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Prayers for Southern Seasons: Poems and prayers for Christian worship and devotions

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By Joy Kingsbury-Aitken

Worship leaders, this engaging collection of prayers will support your work of creating meaningful services that reflect the church year in our part of the world.
Joy provides prayers for many different purposes: Gathering – Candle lighting – Thanksgiving – Intercession – Petition – Confession – Assurance – Illumination – Offering – Blessing – Commissioning.

In Aotearoa New Zealand the church year begins in early summer, harvest comes during the fast of Lent, and we celebrate Easter not when life is emerging anew in a burst of spring flowering but when leaves are turning red and gold and falling to the ground. The prayers and poems in this collection have been arranged to reflect the cycle of the seasons as we experience them, and the church’s feasts and fasts, and other commemorations, as they occur within those seasons.

To lead a congregation in worship is both a great privilege and a great responsibility. Prayer is a vital part of public worship. Many of the prayers are responsive, giving congregation members an opportunity for more active involvement in the service. The poems for personal reflection are ideal for printing on the front cover of an order of service or within a church bulletin.

Joy’s hope is that this book will be a useful resource for worship leaders, providing just the right words when they need them, and that they, and others who happen to open these pages, may find within sparks of inspiration to ignite their own devotional creativity.

Sample Prayers

God You Don’t See as We See (Petition)
1 Samuel 16:7

God you don’t see as we see.
You are not impressed by fortune and fame.
You know beauty is so very fleeting
and that charm can often be vain.

God you don’t see as we see.

You look at what lies deep within,
at attitudes affecting our thinking,
leading to both virtue and sin.

God you don’t see as we see.

So we ask that you give us insight,
to view our ways as you see them,
to delight in doing what’s right.

God you don’t see as we see.
So we desire to become more like you,
that we may be pleasing in your sight,
and see things the way that you do.

God you don’t see as we see.

You see what we have become,
your family of beloved children,
redeemed by the death of your Son.


Lord God, Source of Eternal Light (Gathering)
John 1:1-5; 3:5-8, 16-17; 4:10-14; 7:37-39; Acts 2:1-4

Lord God, source of eternal light,
we come seeking illumination.
Lord God, the wind that blows through our lives,
we come seeking the Spirit’s inspiration.
Lord God, the source of living water,
we come seeking refreshment at the
spring that gushes up to eternal life.
We have gathered together
knowing you are in our midst.
We have gathered together
listening for your voice.
We have gathered together
your people born to new life.
Open our minds
to understanding your word.
Open our mouths
in joyful praise and grateful prayer.
Most of all, open our hearts
to the Son who came into the world
not to condemn the world but to save it.
We acknowledge our failures
and seek your forgiveness of our iniquities.
We know our shortcomings
and seek your patience with our inadequacies.
We have come from our world to worship.
Send us back into your world to praise.
Bless this holy time O Lord.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen.


Forgive Us, Restore Us and Change Us (Confession)

Lord, your intention is that we be family,
kindly, self-sacrificing, loving.
Sometimes we act more like enemies,
uncaring, self-serving, unintentionally cruel.
In such times forgive us, restore us and change us.

Lord, your intention is that we be generous,
sharing the bounty you have provided.
Sometimes we act more like misers,
reserving your blessing for ourselves alone.
In such times forgive us, restore us and change us.

Lord, your intention is that we be worshipful,
giving you glory, praising you for your grace.
Sometimes we act as if you don’t matter,
by going our own ways, doing our own things.
In such times forgive us, restore us and change us.

Lord we thank you for your parental care
and are grateful for your brotherly love.
Lord we thank you for your liberality
in providing our needs and much more besides.
Lord we thank you for your faithfulness
that never wanes irrespective of our waywardness.
Lord your mightiness humbles us.
Your promises elevate us.
You sacrifice has saved us.
So we come with words of praise and thanksgiving,
knowing that you have forgiven and restored us,
and that you are changing us. Amen.

About the author

Joy brings to her writing a love of literature and a love of scripture. In the 1970s she graduated with an honours degree in English from the University of Canterbury, and in the 1990s she studied part-time for the Bachelor of Theology degree from the University of Otago, graduating in December 2004.

Soon after Joy began to be asked to lead worship for her home congregation and then for other congregations, learning how to do so by trial and error and with helpful advice offered by those sitting in the pews. This experience convinced her of the importance of resourcing lay worship leaders for the task they are requested to undertake.

Joy has served on the executive committee of the New Zealand Lay Preachers Association, including in the role of President. She is a member of the Village Presbyterian Church in Christchurch. Joy is now retired after a thirty-one year career with the Christchurch City Council, in the discipline of road safety education.

She is married to David Aitken, without whose support her lay preaching ministry could not happen.
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