Prayer Guide: Human Dignity
How to use this book
Welcome to the Season of Human Dignity! The purpose of this Season is nothing less than the renewal of the face of South Africa through the healing power of God restoring the dignity of every human being. Because this is God’s work, we need to start with prayer. Only God can reach into the hearts of people and bring about deep-seated change. We need to cry out to God to do this.
This booklet is designed to help individuals but especially groups of faithful followers of Jesus Christ to do just that. We humbly present a set of prayer liturgies for use when different kinds of groups in the church gather together.
These liturgies are not guidelines for small group meetings as such but can be used as opening devotionals for all kinds of ministry meetings, church boards, church staff, strategic planning sessions and, yes, small groups. Also included are liturgies for youth gatherings, leadership gatherings as well as meetings where only women or only men are present. The four values of the Season of Human Dignity – respect, listening, embracing, and selflessness (love) – provide the themes of the prayer liturgies. We recommended using a different liturgy each time a specific group gathers and preferably in the sequence presented in this booklet.
When using the liturgies on successive occasions, we also suggest using a set of four candles. Light one candle when using the prayer liturgy on respect. Light a second candle, while the first one already burns, when using the second liturgy – the one on listening, etcetera. Although the prayer liturgies are designed to be used as a unified whole, please feel free to use a “cut and paste” approach when the situation demands it. If the liturgies presented here stimulate your own liturgical imagination, you are given permission to adapt and change. The liturgies are meant to involve all participants. Throughout this guide the convention is that the text presented in italics is meant to be said together.
Each liturgy consists of three movements: receiving, sharing and giving and commitment. What we receive from God, we share amongst one another and give away to others. You may want to begin each gathering or meeting with the first two movements and conclude with the third.
Fred Schoeman (editor)
Tipi Jacob Nthakhe