Prayers

At the Dawn of the New Year

Christmas Prayer for Peace

In Grief and Struggle

In the Middle of the Day

Lord, Speak to Me

Be the Gardener of My Soul

Truth

On An Anniversary

Confession

In the face of tragedy

Your Love is Strong Enough

Praying Through a Vision

Power

For Life's Journey

Remember... the Future

The Winds of Change

In the Spirit's Flow

Past, Present and Future

Growth

 

At the dawn of the new year

God we thank you for life in all its newness. Each day a constant reminder of your new grace, your new love.

At the close of one year, we are thankful for your faithfulness. The reminder that you have remained with us through all that this journey has been.

We thank you for small things: the smells and tastes and sensations which make up our day, which connect us to daily realities.

We thank you for people, each echoing your character: sometimes frustrating, but all in all making life worth living, worth sharing.

We thank you for Jesus, whose life resonates with hope for us. As he lived in this world and showed your love, we know that we too can so live.

God of time, God beyond time, we thank and praise you for your presence in the world, and your expressions of love in our world.

Amen.

Gary Heard 2006

Christmas Prayer for Peace

Today we pause to pray for our world, in all its struggles and symptoms of brokenness. We pray for the people and nation of Iraq, for the Darfur region of Sudan, for those regions still suffering the effects of the Boxing Day tsunami of last year. God, bring peace to these regions, and strengthen the hands of those who work for peace. We pray for the indigenous people of our land – those who were the custodians of the land on which we meet. Bring justice and renew hope for them - and our whole nation, we pray.

We thank you, creator God, for the diverse people who make up this world. We cherish the different cultural perspectives each offers. Grant that our nation and world might be strengthened by this diversity. Bring peace to Cronulla, and grant that people of all faiths might enjoy the freedom of this land.

At Christmas, as we celebrate the One who was born Prince of Peace, help us to be peacemakers in word and in deed, as a sign of Your love made flesh.

Amen.

Gary Heard 2005

In Grief and Struggle...

'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.
'

All around us people dance to rhythms for which we have no heart
Neither in joy nor despair can we find a natural beat.
No one plays a tune which resonates or connects.

We dance to many different tunes,
each with its own story,
each with its own rhythm
Who can dance to the beats of this place?

The tune changes at random,
without rhyme or reason,
devoid of past or future
Who can dance to the beats of this place?

When we pause to listen to the music
All we hear is a missing beat,
or the painful cacophony of discordant beat.
Who can dance to the beats of this place?

Can we ever dance again?

Is there a beat in this Jungle which can match our beat?

Love song?
Lament?
Waltz?
Mosh pit?
Limbo?
Heavy metal?
Classic?

The sounds of silence are hard to bear…

Throbs reverberate through a place where dreams once nestled…

We listen for a new rhythm in vain…

It breaks through by surprise…
When least we expect,
our readiness to hear unexpected yet welcome.

(pause)

We treasure the beauty of a tune once alien.
A dance we never knew
A dance not available to others,
A partner not always evident.

A life disrupted becomes a new dance…
In the desolate corner, a new tune emerges
Where we find the early beats of a tune pulsing through us.
A love: old and new, lost yet discovered afresh.
A familiar stranger pirouetting across the floor.

Gary Heard 2005

back to top

In the Middle of the Day

It’s been such a hectic morning, Lord
Conversation, phone calls, paper work
So many noises surround me I have become expert in blocking them out.
It’s a skill I have learned to pride myself on:
The ability to keep focussed amidst a litany of distractions.
It’s lunchtime now,
I have achieved much
So many things have passed by unnoticed by me.
But has that included you, O God?

It’s not often that you command attention, Servant Creator
You walk beside us, whispering, caring… often appearing in the ordinary
How many things that I do to get me through the day
Actually cut me off from you, the Source of Life itself.
God of grace, surprise me.
Sharpen my spirit to your subtle presence.
Let your grace attune me to your constant company.

I start the afternoon with good intentions, refocussed and reattuned.
Don’t give up on me, O faithful Father… keep speaking,
In the afternoon I might hear.

Gary Heard 2005

back to top

Lord, Speak to Me

We speak so easily of you, our God, declaring your authority and grace at work in our lives. At the same time however, we find it more comfortable to believe that you have something to say to someone else, that all is OK with me.

......LORD, speak to me.

We recognise that you are in essence beyond our understanding; that there is such a great difference between you and us that we cannot comprehend you. Never-the-less, you are the word, the One who has spoken in history in ways that have moved men and women mightily.

............Lord, SPEAK to me.

You have revealed yourself to us in a person, O God - the man Jesus, who walked the earth and related to ordinary men and women, reaching out to them where they were. We need you to meet us where we are now, O God.

..................Lord, speak TO me.

Thankyou, our Father, that you deal with each one of us as individuals, not simply as "one of the crowd". Our needs are great - some of them we don't even admit to ourselves. But you love each one of us - with an everlasting love, and can relate to where each of us is right now.

........................Lord, speak to ME.

You are the Word, but not an idle word, nor a meaningless word. You are the word made life - in the flesh.
Speak to me, Lord, that your word might come alive in me today. AMEN.

Gary Heard 1994

back to top

Be the Gardener of My Soul

Spirit of the living God, be the Gardener of my soul. For so long I have been waiting, silent and still - experiencing a winter of the soul. But now, in the strong name of Jesus Christ, I dare to ask:
Clear away the dead growth of the past,
Break up the hard clods of custom and routine,
Stir in the rich compost of vision and challenge,
Bury deep in my soul the implanted Word,
Cultivate and water and tend my heart,
Until new life buds and opens and flowers.
Amen.

From Prayers of the Heart, by Richard Foster

back to top

Truth

In order to be truthful
We must do more than speak the truth.
We must also hear the truth.
We must also receive truth.
We must also act upon truth.
We must also search for truth.
The difficult truth.
Within us and around us.
We must devote ourselves to truth.
Otherwise we are dishonest
And our lives are mistaken.
God grant us the strength and the courage
To be truthful.
Amen.

From The Prayer Tree
by Michael Leunig

back to top

 

On an Anniversary

Today Father we celebrate the past.
We give thanks for the vision and inspiration which brought us to be;
For the faithful witness and service of those who have gone before.
We thank you for the significant events and ministries which shaped this church,
But we also recognise that the most significant works were planted as seeds in the hearts of men, women and children, and are buried in Your own heart.

Today Father, we celebrate the present
And recognise that vitality of life and hope that inspired the past still lives in us through Your Spirit today.
Your call remains as fresh as it came to the fishermen by the lake of Galilee
And Your empowering as strong as the day of Pentecost.

Today Father, we celebrate the future,
Knowing that the work of the Gospel still calls us forward
To bring hope to a needy world
To establish justice and righteousness
And to recognise that You still commission us for this task.

Forgive us, our God, for doubting the necessity and importance of this work
For pulling back from the call to bear witness with our lives, and with our words

Today Father, we celebrate You
You are the One constant: inspiring, comforting, and renewing
Ever beginning and ever strengthening.
You have called many to follow in the footsteps of Your Son
And through them and us have touched the lives of many who have not set foot inside these buildings

We commit ourselves afresh to you this day
Asking that through us, Your ministers, You would begin again
That You would add new strength
And would resound the call of the Gospel
And demonstrate its power to transform.
For the Glory of Jesus Christ we ask. Amen.

Gary Heard 1995

back to top

Prayer of Confession

Father God, in the call of Jesus, we have recognised that there is a call upon us all to follow you in discipleship and bear witness to your grace.

Forgive us, Lord, where we have left the fulfillment of that call and commission to others, and sat as critical observers of all that is done.

“Love one another,” said Jesus.

We have often not forgiven in the same manner in which we have been forgiven. We have held grudges, abandoned friendships, and avoided acquaintances.

Help us, Lord, to live as loving people. By your grace, enable us to live out Your love so powerfully demonstrated in the cross of Christ.

It has been easy for us to find excuses from ministering in Your name: we have married, we have other responsibilities, we are paying off debts. We confess that we have not fulfilled your call to bear the light in every place, but have instead hidden it in the recesses of religious places.

Grant us courage, our God, to share what you have given to us in the every day circumstances of life.

We come to this place at this time to give account, and recognise that we have worked in our own strength and by our own measures of success, implicitly rejecting the values of your kingdom.

Restore, O Lord, the honour of Your Name. Hear our prayer, and our cry for forgiveness, because we come to you in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, and our Saviour.              Amen

Gary Heard 1996

back to top

In the face of tragedy

Lord, our God, at times like this, we do not simply pause to reflect,
Rather we are shaken to stillness, rocked into numbness:
The questions, the horror, the carnage, the absolute waste and futility -
We find it hard to comprehend, difficult to identify our feelings, let alone turn to prayer and seek to make expression to and request of You.
Draw near to those whose grief is more personal than ours.
Comfort those whose loss is complete, and yet whose understanding of it is only beginning to dawn.
Shepherd them with tenderness, gird them with peace, even as peace has been so viciously ripped from their grasp.
Strengthen those around them as they become available for their vulnerability, in order that grief might find expression, and that hope may raise from the ashes of this tragic event.
Bless all those who, in giving help, support, and care, have too been wounded, and grieved, and marked for life.
And our God, we pray that the inhumanity of one might not provide excuse for our own inhumanity.
Help us to be gracious to his loved ones, and to him also.
In You, may the resources of grace and forgiveness be multiplied, that somehow carnage might turn into compassion, despair into hope, and disintegration into community, alienation into love.
Because we have been called into the name of Jesus. Amen.

written in the wake of the Port Arthur tragedy April 1996
Gary Heard

back to top

Your Love is Strong Enough

Eternal God, we lift up our hearts and voices to praise you for the unlimited power of your love in Jesus Christ.
We thank you, we praise you,
because he never stopped loving you, even when his disciples ran away,
and he stared death in the face;
Because he never stopped loving other people even when he was being nailed to the cross;
Because the worst that anyone could do by committing Jesus to die could not stand in the way of your love;
Because you showed us the power of your love in raising him from death;
Because by his dying and being raised again we know that your love is strong enough to go on loving until the end of time.
Lord, we praise you because we know that your love must win in the end.
Amen

back to top

Praying through a Vision

Lord our God, you have planted a vision within us:
A dream to call us forward;
A hope to find reality in our life together.
You have called us to be a caring community.

Grant that by your grace we may learn to relate with forgiveness, integrity and honesty, that through our being together as a people Your grace may bring healing and hope.

Help us to foster an atmosphere of friendliness, fellowship and support one to another, embracing both new and old, without fear or favour, that we may be like you, our Lord, our arms and eyes open for welcoming others.

Give us the courage to join together in smaller communities, Lord, where we may discover room for growth and support, and through which we might explore the fullness and freedom in discipleship.

Remind us of our commitment to the welfare of our local community and everyone in it.

Grant that we might not limit our involvement to words alone. Help us not only to speak the prophetic word, but to demonstrate the love of Christ in deed.

We are not an isolated group of people our God, but part of a world-wide community, linked by communications networks: telephone, television, and computer.

Empower us to take our place in this community, making a meaningful contribution, adding a personalising touch in this often cold, impersonal world.

God of the dreaming, God of the future, You have given us a vision,

Take the words off the page and bring them to life in our midst, for You are the word who was made flesh for our sake. Amen

Gary Heard July 1996

back to top

Power

Eternal God, you are the power behind all things:
Behind the energy of the atom, behind the heat of a million suns.
Eternal God, you are the power behind all minds:
Behind the ability to think and reason, behind the understanding of all truth.
Eternal God, you are the power behind the athlete:
Behind the burst of strength, behind the stamina and perseverance.
Eternal God, you are the power behind the cross of Christ:
Behind the weakness, the torture, and the death, behind the unconquerable love.
In you, eternal God, we have seen power at its most productive, most caring, most redemptive.
Eternal Power, we worship and adore you.

Father, source of all power:
We confess that we do not always use the power you have given us as you intend.
Sometimes we are afraid of the power we wield, and so do not use it at all:
At other times we are careless in our use of it, and harm others.
At yet other times we deliberately misuse it to achieve our own selfish ends:
We confess our misuse of our God-given powers, and ask for your wisdom and grace to use them properly in the future.
Teach us to use the power you have given to us, not for our own benefit, but for the benefit of others, and for all.
For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory. Amen.

back to top

We Do Not Take An Untravelled Way

Eternal God, we praise you for this world, our home, and every sign of your presence in it.
Today we especially thank you for our church community:
that it is a sign to us of your presence.
We thank you, our Father, for those who had the vision to establish it,
for those who had the audacity to believe that you could use it.
We acknowledge that at no time has the task been an easy one,
and while we seek to serve you, never will be.
For this reason we praise you for every person whose perseverance brought us to this day.
For every person who has given mind, skill and money.
For every person who has devoted energy, time and imagination.
Most of all, our God,
we thank you that in spite of our failures, disappointments, and loss,
you have been among us, disturbed us with your presence,
and encountered us with your Son.

We thank you, Lord, for the present in which we live and work:
That in it we experience your forgiveness, mercy and love:
That from it we can look back, reflect,
and with a deeper understanding of ourselves and you,
be better prepared for the road before us;
And that for sharing its pain and pleasure, its sorrow and joy,
you have given us each other.
We praise you also, our Father, for the future,
which you are opening out before us,
and where you surprise us with the unexpected.
We thank you that it belongs to you,
so that come what may,
we are met by your grace and can journey in hope;
That we are not asked to take an untravelled way,
or choose a direction blindfold:
you have set the crucified Christ before us as risen Lord,
and promised that we can share his life.

Most gracious God,
we praise you that you have given us a beginning
and will be with us at the end;
that in the strength of your love
we can follow you to the edge of time,
and the threshold of eternity:
For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
forever and ever. Amen.

back to top

Remember... the Future

God of the future, you have called us to be a forward-looking people, looking to the coming of your kingdom, to the return of Jesus our Lord. By the death and resurrection of Jesus, you have set us free from the need to be anchored to the past.
It is easy to believe that we can rest on our laurels, being comfortable with what has already been achieved — even when others about us face a living hell, while still others are on the pathway there.

Grant us a love for people that seeks to save them from the consequences of their sin, from an eternal future without you.
Grant us a courage to reach out afresh to those with whom we have become familiar, and with those who are yet strangers to us, to share with them of the good news of Jesus Christ, both in word and in deed.

Arouse within us a thirst to know you more, to grow deeper into you, that the gifts and fruit of Your Spirit might be manifest and increasing in our lives.
Let us not walk away from the challenges you place before us, to be the presence and power of Jesus to a world dying for Your life.
We thank You this day, O God, for those who would not let these challenges slip past, and have maintained witness in this place. For those whose words and lives called others into relationship with you. They have given us a foundation on which to build.
By Your grace, allow us also to forgive those who have gone before us, where their mistakes - and even their successes - have intimidated us from launching out afresh in this time.
We thank you that Jesus did not hold back - even when invited to do so by those close to him - but continued all the way to the cross, completing the work which God began in His life.
Strengthen and encourage us in the same journey of discipleship, that we may not stop short from the commission you have given to us.
We commit ourselves afresh this day to be people of the future.
Take our lives, our loves... all that we are, and begin again the work of your Spirit in and through us. Amen.

Gary Heard 1997

back to top

The Winds of Change

God of freedom, God of justice, God of all creation, we gather to worship you this day.
Yet the speed and the shape of our lives often alienates us from your presence each day.
While we are locked in traffic jams, boxed in houses and offices, strictured in traditions and regulated practices, limited by habit and prejudice, we envy Your Spirit’s freedom to move.
Spirit of God, move in your sovereign freedom amongst us we pray.
Through human walls and edifices, over barriers of ignorance, around excuses and faithlessness, you continue to touch and transform.
Spirit of Jesus, help us to be open to the possibilities of life in You, even though we cannot yet see them.
Holy Spirit come afresh to us this day:
Let not our time of worship immunise us to the pain of this world, to the needs of our neighbour, to the realities of our existence;
Neither let it be a simple reinforcement of the status quo:
Give us the courage to move beyond the present.
The Winds of the Spirit seem to us somehow stilled, O God. Remove the barriers within us which resist the dynamics of His presence.
Come Holy Spirit, renew the work of grace in us, rekindle the flame of passion for you, stir our hearts to your presence, your love, and your grace.
Our lives are an open book before you, Lord. Speak to us of what you read there, and of the potential you hold before us as your gift.
Give us new sight, new perception, new hearts, that we might be part of your glorious work, that our lives might speak of your presence and grace.
Come alive in our midst, Lord.
Meet us in our time of worship, that you might lead us in the conduct of our whole lives. In the name of the risen Christ. Amen.

Gary Heard 1998

back to top

"In the Spirit’s Flow...."

Creating and renewing God, as we worship you this day, we recognise that we stand in the great flow of your Spirit’s work throughout all the ages
The same Spirit who moved at Pentecost, the same Spirit that brooded over creation, the same Spirit that came upon Gideon, the same Spirit who inspired prophets to speak your word, dwells and moves among us today.
We draw courage and strength from the ways in which your servants served you in their frailty and weakness, through trials and opposition that we have never known, learning to draw on Your Spirit’s presence and empowering
Challenge us to move beyond the comfort of trusting in our own resources to the place where we rely on your Spirit’s moving.
Teach us to be released from the anchors of our traditions and comforts into the wind of Your Spirit, where we can leave all in your control.
Help us, O God, to be a standard, an example, for future generations, that they too, in the frailty of their faith, might like us learn to venture out in the strength and power of the Spirit of God.
(All) Spirit of God, come again, move afresh, stir, inspire and empower us, for Your glory.
Amen.

Gary Heard 1998

back to top

Past, Present and Future

Eternal God, Alpha and Omega, you have called us to be a part of Your story of grace at work in the world.
We thank you for the history of faith which affirms your presence for people in all walks and every station of life.
We praise you for the life of Jesus, demonstrating your empathy with us in life's journey, your willingness to suffer as a human being, still offering the way of hope.
As we look back, Lord God, remind us that your mercies are as fresh as the morning dew, renewed in each time, fresh for each new moment.
Living and eternal God, we are reminded of your ongoing presence in our world.
By your spirit you walk with us each day, bringing guidance, giftedness and strength to continue the work of faith which we celebrate.
Keep us from consigning your work and your presence to the pages of history. Keep us alive to the fresh opportunities to experience and share your mercy and grace in the midst of contemporary life.
Grant that life each day might be shaped in purpose by our desire to live as Jesus would live, to steward our time, talents and resources in ways which demonstrate your priority in our lives.
Coming Lord Jesus, you call us not only to be part of your coming kingdom, but also to be part of creating a new future.
Though at times we struggle to adapt to and understand the changes which rage about us, teach us to keep our eyes fixed to you.
Teach us to shape our home lives, our work practices and our leisure experiences as an expression of your mission in and through us.
Let the full creativity of your Spirit be found in us, that our whole lives might be transformed by your renewing of our minds.
Lord God, in a rapidly changing world, help us not to be swept away in the stampede of our consumer society.
Instead, help us to consciously choose the way of Jesus, echoed in the prayer he taught his disciples to pray...

Gary Heard 1999

back to top

Growth

Lord God Almighty, every year you renew the face of the earth;
Every Easter we are reminded of your will to renew this world, fallen into sin and death.
Though each year brings us back to this remembrance, it is not your will for us to remain as we are.
Forgive us, Lord, for remaining as those on pure spiritual milk,
For failing to grow in our salvation,
For resisting your urge for us to chew on meatier matters of life and faith.
We must pause and ask ourselves whether we have truly discerned in Your Son the dawning of true life.
(Silent Reflection)
Lord, you have invited us to share in this new creation.
Teach us how to be a people who are ever seeking to move on into new territory,
Leaving behind yesterday’s struggles, and moving into the new challenges of the present, and the future.
All creation speaks of your renewing touch,
Bringing new life from old.
Grant that we too might demonstrate your renewing touch – in our work, and in our worship.
Grant that by the power of His resurrection we may be born anew to a living and dynamic hope, and so overcome the world.
Let your resurrected life renew every part of our life.
Through Jesus Christ,
Crucified and risen Lord, we pray. Amen

Gary Heard 2001

back to top

 

 

 

Jesus