P = Presiding Minister, Assisting Minister or Leader
C = Congregation
C1 = Side one of congregation
C2 = Side two of congregation (you may substitute Women for one side and Men for the second side)
U = Unison
(Italic and Bold text indicate congregational participation.)
1. Prayers for the Land; Paul Calvin Peterson
U We gather today to ask GodÕs blessing on the seeds which will be planted, the soil which is cultivated, and the farmers who labor to the service of God. We lift up prayers of thanksgiving for the many blessings bestowed on us, and we seek justice for those who till the soil. Amen.
Prayer for Seeds
U Almighty God, Creator and Sustainer of heaven and earth, You give seed to the sower and bread to the people. Nourish, protect and bless the seeds, which Your people have sown in hope. By Your providence and bountiful giving, may they bring forth fruit in due season. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.
Prayer for the Soil
U O Loving God, giver of life, we give thanks that, in the soil, nature awakens in answer to Your call of spring. We praise You for the smell of fresh-turned earth, the beauty of a clean-cut furrow, and the sweep of a well-plowed field. We thank You for the life which is in the soil, and ask that You help us to be good stewards of that life. In the name of the One who is the source of new life, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Prayer for Rain
U Bountiful God, it is from You that we receive the fruits of the earth. In Your mercy, send us weather which will allow our fields to grow abundantly and provide a harvest to feed Your people. May the clouds of the sky shower this land with water, following the example of how You shower us with Your grace and love. In the name of Christ, Amen.
Prayer for Animals
U Creator God, You placed us on this earth to be the stewards of all living things. In all of our labors we are to find glory for You. Bless our work with the animals, which provide food and clothing. Grant that these animals may help serve our needs as we work to serve You. In the name of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Prayer for Justice
U God of Divine Justice, we cry out for You to bring justice to Your land. We pray that those whose vocation is in the land will receive a fair price for their labors. We pray that the small farm, and all that it represents, may survive and thrive for generations to come. We pray that Your comfort and inspiration be felt by those who are struggling. And we pray that Your light of hope will never be extinguished upon the land. Through the name of the One who brings eternal justice, Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
P O God, we thank You for this earth that is our home, for the wide sky and the blessed sun, for the salt sea and the running water, for the everlasting hills and the never-resting winds, for the trees and the common grass underfoot. We thank You for our senses by which we hear the songs of birds, and see the splendour of the summer fields, and taste of the autumn fruits, and rejoice in the feel of the snow, and smell the breath of the spring. Grant us, O God, a heart wide open to all this beauty and save our souls from being so blind that we pass unseeing when even the common thorn bush is aflame with Your glory. We ask these things of You, our Creator God, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
3. For Rainfall
P Holy God, maker of all things and protector of Your people, look upon us in Your love and give us Your help. Open the heavens for us and give us the rain we need. Teach us to live for You and to share Your gifts with others.
C O God, hear us in our need, for we come to You through Christ our Lord.
4. Closing Prayer
P Bless us now, O Lord, and make us a blessing to those around us. May our stated commitment to You, to each other and all humankind and to the whole earth from this day onward be visible in our lives. May our steadfast dedication to just and loving earth relationships help to bring justice and healing to creation and thus bring peace to the world.
5. A Dedicatory Prayer
P Creator of life and Sustainer of seed and soil, you have created this world and given it to us as a heritage and home. You have given us life through Jesus Christ, and You have given us the holy task of sharing the faith and serving You today and in all generations. It is to You we come in this prayer dedication and blessing.
P We acknowledge that You are the giver of life, the sender of rain, sunshine and richness of soil; without You, there would be no life. And so we come to dedicate the seed that shall be sown. We pray that the soil may be rich, and the harvest bountiful so that the hungry would may be fed.
P It is in Your name, O God, that we dedicate this seed. It is in Your name, O God, that we dedicate this soil.
P We ask that the seed sowers and land cultivators be given strength and wisdom as they work with You to provide food for the world. We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who was the sower of good seed. Amen.
C We are the ones who till the soil and sow the seed. Our work is holy and sacred. It is our responsibility to plant and cultivate with reverence and care. We dedicate ourselves to this work so that food may be provided for our world, and God may be glorified. We ask for strength to uphold our responsibilities, through Jesus Christ, whom God has given to give us life. Amen.
6. A Prayer at the Opening of Worship; Toni Newman, Wartburg Theological Seminary
P Holy and merciful God, You know our temptations as we struggle to be Your people. You know that we desire to do that which will serve us, to do that which will bring us profit. And at the same time, You know that we long to be a people of faith, a people obedient to your word. We long to be faithful stewards of our possessions and of the sacred earth. We long to care for our neighbors. We long for lifestyles that are good and pleasing to You, O God, who spoke and brought all things into being. Speak to us here in this place Ð now and tomorrow Ð to that we may hear Your word of justice. So that we may know the blessings of serving our communities, and of caring for our neighbors. Help us to hear You here in this place of worship today. Amen.
7. Prayers of Intercession; Fred L. Page, Rossville and Frankfort Presbyterian Churches, Indiana
U As we come to Your feast, O God, we remember our hunger. We lift up to You all those who hunger, and we look for the day when everyone will sit down together at Your table, and all will be filled.
P O God, be with those who are hungry for bread Ð for wheat and corn and rice, for something in a bowl, for meat on a plate.
C We are hungry for bread.
P O God, be with those who are hungry for justice Ð for liberation from oppression, for the freedom to give, for the opportunity to choose.
C We are hungry for justice.
P O God, be with those who are hungry for peace Ð for an end to war, for reconciliation among people and nations, for the desire to share life rather than destroy it.
C We are hungry for peace.
P O God, be with those who are hungry for love Ð for a sense of dignity and value, for the gift of compassion, for a feeling of belonging.
C We are hungry for love.
U We are hungry, O God, even though filled, because we see others starving. Their need is ours. Their cries for justice are our cries. Fill us with Your great love, O Godc, that all may receive Your abundant gifts and rejoice. In the name of Christ. Amen.
8. A Prayer of suffering; Toni Newman
P Let us come to our God who has claimed us by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
C Living God, You have suffered the pains of being human. You have known physical hunger, you have known sadness. We come today to offer our suffering to You; we lay it at the feet of Jesus, and ask for comfort.
P Because of rainless skies,
C We worry about our crops. We are afraid that they will be blighted, and that the growing season will be devastated. There will be nothing to sell at harvest.
P Because of extreme heat,
C Our animals endure illness and die. We are not able to care for or cure them. Our communities duffer in the heat, unable to cool themselves. Our elderly are not able to withstand these high temperatures. They die quickly.
P You, O God, walk with us in our lives. Be with us in our suffering.
C Send the rain that will soak the land, quench our thirst, and cool the temperatures.
P We ask for these things, confident that You will hear our prayers. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
P Sisters and brothers, God has promised to come among us when we gather together. So we come to invoke GodÕs promise to us. Let us pray for centering so that we truly present in this place at this time without distractions.
C Companion God, You have promised to be with us whenever we gather. Come to us today. Be in our midst. Let us gather around the cross of Jesus Christ to be forgiven our sins. Let us gather around Your Word to hear You speak to us. Help us to be centered here in this place, and not in our cow or hog barns. Help us to be centered here in this holy place, and not in our corn, bean or beet fields. Give us Your peace so that we may focus on You as You are here with us. We give thanks that You hear and answer our prayers. Amen.
P God has fed GodÕs people throughout history. Our believing ancestors were fed manna in the wilderness. Huge crowds of believes were fed with only a few loaves and fishes. Fisherfolk had their empty nets filled to overflowing. Let us bring our concerns for our hungry world to this feeding God.
P God of the hungry who wandered in the wilderness,
C You fed us with manna when we were hungry; we had enough every day. Remember our sisters and brothers who will go to bed hungry tonight because they have nothing to eat.
P God of the hungry multitudes,
C You fed us with only small loaves and fishes; there was plenty to spare. Remember those who survive because of food pantries and nutrition programs.
P God of the fisherfolk who had empty nets,
C You filled the fishing nets so full that they burst. Remember those whose stomachs will bloat from emptiness, whose eyes will glace with weakness, and who will die before the sunrise.
P God who feeds,
C Our world is hungry. These people who suffer are our sisters and brothers. Help us become bread for them so that they may eat and be filled. Let none be lost.
P You have fed us throughout history. Do not abandon us now. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.