Pentecost 9 – Aug 2

Struggle and Blessing
Service Prayers for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
August 2, 2020

Genesis 32:22-31, Psalm 17:1-7, 15, Romans 9:1-5, Matthew 14:13-21

Since Congregations are returning to “in-person” services at different paces, Worship Ways for Summer 2020 will be edited for online use.  “Rubrics” for virtual services will be noted in red;  take and adapt as you need!

Leader should speak the lines of the people, along with the Leader’s lines


One:             The day breaks
All:               Out loud but muted
                 And God does not let us go.

One:             The hour calls
All:               Out loud but muted
                 And God does not let us go.

One:             The evening falls
All:               Out loud but muted
                 And God holds us fast.

One:             Let us turn to God in worship
All:               Out loud but muted
                 God, who never turns from us.

Gathering Prayer

Leader:                 God, you see us. 

                              You see our struggles,
                              You see our difficulties. 

All:                         Out loud but muted
                              You see our possibilities,
                              You see our promise. 

                              Connect the dots for us, O God. 
                              Soften the hard spots with your blessing.

All:                         Out loud but muted
                               Call us in our wandering to hear you say our names. 
                               Satisfy our longings as with loaves and fishes and manna from heaven.

                              For you are a good God, a God present in the scramble,
                              And in the end, you always, always have a blessing. 
All:                         Out loud but muted
                               For this and so much more,
                               we give you thanks, through Jesus Christ.  Amen.


God is present to us, but we don’t always feel it. 
God is good to us, but we can’t always accept it. 
Fact is, there are things within and around us
that attempt to step between us and our relationship to God’s goodness. 
There are things that we think, things that we do,
that act to separate us from God. 
The church calls that “sin.” 

Let us confess our sins to God, in the presence of each other. 


God of all mercy:
I confess that sin grips me and
I cannot break free.
The sins in my mind, on my lips,
in my acts done or even ignored
Stand between me and you. 

All:     Out loud but muted

          My entire heart is not always yours.
          My love of neighbor falls short.
          In the name of Jesus,
          Have mercy on me. 

          Grant me your renewing forgiveness.
          Lead me on your paths of righteousness,
          And I shall delight in you
          And I shall follow you
          Giving glory to your holy name. 

All:     Out loud but muted
           Through Jesus Christ.  Amen.[1]

[1] This is adapted from a more traditional prayer of confession as found, for example, in the Lutheran Book of Worship and the Book of Common Prayer. 

Assurance of Pardon

One:            The God who gives, gives all. 
                    The God who loves, loves all. 
                    The God who forgives, forgives all. 
                    Through Christ, our sins, every one of them:
                    the sins of commission,
                    the sins of omission,
                    the sins we confessed with contrition –
                    all are forgiven.
All:               Out loud but muted
                     By the grace of God, we are forgiven.  Alleluia!

Scripture, Sermon, Prayers of the People

Notes for the worship planners in 2020:

  • Consider a simple message or even an  interactive Bible Study that engages people with the Scriptures for today.  Genesis 32 offers us one of the most famous images from scripture:  Jacob wrestling with the angel until the angel blesses him.  Many of us are contending with God these days; what insight does this story offer for our lives?  At the end of the story, the angel gives Jacob a new name.  What transformation are we as a community experiencing this summer?

  • For the Prayers of the People, you might use a bidding prayer (“God, we pray today for those who are sick, including ….”) and encourage folk to type in their prayers using Zoom chat or Facebook Live; allow for more time in silence for those prayers to be typed and read. Consider a collective response at the end of each bidding prayer.

  • A caution regarding prayers of the People online: Folks gathered in-person often recount a lot of detail in their prayers concerning other members or family (“Elderly Name, living alone, experiencing isolation…”  In  a private, in-person gathering, this information may be safe, but online, it can expose vulnerable people to harm, since we can’t control who will join the gathering or access it later online.  Invite people to be prudent in offering prayers:  “For First name only, in need of healing”; “For First name only, comfort in grief”  etc. 

Encourage people to contact the pastor directly with news of those needed extra pastoral care

Invitation to Offering

(People give when they understand why they’re being asked to give.  This invitation includes an invitation to learn more about what happens with the money we ask to receive.  As you make this invitation, consider having a station to greet those interested in knowing more about where the money goes, and how the church does amazing things with it!)

When resources were short, did Christ worry? 
No!  Christ saw the gifts, and Christ multiplied them!

This is the miracle we witness every time we give to the church.

God will take what we have, and God will do good things with it. 

You are invited to give, and even to participate in the miracle
of God’s multiplying acts. 
After the service, ask us how.  

This morning’s offering will now be given and received.


God of increase and bounty, Source of all good things: 
we offer these gifts as a portion of that which you have given us. 
May these gifts be as loaves and fishes
for those who find themselves in poverty or hunger. 

All:               Out loud but muted
                     May this act of giving bring about change:
                     change in our lives,
                     change in the lives we touch,
                     change in the systems that harm.
           Through Christ, who gave so much to save.  Amen.


God’s peace: carry, keep and hold you. 
God’s love: nourish, bless and enfold you.
God’s spirit: inspire, lift and mold you.

Almighty God:  + Triune, holy and blessed
Be with you now and forever.  Amen.

Written by the Rev. Kaji S. Douša, Senior Minister of  Park Avenue Christian Church, New York City. Adapted for online use by Susan A. Blain.

Copyright 2020 Justice and Local Church Ministries, Faith INFO Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH  44115-1100.  Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education.  All publishing rights reserved. 

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