Pastoral Prayers to Share Year A

List Price: $29.95

Print$23.96 eBook$9.98
Prayers of the People for Each Sunday of the Church Year

David Sparks

256 PP | 5.5" x 8.5"
Paper
ISBN: 978-1-55145-585-3

"So what are we about as pastoral pray-ers? We are about bringing ourselves individually and as a faith community into right relationship with God..."

What about a Revised Common Lectionary based book of pastoral prayers for clergy and lay leaders that provides responsive prayers for each Sunday of the year. David gets asked this question often when people recognize him as the author of the three volumes of Prayers to Share. So, acknowledging that the pastoral prayer is often overlooked and undervalued, and that clergy and lay leaders may be hard-pressed for time to compose a fresh pastoral prayer each week, he has put together a unique and comprehensive collection of prayers that can be adapted to present circumstances and used in a variety of settings.

The prayers are responsive, written for one or two leaders and a congregational response. They all allow for the inclusion of local and worldwide current events, and individual and congregational concerns. David usually uses the weekly Gospel reading as the broad theme for the prayers and divides them into four easily identified sections:

  • world
  • suffering
  • church
  • ourselves

The "how to use" section covers preparing to offer pastoral prayer, and offers 12 ways to "do" pastoral prayer, such as:

  • two leader congregational response
  • using people and objects to dramatize a theme
  • using part of a hymn for a lead or a response
  • using silence for effect

Each week offers specific suggestions for two or three prayer formats.

Other features include:

  • Thematic Index
  • Scripture Index
  • Icons in the margin to enable quick identification of prayer sections and alternate suggestions
  • Data CD with text files for Year A included with the print version

David Sparks, Author

David received his theological education in England and in Canada and has served for 38 years with The United Church of Canada. David’s previous lectionary-based, three-volume prayer collections – Prayers to Share, and Pastoral Prayers to Share – have been welcomed and widely used in North America. David is a prolific and well-received contributor to the worship leader’s resource Gathering, and has had prayers and hymns published in other ecumenical and national Worship publications. David and his wife, Kathy, live in Summerland, British Columbia.

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Media Reviews

Wayne A. Holst

Can we move beyond practices pitting 'formalized' against 'free will' pastoral prayers during worship?

Author David Sparks believes we can, and he provides us with this book of prayers for the church year to demonstrate the point.

This book will help many worship leaders - both lay and clergy - to make the most of that period of worship we designate as "The Prayer of the Church," "The Prayers of the People" or whatever.

I was trained to follow a fixed liturgy, with set prayers, adapted to the various seasons of the Church Year.

I have learned to value prayers with more immediacy and, for me, personal meaning.

Yet, rarely have I seen liturgical resources providing a blend of the best of both formal and informal prayer in a public worship setting.

This is a book that attempts to bridge that gap. I believe it will become a welcome resource for pastors and lay leaders alike.

ADVENT 2

Lectionary Readings

Isaiah 11:1–10
Psalm 72:1–7, 18–19
Romans 15:4–13
Matthew 3:1–12

John the Baptizer appears out of the desert, a confrontational, charismatic, prophetic figure.

How we wish we could have been on Jordan’s bank!
On Jordan’s bank, men and women were given a vision of a new realm.

We pray for the prophets of today:
the prophets who speak out for clean water and unpolluted air,
the prophets who warn of the extinction of plant and animal species,
the prophets who expose the horrors of child labour wherever it is found,
the prophets who expose the commercial focus of this holy time.
And though we need to listen to our own prophets,
how we wish
we could have been on Jordan’s bank!

How we wish we could have been on Jordan’s bank!
On Jordan’s bank was a crowd of people seeking radical change in their life’s direction.

We pray for those who face medical conditions that are difficult to diagnose or treat.
We pray for those who are held back by guilt over past wrongs, and for those who need the help of another to reveal their hidden gifts and talents.
We pray for those in spiritual crisis, who seek renewal and inspiration in their shadowed times.
We pray for those who find life fragmented and overwhelming.
We pray for those who are sick, for whom each new day is a struggle.
We pray for those who have lost loved ones and find it hard to break out of the tomb of bereavement (time of silent reflection).
As we pray that forgiveness and empowerment will be the reality for ourselves and for our friends,
how we wish
we could have been on Jordan’s bank!

How we wish we could have been on Jordan’s bank!
On Jordan’s bank was a crowd who glimpsed Jesus, God’s Holy One, who would transform their lives.
The ministry of Jesus began with John. We remember that we stand in the faithful tradition of the Baptized One.
The ministry of Jesus began with John. We rejoice that we stand in the compassionate tradition of the Baptized One.
The ministry of Jesus began with John. We rejoice that we stand in the just and prophetic tradition of the Baptized One.
As we seek to play our part in the faith community, as we remember the vocation of Christian ministry,
how we wish
we could have been on Jordan’s bank!
 
How we wish we could have been on Jordan’s bank!
The questions call us to respond.

Can we make the turnaround to which we are called?
Are we ready to listen to the voice of the prophets?
Have we the commitment to step forward confidently?
Can we recognize Christ in the needy crowd around us? (Time of silent reflection.)
As we struggle with the questions,
how we wish
we could have been on Jordan’s bank!

Another Way

  1. Sing a verse of one of the John the Baptizer hymns, such as On Jordan’s Bank (Voices United #20) after each section.
     
  2. Turn this into a fully responsive prayer.
    How we wish we could have been on Jordan’s bank!
    On Jordan’s bank was a crowd who glimpsed Jesus, God’s Holy One, who would transform their lives.
    The ministry of Jesus began with John. We remember that we stand in the faithful tradition of the Baptized One.
    The ministry of Jesus began with John. We rejoice that we stand in the compassionate tradition of the Baptized One.
    The ministry of Jesus began with John. We rejoice that we stand in the just and prophetic tradition of the Baptized One.
    As we seek to play our part in the faith community, as we remember the vocation of Christian ministry,
    how we wish we could have been on Jordan’s bank.

    Follow the same pattern for the other sections.
     
  3. The worship leader dresses up as John the Baptizer and wears a rough coat, sandals, and a wild look.