One in the Apostles: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2011
|The First Pentecost...engraving by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794-1872).|
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teachings and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42)
The theme for the 2011 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity - "One in the Apostles' Teaching, Fellowship, Breaking of Bread and Prayer" - invites Christians everywhere to pause and reflect on our relationship to the mother Church of Jerusalem and our own journeys of faith.
Prepared by Christians in Jerusalem, the theme and prayers for the Week of Prayer (5-12 June) celebrate the origins of the first church in Jerusalem. It is a call for inspiration and renewal, a return to the essentials of the faith - and a time to remember when the church was still one.
There is a journey of faith each of us can take over the eight days of the Week of Prayer. On Day 1 (Sunday 5 June), we are asked to reflect on the background to the mother church of Jerusalem, and its continuity with the church throughout the world today.
We are reminded of the courage of the early church as it witnessed to the truth, just as we need to continue working for justice in Jerusalem, and in the rest of the world.
Prayers for the Week
Prayer for Day 1 (Sunday 5 June)
The Church in Jerusalem
Almighty and Merciful God, with great power you gathered together the first Christians in the city of Jerusalem, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, defying the earthly power of the Roman empire. Grant that, like this first church in Jerusalem, we may come together to be bold in preaching and living the good news of reconciliation and peace, wherever there is inequality and injustice. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, who liberates us from the bondage of sin and death. Amen.
Prayer for Day 2 (Monday 6 June)
The Church in Jerusalem
God, from whom all life flows in its rich diversity, you call your Church as the body of Christ to be united in love. May we learn more deeply our unity in diversity, strive to work together to preach, and build up the Kingdom of your abundant love to all, accompanying each other in each place, and in all places. May we always be mindful of Christ as the source of our life together. We pray in the unity of the Spirit. Amen.
Prayer for Day 3 (Tuesday 7 June)
Devotion to the Apostles' Teachings unite us
God of Light, we give you thanks for the revelation of your truth in Jesus Christ, your Living Word, which we have received through the apostles’ teaching, first heard at Jerusalem. May your Holy Spirit continue to sanctify us in the truth of your Son, so that united in Christ we may grow in devotion to the Word, and together serve your Kingdom in humility and love. We pray in fellowship with the apostles and all those in Christ. Amen.
Prayer for Day 4 (Wednesday 8 June)
Sharing, an expression of our unity
God of justice, your giving of the Spirit broke the bounds of what is holy. We thank you that you have given what we need, so that all may be fed, clothed and housed. Guard us from the sin of hoarding, and inspire us to be instruments of love, sharing all that you give us, as a witness to your generosity and justice. As followers of Christ, lead us to act together in places of want: where families are driven from their homes, where the vulnerable suffer at the hands of the powerful, where poverty and unemployment destroy lives. We pray in the name of Jesus, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Prayer for Day 5 (Thursday 9 June)
Breaking the bread in hope
God of Hope, we praise you for your gift to us of the Lord’s Supper, where, in the Spirit, we continue to meet your Son Jesus Christ, the living bread from heaven. Forgive our unworthiness of this great gift – our living in factions, our collusion with inequalities, our complacency in separation. Hasten the day when your whole church together shares the breaking of the bread, and that, as we wait for that day, we may learn more deeply to be a people formed by the Eucharist for service to the world. We pray in the name of Jesus, who gives himself to us in Word, sacrament and service. Amen.
Prayer for Day 6 (Friday 10 June)
Empowered to action in prayer
God our Father, we rejoice that in all times, places and cultures, there are people who reach out to you in prayer. Above all we thank you for the example and teaching of your Son, Jesus Christ, who has taught us to long in prayer for the coming of your Kingdom. Teach us to pray better as Christians together, so that we may always be aware of your guidance and encouragement through all our joys and distress. We pray in the power your Holy Spirit. Amen.
Prayer for Day 7 (Saturday 11 June)
Living in resurrection faith
God, Protector of the widow, the orphan and the stranger – in a world where many know despair, you raised your Son Jesus to give hope for humanity and renewal to the earth. Continue to strengthen and unify your Church in its struggles against the forces of death in the world, where violence against creation and humanity obscures the hope of the new life you offer. We pray in the name of Christ, who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, across all the ages. Amen.
Prayer for Day 8 (Sunday 12 June)
Called for the service of reconciliation
God of Peace, we thank you that you sent your Son Jesus, so that we might be reconciled to yourself in Him. Give us the grace to be effective ambassadors of reconciliation within our churches. In this way help us to serve the reconciliation of all peoples, particularly in your Holy Land – the place where you demolish the wall of separation between peoples, and unite everyone in the body of Jesus, offered on Mount Calvary. Fill us with love for one another; may our unity serve the reconciliation that you desire for all creation. We pray in the name of Christ, through whom God was pleased to reconcile all things in heaven and earth, making peace by the blood of the Cross. Amen.
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