer #19 - Prayer for Working Groups and Committees

Day 19 – Thursday 1 June 2017

Today we pray for the members of working groups and committees in the life of the Church. Today’s prayer is offered by the Chair of the Multicultural and Cross Cultural Reference Committee, Rev Ki Soo Jang. The Prayer is written in Korean with an English translation.

사랑과 은혜가 많으신 하나님!

Our Gracious and loving father,

지난 40여년 동안 총회의 지나온 발자취를 돌아보며, 하나님께 영광을 돌려 드립니다. 하나님께서 함께하셔서 우리 총회가 어려운 여건과 힘든 상황 속에서도 많은 성장과 발전을 이루게 하시니 진심으로 감사드립니다. 모든 것이 주님의 은총이기에 감사와 영광을 드립니다. 이제 우리 총회가 더욱 발전하며 복음을 나누는 교회되게 하나님께 간절히 기도드립니다.

As we look back over the past 40 years of our Assembly, we are reminded again of how gracious you were to us. We thank you for guiding us through times of trial and suffering. We thank you for maturing us through moments of discipline. We thank you for teaching us that all things come from you for your glory. And so we pray to you, our Father, for your help in spreading the Gospel.

하나님! 우리 총회가 더욱 새로운 모습으로 변화되어야 하겠습니다. 총회가 진정으로 이 땅의 사람들을 위로하며 성령의 샘물이 될 수 있어야 하겠습니다. 이 세상 속에서 주님을 나타내며 희망이 되어야 하겠습니다. 우리에게 본을 보여주신 주님처럼 이 세상을 섬길 수 있도록 인도하여 주옵소서.

Father, we know we need to change and to continue growing as your children. So we ask for your Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of the people of this land. Revive our hearts so that all may see the hope found in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ. Help us to follow your example in coming down to us in the form of a servant.

특별히 총회기구와 총회 위원회를 위해 기도합니다.  총회의 모든 구성원이 하나님 앞에서의 공동체임을 기억하며, 지역의 차이, 규모의 차이, 성별과 세대의 차이를 떠나 연대와 사랑으로 하나 되는 은총을 허락하여 주시옵소서.

We pray that you would help us, especially Assembly and Committees, to keep our unity in the bond of peace under Christ. Help us to use the variety of gifts, ages and cultural backgrounds for the sake of your Gospel.

말씀위에 서 있으면서 행동하는 총회와 위원회, 열정이 있으면서도 사랑이 있는 총회와 위원회, 모임이 있으면서 가치와 의미가 있는 총회와 위원회, 기도하면서 은총을 나누는 총회와 위원회, 감사와 찬송(praise)이 있는 총회와 위원회가 되게 하여 주시옵소서.  그래서 총회와 위원회가 연약한 이들에겐 힘이 되게 하시고, 절망이 있는 이들에게 희망을 나누어주는 총회와 위원회가 되게 하여 주소서.

Help our Assembly and Committees to be a people who stand on your Word, to earnestly love one another, to honestly share with each other, to prayerfully depend on your grace and to continually praise and glorify your Name. Allow this Assembly and Committees to be the salt and light of the world and to be a city on a hill where the despised and marginalized may come for refuge and shelter.

총회와 위원회, 그리고 호주연합교회의 모든 식구들이 말씀이 있으면서 행동이 있는 총회, 교회의 제도와 구조안에서만 머물기 보다는 가족으로 서로 보고 나누는 총회,  감사가 있으면서 찬송이 있는 총회로 연약한 자들에겐 힘이 되게 하시고 실패한 자들에겐 희망이 되게 하사 살아있는 총회로 부흥하게 하소서.

Father also help us to be not just hearers of your Word but also doers. Help us to not just share knowledge but to share love. Help us to see each other not just as church structure but as Christian family.  Help us to always rejoice, pray without ceasing, giving thanks to you in all circumstances. Use us to continue spreading the Gospel of your Son Jesus.

주 예수 그리스도의 이름으로 기도드립니다.  아멘.

In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Prayer #20 - A Destiny Together

Day 20 – Friday 2 June 

We continue to pray for justice for First Peoples. This prayer is drawn from the Order of Service of the vigil held on the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra on 18 March 2014.  From remote communities in places like Arnhem Land and the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands and from the centres of our big cities, people gathered to pray, pass the peace and share in Holy Communion. 

Lord God,

We bless you for this wide, red land,
and for its life-giving waters,
acknowledging that you have been present in this place
from the very beginning of creation,
sustaining the people, the land and all living creatures.

In another place you called Abraham to be the father of a people
who would be a light to others,
and you called the women with the courage to care for your nation.
You called prophets to remind the people of your story:
of creation, of covenant, of liberation, of new community and law,
of other nations who served you, and of stories
gathered to be sacred scripture.

In the mystery of your time you entered into the life of the world in Jesus,
who healed, ate with sinners, welcomed outcasts, taught women,
shared water with foreigners, criticised politicians and church leaders,
fed the hungry,
and was obedient to death
so that we might see your reign.

You have called us to be the Church in this place,
to be a small glimpse of the life you intend for all.
We follow Jesus who stood for the poor, who created havoc in the temple,
who declared a jubilee time of equality and sharing of wealth.

Lord Jesus,
You have put your life in our hands,
Now we put our lives in yours.

Take us, Shake us, Remake us
in the image of Christ.

Enable us to live as a reconciling community, a people who love and follow Jesus.

Amen.

Prayer #21 - A Destiny Together

Day 21 – Saturday 3 June 2017

We continue in our prayer for A Destiny Together on Mabo Day, 3rd June. Today we remember Eddie Koiki Mabo and his campaign for indigenous land rights which overturned the legal fiction of ‘terra nullius’ and changed the way Australia recognised the rights of First Peoples.

This prayer is from the Mission Prayer Handbook 2009 written by former National Director of Multicultural and Cross Cultural Ministry Rev. Dr Tony Floyd.

Pilgrim God, you create and renew human communities.
You shape us into a new people with an undreamt future in this ancient land.
You lead us on new pathways and in new directions not yet seen.

Help us to trust that it is you at work in our lives and that our journeys matter to you.
Give us the confidence to know that the cultures and wisdom we bring to this place
are valued in your sight and are gifts in which we can discern your wonder and your grace.

To your tender care and loving heart we entrust our children, our dreams, our visions and ourselves. Walk with us as you walked with our ancestors before in other places and other times. 

Prayer #22 - Global Day of Prayer for Just Peace in the Holy Land

Day 22 - Sunday 4 June 2017 

Today on the feast of Pentecost, we share a prayer written by Uniting Church in Australia President Stuart McMillan. The prayer was written for the World Council of Churches Global Day of Prayer for Just Peace in the Holy Land.  There will be a gathering of Christian leaders in Jerusalem tomorrow for a Pentecost prayer service dedicated to peace and justice in Israel and Palestine.

In this prayer, the words for God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are in Djambarrpuyŋu, one of the First Nation Yolŋu languages from North East Arnhem Land.

Holy and loving God-Waŋarr,
we make our petition in the words of Your Son:
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem how I long to gather your children together
as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.
O Lord hear our cry today, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem.

Gracious Jesus-Djesu, you prayed that we might be one,
and be brought to complete unity.
A unity which mirrors your one essence Triune God.
A unity where your Spirit-DhuyuBirrimbirr bestows a blessing – life forever more.

On this day we join together in one accord across the globe,
and celebrate the first outpouring of your Holy Spirit.
With one voice loving God we pray for a just peace,
where all people may live together in harmony,
and all your children free of fear.

We make our prayer in the name of the Prince of Peace, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

We also continue our prayers for Christian Unity. This prayer comes from Emily Evans, Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) representative on WCC Central Committee. It is based on the Unity Statement from the WCC Assembly Busan, South Korea, 2013

O God of life, lead us to justice and peace.

Today, the whole creation, the world and its people, live in the tension between the profoundest hope and the deepest despair.

We give thanks for the diversity of human cultures, for the wonder of knowledge and learning, for the enthusiasm and vibrancy of many people, for communities being rebuilt and enemies reconciled, for people being healed, and populations fed.

We call one another to visible unity in one faith and in one Eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and common life in Christ, through witness and service to the world and to advance towards that unity in order that the world may believe.

On our ecumenical journey we have come to understand more about God’s call to the Church to serve the unity of all creation. The vocation of the Church is to be: foretaste of new creation; prophetic sign to the whole world of the life God intends for all; and servant spreading the good news of God’s Kingdom of justice, peace and love.

We affirm the uniqueness of our fellowship and our conviction to pursue the visible unity of the Church together, thankful for our diversity and conscious of our need to grow in communion.

In whom we are one Body, your Son, Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit, is worthy to be praised, one God, now and forever.

Amen.

 

Forty hours

The first 40 hours of prayer will begin in Melbourne, from 3pm Sunday 14 May to 8am Tuesday 16 May, with our President, President-elect, Chairperson of the Uniting Aboriginal Islander and Christian Congress, Moderators and General Secretaries coming together to pray for the continuing life and renewal of the Uniting Church.

Where will they be praying?

Sunday 14 May 3.00pm-8.00pm Wesley Uniting Church, 148 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Monday 15 May 7.00am-9.00pm Synod Chapel, 130 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
Tuesday 16 May 7.00am-8.00am Synod Chapel, 130 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

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The Church at prayer

We pray together: Six times throughout the 40 hours, we will pray corporately for 1 hour, with two people being responsible for guiding us through each of these periods.

We pray alongside each other: At other times we will pray in the same space together, taking breaks when we need them.

We hold the space: Throughout each of the two nights, we will hold the prayer space for each other using a roster where we pray for an hour, allowing others to rest and sleep

We listen for what God is saying to us: Throughout the 40 hours we will hold the Uniting Church before God, praying for renewal and listening for what God is saying to us.

Please pray with us, wherever you are

Date Time Flow
Sunday 14 May 3.00-4.00pm
4.00-7.00pm
7.00-8.00pm
We pray together
We pray alongside each other
Contemplative service with Wesley UC congregation
Sunday 14 May – Monday 15 May
Monday 15 May
8.00pm – 7.00am
7.00-8.00am
8.00-11.00am
11.00am-12.00pm
12.00-4.00pm
4.00-5.00pm
5.00-8.00pm
8.00-9.00pm
We hold the space
We pray together
We pray alongside each other
We pray together
We pray alongside each other
We pray together
We pray alongside each other
We pray together
Monday 15 May – Tuesday 16 May
Tuesday 16 May
9.00pm-7.00am
7.00-8.00am
We hold the space
We pray together

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