Prayer

The heart of ecumenism is prayer.  This page offers several prayer resources for personal and communal ecumenical use. 

PRAYER OF FR PAUL COUTURIER

PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY

PRAYER FOR UNITY EACH SUNDAY

STARTING TODAY

PRAYERS FOR LENT

PRAYER FOR THE GRACE OF ECUMENSIM

PRAYER FOR UNITY

WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES

MAY THEY BE ONE

A LITANY FOR UNITY


PRAYER OF FR PAUL COUTURIER, a pioneer in Catholic ecumenism
Lord Jesus who,
on the evening before you died for us,
prayed that all your disciples might be perfectly one,
as You are in your Father and your Father in You.
Make us feel with sorrow how unfaithful is our disunity.   

Grant us the loyalty to recognise,
and the courage to reject, whatever indifference,
distrust and even mutual hostility is hiding within us. 

Bring us all to meet together in You,
so that from our souls and our lips may rise to
You unceasingly your prayer for the Unity of Christians,
just as You want it and by whatever means that you want.  

Help us to find in You, who are perfect Love,
the Way which leads to Unity in obediance to your love and truth. 
Staircase leading from the Upper Room to the Kedron  Valley (Jerusalem)
Amen.
Abbé Paul Couturier (1881-1953)


PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
Lord Jesus,
who prayed that we might all be one,
we pray to You for the unity of Christians,
according to Your will,
according to Your means.
May Your Spirit enable us to experience
the suffering caused by division,
to see our sin, and to hope beyond all hope.
This prayer was composed by members of the Chemin Neuf Community
based on Fr Couturier’s Prayer.


 PRAYER FOR UNITY EACH SUNDAY
Following the example of what is done in the Chemin Neuf Community, a Catholic community with an ecumenical vocation, it is possible, without touching the Eucharistic Prayer as such, to add the following intentions (here in italics) to the Peace Prayer, which follows the ‘Our Father’:Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles:
"I leave you peace, my peace I give you";
Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church;
And grant us your peace
Grant your peace:
To the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches
and  to their Patriarchs, Grant your peace:
To the churches which sprang from the Reformation,
To the Anglican communion,
To the Evangelical [and Pentecostal] churches,
To all the Christian communities who call upon your Name,
And to the heads of each of these churches.
Put an end to our division;
And grant us the unity of your kingdom
Where you live and reign for ever and ever.
Amen.


STARTING TODAY
Lord, your promise must be fulfilled,
Starting today; And we must gather again, from East and West.
Those seeking to share true life,
Seeking a little friendship,
Must see with their human eyes other humans loving each other.
This prayer is taken from the book of the protestant community of the
Deaconesses of Reuilly.


PRAYERS FOR LENT in the ORTHODOX LITURGY and PRAYERS FOR EASTER
In 1998, Olivier Clement accepted the invitation of John Paul II to compose the prayers and meditations for the Way of the Cross at the Coliseum on Good Friday. 

Here is one of the prayers he suggested:
We fight over the garment 
The world is now nothing but darkness.
And yet, they dared not tear the seamless garment.
But we Christians, what are we doing ?
Even at the foot of the Cross,
We fight over the garment and we present to Jesus
Not the cup that all share
But the bitter gall of our separations.
Seamless garment, in Christ, Church of the Spirit,
Cannot be torn.The saints, the just, the martyrs
The creators of life and beauty,
Those persecuted for justice,
Ceaselessly make anew its tissue of light.

Lord, we have shared out your clothing
We have dispersed them to East and West,
To North and South.
Help us understand
That the diversity of appearances
Does not divide the light.
Secretly, the garment remains seamless;
The communion of saints and sinners still exists.
Allow us to discover it at the foot of the Cross,
Not in the greed which divides,
But in love for the Man of sorrows,
For all the men of sorrows.


PRAYER TO ASK FOR THE GRACE OF ECUMENISM
Lord, we can say in all truth, in the name of our Catholic brothers that they love your Son Jesus ; and in the name of our Protestant brothers of every nuance, in all truth, that they love your Son Jesus; and in the name of the Eastern & Oriental Orthodox, in all truth, that they love your Son Jesus. 

And we know that you love us in Jesus Christ your Son, all of us, and none of us imagine any longer that you would love some more than others because of their church label.  But you know to what extent we have not loved each other; you see how recently we have discovered that it is possible to love each other despite so many conflicts, mistruths and misunderstandings.  Lord forgive us.

The calumnies too, Lord, to which we gave in throught trying to outbid each other, and which we thought of as pious - Lord forgive us.

Heal us of the sickness which consists of evaluating the faith of other Christians and of questioning the faithfulness of those who do not pray quite like us.  And just as healing is also a new beginning, plant in our hearts love for those Christians who have another history and other traditions than us, since you love them and they love you.  Lord, grant us this grace, even if it is not yet reciprocal. 

Make us messengers of reconciliation in Him who has killed hatred and whom we crucify each time we ignore and denigrate each other. 

Make us, in your grace, prophets and artisans of unity in your holy church.  We ask you, Lord, for your Holy Spirit, so that this faithfulness may be given to us.  Amen.
F. Lovsky (A Past of Division, a Promise of Unity, St Paul Publications  - ecumenism - 1990)


UNITY
Eternal and merciful God,
You who are a God of peace, love and unity,
we pray to You, Father, and we ask you to gather by your Holy Spirit
all that has been scattered,
to reunite and reconstitute all that has been divided.
Grant us also to be converted to your unity,
to seek your unique and eternal truth, and to abstain from all dissension. 
So we will have only one heart, one will, one knowledge, one mind, one reason. 
And wholly turned towards Jesus Christ our Lord,
we will be able to praise you, Father, with a single mouth,
and give you thanks through our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.
This prayer, sometimes mistakenly attributed to Martin Luther (1483–1546), first appeared in a book of piety at Nuremberg in the 16th century.


 WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
Lord,
we do not come before you alone, but in the company of each other.
We share our happiness with each other…
and it becomes greater. We share our sufferings with each other…
and they become smaller.
We bear one another’s disappointments and burdens…
and their weight becomes bearable.

May we never be too mean to give,
nor too proud to receive.
For it is in giving, as in receiving,
that we learn to love and to be loved,
that we find the meaning of life, the mystery of existence,
and we discover You.
World Council of Churches, Geneva , 1993.

UT UNUM SINT ! (MAY THEY BE ONE !)
Meditation
There is a single church which, by its ever increasing fruitfulness, embraces an ever increasing [broader] multitude.  The sun sends out many rays, but there is one source of its light; the tree is divided into many branches, but there is only one trunk vigorously supported by tenaciously clinging roots; from the one spring flow many streams; it seems that this multiplicity is only poured out thanks to the abundance of its waters, and yet all goes back to a single origin.

Seperate a ray of the sun from the body of the sun: the unity of light knows no such fragmentation. Tear a branch from a tree: the broken branch will not be able to bud. Cut a stream off from its spring, the truncated element dries up.

It is the same with the Church of the Lord: it spreads throughout the whole universe its rays of light, but the light which thus spreads everywhere is one; the unity of the body is not parcelled out, it extends its branches throughout the whole earth with a powerful vitality, it spreads far and wide its abundant waters.  However there is only one origin, one mother.
St Cyprian, Bishop of
Carthage in the 3rd century.


A LITANY FOR UNITY
Let us love one another, because love comes from God.  Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God.
All: Jesus Christ, the life of the world and of all creation, Forgive our separation and grant us peace and unity.

The peace that Christ gives is to guide us in the decisions we make; For it is to this peace that God has called us together in the one body.
All: Jesus Christ, the life of the world and of all creation, Forgive our separation and grant us peace and unity. 

 With his own body he broke down the walls that separate us, by his death on the cross Christ destroyed enmity, by means of the cross he united all races into one body. In union with him we too are being built together with all others into a place where God lives through the Spirit.
All: Jesus Christ, the life of the world and of all creation, Forgive our separation and grant us peace and unity.

Do your best to preserve the unity, which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds us together. There is one body, one spirit, just as there is one hope to which God has called us.
All: Jesus Christ, the life of the world and of all creation, Forgive our separation and grant us peace and unity.

Taken from ‘A Celebration of Our Unity in Christ on the Occasion of an Ecumenical Gathering’, Grenfell, 2003


 

 


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