Prayer Service Honoring 2020 Loss and Hope

Fill the Table Facebook Event (1)

2020 has been one devastating heartache after another. This prayer gathering seeks to name our individual and communal loss.

For me, writing prayers and liturgy helps me process pain. I need to say it out loud. I need to lament. It also helps me reclaim the promises of God. This reconnects me to hope.

This service was designed with the pandemic in mind- an outdoor gathering, less than 45 minutes, with no singing. We call ours Candles in the Garden because of the location of the service.

This service is also designed to be easy to organize and lead. It could be lead by one or more persons. No programs or projection are needed. The music could be live or prerecorded.

Lastly, this service is designed as a community gathering. Persons with little or no faith, and persons from less liturgical traditions, will be able to participate without jumping through “churchy” hoops.

My prayer is that this gathering will be honest and safe with all we are experiencing. I trust our good, good God will meet us there with compassion, blessing, and balm. – Lisa <><

Those who gather will bring their own chair and their own candle. The candle should be in a container so it can be placed safely on a flat service during the gathering. If the service is outside, be sure the candle is in a container which will protect it from the wind. 

As persons check in, they are welcome to name losses they would like mentioned in the service on their behalf. They are also welcome to name their own losses at that point in the service. 

Gathering Music

Welcome  

Scripture: Psalm 61:1-5, adapted    
ONE: Hear our cry, O God; listen to our prayer.
From the ends of the earth we call to you, we call as our hearts grow faint;
Lead us to the rock that is higher.
For you have been our refuge, a strong tower against the foe.
We long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
For you, God, have heard our vows;
You have given us the heritage of those who revere your name.

Instrumental Meditation   
Transition music as the next speaker moves forward and the microphone is wiped clean.

Mourning the Loss of Life due to COVID-19    
Light a candle. Update the statics for your gathering. 

ONE: We light this candle honoring the loss of life due to COVID-19.
15,595 deaths in our state
216,000 deaths in our nation
1,090,000 deaths in our world

Lord of Life and Light, bring healing and hope. Hear our prayer for
The grieving
The suffering
The isolated
Those who need access to testing and treatment

Bring strength and encouragement to those risking much to help others
Medical professionals and researchers
Health Departments, the CDC, and the WHO
Cleaning crews and sanitation workers

Hear our prayer for an end to the pandemic.
You are good. You are near. You are strong to save.
We trust you hear our prayer.

Instrumental Meditation
Transition music as the last speaker places the candle in the garden and the next speaker moves forward and the microphone is wiped clean.

Mourning Loss due to the Economy   
Light a candle. Update the statics for your gathering. 

ONE: We light this candle honoring the loss due to our struggling economy
Over 1 million persons out of work in our state
Over 12 million persons out of work in our nation
Over 190 million persons out of work in our world

Lord of Life and Light, bring provision and hope. Hear our prayer for
The unemployed and underemployed
Those who need access to relief, training, and technology
Those trying to keep a roof over their head, food on the table,
Their family together, their business open

Bring strength and encouragement to those risking much to help others
Those who work in shelters, soup kitchens, and food pantries
Social Workers, Teachers, and Civil Servants
Frontline workers who face the public everyday

Hear our prayer for an economic recovery for all.
You are good. You are near. You are strong to save.
We trust you hear our prayer.

Instrumental Meditation
Transition music as the last speaker places the candle in the garden and the next speaker moves forward and the microphone is wiped clean.

Mourning the Loss of Life due to Natural Disasters    
Light a candle. Update the statics for your gathering. 

ONE: We light this candle honoring the loss of life due to recent natural disasters
Over 13 million acres burned in our nation this year
25 storms including 9 hurricanes, over $26 billion in damage

Lord of Life and Light, bring home and hope. Hear our prayer for
The devastated and displaced
Broken earth, broken spirits, broken systems
Broken lives, broken communities

Bring strength and encouragement to those risking much to help others
Firefighters and First Responders
UMCOR, FEMA, and other agencies
Generous people opening their homes, their wallets, and their hands to help

Hear our prayer for an end to the destruction.
You are good. You are near. You are strong to save.
We trust you hear our prayer.

Instrumental Meditation
Transition music as the last speaker places the candle in the garden and the next speaker moves forward and the microphone is wiped clean.

Mourning the Loss of Life due to Injustice     
Light a candle. Update the statics for your gathering. 

ONE: We light this candle honoring the loss of life due to prejudice and systemic injustice
In 2018, the average black worker earned 62% of the average white worker
Of the 535 voting members of congress, only 57 are black
Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and more, killed by those entrusted to protect them

Lord of Life and Light, bring justice and hope. Hear our prayer for
An end to evil and oppression
An end to hate and discrimination
An end to apathy and silence

Hear our prayer for all who live in constant fear
All who are beaten down, profiled, and held back
All who mourn and rage
All who are called to protect and serve

Bring strength and encouragement to those risking much to help others
The prophets, awakening us to truth
The witnesses, opening our eyes with their stories
The just, working to change hearts and systems

Hear our prayer for peace and dignity for all.
You are good. You are near. You are strong to save.
We trust you hear our prayer

Instrumental Meditation
Transition music as the last speaker places the candle in the garden and the next speaker moves forward and the microphone is wiped clean.

Mourning Loss due to Division 
Light a candle

ONE: We light this candle honoring loss due to our division
Religious division
Racial division
Political division
Economic division

Lord of Life and Light, bring community and hope. Hear our prayer for
Empathy
Understanding
Trust and Grace

Bring strength and encouragement to those risking much to help others
Peacemakers and Artists
Mediators and Neighbors
All who gather and nurture
All those working for an honorable election, no violence or corruption

Hear our prayer for compassion and the common good.
You are good. You are near. You are strong to save.
We trust you hear our prayer

Instrumental Meditation
Transition music as the last speaker places the candle in the garden and the next speaker moves forward and the microphone is wiped clean.

Candles in the Garden  
ONE: Who or what loss have you lit your candle for? Name it as you place your candle in the garden now.

ONE: read the petitions collected as folks check in. Allow folks to name their own petition. 
This moment includes social distancing and musical underscoring. After all persons have placed their candle, the following is read. 

Reading: For Life by Steve Garnaas Holmes
For the empty seat, we hold silence.
Love, have mercy.
For the two hundred thousand, we weep.
Love, have mercy.
For the homes incinerated, we mourn.
Love, have mercy.
For the rule of law, we lament.
Love, have mercy.

For kindness and nonviolence, we pray.
Love, have mercy.
For courage to stand, to speak, to act, we pray.
Love, have mercy.
For faith in one another, that we still hold the future in our hands, we pray.
Love, have mercy.

For justice that dismantles oppression,
hope that overcomes despair,
for faith that overpowers dread,
for love that defeats fear,
for joy that will not be taken from us, we pray.
Love, have mercy.

In the face of all that oppresses,
give us trust in grace unseen;
give us hearts to rise, to serve,
yes, even to sing
for life, for life.

Scripture: Hebrews 10:23-24
ONE: Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds.

Closing Blessing

Departure Music

Consider a time of distanced listening following the gathering. Participants may need compassionate persons to listen as they continue to process what they experienced or what the experience revealed.

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Candles in the Garden © 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia (www.revlisad.com)
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Prayer- Merciful One, We Call

john-bunyon-prayer-quote

Merciful One,
We call on your wisdom,
your power to bring unity and clarity

We call on your light,
to reveal the path and show the way

We call on your courage
to help us do the right thing even if it’s hard

We call on your protection
from all that is evil, false, and self serving

We call on your mighty and beautiful name,
our Rock
our Joy
our Provider
our Savior
our Love
Amen

This prayer was written for a congregation as part of their prayer vigil before a big ministry decision. I pray it will be helpful to you as well. To God be the glory. – Lisa <><

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Merciful One, We Call © 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.