Make your own free website on

N.B.  All of the prayers for today's service are currently in use in Orthodox Synagogue worship (except the Closing Sentences which are from the Liberal Jewish prayer Book).  This is a deliberate attempt to avoid the "Jewish prayer bad/Christian prayer good" type of response to the reading from Luke.

Readings: (this service will focus on the readings from Joel and Luke)

Joel 2:23-32*
Psalm 65
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
Luke 18:9-14*
God's Spirit will be poured out
A hymn of praise to the God of creation
Paul fights the good fight
Two men went to pray

Hymns: (some ideas...)

R&S 30
R&S 689
R&S 136
R&S 629
R&S 560
R&S 302
Father we love you, we worship and adore you (1)
As pants the hart for cooling streams
And art thou come with us to dwell
Make me a channel of your peace (2)
Glorious things of thee are spoken  (4)
O breath of life, come sweeping through us

Opening Sentences:

This day wilt thou strengthen us. Amen.
This day wilt thou bless us. Amen.
This day wilt thou uplift us. Amen.
This day wilt thou visit us for good. Amen.
This day wilt thou inscribe us for happy life. Amen.
This day wilt thou hear our cry. Amen.
This day wilt thou accept our prayer in mercy and favour. Amen.
This day wilt thou support us with thy righteous hand. Amen.

(Synagogue Service for the festival of New Year)

Prayer of Approach:  (sounds a bit Celtic-y to me!  But it isn't!)

Though our mouths were full of song as the sea,
Our tongues of exultation as the fulness of its waves,
And our lips of praise as the plains of the firmament:

Though our eyes gave light as the sun and moon:
Though our hands were outspread as the eagles of heaven,
And our feet were swift as hinds,

Yet should we be unable to thank thee,
O lord our God and God of our fathers,
And to bless thy Name for even one of the countless thousands and tens of thousands
Of kindnesses which thou hast done by our fathers and by us.

(Synagogue Service for the festival of Tabernacles)

Prayer of Confession:

(a few moments of quiet as we review our lives, bringing to God all the areas of our lives where we have fallen short...)

Forgive us, O our Father, for we have sinned;
Pardon us, our King, for we have transgressed.
For thou, O Lord, art good and ready to forgive,
And plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.

For we are thy people, and thou art our God;
We are thy children and thou our father.
We are thy servants, and thou art our master;
We are thy congregation and thou our portion.

We are thine inheritance, thou our lot;
We are thy flock, thou our shepherd.
We are thy vineyard, and thou art our keeper;
We are thy work, and thou our creator.

We are thy faithful ones: thou art our beloved;
We are thy chosen: thou art the lord our God.
We are thy subjects, thou our King;
We are thine acknowledged people, thou our acknowledged lord.

(Synagogue Service for the festival of Passover)

Closing Sentences:

Bless, 0 God, our worship this day that it bring unto our hearts
the gladness and holiness of the Sabbath Day.
May we receive from it increased strength and guidance for our life and work.
So shall the spirit of this day spread blessing over all days. Amen.

(Liberal Jewish Prayer Book)

Section One:

Service of thanksgiving and dedication for Stewart Matthews and Anisha Jay Ann Atkinson

Section Two:

Reading: Luke 18:9-14 (using the Children's Bible)

Perform a simple magic trick that involves the congregation saying a "magic word", explain that some people understand prayer to be like a magic spell...

Introduce the reading and talk about three types of prayer:

Prayer out of desperation (the publican) - we all pray instictively out of desperation from time to time
Prayer out of sheer habit (the Pharisee) - we all have our prayer habits like the Pharisee (see note on Berakoth below).  We have set words that we know off by heart, we have set postures with which we feel comfortable.  It can be a good thing, but it can also be an empty rite...
Prayer that is like daydreaming with God (Joel's visions and dreams)  Following absolute calamity in the shape of a devastating locust attack, Joel prophesies amid the devastation.  The day will come when God will restore their crops and their prosperity.  Their prayers will no longer be prayers of sheer desperation, they will have the luxury of deep prayer - daydreaming with God.

Eyewitness accounts of locust storms


Many scholars make the link between this Pharisee's prayer and the Berakoth

Men: Blessed be thou, Adonai, King of the world,
that you did not create me a gentile.
Blessed be thou, Adonai, King of the world,
that you did not create me a slave.
Blessed be thou, Adonai, King of the world,
that you did not create me a woman.

Women: Blessed be thou, Adonai, King of the world,
that you created me according to your will.

There seem to be several variations on these forms of prayers to be
offered. Here's an alternative from the Talmud, to comply with the
Mishnah requirement that a rabbi must pray on entering and leaving a house
of study:

"I give thanks to Thee, O Lord my God, that Thou has set my portion with
those who sit in the house of study and Thou has not set my portion with
those who sit in street corners for I rise early and they rise early, but I
rise for the words of Torah and they rise for frivolous talk; I labour and
they labour, but I labour and receive a reward and they labour and do not
receive a reward; I run and they run, but I run to the life of the future
world, and they run to the pit of destruction"

Section three:

Prayers are displayed around the worship space - get the congregation to move around, look at the prayers and identify with one.  Each group will then pray the prayer together for the whole congregation.