Offertory Prayers about Work

Worship / Produced by partner of TOW

These Offeratory Prayers are part of "Work in Worship," a collection of material for work-themed services compiled by David Welbourn. For more prayers, songs, readings and sermons, click on the table of contents to the right.

OFFERTORY MATERIAL FOR USE AT A SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION/MASS/LORD'S SUPPER

During the offertory hymn the money collection will be offered, together with offerings of the tokens of different types of work. (Members of the congregation can be invited to bring to the service tokens (portable ones!) of their own work. A selection of these could be brought up as part of the Offertory Procession and offered immediately after the offerings of money and the bread and wine. And/or a work exhibition could be displayed in the church. This could include examples of the work of local industry etc. These would be 'offered' at this point.)

After this the following prayer will be used.

We offer you, Lord, ourselves and our work. Please accept it as a token of our gratitude to you, and in the hope that it will contribute to the building of your kingdom on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

At the offering of the bread, the president may say
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation: through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the Bread of life.
Blessed be God for ever.

Similarly at the offering of the cup
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation: through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. It will become our spiritual drink.
Blessed be God for ever.

The minister, accepting the alms, says
Yours, Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the splendour and the majesty, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. All things come from you and of your own do we give you.

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O Lord God, in and with these gifts of bread and wine - the products of human labour - we offer you our daily work. And as it is your will to transform the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of your Son Jesus Christ, so we ask you also to transform our work, that it may better contribute to your saving purpose; to your praise and glory. Amen.

(David Welbourn)

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OFFERTORY PRAYER FOR AN UNEMPLOYMENT SERVICE

Lord Jesus, we bring before you the impoverishment of unemployment:
the waste of human potential
the undermining of relationships
the devastation of communities.

We bring before you the great injustices of our industrial society.
We bring before you our nation,
with all its divisions between rich and poor,
powerful and powerless,
north and south,
employed and unemployed.

Lord Jesus, we bring before you all these weighty concerns.
We offer them with these our gifts of bread and wine,
praying that as the bread and wine are transformed into your Body and Blood,
so our nation may be transformed,
so that your grace may flow into our world,
bringing hope and healing, reconciliation and peace,
joy and understanding. Amen.

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We come with offerings - our skills, our symbols, our time,
our hopes, our pleasure in one another's company.
All these things we bring to God in dedication, and for use
in the glory of the realm of God.

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MATERIAL FOR GENERAL USE

THE OFFERING OF WORK

Used in Medway Towns. The President of the [Medway] Chamber of Commerce will say:

We have brought these tokens of our products to our Cathedral Church, as a sign that all things come from God, and that it is he who gives the skills of mind and hand.

The Dean will say:

These tokens of your work and tools of your trade have been placed around God's altar in your Cathedral Church of.... Will you now ask his blessing on all your labours, and on all who work with you.

All will say:

We dedicate to you, O God, the industries of our towns, that all who work in them, by hand or brain, may serve to your glory and the good of others, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.

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AN OFFERTORY PRAYER

All say

Living God
We come with no great gifts to offer,
We are ordinary people
Yet what we have we bring to you
To make your love felt in other people's lives.

We offer you our time and our talents
At home, at work and in the market place.
Use us fully so that your love may shine through us
And the light of your kingdom
May illuminate the world. Amen.

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AT THE OFFERTORY

For the places where we work, and for all who work with us.

We ask you to hear us, good Lord.

For those who use or enjoy the things that we make.

We ask you to hear us, good Lord.

And now, O Lord, accept and bless our labours, represented by these tokens which we offer at your altar, and grant that all our work may be offered for your glory and the service of our fellows; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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What do you bring to Christ's table?

We bring bread,
made by many people's work,
from an unjust world
where some have plenty
and most go hungry.
At this table all are fed,
and no-one is turned away.

Thanks be to God.

What do you bring to Christ's table?

We bring wine,
made by many people's work,
from an unjust world
where some have leisure
and most struggle to survive.
At this table all share the cup
of pain and celebration,
and no-one is denied.

Thanks be to God.

These gifts shall be for us
the body and blood of Christ.
Our witness against hunger,
our cry against injustice,
and our hope for a world
where God is fully known
and every child is fed.

Thanks be to God.

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A PROCESSION OF SYMBOLS

The representatives of the people assemble at the rear of the church, just before the Offertory Hymn

AGRICULTURE
O Lord, we receive in your name this .... as a symbol of all that you have given us from field and garden. We commit ourselves to co-operate with you in your environment.

Lord of heaven and earth, we give you thanks for your love and offer you our praise.

BUSINESS
O Lord, we receive in your name this ... as a symbol of all that you have given us in factory, office, shop and the caring services. We commit ourselves in the market-place to co-operate with you.

Lord of heaven and earth, we give you thanks for your love and offer you our praise.

WEALTH
O Lord, we receive in your name this ... as a symbol of the wealth our work has produced. Change our hearts that we may give to others what you have given to us.

Lord of heaven and earth, we give you thanks for your love and offer you our praise.

HOMES
O Lord, we receive in your name this ... as a symbol of both the joy and the sadness, the comfort and the pain that comes to us in family life. May our homes be a demonstration of your peace.

Lord of heaven and earth, we give you thanks for your love and offer you our praise.

LEISURE
O Lord, we receive in your name these ... as symbols of your re-creation in us through the gift of leisure, the challenge and excitement of sport and the relaxation of hobbies. We rejoice in your gifts to us.

Lord of heaven and earth, we give you thanks for your love and offer you our praise.

During the offertory hymn the bearers of the symbols return to their seats.

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THE HARVEST OFFERING

The Offering of Soil
We bring the top soil of our fields, symbol of that which you have created and sun and rain have nurtured.
You have laid the foundations of earth: and the heavens are the work of your fingers.

The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it;
The compass of the world and those who dwell therein.

The Offering of Seed
We bring the harvest of seeds for next year’s crops;
For clover, for hay and corn.
You bring forth grass for the cattle, and all things green for use.

That they may sow their land to yield them fruits of increase
He blesses them so that they multiply greatly.

The Offering of Grain
We bring the harvest of our cornfields, oat and wheat, rye and barley.
You prepare their corn, for so you provide for the earth.

We cannot live by bread alone:
But by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

The Offering of Animal Produce
We bring the produce of our dairies, together with wool and leather.
You cause grass to grow for the cattle.

You open wide your hand
And fill all things living with your bounteous gifts.

The Offering of Fruit
We bring the harvest of apples and pears and the fruits of bush and hedgerow;
The tree bears its fruit, the fig tree and vine yield their strength.

He gives food to all flesh:
For his mercy endures for ever.

The Offering of Vegetables and Root Crops
We bring the harvest of vegetables: peas, potatoes, mangolds, turnips and sugar beet;
O Lord, you preserve both man and beast; how excellent is your mercy O God.

When you open your hands:
They are filled with good.

The Offering of Flowers and Vineyards
We bring the harvest of flowers and of our vineyards.
The trees bear their fruit, the fig tree and vine yield their fruit.

You bring food out of the earth:
And wine that makes glad the human heart.

The Gift of Resourcefulness
We bring symbols of the machinery we use,
thanking you for your gifts of knowledge and invention, enabling us to use more adequately the resources of nature.
God gives food to those who fear him, he remembers his covenant for ever.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom:
Those who keep his commandments are of good understanding.

The Offering of Bread
In this loaf of bread we bring the harvest of our lands.
For bread is the source of human strength and the fruit of human hands.

To God, Creator, Redeemer, Judge, we offer back with thanksgiving that which he has given.
Yours, Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the splendour and the majesty: for everything in heaven and earth is yours. All things come from you, and of your own do we give you.

Brothers and sisters; do not forget that the judgement of God is upon us, for any misuse of our stewardship; for any neglect of our land, for all waste and adulteration of our food, and for all injustice in its distribution that we can prevent.

With our thanksgiving therefore let us ask pardon for all failures in our stewardship, and pray God to accept this loaf of daily bread, as a sign of our thankfulness, and of our desire to dedicate both our work and our lives to his obedience.

All sing:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise him all creatures here below,
Praise him above, angelic host,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

O God our Father, we thank you that once again you have fulfilled your gracious promise that, while earth remains, seedtime and harvest shall not fail. We bless you for the kindly fruits of the earth which you have given for our use. Teach us, when we pray, that it is not by bread alone that we live; and grant us evermore to feed on him who is the true bread from heaven, even Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

As our Saviour has taught us, so we pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven…

May God who clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the birds of the sky, who leads the lambs to pasture and the deer to water, who multiplied the loaves and fishes and changes water into wine, lead us, feed us, multiply us, and change us to reflect the glory of our Creator through all eternity. Amen.

(From the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association’s Harvest Thanksgiving, Norwich Cathedral, September 1995 c. All Year Round (1996), The Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland.)

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Receive these gifts which you have moved us to make, as now we dedicate them all to your service; that they, with us your people, may be used to glorify you and to make your name be praised.

We dedicate ourselves again to your service, that our worship may be not only in word, but our whole lives, renewed in worship, may be living testimony to your love for the world, and your gift to the world of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, in whose name we make our prayer.

And to you our God, Creator, Saviour and Holy Spirit, be all praise, glory and dominion and power, now and for ever.

(Hugh Cross, c All Year Round (1996), The Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland)

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A PRAYER OF DEDICATION

O God, in whom we live and move and have our being, we offer and present to you our souls and bodies, our thoughts and desires, our words and deeds, to be a living and continual sacrifice; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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We offer you our daily work,
that we may do it to your honour and glory.

We offer you our leisure time,
that we may use it wisely and well.

We offer you our life together in your Church,
that we may believe and worship, serve and witness as we ought.

May be always be trustworthy, dependable, unselfish and kind,
following the example of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.

(From ‘Companion to the Lectionary, Vol.3’, c. Neil Dixon, Epworth 1983)



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