A PRAYER FOR YOUNG BAPTISTS Written by Devita Parnell
Thank you for the gifts of creativity, energy, courage, and trust that young people possess. We must admit that while we long for these gifts in the church, we often are resistant. We want to change, to grow, to adapt, to risk, but we are afraid to share leadership, we are afraid to let go, we are afraid to lose control. And in doing so, we close ourselves off to your good and best future for our churches. God, we pray that the church might welcome, nurture and bless the young leaders already in our midst. And for those young leaders waiting and watching on the margins, may our witness of hospitality and love draw them ever more to you and to the service of your church.
A PRAYER OF BLESSING FOR CBF CONGREGATIONS Written by Bo Prosser God of Heaven and Earth, You are the Eternal Pastor of us all. I pray your blessings on our churches as we minister among the people of our world. Your church is precious to us, O God. And your church is a challenge to us as well. Our ministers serve unselfishly, many in the midst of conflict and confrontation, of diminishing resources and partners. Our church leaders serve unselfishly, many doing thankless tasks to make their church and their community better places. We are servant leaders with a hope for the world and hope in the church. We serve because we have been called. We serve because of our love for the Christ and for your world. Bless us with grace, God — grace to continue serving tirelessly and selflessly. Bless us with resources, God — resources that remind us that our cups overflow and that we have more than enough. Bless us with energy, God — energy that compels us to tell the whole world the Good News. Bless us with the love of Jesus, God — love that reaches beyond borders, beyond labels, beyond shortcomings. We are your church, God. We love being your church, God. May your blessings guide us to do more than ever before with those who hope so desperately that we are who we say are! We are your church, God. We love being your church, God. May your blessings unite us, give us hope, keep us faithful and spur us to love. Through Christ our Lord, Amen!
A BLESSING FOR ARMS THAT REACH WIDE Written by Abby Pratt In this year we are celebrating. We are celebrating at General Assembly, at State and Regional Gatherings, within churches, and around tables with dear friends in our homes. We are celebrating 25 years of community, of ministry, of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. We are celebrating through prayers, singing, laugher, smiles and rejoicing. We are celebrating through story-telling and story-making, remembering, embracing and tears. We are celebrating sometimes in large groups and other times individually and at a distance, for we know that celebrating knows no limits.
Let this blessing reach out to you, you who have journeyed and continue to journey with and as CBF, as chaplains, students, ministers, laity, funders and friends. Let this blessing pull you close, surround you with thanksgiving, and embrace you with love, adoration and peace. And when this blessing has drawn you as close as it possibly can, let your own arms reach out wide to tell your story, to tell CBF’s story, to tell God’s story to the world around you. With arms outstretched let us celebrate the past that has formed us, the present in which we embrace one another today, and the future journey we now embark upon. Bless these arms today and always. Amen.