Prayers for the unity of the church

Creator God,
as we come before You in prayer,
our hearts overflow with gratitude and thanksgiving
for the precious gift of unity and fellowship.
We thank You, Lord, for the bond that unites us as a community of believers.
We acknowledge the anointing of Your Spirit,
covering us with grace, love, and the assurance of Your presence.
Your grace descends upon us,
bringing renewal, strength, and a sense of connectedness
that transcends our individual lives.
Thank You, Lord, for the harmonious symphony
created when we, Your children, live for each other,
no matter our differences.
In our diversity, You weave a tapestry of love,
understanding, and compassion,
echoing the beauty of Your kingdom on earth.

As we reflect on the goodness of unity,
we offer our thanksgiving
for the moments of laughter, hope, happiness, togetherness,
of comfort, strength and the ability to share the weight of our burdens,
which is found in genuine fellowship.
Your presence among us, Lord, brings harmony to our gatherings
and peace and joy to our hearts.
May our gratitude be expressed not only in words
but also in our actions toward one another.
Empower us to love sincerely, to forgive readily,
and to bear each other’s burdens willingly,
embodying the harmony that the Word we heard today celebrates.
Thank You, Lord, for the precious gift of unity –
a gift that reflects the essence of Your nature.
We are grateful for the fellowship we share
as brothers and sisters in Christ,
bound together by the love that surpasses all understanding.
In Jesus’ name, we offer this prayer of gratitude and thanksgiving. Amen.
(Source: Jade MacLean)

Faithful is God,
who has called us, and who will not fail us.
Faithful is Jesus Christ,
who gathers us into a community of hope;
to worship God with wonder and praise,
to witness to God’s love in word and deed,
to seek God’s justice in the world.
Faithful is the Holy Spirit,
who releases us;
to listen for God’s Word in scripture and prayer,
to cherish the ministry of all God’s people,
and moves us;
to risk telling the story of Jesus,
to take our part in God’s action in the world.
Faithful is God, who has called us, and who will also do all this. Amen.
(Source: UCA A Call to the Church)

Benediction
People of God,
I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
Be completely humble and gentle;
be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit
through the bond of peace.
There is one body and one Spirit –
just as you were called to one hope when you were called –
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph. 4:1-6)

Grant us the gift of unity
O, Lord, who gives unto each nation its place and time and mission:
grant us the gift of unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,
that the ancient church, and all Christians of this land,
each loyal to their confession, culture and nationality,
may discover new forms of common Christian witness,
and stand before the divided world as a united and humble fellowship.
O Lord, who commanded your disciples
to pray both for their neighbours and their enemies:
give us such love for one another,
that with one voice and one
heart we may glorify your name,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
(Dr Ion Bria, Romanian Orthodox Church. WAGP p. 161)

One only Holy Spirit of Father and Son in whom all are baptized, one giver of many gifts, one tree of many fruits, one speaker of every tongue, renew in our day the wonders of Pentecost, grant that people of every race and nation may understand one another, and as one, proclaim the praises of God. Grant that all may be one as you, Spirit, with the Father and the Son are one God, one Lord. Grant unity to the Body of Christ; grant unity to the human family. Sole breath of every living thing, may all be one who, in you, live and move and have their being.
(Carl K. Moeddel, from Jesuit Resources, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2022)

Almighty God, breathe into us the wind of unity that recognizes our diversity. Breathe into us tolerance that welcomes and makes us a community. Breathe into us the fire that unites what is torn apart and heals what is ill. Breathe into us grace that overcomes hatred and frees us from violence. Breathe into us life that faces down and defeats death. Blessed be the God of mercy, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and makes all things new. Amen!
(Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2015)

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. Amen.
(Chemin Neuf Community)

Gracious Lord, we pray for all the member of your holy Church, that all may abide in you and you in them, that they may be one in your love and bear much fruit. We also pray for the world, that all may come to believe in your love for them by the fruit of our witness. We know that our divisions are a source of scandal to your world, and we know that in love we are called to unite as one in the vine and branches. The vine is our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son. We are meant to be his branches. Help us we pray, to love, to forgive, to seek justice and to be your prophetic voice in the world. May your grace effect growth of good fruit among us, that our world may realize peace. We ask all this in the name of Jesus, your Son and the power of the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021)

Eternal and merciful God, the God of peace, love and unity, we beseech you, holy Father:
Let your Holy Spirit gather all that is spread, and unite and re-create all that is divided. May you grant that we be converted to your unity, that we seek your only and eternal truth, and renounce all strife so that we become one heart, one will, one knowledge, one spirit and one understanding. And let us then in all openness towards the face of Jesus Christ, praise and thank you with one mouth, through him, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit.
(Martin Luther’s prayer for the unity of the church)

God of all, we pray as one, that we may be one, just as the Lord Jesus prayed we may be one in Him. Your son Jesus compels us to be reconciled to one another. May our spirits be joined to Your Holy Spirit, that we may witness to the visible unity of your Church. May we all recognize that we are truly one with You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and grow together in peace. We ask this in the name of Jesus our Lord. Amen.
(Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute)

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord: that, as there is but one Body, and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all; so we may henceforth be all of one heart, and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
(The Anglican Book of Common Prayer)

Attend with favour to the prayers of your people, we ask, O Lord, and grant that the hearts of believers may be united in your praise and in repentance together, so that, with division among Christians overcome, we may hasten with joy to your eternal kingdom in the perfect communion of the Church. Through Christ our Lord. Amen
(The Roman Missal)

Heavenly Father, you have called us in the Body
of your Son Jesus Christ to continue his work of reconciliation and reveal you to the world: forgive us the sins which tear us apart; give us the courage to overcome our fears and to seek that unity which is your gift and your will; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen
(Common Worship: for the Unity of the Church, Church of England)

Lord Jesus Christ, at your Last Supper you prayed to the Father that all should be one. Send your Holy Spirit upon all who bear your name and seek to serve you. Strengthen our faith in you, and lead us to love one another in humility. May we who have been reborn in one baptism be united in one faith under one Shepherd. Amen
(J. Lindsey, Catholic Prayer Book)

Lord Jesus Christ who said to your Apostles: peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and graciously grant her peace and unity in accordance with your will. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen
(Roman Missal and Anglican Book of Common Prayer)

Holy Spirit, gift of the Father through his Son Jesus Christ, dwell in us all, open our hearts and help us to listen to your voice.
Holy Spirit, come upon us.
Holy Spirit, Divine Love, source of unity and holiness, show us the love of the Father.
Holy Spirit, come upon us.
Holy Spirit, Fire of Love, purify us, removing all the divisions in our hearts, in our communities and in the world, and so make us one in Jesus’ name.
Holy Spirit, come upon us.
Holy Spirit, strengthen our faith in Jesus, truly divine and truly human, who carried our sins of division to the Cross and brought us to communion in his Resurrection.
Holy Spirit, come upon us.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, dwell in us so that we may become a communion of love and holiness. Make us one in you, who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.
(Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2016)

As God’s children, aware of our dignity and mission, let us raise our prayers and affirm our desire to be a holy people of God.
Loving God, transform our hearts, our families, our communities and our society.
Make all your people holy and one in Christ.
Water of life, quench the thirst that exists in our society, the thirst for dignity, for love, for communion and holiness.
Make all your people holy and one in Christ.
Holy Spirit, Spirit of joy and peace, heal the divisions caused by our misuse of power and money, and reconcile us across different cultures and languages. Unite us as God’s children.
Make all your people holy and one in Christ.
Trinity of love, lead us out of darkness into your marvellous light.
Make all your people holy and one in Christ.
Lord Jesus Christ, we are made one with you in baptism and therefore we unite our prayers to yours in the words you taught us.
Our Father…. (Lord’s Prayer)
(Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2016)

Eternal Creator; immortal, invisible, God only wise:
With these words, we quiet ourselves before you again with awe and reverence. We thank you for this day, a day that is new and fresh, a day we do not deserve, but a day you have given us. We praise you for your graciousness and your steadfast and generous love. We confess we have not always used the days you have given us to further your Kingdom. We have been selfish, focusing on our own needs and our own advancements. Forgive us, we pray. Free us for joyful obedience to walk in your ways and to further your love in this world.
This day we thank you for our sister and brother Christians within our own faith community and throughout your world. In your creative genius, you have made all of us with different gifts to bring to your table, and your Spirit has given us the unity to appreciate and celebrate all those gifts. Thank you for that unity in the midst of beautiful, challenging diversity. Thank you for the many expressions of following your son’s Way that are making a difference around your world.
Today, we pray for your universal church. We pray for our shared mission to your world. We pray for open eyes and open hearts for those who need to hear your message of grace. We pray for kindness among our faith communions, even when we disagree with each others theology or opinions. We pray for wisdom and insight to maintain unity without demanding uniformity; to celebrate our diversity instead of making it a cause for division, to claim that diversity as a part of your gracious gift to us.
Grant that we may speak, and act, and live, so that the world may see in us the promise of your will, and so that the world may be challenged to move toward that vision, in and through the Christ, who is our source and our goal. Amen.
(Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, by UMC Bishop B. Michael Watson, Council of Bishops, Ecumenical Officer, and Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst and Rev. Dr. Kyle R. Tau, Council of Bishops, Ecumenical Staff Officers)

Confession
Merciful Lord, your Spirit hovered over the waters where diversity sprouted and flourished. We confess our difficulty to live with legitimate differences. Forgive us those attitudes of mind, words and actions that do violence to unity in diversity.
O Lord, have mercy upon us… (sung)
Merciful Christ, grace and joy of the multitude, listener and teacher, you give birth to new visions of hope and heal the wounds of mind and body. We confess that we have failed to listen to voices different from our own, failed to say words that bring healing and hope, and we have perpetuated exclusive attitudes to those who cry out for solidarity and fellowship.
O Lord, have mercy upon us... (sung)
Merciful Lord, you are the source of all creation, the Eternal and life-giving Word. We confess that we do not listen to your creation that groans and cries out for liberation and renewal. Help us to walk together and to hear your voice in all living things that suffer and yearn for healing and care.
O God, fountain of mercy and grace, pour over us your pardon. May your love transform us into a source of living waters to restore the strength of your people. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2015)

Intercessions
Holy Spirit, you create and re-create the Church in all places. Come and whisper in our hearts the prayer that Jesus addressed to his Father on the eve of his passion: “that they may all be one…so that the world may believe.”
Lord have mercy.
Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, light the fire of your love in us so that suspicions, contempt and misunderstanding cease in the Church. May the walls that separate us fall.
Lord have mercy.
Holy Spirit, Consoler of all, open our hearts to forgiveness and reconciliation and bring us back from our wanderings.
Lord have mercy.
Lord Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, give us poverty of spirit so that we may welcome the unexpectedness of your grace.
Lord have mercy.
Holy Spirit, you never abandon the men, women and children who are persecuted for their fidelity to the gospel. Give them strength and courage, and support those who help them.
Lord have mercy.
(Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021)

Prayers of Intercession
With faith and confidence, we come in prayer, before God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit: Creator God, today we live with the consequences of actions that have made life unsustainable for some and overabundant for others. Teach us to know how to use responsibly the resources you have given to us for the benefit of all and the respect of your creation. The groaning creation cries out to you.
Teach us and show us the way.
Compassionate God, help us repair the harm that we have inflicted upon each other and the divisions we have created among your people. Just as Christ Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit onto the disciples to birth the community of the new creation, send your grace to heal our divisions and gift us with the unity for which Jesus prayed.
Teach us and show us the way.
Christ, the way, the truth and the life, you embodied justice in your ministry on earth by the good that you did, breaking down the walls that divide and the prejudices that imprison. Open our hearts and minds to recognize that though we are many, we are one in you.
Teach us and show us the way.
(Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2023)

Blessing
Be one, so that the world may believe! Abide in God’s love, go into the world and bear the fruits of this love. And may the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in faith, so that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

(Resources from past Week of Prayer for Christian Unity services here)