20 September to 14 December 1998

The following prayers are offered for your use in private devotion or public worship. The World Council of Churches is depending on your prayers so that at the Harare Assembly there can be a true turning, and a true rejoicing, because we have found a common hope in God. Words in bold and italics are to be read by the congregation.

Prayer and the Eighth Assembly
Jesus prayed that God's reign should come, and that God's will be done. Jesus prayed that we might be one. James, the brother of Jesus, encouraged, "Pray for one another so that you may be healed."

Prayer is the undergirding spiritual link which connects us. When Christians from all over the world meet for the Eighth Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Harare, Zimbabwe, they will come supported and encouraged by prayer, your prayers, and the prayers of many others. If we are to rejoice in hope, it is by prayer that we will be enabled to turn to God and to one another. If we are to grow in love, it is the prayer for the Spirit who will bring a forgiveness with sighs too deep for words. If we are to proclaim peace, it is by prayer that we will gain courage and strength to be bold and boldly to embrace one another in the cause of justice.

Click to or scroll down for:
20 - 26 September
27 September - 3 October
4 - 10 October
11 - 17 October
18 - 24 October
25 - 31 October
1 - 7 November
8 - 14 November
15 - 21 November
22 - 28 November
29 November - 5 December
6 - 12 December
13 - 19 December

From the very first Assembly in Amsterdam, the meetings of the World Council of Churches have been times of prayer. As we prepare for the Harare Assembly, these prayers from past Assemblies can guide us with words still compelling. We do not pray only for meetings. For many years the WCC has supported a programme, the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle, in which every country of the world is prayed for over the course of a year. We have included the weekly cycle for this period. Sometimes the prayers come from the countries themselves, and sometimes from the region. Prayer reaches beyond our provincial concerns to include those we do not know or have not even heard of.

20 - 26 September    Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela

Celebration for the 50th Anniversary of the World Council of Churches

Let us pray for the victims of the conflict in Colombia
that they may find healing;
for the initiatives being undertaken by civil society
that the peace makers will be blessed;
for those involved in armed conflict
that they may find the path to reconciliation and forgiveness.

Let us give thanks to God
for the compassionate and prophetic role
being played by many churches
in the midst of difficult and dangerous situations.
We pray that they will be given strength and guidance
as they continue their programme on justice and peace.

Through our prayers,
let us share in the international solidarity with Colombia
expressed through the joint initiatives of the World Council of Churches,
the Latin American Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation
and the National Council of Churches-USA.

May the God of peace
give the fruits of lasting peace with justice
to our sisters and brothers in Colombia.
    Prayer by Amílcar Ulloa A., Colombia.

A prayer from the Amsterdam Assembly (1948)

Father-Creator, Provider-from-of-old, Ancient-of-days,
freshborn from the womb of night are we.
In the first dawning of the new day we draw near to you.
Forlorn are the eyes till they've seen the Chief.

O you, to whom we always look,
lighten our hearts as the sun throws light.
You are the greatest of Chiefs.
Beam upon us the morning sun and stir up our damp spirits to activity.
Praise comes to you from redeemed sons and daughters.
We sing, we plead; but how seldom we commune with you, O God.
Warm our hearts by your presence continually.

O God,
the Inspirer of our common worship,
and the Reward of all our seeking,
visit, we pray you, this congregation
and each of us with your indwelling spirit;
unite us in fellowship with your worshippers in all lands;
and grant that our thoughts and words and the unspoken
longings of our hearts may be acceptable in your sight,
and may be offered in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.
     Prayer adapted from a service led by Ms Rena Karefa-Smart, First Assembly, Amsterdam, 1948.

27 September - 3 October    Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger
    (Pray for the delegates from your church who will be attending the Assembly.)

Jesus, we want to grow in knowledge.
Help us to grow in body, mind and spirit.

Jesus, we want to grow in faith.
We thank you for the people of faith in Bible times and in our times whose lives are an example to us.

Jesus, we want to grow in hope.
We pray for all who are helping to bring freedom, peace and justice in our world.

Jesus, we want to grow in love.
Help us love one another as you have loved us and given yourself for us. We pray for those who today are giving their lives for others.
    Africa: prepared by women on behalf of their children. From Journey of Struggle, Journey in Hope, by Jane Heaton, © 1983 Friendship Press Inc, New York.

A prayer from the Evanston Assembly (1954)    (Closing prayer)

Unto Thee, O Lord, we commit our ways,
and the lives of all who are dear to us,
Thy people in every part of the world.
Link us together before Thy throne of grace in one fellowship of praise.
Grant that we may not turn from Thee all this day,
but walk before Thee and worship and pray,
so that at eventide we may not be ashamed in Thy holy presence;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

4 - 10 October    Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea
    (Pray for the women who will be attending the Assembly.)

My God, I praise you, I thank you for my mother.
For all that she could give me,
for all that she gave of herself,
a true, living school of love and humility.
She revealed to me your mystery -
thank you for her revelation of your truth.

Now, O God, I pray for all the children
of Africa, of Asia,
of America and Europe.
For all the children of the world.
Give me a heart like that of a mother,
the heart of a black woman for her children.
    Central African Republic: from Le tronc béni de la prière (manuscript), Mamia Woongly-Massaga, © World Council of Churches, Geneva.

A prayer from the New Delhi Assembly (1961)    (taken from the Eastern Orthodox tradition)

O Master, lover of humankind,
kindle within our hearts the clear light of thy divine knowledge,
and open the eyes of our understanding that we may understand the preaching of thy Gospel;
graft in us also the fear of thy blessed commandments,
that having trodden under foot all fleshly lusts,
and thinking and doing always such things as please Thee,
we may continue in a spiritual manner of life.
For Thou art the light, O Christ our God,
both of our souls and bodies,
and we give glory to Thee,
together with Thine unbegotten Father,
and thy most holy and gracious and life-giving Spirit,
now and for ever and world without end.

11 - 17 October    Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Sao Tomé and Principe
    (Pray for the labourers engaged in making items for the Assembly.)

(A prayer from Africa. The cross will be one of the central images of the Harare Assembly. Each member church has been asked to contribute a piece of wood to form the base of the cross.)

The cross is the hope of Christians.
The cross is the resurrection of the dead.
The cross is the way of the lost.
The cross is the saviour of the lost.
The cross is the staff of the lame.
The cross is the guide of the blind.
The cross is the strength of the weak.
The cross is the doctor of the sick.
The cross is the aim of the priests.
The cross is the hope of the hopeless.
The cross is the freedom of the slaves.
The cross is the water of the seeds.
The cross is the consolation of the bondmen.
The cross is the source of those who seek water.
The cross is the cloth of the naked.
We thank you, Father, for the cross.
    A 10th-century African hymn from Prayer Handbook 1989/90 (Jan Pickard), © Methodist Church in Great Britain and the General Committee of the Methodist Church in Ireland (General Purposes Committee).

A prayer from the New Delhi Assembly (1961)    (Metropolitan Juhana, Mar Thoma Church)

Almighty and most merciful God, we pray for all those who work earnestly for their livelihood, that Thou mayest guide and protect them. For all who labour on land, sea or air;
We beseech Thee, O Lord.

For all who toil and yet have to starve because their wages are low;
We beseech Thee, O Lord.

For those who have to borrow for their daily needs and are not able to clear their debts because of inadequate income;
We beseech Thee, O Lord.

For those who spend their earnings on liquor and ruin themselves and their families;
We beseech Thee, O Lord.

For all those who have resorted to shameful means to earn their living;
We beseech Thee, O Lord.

For those who cannot provide proper food or education to their children because of poverty;
We beseech Thee, O Lord.

For the poor who labour so hard that they have no time for prayer and meditation, and for the rich who in their pursuit of gain and riches fail to find time for prayer;
We beseech Thee, O Lord.

For avaricious employers who do not give proper wages to their employees, and for unscrupulous business men;
We beseech Thee, O Lord.

For officials who take bribes and for all who resort to dishonest means to make a profit;
We beseech Thee, O Lord.

For doctors who charge exorbitantly for their services and for people who are reluctant to pay fairly for the services they enjoy;
We beseech Thee, O Lord.

For those who receive high wages and yet are not faithful in their work;
We beseech Thee, O Lord.

O Lord, our God, we pray Thee, that Thou wouldst cleanse all persons from unrighteousness and selfishness, and hasten the day when Thy will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven. And grant us the will that we may dedicate ourselves for the establishment of Thy Kingdom on earth.
O Lord, have mercy on us and hear us through Christ our Saviour.

O Christ Jesus, who seeing the multitude, said unto Thy disciples, "Give ye them to eat", give to us and to Thy Church, the consciousness and the sense of duty towards the poor and the needy. The hungry, the landless, those who labour in fields and factories, those who engage in dangerous tasks, are around us. Help us to remember that we live upon the labours of others. In the midst of class war, and communal tensions, and race prejudice, help us to hear Thy blessed words, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." We ask these things for Thy glory and honour.

18 - 24 October    Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda
    (Pray for the rains in Zimbabwe, so that the people of Zimbabwe are not overburdened by drought when they host the Assembly.)

Almighty God, our Father, in the name of Jesus I come to you with supplications. You are Immanuel, God with us. You love us all. We know that you are not happy when your people are in desperate conditions. The hostilities have made us refugees in our own land. We are without enough clothes, enough food, and yet our gardens are not cultivated because we left them, and live in camps far away. One day we are under burning sun; another day under heavy rain. Our children do not go to school.

O Lord, help us to overcome this situation. O Lord, stop the fighting and resolve its original causes. O Lord, we pray for the restoration of peace in our country, so that we may go back to our own place and cultivate our gardens to feed our families.

O Lord, we know that you bore our nation's sin at the cross. Listen and intervene quickly. Many people - especially children and old people - are dying every day in our camps. Young people are weakened every day. Lord Jesus, look on displaced peoples' camps and react to their unhygienic conditions.

My Saviour, in you there is hope; you are the Risen Lord; you are the King of Kings; you are the Mighty Saviour; you are the Prince of Peace. Come, Jesus, come and bring us peace.
    Rwanda: prayer of a displaced woman from A Procession of Prayers - Meditations and Prayers from Around the World, compiled by John Carden, © by Cassell, London, and WCC Geneva.

Our heavenly Father, may the rulers of the earth come together and settle the world's quarrels. Teach the people of the earth to live in peace and to love one another, following the example of Jesus Christ.
    Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo: from The World at One in Prayer, compiled by Daniel Johnson Fleming.

A prayer from the Vancouver Assembly Worship Book (1983)

Lord of lords, Creator of all things,
God of all things, God over all gods,
God of sun and rain,
you created the earth with a thought and us with your breath.
Lord, we brought in the harvest.
The rain watered the earth,
the sun drew cassava and corn out of the clay.
Your mercy showered blessing after blessing over our country.
Creeks grew into rivers;
swamps became lakes.
Healthy fat cows graze on the green sea of the savanna.
The rain smoothed out the clay walls;
the mosquitoes perished in the high waters.
Lord, the yam is fat like meat,
the cassava melts on the tongue,
oranges burst in their peels, dazzling and bright.

Lord, nature gives thanks,
your creatures give thanks.
Your praise rises in us like the great river.
Lord of lords, Creator, Provider,
we thank you in the name of Jesus Christ.

25 - 31 October    Germany
    (Pray for those preparing presentations at the Assembly.)

Two prayers from the Uppsala Assembly (1968)     (by Elisabeth Adler, former East Germany)

O Lord,
through our way of living and acting,
people in the world have come to question your love, your justice and your peace.
We have told others that you would console them,
but we did not help them ourselves.
We have talked about loving our neighbour
but have only given a few pence;
we have not given ourselves.
We have supported unjust systems
and have even tried to justify them by theology.
We have kept in with those in power,
and left the poor and helpless to fend for themselves.
We have preached peace,
but have refused to soil our hands by taking part in politics.
We have passed half-hearted resolutions
against war, against social injustice, against racial discrimination,
while supporting the status quo with our action.
O God, we have gone after other gods
when living and acting in the world.
O Lord, forgive us our sin.

O Lord, our God,
we have sinned against you in thought, in word and in deed.
We have not loved you with our whole heart,
we have not trusted you completely
nor really placed our hope in you.
We have not loved our neighbour as ourselves.
We have left the world to its own devices.

We ask you to forgive us; come to our aid;
help us to think, to speak and to act as you would like us to do.
We ask it in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

O Lord, our God,
through Jesus our brother, we pray to you.
Help us to see you in our daily lives,
amid the unrest in our cities,
in the poorest districts,
in the humanity of men expressed to others.
Make us your fellow-workers,
wherever you are at work,
disclosing injustice, relieving suffering, promoting peace.
Renew your Church,
that it may be a sign of your love in the world,
unworried about its own existence, open to everyone,
ready to serve others.
O Lord, hear us.

We pray to you for all who have lost hope
because they have not enough to eat,
because they have no work,
because they are ill,
because they are exploited by others,
because they are not loved,
because they are lonely,
because they cannot see any meaning in their lives,
because they feel powerless in face of the inhumanity around them.
Show us how we can help to remove the causes of their despair.
We pray to you for all who are planning and working in hope,
in revolutionary movements,
in student organizations,
in social and economic organizations,
in labour and research institutes,
in parliaments and governments,
in the United Nations Organization and other international organizations.
Teach us to distinguish between true hopes and delusions,
and to support those plans and organizations
which are working to make life more human.
O Lord, hear us.

We pray to you for all who place their hope in you,
for all who doubt whether they can do so,
for all who have ceased to hope in you,
for all who have no hope because they do not know you.
Help us to be people who hope,
and to bring hope into the world
through all that we think and say and do.
We ask you in the name of Jesus Christ.

1 - 7 November    Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland
    (In some Western calendars 1 November is All Saints Day. Give thanks for the ecumenical pioneers who have led the way towards Christian unity. Who are the people in your local community who have fostered cooperation?)

Thus, with the hope you have given us in your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, may we follow him today and forever, that we may proclaim without fear or favour the gospel of your suffering, redeeming love.
    Switzerland: Ausbund, 16th-century Anabaptist hymn book.

A prayer from the New Delhi Assembly (1961)    (A prayer from a litany for the Catholic Epistles, Coptic Orthodox)

Let us pray:
O Lord our God, who through thy holy Apostles didst reveal unto us the mystery of the glorious Gospel of thy Christ, and didst grant unto them according to the immeasurable gift of thy grace, that they should preach among all the nations the inscrutable richness of thy mercy.

We beseech Thee, O our Master, make us worthy of their portion and their heritage. Bestow upon us ever that we may follow their steps; that we may imitate their contests, and may be partakers with them in the labours which they accepted for the sake of godliness. Guard thy holy Church which Thou hast founded through them, and bless the sheep of thy flock and increase this vineyard which thy right hand has planted. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

8 - 14 November    Italy, Malta
    (Pray for the local churches in Harare, and for the Zimbabwe Council of Churches as they prepare to receive the Assembly.)

O Lord,
you have said to us "Peace I leave with you."
This peace that you give is not that of this world;
it is not the peace of order, when order oppresses;
it is not the peace of silence, when silence is born of suppression;
it is not the peace of resignation, when such resignation is unworthy.
Your peace is love for all people,
is justice for all people,
is truth for all people,
the truth that liberates and stimulates growth.

Lord, it is this peace we believe in because of your promise.
Grant us peace, and we will give this peace to others.
    Italy: Waldensian Liturgy from A Procession of Prayers - Meditations and Prayers from Around the World, compiled by John Carden, © by Cassell, London, and WCC Geneva.

A prayer from the Vancouver Assembly Worship Book (1983)

Come! O people, come!
Let us celebrate the supper of the Lord,
let us together bake a giant loaf,
and together prepare the jars of wine
as at the wedding feast in Cana.

Come! O people come to the table of the Lord.
Let the women not forget the salt,
nor the men the leaven.
And let us invite many guests:
the lame, the blind, the deaf, the poor.

Come, O people, come for this meeting with the Lord.
Quickly now!
Let us follow the recipe of our Lord;
let us together knead the dough with our hands,
and watch with joy the rising bread.

Come, O people, come for this celebration with our Lord.
Because today we are celebrating
our commitment to Christ Jesus.
Today we are renewing our commitment to the kingdom;
and no one shall go hungry away.

Come, let us participate in the feast of life with our Lord.

15 - 21 November    Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal
    (Pray for those helping the delegates to get ready to leave, wives and husbands, secretaries and travel agents.)

to all who live beside dangerous seas
and on the banks of unpredictable rivers,
grant peace of mind
and the assurance of your presence
in each and every circumstance that may befall them.
    Prayer for Bangladesh from A Procession of Prayers - Meditations and Prayers from Around the World, compiled by John Carden, © by Cassell, London, and WCC Geneva.

O God; grant that always,
at all times and in all places,
in all things both small and great
we may ever do your most holy will
and be Jesus Christ's faithful servants
and handmaids to our lives' end.
    Bangladesh: prayer used daily by a small group of young Bengali nuns, Christa Sevika Sangha, the Little Handmaids of Christ from A Procession of Prayers - Meditations and Prayers from Around the World, compiled by John Carden, © by Cassell, London, and WCC Geneva.

A prayer from the Nairobi Assembly Worship Book (1975)

Sing:    Someone's crying Lord, Kumba yah

Someone's crying Lord, somewhere.
Some is millions, somewhere is many places.
There are tears of suffering.
There are tears of weakness and disappointment,
there are tears of strength and resistance,
there are the tears of the rich, and the tears of the poor.

Someone's crying Lord, redeem the times.

Sing:    Someone's dying Lord, Kumba yah

Some are dying of hunger and thirst,
Someone is dying because somebody else is enjoying too many unnecessary and superfluous things.
Someone is dying because people go on exploiting one another.
Some are dying because there are structures and systems which crush the poor and alienate the rich.
Someone's dying, Lord,
because we are still not prepared to take sides,
to make a choice, to be a witness.

Someone's dying, Lord, redeem the times.

Sing:    Someone's shouting Lord, Kumba yah

Someone's shouting out loudly and clearly.
Someone has made a choice.
Someone is ready to stand up against the times.
Someone is shouting out,
offering his very existence in love and anger
to fight death surrounding us,
to wrestle with the evils with which we crucify each other.

Someone's shouting Lord, redeem the times.

Sing:    Someone's praying Lord, Kumba yah

Someone's praying Lord.
We are praying in tears and anger,
in frustration and weakness,
in strength and endurance.
We are shouting and wrestling,
as Jacob wrestled with the angel,
and was touched
and was marked
and became a blessing.

We are praying Lord.
Spur our imagination,
sharpen our political will.

Through Jesus Christ
you have let us know where you want us to be.
Help us to be there now.
Be with us, touch us, mark us, let us be a blessing,
let your power be present in our weakness.

Someone's praying Lord, redeem the times.

Sing:    Someone's praying Lord, Kumba yah

22 - 28 November    Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
    (Pray for the staff of the WCC and for the Decade Festival [27-30 November] marking the end of the Ecumenical Decade of Churches in Solidarity with Women.)

And so, that is why, at nightfall when my people are asleep, kneeling barefoot, close to the altar of my little chapel, I become their intercessor - like Abraham, Jacob, Moses, like Jesus. A stick of sandalwood sends forth its fragrance, the symbol of all of those who today are worn out with their labours in suffering, or in love. And I am there, weighed down with all the faults of my people, afflicted with all their sorrows, heavy with all their hopes - all of those who today have fallen asleep thinking only to meet a Judge - to them I present him as their Saviour, and I introduce them to the eternal Nuptials. All those little children who were born this day, I make children of God. All the prayers said today in the homes, the mosques, I transform into an "Our Father". My heart is nothing more than the melting pot, where, in the fire of Christ's love, all the dross of my people is turned into gold - and through my lips it is the whole of Afghanistan who cries that "Abba" to the Father that the Holy Spirit inspires.
    Afghanistan: from A Procession of Prayers - Meditations and Prayers from Around the World, compiled by John Carden, © by Cassell, London, and WCC Geneva.

A prayer for the staff of the WCC from the Evanston Assembly Closing Worship (1954)

We pray for all the members of the staff of the World Council of Churches that they may receive strength, courage and joy in carrying out their tasks, that new visions be granted to them.

We pray for the Member Churches of the World Council of Churches that they may be true witnesses of the Gospel.

We pray for the Church Universal.

29 November - 5 December    India, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
    (Pray for those who are travelling and for the women, youth and Orthodox pre-Assembly meetings. Pray for the opening service on 3 December.)

When she has to go to a foreign land "to ease the burden of the family",
Lord, calm her terror on the ear-bursting plane;

a girl of different colour in strange clothes, humiliated by what they call her with their eyes,
be her protection on her arrival;

on her knees cleaning floors, with names like "beggar" in her ears,
Lord, hear the prayer of her aching knees;

sweating at the stove preparing food,
Lord, heal the raw, sore hands of the young "cook";

holding the child of another woman,
Lord, create some bond of love as he screams at his "nanny ayah";

just a "servant girl", carrying loads with both her hands and on her head,
Lord, comfort her through meeting fellow-servants at the market;

and at last when the day's work is done and she falls asleep to dream of home, may she hear her mother whispering "little daughter". Open her inward eyes to know she is your daughter.

To all migrant workers, Lord, give the blessing Jesus promised to the meek,
for "The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and the torment of malice shall not touch them."
    Prayer for Sri Lankan women migrant workers by Olive Hitchcock, A Procession of Prayers - Meditations and Prayers from Around the World, compiled by John Carden, © by Cassell, London, and WCC Geneva.

A prayer for all those travelling, used at the Uppsala Assembly (1968)    (from the Coptic Orthodox tradition)

Let us pray for all who are now travelling, and those anywhere who intend to travel. That He may facilitate the ways of all those, whether by sea or river, or lake, or on the beaten track, or those travelling by all means. That Christ our Lord may bring them back to their homes in safety; and forgive our sins.

A prayer for the gathering of the Assembly from the Canberra Worship Book (1991)

Jesus, as a mother you gather your people to you:
You are gentle with us as a mother with her children.

Often you weep over our sins and our pride:
Tenderly you draw us from hatred and judgement.

You comfort us in sorrow and bind up our wounds:
In sickness you nurse us, and with pure milk you feed us.

Jesus, by your dying we are born to new life:
By your anguish and labour we come forth in joy.

Despair turns to hope through your sweet goodness:
Through your gentleness we find comfort in fear.

Your warmth gives life to the dead:
Your touch makes sinners righteous.

Lord Jesus, in your mercy heal us:
In your love and tenderness remake us.

In your compassion bring grace and forgiveness:
For the beauty of heaven may your love prepare us.
    A Song of St Anselm.

6 - 12 December    Angola, Mozambique
    (Pray for all the deliberations, the conversations and the operation of the Assembly.)

O Powerful God,
Whose deeds of mercy, compassion and love
     are apparent in all peoples
     from generation to generation,
Giver of life abundant to all humanity:

You have granted the Jubilee to your people
as a year of freedom -
     Freedom from oppression, misery, and a life of suffering,
     Freedom to a life which challenges poverty,
         the lack of peace, injustice,
    and all those ills of society which do so many to death.
From all the corners of the world, as from Mozambique,
echo the cries
    Of those who have succumbed to grinding poverty,
    Of those, especially the young,
        who are subjected to unemployment,
     Of the multitudes who, even in times of "peace",
         have been mutilated or killed by land mines.

Domestic violence makes the family fragile, vulnerable,
Bringing unforseen consequences:
     So many children forsaken,
         growing up without education or protection,
     So many young girls made pregnant,
     So much sorrow.

Governments are inflexible, unresponsive
when it comes to justice for all;
     Thus human rights -
         of women and children, first of all -
         are violated,
     Tribal conflicts spread abroad,
     And injustice abounds.

O Powerful God,
Sounding the horn of Jubilee
we approach with confidence
the throne of your Grace,
     that we may attain your mercy
     and realize your promise
     of that "peace on earth, good will among all"
     which is rooted in love for the neighbour.
        Mozambique: from the Christian Council of Mozambique.

A prayer from the New Delhi Assembly (1961) in a worship by Günter Jacob

Remember, O Lord, in thy mercy this day our fellowship together in this Assembly; take from us all weariness of heart, all pride and prejudice, and all self-righteousness; grant that in obedience to thy truth we may tackle our problems with courage and good humour, and that taking brotherly counsel with one another, our deliberations may help the church in our present world humbly to show people the way to the one and only light, to that light which shines in the face of Jesus Christ - even for people in the atomic age, the age of space and travel.

13 - 19 December    Botswana, Zimbabwe
    (Pray for the recommitment service on Sunday afternoon. Pray for the new members of Central Committee and for travel back home.)

O God,
we pray for those places in the world
made awful by climatic conditions;
places of intense cold, and heat and drought,
places of great hardship and privation,
where man, woman and beast are constantly endangered
by the elements and environment.
We give thanks for all that sustains and helps them,
and pray that such may be multiplied
in the hands of Jesus Christ and those who serve in his name.
    Prayer for drought-prone Botswana from With All God's People, © World Council of Churches, Geneva.

A prayer from the Evanston Assembly (1954) in a worship by Elsie Chamberlain

Let us offer ourselves to do God's will today

Receive, we beseech Thee, the love of our hearts and the work of hands and minds.
We believe that Thou hast called us here, and brought us to this day to
share in the greatest of earthly privileges, the work of thy Kingdom.
We would offer ourselves today for thy service.

Save us from lazy imaginations, make us adaptable to thy purpose.

Help us to will, "Not I, but Christ".
We wait on Thee that Thou mayest transform us by the light of the
knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
As Thou didst plunge into the adventure of human living in Jesus Christ our Lord,
make us ready to climb the steep ascent to Heaven.

Lord, on the way to Thee
when we stumble, hold us.
When we fall, lift us up.
When we turn from what is good, turn us back
and bring us at last to thy Glory.

Sources and Acknowledgements
We give thanks to John Carden for his book "A Procession of Prayers - Meditations and Prayers from Around the World", published jointly by Cassell, London, and WCC Geneva; it is the place where we found many of the prayers for the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle. We are also grateful to those writers who have given permission to use the prayers in this collection. These materials may be reprinted and translated for local use. We have made every effort to secure all the necessary permissions for reprinting. If we have erred in any way in the acknowledgments, or have unwittingly infringed any copyright, we apologize sincerely. This collection of prayers was selected by Terry MacArthur.

Copyright Notice: The copyright holders have kindly given permission that their work may be used for worship bulletins and other materials connected with the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the World Council of Churches. However, the copyright holders retain all rights and permission needs to be obtained for all other uses. When using this material appropriate copyright information must be attached. Thank you.

Terry MacArthur, Worship Consultant
World Council of Churches
P.O. Box 2100
1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland

Tel.: (+41.22) 791 6486
Fax: (+41.22) 791 0361
E-mail: WCC Contact

World Council of Churches
Eighth Assembly
3 - 14 December
Harare, Zimbabwe

Turn to God -- Rejoice in Hope

A Jubilee Anniversary
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