Whether you are looking for a pastoral prayer, a communion meditation or an offering moment, we want to help make Week of Compassion a meaningful part of your church’s worship service. Maybe you are lifting up a special concern for those affected by a recent disaster, or maybe you just want to celebrate this ministry of the church that reaches so many parts of the globe. Here are some of the ways that pastors and worship leaders might incorporate Week of Compassion into the liturgy, in any season and for any reason.
Call to Worship
Leader: Let us give thanks to God for every good gift; let us give thanks to God for people of courage who help to give hope wherever there is need. People: Today we especially pray for the people in the path of [Hurricane Michael] -- those who have lost their lives or their loved ones, those whose livelihoods and homes have been battered by the fury of wind and sea and storm. Leader: Be with them all, O God, with your tender mercies and abiding hope. People: We pray for those first responders who indeed offer hope in tangible form -- firefighters and paramedics, police officers and soldiers, doctors and nurses, pastors and so many others who brave danger and are a source of comfort and strength. Leader: Our prayers will not cease when the storm passes, nor will our gifts. We are grateful for Week of Compassion and its partners who are assisting so many, who will be there when the cameras are gone. People: Thanks be to God for people who are generous with their time, their talents, their prayers, and their gifts, for they are surely a sign of God’s good reign. Amen.
Pastoral Prayer During a Pandemic: Based on Psalm 27 The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? God of Light, You assure us of your abiding love, and call us to trust in you. In this time of uncertainty, surround us with your promise and peace. Though we wade through uncharted waters, we go with your Spirit by our side, and with Christ to lead us. Guide us as we follow in that way of hope and compassion. Give us the courage to serve and give to our neighbors, walking in faith and not fear. Grant us a spirit of sacrifice, to be happy with less so that others might have enough.
One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life You have told us not to be afraid: of darkness, of stillness, of silence. We face each of these things in the days ahead, as we withdraw to our homes for the safety of others. Be with us in those places God, reminding us that in your love we are never alone.
For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble Transform our homes from places of isolation to places of sanctuary. As we shelter in place, may we also dwell in the shelter of your love.
The Lord is a rock and the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid? God, our strength and our shield, We ask your healing presence to dwell among us. Work alongside those who seek a cure, and those making difficult decisions for the common good. Bind our communities together in efforts to protect the vulnerable and care for the sick. Shelter those who continue to do the holy work of healing the body, and those who nurture the needs of the soul. Restore those who are ill to newness of life; and when there is death, Lord, grant your comfort and peace. Renew our faith that all things are made well, and whole, in you.
I believe that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. In all things, Lord, may this Body of Christ in the world bear witness to the fullness of life known in you.
The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear? The Lord is a rock, and the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid? Our help comes from you, Oh Lord. Today and every day; now, and in the season to come. May we dwell in your peace, your love, your light, in all things. Amen.
After the storm: Loving Creator, We know that you are with us in every time and place. In all things, you are faithful. But when winds are raging, we may find it hard to hear your voice. When skies are dark, we may struggle to see your face. When all around is chaos, fear and destruction, the peace you promise seems worlds away. And yet we continue to seek you in the storm. And we seek you in the morning after. Surround us with the certainty of your loving presence. To those in raging winds, speak words of calm and comfort. For those in great darkness, send light. For those surrounded by the remains of what was; answer the silence with promises of all that might be. Hear our prayer, O Lord. Renew our strength for the days ahead. May we hear again your call to be the Church; to speak comfort to those who weep, and to be present with those who suffer. We trust that you have given us every gift we need to meet the needs of this time. Teach us to walk in the way of Christ-- sharing all that we have, and believing in your goodness in all things. Send us in your peace, Holy One. And may there be joy in the morning. Amen.
In communion with Christ, we are joined with the trials and sufferings of all. This morning we pray that through Christ we too would be with those who endure the wind, rain, and flooding from [recent event ]. As we come to this Table, we pray to the Lord: Protect those in the path of danger, open the pathways of evacuations, help loved ones find one another in the chaos, provide assistance to those who need help. May Christ’s presence be known to all those who are fearful and discouraged, just as He makes His presence known in the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup – at this Table and around the world, in every nation, among every people. These are the gifts of God for God’s people! Let us come with joy and gratitude and hope. (Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship: Occasional Services for the Assembly, page 394)
Hurricanes and natural disasters bring out some of the best in people. Folks of every race, of every religion or no religion, of every class, step forth to help those who are hurting; whose lives are in shambles; who may wonder if anyone cares about them in the midst of so much suffering. They need not wonder, for folks with trucks and boats have helped carry people to safety, have helped get desperately sick people to hospitals, have tried to make sure that families stay together and have a safe place to recover. But please know this: we too are those people. We may not drive a truck or pilot a boat, but we too can help our neighbors in dire need. While we may want to join our hands to those [in the affected area] now is not yet the time. We are ready to help when our presence is needed. But in the meantime, we can pray. And we can give. Every dollar that you give for disaster relief to Week of Compassion--our wider church family’s disaster relief ministry-- will go to work through our partners to assist those impacted by this terrible storm. Those dollars will continue working too. Long after the headlines have faded and the cameras have been turned off, Week of Compassion and its partners will still be there helping with long-term recovery. Please give generously, knowing that your gifts will help both right now and in the months and years to come.
Week of Compassion P.O. Box 1986 Indianapolis, IN 46206
Week of Compassion is the relief, refugee and development mission fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada